Somalia History: British Colonization

Somalia History: British Colonization Last updated on Sunday 25th April 2010

Britain was the first European power in the region to take possession of Aden (now in the Republic of Yemen) on the Arabian coast in 1839, in order to protect British trade routes and provide safe passage and anchorage for ships.

In the mid-1870's Egypt, defying the claims of Turkey, occupied some of the towns on the Somali coast. When the Egyptian troops left in 1882 to respond to the revolt of the Mahdi in the Sudan, Great Britain occupied the territory.

Britain was mainly concerned with keeping open the route to India through the Suez Canal, which had been opened in 1869. In 1887, Britain proclaimed it a British protectorate, and named it British Somaliland. Initially a dependency of Aden, it was placed under the administration of the colonial office in 1905.

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