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Pirates, war, famine, drought. Somalia has had its share of trouble. The country lies in Northwestern Africa along the Indian Ocean. Its neighbors include Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. Somalia’s modern troubles began in 1960, when the country was formed from former British and Italian colonies. Rivaling tribes, or clans, immediately began arguing about how the country should be run.

One man, President Barre, became dictator from 1970 to 1991. After he was thrown out, the country was without a government for almost 20 years because the rival groups could not agree. The U.S. and other countries sent troops in to help stop the fighting, but left after a few years. Finally, in 2012, the country reestablished a functioning government.

Somalia has been left in ruins, though. Because the country has been lawless for so long, terrorists and pirates roam freely. Almost 500,000 people died of starvation between 2010 and 2012 because of a drought.

Fun Geography for Kids on Somalia – Image of a Hargeisa city in Somalia

Fun Facts

  • 9.8 million people live in Somalia.
  • The country has 246,201 square miles of land.
  • Islam is the major religion.
  • The life expectancy is 51 years.

Learn More

Visit the BBC to learn more about Somalia.

Extra Credit

Question: What is the landscape of Somalia like?

Answer: Somalia is hot and dry. Southern Somalia is flat, while Northern Somalia has mountain ranges.