Somalia History: Italian Colonization

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

Italian interest in the Somali coast developed in the late 19th century. Italy got a foothold along the Indian Ocean coastline by making treaties with local Somali chieftains, Great Britain, Zanzibar and Ethiopia.

By the beginning of the 20th century, British control of the protectorate was being challenged by native uprisings. In 1910 the British abandoned the interior and withdrew to the coastal regions and finally managed to end the insurrections in 1920.

Italy took advantage of this period and extended its control inland under the Treaty of London in 1915. Some other agreements with Britain also followed World War I.

At the height of fascism in 1936, Italy merged all its territories in Somaliland, Eritrea and Ethiopia into the colonial state of Italian East Africa. As part of the axis forces, Italian troops invaded British Somaliland in 1940 and expelled the British, who took the protectorate back in 1941.

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