Somalia Facts: 50 Interesting Facts About Somalia

Last updated on November 1st, 2022

37. During the Battle of Mogadishu, an American pilot named Michael Durant was captured. He was freed on October 14, 1993.

38. Due to unsanitary water, hundreds of Somalians were killed during a cholera outbreak. This lead to a severe drought in Somalia.

39. In 2001, The United Nations was forced to pull staff and aid workers from the country due to the dangerous fighting and kidnappings, due to arguments about religion, government, education, and health.

40. On August 8, 2011, United States President Barack Obama announced $105 million would be given for emergency funding in the country.

5 Facts about poverty in Somalia

41. Over 73 percent of Somalis live on less than $2 U.S. dollars per day.

42. The 2011 famine in Southern Somalia was the first in that region in over 30 years.

43. More than 54% of children (aged less than 5 years) in Somalia are acutely malnourished.

44. Today, over one million people in the country are in desperate need of emergency food assistance.

45. Due to the two decades of conflict, more than 3.8 million Somalis are displaced in their own country.

5 Facts about Somalia pirates

46. On April 8, 2009, Somali pirates hijacked the U.S. Maersk Alabama. The captain, Richard Phillips, offered himself as a hostage to protect his crew.

47. The U.S. Navy SEALs fatally shot three of the pirates and the fourth was taken into custody.

48. A book was written and a movie was made about the Captain’s ordeal.

49. The pirate who survived was taken to the United States, where he was sentenced to over 33 years in a U.S. federal prison.

50. The surviving pirate agreed to plead guilty, and the charge of piracy and possession of a machine gun were dropped. He pleaded guilty to kidnapping and hostage-taking.

About the flag of Somalia

Flag of Somalia
Flag of Somalia

1. Design and Symbolism

Somalia is in the Horn of Africa, on the eastern side of the continent that faces the Indian Ocean. Its long coastline and commercial ties made it a prized possession of empires. The current republic is rebuilding after years of political conflict.

The flag of Somalia offers a complex story despite its visual simplicity. It was the ethnic flag of the Somalis before becoming the national banner. The Somalis once occupied a large area that foreigners divided among themselves. The white Star of Unity signified hope for a future reunion.

The five points on the star represented the regions they aspired to reclaim. These include French Somaliland, British Somaliland, Italian Somaliland, Soomaali Galbeed, and the Northern Frontier District. These are now called Djibouti, Somaliland, Somalia, the Somali Region of Ethiopia, and the North Eastern Province.

You may notice that the flags of Somalia and the United Nations have a similar hue. It is not a coincidence! The UN was instrumental in helping the country attain self-governance after World War II. The light blue field honors the valuable contribution of the international organization.

The background also denotes the clear sky and the waters around the country: the Gulf of Aden, the Somali Sea, and the Guardafui Channel.

2. Adoption

Somalia adopted the flag on October 12, 1954. The scholar and government official Mohammed Awale Liban made the design. Liban later became the Chief of the Cabinet of the Presidency.

3. Technical Details

The flag dimensions follow a ratio of 2:3. According to the construction sheet, the star must fit inside a circle with a diameter roughly half the flag height. The background has color values of 4189DD in HEX, 65-137-221 in RGB, and 71-38-0-13 in CMYK.

4. History

Pre-colonial Flags

Ancient Somalia was an important commercial center. Egyptians may have written about it as the Land of Punt – a source of gold, ebony, ivory, blackwood, and wild animals.

Somali empires of the Middle Ages controlled regional trade thanks to their strategic location. The Great Ottoman Empire also ruled the land. They raised flags bearing stars and crescents.

Colonial Flags

In the late 1800s, the British and Italians came to colonize Somali Sultanates. The flags of the foreign rulers, namely the Union Jack and the Italian Tricolor, dominated their respective territories.

Trust Territory of Somaliland

In 1950, Italy agreed to recognize Somali independence within ten years. The area became a Trust Territory of the United Nations as part of the transition process. Somali scholar Mohammed Awale Liban personally designed the current flag, which the country adopted in 1954.

5. Flag Facts

One-day Flag Design

Mohammed Awale Liban was part of the legislative council tasked with creating national symbols. He did not have much time to design the flag, learning that the presentation was due the next day. He rushed home to finish his sketch and make a prototype. In the meeting, his work received an extended standing ovation.

Flag Ban in Somaliland

Somaliland is a northern rebel province of Somalia. It declared independence in 1991, but the United Nations does not recognize the state. Somaliland prohibits the flag of Somalia, as the state uses a different banner: horizontal stripes of green, white, and red. A black star lies at the center, while the state motto adorns the green band.

Somalia – country at a glance

IndependenceJuly 1, 1960
Capital CityMogadishu
2°2′N 45°21′E
Largest CityMogadishu
2°2′N 45°21′E
Areatotal: 637,657 sq km

land: 627,337 sq km

water: 10,320 sq km
Population12,386,248 (2022 est.)
Official LanguageSomali and Arabic
National AnthemQolobaa Calankeed
National symbolleopard
National colorsblue, white
Government typeFederal parliamentary republic
PresidentHassan Sheikh Mohamud
Prime MinisterHamza Abdi Barre
BordersEthiopia, Djibouti and Kenya
CurrencySomali shilling (SOS)
Life expectancy at birth55.72 Years (2022)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
Climate principally desert; northeast monsoon (December to February), moderate temperatures in north and hot in south; southwest monsoon (May to October), torrid in the north and hot in the south, irregular rainfall, hot and humid periods (tangambili) between monsoons
Terrainmostly flat to undulating plateau rising to hills in north
Mean elevation410 m
Lowest pointIndian Ocean 0 m
Highest pointShimbiris 2,416 m
Natural resourcesuranium and largely unexploited reserves of iron ore, tin, gypsum, bauxite, copper, salt, natural gas, likely oil reserves
Agricultural land70.3%
Birth rate37.98 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)
Death rate11.62 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)
Sex ratio1.01 male(s)/female (2022 est.)
Industrieslight industries, including sugar refining, textiles, wireless communication
Exports$819 million (2014 est.)
livestock, bananas, hides, fish, charcoal, scrap metal
Imports$94.43 billion (2018 est.)
manufactures, petroleum products, foodstuffs, construction materials, qat
Time ZoneEAT (UTC+3)
Internet country
Calling Code+252
Drives on theRight
Table last updatedJuly 25, 2022