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Somalia flag
Federal Republic of Somalia
Jumhuriyah as-Sumal al-Fidiraliyah
Jamhuuriyadda Federaalkaa Soomaaliya
   Somalia is located in the so-called Horn of Africa, in the central-eastern extremity of the continent and is bounded by the Indian Ocean. From 1969 to 1991 Somalia suffered the dictatorship of Siad Barre, at the end of which a bloody civil and tribal war broke out, the political situation is still unclear and many areas are self-governing; this country is among the poorest on the planet.
Government type Federal parliamentary republic
Area 637,657 kmē (246,201 sq mi)
Population 18,707,000 inh. (2024 est.)
Population density 29 inh/kmē (76 inh/miē)
Capital Mogadishu (1,650,000 pop., 4,219,000 urban aggl.)
Currency Somali shilling
Languages Arabic, Somali (official), English, Italian
Life expectancy M 55 years, F 58 years
Location in Africa


Ethiopia WEST
Indian Ocean NORTH and EAST
Since May 1991 the Somaliland region (formerly a former British protectorate) has declared itself independent. The Republic of Somaliland is located between the border with Djibouti and Ethiopia and the 49th meridian EAST. Its surface is 137,600 kmē and the population is approximately 4,500,000 inhabitants (55% nomads or semi-nomads). The capital is Hargeisa (741,000 pop., 1,401,000 urban aggl.), the second largest city in the country after Mogadishu.

The regions of Bari and Nugaal (June 1998), in the north-east of the country, have also become semi-autonomous, with the name of the Republic of Puntland.


Largest cities
Mogadishu 1,650,000 pop., 4,219,000 urban aggl.
Hargeisa 741,000 pop., 1,401,000 urban aggl.
Marka 499,000 pop.
Berbera 374,000 pop.
Kismaayo 358,000 pop.
Highest mountains
Ras Dashen 4,533 m (14,872 ft)
Longest rivers
Shebelle 2,050 km (1,274 mi) total, 900 km (559 mi) in Somalia
Jubba 1,650 km (1,025 mi) total, 875 km (544 mi) in Somalia
Largest islands
Chula 6.4 kmē (2.5 sq mi)
Koyama 6.4 kmē (2.5 sq mi)


   Before the civil war, Somalia was administratively divided into 18 regions; once the political situation is better clarified, the country should move on to federated states, also because 5 of the current regions (north-western ones) are in Somaliland and Puntland, two areas that self-declared sovereign states and which in fact govern themselves; Mudur and Bari are the two largest regions, while that of Banaadir, which corresponds to the capital Mogadishu, is the most populated.

   There are relatively recent estimates on the inhabitants only for the 5 largest cities in the country, while for the others very old data are available, prior to 2000.