Somalia Facts: 50 Interesting Facts About Somalia

Last updated on September 20th, 2017

Somalia is located on the outer edge of the Somali Peninsula, which is also known as “the Horn of Africa.” There is much about Somalia that many people don’t know. With these 50 interesting facts about Somalia, let’s explore its history, culture, people, economy, poverty, pirates and civil war.

10 Facts about Somalia culture

#1. Restaurants are popular in many cities in Somalia, however, women very rarely dined out with men until the late 1990’s.

#2. While dining at home, it is customary for the women to serve the men first. After the men have finished their meals, they will sit down and eat with the children.

#3. When eating, people in Somalia scoop the food from their bowl using their first three fingers. Some will roll a banana leaf and use that for scooping. Urban Somalis will use silverware while dining, but many would rather use their fingers.

#4. Somali women are expected to submit to men, and fulfill their duties as daughters, mothers, and wives.

#5. Somali women do not wear the Muslim veil, however, they are not allowed to socialize with men in public.

#6. Nomads in Somalia consider the country’s pastureland available to all. If a family digs a water well, it is not considered the property of all. It would just belong to the family.

#7. When a family has a wedding, a birth, or a circumcision, it calls for a huge celebration which involves food. The family would slaughter animals, make bread, and prepare food for guests as well as for the poor who are invited to the celebration as well.

#8. The most widely recognized symbol in Somalia is the camel. This is because the camel provides meat, milk, transportation, income, and status for those who own one.

#9. The main language spoken in Somalia is Somali. Some also speak Arabic, Italian, and English.

#10. Educated young adults in Somalia who come from well to do families speak five languages or more.

Map of Somalia

10 Facts about the Civil War in Somalia

#11. The Civil War in Somalia has been going on for over a decade.

#12. The Civil War has been going on against Ethiopia, warlord-led groups, and even the United States.

#13. Since the Civil War in Somalia broke out in the early 1990’s, over 500,000 people have died.

#14. During the Civil War in Somalia, an American Black Hawk helicopter was shot down. The three soldiers who were on board died.

#15. On March 25, 1994, the United States withdrew from Somalia and the Civil War after being there for 15 months.

#16. Since the beginning of the Civil War in the early 1990’s, not one tourist visited Somalia until 2010, when a man from Canada Mike Spencer Brown arrived, shocking authorities by declaring himself a tourist. Read about his adventures journeys here.

#17. Due to the Civil War, the capital of Somalia is an extremely dangerous city. It is where different clans are always battling for control.

#18. The people of Somalia are suffering from famine and drought. Unfortunately, due to the fighting among the competing clans, food delivery is restricted.

#19. The power struggle that has been going on is between two warring clan lords, Mohamed Farah Aideed and Ali Mahdi Mohamed.

#20. Due to the Civil War, over 350,000 innocent civilians have died of disease and starvation because they could not get food. Due to the problem, George H.W. Bush ordered emergency airlifts of food and supplies to help the residents.