Somaliland Cyberspace

Secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption ofDemocracy... (Lord Acton to Robert E. Lee, November 4, 1866)

Like all other countries, Somaliland has
Proclaimed declaration of independence,
Adopted a constitution and a flag,
Sought diplomatic recognition,
Sent out envoys extraordinary and ministers plenipotentiary,
Displayed coat-of-arms and a national anthem,
Consolidated its national territory inherited from a colonial power,
Elected a national assembly and a head of state, and
Issued currency, stamps and passports...

This land....
A thick woollen blanket is pulled over our barren landscape. We are there - like people are in fjord any place. Nothing new is ever expected to happen there. Leaves don't fall.Dogs don't bark. Seasons don't change. Babies don't cry. They wouldn't dare.... We are mere identities on the move, so we could someday nourish our thin and tired bodies with frothy camel's milk. All other thoughts remain suspended - aloft the hut pole astride or buried deep under the prickly hide-skin sleeping canvasses - so our creative juices stay puckered up.A number of hard taboos bend and fold over our communal cribs, and tuck our dreams in for thenight. By day, we move, with undivided attention, because we've dreamt big dreams of perpetual rains from heavens.


Somaliland Cyberspace was established as a means to promote the understanding of the uncommon political conditions in Somaliland. The Somaliland archive section contains many articles and documents that provide pertinent information and useful insights into the current political situation in Somaliland, as well as its history, society, and people. Containing many links culled from the Internet, Somaliland and Horn of Africa links pages serve as launching pads to selected resources on Somaliland, Somalia, Somali culture and religion, as well as links for general Internet resources.

Somaliland Republic, bordered to the east by Somalia, Ethiopia to the south, and Djibouti to the west, corresponds to the former colonial territory of British Somaliland Protectorate. As one of the most recently established nations, Somaliland presents a new field of study for scholars. Although a surprising amount has been written on the country, there is lack of significant reference works in certain areas. Hence, the general aim of this web site is to present Somaliland in its many facets to the English-speaking world. Items have been selected for their importance, authority, variety and accessibility, and priority has been given to sources in English.

On May 18, 1991, the self-styled Somaliland Republic was established in what had been the northern regions of Somalia, following the collapse of the Somali state in early 1991. No foreign government recognizes it; but independent it is. The proclamation of statehood is based on strong majority opinion in the north, which holds that after more than 20 years of brutal rule by the Siyad Barre regime and three years of state-sponsored mayhem and violence, the north would continue to be victimized by a Mogadishu-based government dominated by the southern warlords.

A major consideration when choosing entries in the archives on Somaliland resources was the particular importance of certain topics pertaining to the Somaliland studies. It would not be possible to compile a reference work on Somaliland without including numerous sources from Somalia. The most difficult problem I have faced was how to separate Somaliland reference material from the abundant references found on Somalia. Hence throughout this archive, various sources from or on Somalia have been used where they apply to Somaliland, particularly in cases of ecology and climate, language and literature, and economics relevant to the eras when Somaliland and Somalia's history and culture have converged.

No archive covering a whole nation can ever be complete, but in the present on, I have attempted to provide as extensive coverage as allowed by the limitations of time and knowledge. The individual entries are arranged by subject, and within each subject by chronological order. Rare among the nations of Africa, Somaliland possesses a single language, Somali, and although both English and Somali are official languages, Somali is the vernacular that increasing number of Somaliland writers have developed an extensive literature during the last twenty years. An entire section on Somali language and literature is being included.

On June 26, 1960, British Somaliland attained independence and Italian-ruled U.N. trust territory of Somalia on July 1, 1960. On that date, following a temporary alliance among the principal Somali clans under the stimulation of European interference, the two Somali territories united to form the Republic of Somalia. That fragile nation precariously occupied the eastern Horn of Africa until January 1991 when the Somali state collapsed, following a brutal civil war, which led to the ouster of the Siad Barre regime that led Somalia for 20 years. Meanwhile, the southern regions of what used to be Somalia remain stateless and war-torn.

I invite interested members of the public, news professionals and students to tap into this new resource, which strives to improve the circulation of both journalistic and scholarly information on peoples, places, and cultures of Somaliland and Somali peninsula.

Mohamed Saleh Bali, compiler
October 1996.

Ralph Waldo Emerson.