The British Somaliland Agreement: A Historical Overview
In 1884, Somalia was carved up between the United Kingdom, Italy, and Ethiopia. The British protectorate of Somaliland was established in 1887, which included present-day Somaliland and Djibouti. In 1960, Somaliland gained independence from the British, but it later joined with Italian Somaliland to form the Somali Republic.
The Somali Republic experienced political instability in the 1980s, culminating in a full-scale civil war in 1991. In the chaos that followed, Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia.
However, Somaliland`s independence has not been recognized by the international community, as the United Nations and most countries continue to view Somaliland as part of Somalia.
The British Somaliland Agreement, signed in 1888, established the boundaries of the protectorate and defined the relationship between the British and the Somali clans. The agreement granted the British exclusive rights to conduct foreign policy and external relations, while recognizing the authority of the sultan of Zanzibar over the coastal areas.
The agreement also gave the British control over the ports of Berbera and Zeila, which became important trading centers for the region. The ports were used to export livestock, hides, and skins to the Gulf Arab states, while importing manufactured goods in return.
The British administration in Somaliland was also responsible for maintaining law and order, and for the provision of basic services such as health care and education. The British also invested in infrastructure, building roads and railways that linked the interior of the country to the ports.
However, the British administration was not without its controversies. The British relied heavily on the Somali clans to maintain order, and they often favored certain clans over others. This led to resentment and conflict between different clans, which continues to this day.
In conclusion, the British Somaliland Agreement played a pivotal role in shaping the history of the region. Its legacy can still be felt today, as Somaliland struggles to gain recognition as an independent nation. However, the agreement also highlights the complex and often contentious relationship between colonial powers and the people they ruled over.