Somalia, officially the Federal Republic of Somalia, is a sovereign country in the Horn of Africa. It has been described as Africa’s most culturally homogeneous country because the majority of the population are ethnically Somali, who have historically inhabited the country’s northern regions and have distinguished themselves for their traditional clan system, language, and Sunni Islamic beliefs. During the colonial period, the area of Somalia was divided between five countries: Britain, Italy, France, Ethiopia, and Kenya. The present-day Republic was formed when British and Italian Somaliland were united as an independent state in 1960. However, Somali nationalism has been more based on the idea that Somalis share a common cultural identity, rather than one geographical territory. From 1969 until 1991, Somalia was ruled by General Mohammad Siyad Barre, who attempted to declare the country a socialist state, despite the fact that many rejected a centralized state authority over tribal institutions. Civil war broke out as clans rebelled and Barre’s regime soon collapsed along with the country’s political infrastructure since Somalia did not have an effective government for over 20 years after the civil war outbreak. Moreover, famine and drought continued to be the biggest causes of displacement.
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