Somalia profile – Timeline: A chronology of key events
Somalia: Here’s a look at Somalia, an impoverished, war-torn eastern African country that borders the Gulf of Aden, the Indian Ocean, Ethiopia and Kenya.
(from the CIA World Fact Book)
Area: 637,657 sq km (slightly smaller than Texas)
Population: 11,259,029 (July 2018 est.)
Median age: 18.2 years
Ethnic groups: Somali 85%, Bantu and other non-Somali 15% (including 30,000 Arabs)
Religion: Sunni Muslim (Islam)
GDP (purchasing power parity): $20.44 billion (2017 est.)
Somalia is part of the Horn of Africa in the region of eastern Africa. Other countries include Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti. This region is subject to repetitive cycles of drought and famine.
The Horn of Africa has been home to Somalis since ancient times.
13th-17th centuries – Ajuran Sultanate dominates much of the Horn of Africa before collapsing into rival regional sultanates.
1875 – Egypt occupies towns on Somali coast and parts of the interior.
1860s – France acquires foothold on the Somali coast, later to become Djibouti.
1887 – Britain proclaims protectorate over Somaliland.
1888 – Anglo-French agreement defines boundary between Somali possessions of the two countries.
1889 – Italy sets up a protectorate in central Somalia, later consolidated with territory in the south ceded by the sultan of Zanzibar.
1925 – Territory east of the Jubba river detached from Kenya to become the westernmost part of the Italian protectorate.
1936 – Italian Somaliland combined with Somali-speaking parts of Ethiopia to form a province of Italian East Africa.
1940 – Italians occupy British Somaliland.
1941 – British occupy Italian Somalia.
1950 – Italian Somaliland becomes a UN trust territory under Italian control.
1956 – Italian Somaliland renamed Somalia and granted internal autonomy.
1960 – British and Italian parts of Somalia become independent, merge and form the United Republic of Somalia; Aden Abdullah Osman elected president.
July 1, 1960 – The new country of Somalia is formed through the union of newly independent territories British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland.
1969 – Mohamed Siad Barre leads a bloodless coup and becomes dictator.
1977-1978 – Somalia invades the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. Ethiopia rebels and weakens Somalia’s forces. The two countries have fought on and off since 1960.
1978 – Somali forces pushed out of Ogaden with the help of Soviet advisers and Cuban troops. Barre expels Soviet advisers and gains support of United States.
1981 – Opposition to Barre’s regime begins to emerge after he excludes members of the Mijertyn and Isaq clans from government positions, which are filled with people from his own Marehan clan.
1988 – Somalia and Ethiopia sign a peace treaty.
January 1991 – President Barre is forced into exile after the United Somali Congress overthrows his military regime in Mogadishu.
December 1992 – Faction leader Ali Mahdi Mohammed and warlord General Mohammed Farah Aidid sign a cease-fire brokered by US envoy Robert Oakley.
December 1992 – Operation Restore Hope is launched by UN coalition forces and led by the United States in an attempt to restore enough order to ensure food distribution to the Somali people.
June 5, 1993 – General Aidid’s forces attack and kill 24 UN troops from Pakistan.
September 25, 1993 – An American Black Hawk UH-60 helicopter is shot down over Mogadishu, and three soldiers on board are killed.
October 3-4, 1993 – The Battle of Mogadishu: Two Black Hawk UH-60 helicopters are shot down during a raid on
Aidid’s high-level staff at Mogadishu’s Olympic Hotel. Eighteen US soldiers and hundreds of Somalis are killed. Pilot Michael Durant is captured.
October 9, 1993 – Aidid calls for a cease-fire with UN forces.
October 14, 1993 – Pilot Michael Durant is freed.
January 1994 – Elder clansmen agree to a new cease-fire. Aidid and Mohammed do not attend the talks.
March 25, 1994 – US troops complete their withdrawal after a 15-month mission.
March 2, 1995 – The last of the UN peacekeepers are evacuated.
1998 – Puntland region declares autonomy.
2000 August – Clan leaders and senior figures meeting in Djibouti elect Abdulkassim Salat Hassan president of Somalia.
2000 October – Hassan and his newly-appointed prime minister, Ali Khalif Gelayadh, arrive in Mogadishu to heroes’ welcomes. Gelayadh announces his government, the first in the country since 1991.
2001 April – Somali warlords, backed by Ethiopia, decline to support transitional administration.
2004 August – In 14th attempt since 1991 to restore central government, a new transitional parliament inaugurated at ceremony in Kenya. In October the body elects Abdullahi Yusuf as president.
2004 December – Tsunami off Indonesia displaces 10,000s on Somali coast.
2005 February-June – Somali government begins returning home from exile in Kenya, but there are bitter divisions over where in Somalia the new parliament should sit.
2005 November – Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi survives an assassination attempt in Mogadishu.
June 27, 2005 – Pirates hijack the MV Semlow, a ship carrying UN food aid, and hold the vessel for 100 days.
October 12, 2005 – Another UN ship carrying aid, the MV Miltzow, is hijacked and held for more than 30 hours.
October 2005 – Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi calls on neighboring countries to send warships to patrol Somalia’s coast.
November 27, 2005 – Pirates free a Ukrainian cargo ship seized 40 days prior off the coast of Somalia.
2006 February – Transitional parliament meets in central town of Baidoa for the first time since it was formed in 2004.
2006 March-May – Scores of people are killed and hundreds are injured during fierce fighting between rival militias in Mogadishu. Worst violence in almost decade.
April 4, 2006 – The South Korean ship Dongwon-ho 628 is seized off the coast of Somalia. Four months later, the crew is released after a ransom is allegedly paid.
April 2006 – Somalia grants the US Navy permission to patrol coastal waters.
2006 June-July – Militias loyal to the Union of Islamic Courts take Mogadishu and other parts of south after defeating clan warlords.
Ethiopian troops enter Somalia.
2006 July-August – Mogadishu’s air and seaports are re-opened for the first time since 1995.
2006 September – Transitional government and Islamic Courts begin peace talks in Khartoum.
Somalia’s first known suicide bombing targets President Yusuf outside parliament in Baidoa.
February 25, 2007 – Pirates hijack the MV Rozen, a cargo ship delivering UN food aid to Somalia. The ship and crew are released after 40 days.
2008 – The United States designates Al-Shabaab, a militant group in Somalia linked to al Qaeda, as a foreign terrorist organization.
June 2008 – The UN Security Council unanimously votes to allow countries to send warships into Somalia’s waters to combat piracy.
September 25, 2008 – The Ukrainian ship, the MV Faina, is attacked. Its cargo consists of 33 T-72 tanks, rocket launchers and small arms. The ship is released in February after pirates claim they have received a $3.2 million ransom payment.
November 2008 – The Saudi supertanker Sirius Star is hijacked. The ship is released in January 2009 after pirates claim to have received three million dollars in ransom.
April 8, 2009 – Somali pirates hijack the US-flagged cargo ship Maersk Alabama. The captain, Richard Phillips, offers himself as a hostage in order to protect his crew.
April 12, 2009 – Phillips is rescued when US Navy SEAL snipers fatally shoot three pirates and take the fourth into custody.
June 19, 2011 – Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo resigns. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali is appointed as an interim leader until a new prime minister can be appointed.
July 20, 2011 – The United Nations declares a famine in the southern Somalia regions of Bakool and Lower Shabelle.
July 22, 2011 – Terrorist group Al-Shabaab reverses an earlier pledge to allow aid agencies to provide food in famine-stricken areas of southern Somalia.
August 2, 2011 – The United States updates guidance so humanitarian organizations will not be penalized for aid inadvertently falling into the hands of terrorist group Al-Shabaab.
August 8, 2011 – US President Barack Obama announces $105 million in emergency funding for Somalia.
August 11, 2011 – The United States announces another $17 million in emergency aid for Somalia.
September 5, 2011 – The UN Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit releases a report saying a total of four million people in Somalia need humanitarian aid and 750,000 people are in danger of “imminent starvation.”
2011 October – Kenyan troops enter Somalia to attack rebels they accuse of being behind several kidnappings of foreigners on Kenyan soil.
American military begins flying drone aircraft from a base in Ethiopia, Ethiopian troops return to central town of Guriel.
October 4, 2011 – More than 70 people are killed and 150 injured when a truck filled with explosives drives into a government complex in Mogadishu. Most of the victims are students, who were registering for a Turkish education program, and their parents. Al-Shabaab claims responsibility.
2012 February-May – Al-Shabab loses key towsn of Baidoa and Afgoye to Kenyan, African Union and Somali government forces.
September 10, 2012 – Somali parliament members select Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the new president. The vote marks a milestone for the nation, which has not had a stable central government since Dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown 21 years ago.
New parliament, president
2012 August – Somalia’s first formal parliament in more than 20 years is sworn in at Mogadishu airport, ending eight-year transitional period. Pro-government forces capture the port of Merca south of Mogadishu from Al-Shabab.
2012 September – MPs in Mogadishu elect academic and civic activist Hassan Sheikh Mohamud president over the incumbent Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. First presidential election in Somalia since 1967.
2012 October – African Union and government forces recapture Kismayo, the last major city held by Al-Shabab and the country’s second-largest port, and the town of Wanla Weyn northwest of Mogadishu.
2013 January – US recognises Somalia’s government for the first time since 1991.
January 11, 2013 – French forces attempt to rescue a French intelligence commando held hostage in Somalia by Al-Shabaab.
The raid leaves a French soldier dead, another soldier missing and 17 Islamist fighters dead. French President Francois Hollande later acknowledges that the operation “did not succeed” and resulted in the “sacrifice” of two French soldiers and “maybe the assassination” of hostage Denis Allex. Al-Shabaab later declares that it has killed the hostage in retribution for the raid.
January 17, 2013 – For the first time in more than two decades, the United States grants official recognition to the Somali government.
May 2, 2013 – A report, jointly commissioned by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network, shows that 258,000 Somalis died in the famine between
2013 June – Veteran Al-Shabab leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys is taken into custody by government troops after he is ousted by more extreme Al-Shabab figure Ahmed Abdi Godane.
Spike in violence with various attacks by Al-Shabab, including on presidential palace and UN compound in Mogadishu.
2013 September – International donors promise 2.4 billion dollars in reconstruction aid in three-year ”New Deal”.
June 19, 2013 – An attack on the UN headquarters in Mogadishu leaves at least 14 people dead and 15 others wounded. Al-Shabaab claims responsibility for the attack.
Shabab attacks Kenya
2013 September – Al-Shabab seize shopping centre and kill 60 people in Kenyan capital Nairobi, saying it is retaliation for Kenya’s military involvement in Somalia.
2014 May – Al-Shabab says it carried out a bomb attack on a restaurant in Djibouti, saying the country is used as a launch pad to strike Muslims.
2014 June – Al-Shabab claims two attacks on the Kenyan coast which kill more than 60, saying operations against Kenya would continue.
2014 September – Al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane killed in US drone strike. Government offers 2 million dollar bounty for his successor, Ahmad Omar.
2014 November – Government launches country’s first postal service in more than two decades. Mogadishu’s first ever cash withdrawal machine installed in a hotel.
2014 November-December – Al Shabab carry out mass killings in north-east Kenya, including on a bus and a camp of quarry workers.
2015 April – Al-Shabab claim responsibility for killing 148 people, mainly Christian students, at Garissa University College in northern Kenya.Kenya carries out air raids on Al-Shabab bases in Somalia in retaliation.
2015 May – US Secretary of State John Kerry pays brief visit to Mogadishu, the first officeholder to do so, a few weeks after Al-Shabab raid government quarter of the city and kill 17 people.
2016 February – African Union leaders agree on need for more funding and support for their military presence in Somalia after weeks of increased Al-Shabab attacks on public spaces and pro-government troops. Government and African Union troops recapture southern port of Merca that Al-Shabab briefly seized.
March 5, 2016 – A US strike in Somalia kills as many as 150 suspected Al-Shabaab fighters, according to the Pentagon. Both manned and unmanned aircraft are used.
2016 November – Leaders of two Somali regions, Puntland and Galmudug, agree to respect a ceasefire in the disputed city of Galkayo. Fighting in the city reportedly displaced 90,000.
2017 February – Parliament elects former prime minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known as Farmajo, as president. Al-Shabab threatens to target anyone collaborating with him.
February 8, 2017 – Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who resigned as prime minister in 2011, is elected president.
February 23, 2017 – President Mohamed names Hassan Ali Khaire prime minister.
March 2017 – US President Donald Trump authorizes the military to carry out precision strikes targeting Al-Shabaab. Prior, the US military was authorized to carry out airstrikes only in self-defense of advisers on the ground.
2017 March – Pirates seize tanker off coast of Puntland in the first hijacking of a large vessel in the region since 2012.
2017 May – President Mohamed at London conference calls for lifting of arms embargo to help defeat al-Shabab. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says conditions are now in place in Somalia for it to become a success story.
2017 October – Double truck bombing kills 350 people in Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab is prime suspect.
October 14, 2017 – At least 300 people are confirmed dead after a double car bombing in Mogadishu. Less than two months later, authorities announce that the death toll has climbed to 512.
November 3, 2017 – For the first time, the United States conducts airstrikes targeting ISIS militants in northeastern Somalia. Unmanned drones make the two airstrikes.
July 25, 2018 – Somalia announces it will pursue its first prosecution for female genital mutilation, after a 10-year-old dies following the procedure.
December 4, 2018 – The US State Department announces that the United States has re-established a permanent diplomatic presence in Somalia more than two decades after closing its embassy in Mogadishu.
July 24, 2019 – A suicide bomb attack on a government building kills at least six people and leaves six others injured, including Mogadishu’s mayor Abdirahman Omar Osman. Osman dies from his injuries on August 1.