Somalia History  

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SOMALIA

The Arabs came to Somalia some fourteen centuries ago. Over 800 years later, the Portuguese arrived, building forts and creating settlements. The northern part of the country came under British control in the early 19th century, while Italy dominated the south by the early 20th century. The Italian Fascist army drove Britain from the country early in World War II but the British returned, counterattacking and eventually controlling the entire country by 1941. The two parts of what was known as Somaliland -- protectorate British Somaliland and the former Italian Somaliland -- became Somalia in 1960. There has been little political stability for the country with border conflicts erupting between Somalia and Ethiopia and internal conflicts and tribal warfare. And, complicating all this, Somalia sustained dreadful starvation and refugee conditions as a result of a severe drought in the early 1990s. At least 300,000 people died between 1991 and 1992. Flooding in 1998 killed thousands and left hundred of thousands without a home; coupled with renewed inter-clan violence and the looming threat of famine, Somalia continues to face difficult times ahead.