SOMALIA — TIMELINE 1839-1941
Arrival of Europeans; British Occupation
1839. The British occupy Aden, a city located in south Yemen, adjacent to the Somali coast. A coal mining station is established for reloading their ships.
1860s. France requires fuelling posts for its ships sailing through the Indian Ocean and establishes coal mining stations in parts of Somalia’s northern territory. The French develop Djibouti, which was then referred to as French Somaliland. The Italians occupy land further up the coast in Eritrea
1884. Fourteen European countries, plus the United States, meet at the Berlin Conference to determine guidelines for further expansion into Africa. This rush to lay claim over African territory is referred to as the ‘Scramble for Africa.’ Somalia is divided into spheres of influence by British, Italians and Ethiopians. Italian explorer Antonia Cecchi leads an expedition into south-western Somalia and establishes a commercial treaty with the Sultan of Zanzibar, ruler of the territory.
1887. To protect its trade interests in the Indian Ocean, Britain enters into a treaty with some of the dominant clans in northern Somalia. The English also declare a protectorate in northern Somalia, which becomes known as British Somaliland.
1888. Somali Sultan Yusuf Ali Kenadid establishes an agreement with Italy declaring the Sultanate of Hobyo a protectorate of the Italian state. Sultan Kenadid and his rival Bogor Osman, King of the Majeerteen Sultanate, compete with Britain, Italy and France for control of the Somalia peninsula and attempt to prevent its occupation.
1898. King Bogor Osman enters into a protectorate agreement with Italy.
1887. Britain and France sign an agreement that defines the boundaries of their territorial possession in Somalia.
1892. Italy claims all Somalia’s territories, except British Somaliland.
1899. Religious leader from the north Mohammed Abdullah Hassan declares jihad against infidels and establishes a Somali resistance movement against the British and Italian occupiers. He launches a struggle called the Dervish War attempting to re-unite the divided Somalis. This war is portrayed as nationalistic movement and continues until 1920.
1905. An agreement between Mohammed Abdullah Hassan and Italian Consul Pestalozza grants Sheikh Mohammed the territory of Nogal. In exchange he must place himself and his army under an Italian protectorate. The peace lasts for three years.
1908. War resumes and British forces are forced to withdraw from the Protectorate.
1913. Britain organizes mobile force corps in order to provide assistance for their friendly clans but they are defeated by Dervishes.
1920. British forces construct aerodromes to launch aerial bombardments of Hassan forces. Following combined land and air military operations Hassan’s forces surrender to the British.
1925. As a reward for supporting Britain during World War I, Italy acquires Jubaland located in the southwest corner of Somalia. Under Benito Mussolini’s fascist rule, colonialism in Italian Somaliland becomes increasingly repressive and focuses on attracting Italian settlers to the colony.
1935. Italy invades Ethiopia, including the Ogaden region, from Somalia.
1936. Italy seizes Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, and creates a unitary colonial state called Italian East Africa. The state is comprises Italian Somaliland (present-day Somalia), Somali-speaking parts of Ethiopia, and Italian-controlled Eritrea.
1940. During WWII Italy occupies British Somaliland (present-day Somaliland) and drive out British forces in the region. MAP
1941. Britain regains control of British Somaliland and conquers Italian Somaliland along with the Ogaden region in Ethiopia.
(research by Loes Weijers, Alexander Chernoudov, Mona Dehghan Kiani, Rachael Quick)
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