Somalia was a caliphate in the horn of Africa, that was established during the Muslim conquests. The modern Caliphate of Somalia is an unrecognised breakaway state encompassing the areas inhabited by the Somali nation; other countries of the world consider it to be part of Ethiopia, and certain negotiations for the de facto reunification of Ethiopia and Somalia are going on.
The Caliphate of Somalia was established by the local emir who refused to recognise the new Arabic Caliph as a legitimate Caliph; instead, he claimed a certain other person should be a Caliph. This person, loyal to the emir of Somalia, was officially designated the Caliph and thus Somalia broke away from the rest of the Arabs. The Emir used the right circumstances for such a breakaway, as the Arabs were unable to reconquer the Horn of Africa due to the presence of the Ethiopians (stronger in IB than in the real world), who were allied with the Somalians.
It should be noted that the Caliphate of Somalia was known locally just as "The Caliphate", similarly to how the Arab Caliphate was known locally; the names Caliphate of Somalia (or the Somali Caliphate) and the Arab Caliphate are inventions of the Europeans, aimed at being able to distinguish these different entities.
The family of the emirs was actually more powerful than the Caliph, who was more of a representative figure. Although the Arabic language remained the language of the elite (as it was the language of the religion as well), the ruling family intermarried with local chiefs and became more and more Somalized over time. The grandson of the emir who achieved independence also became the Caliph of Somalia.
Somalia existed for much longer than did the Arab Caliphate. It became largely maritime and controlled most of the east African coastline, living by trade. Islands such as the Comoros, the Maldives, Zanzibar and others became the trading ports of Somalia. Somalian traders were important in trade between Europe and Asia (India, China).
However, eventually the glory of Somalia faded. The Chinese conquered the southern parts of the Caliphate, where they established Chinese East Africa. Although ruling islands and coastlines, the Somalians controlled very little inland territories outside the Horn of Africa. Thus eventually the Somali ports on the coast were targeted by tribes of Zulu, Maasai and other African nations which were established inland. The coming of Europeans to Africa and establishing their own trade routes led to the further demise of the Caliphate.
In the 19th century the Chinese attempted to take over the Horn of Africa as well. Weak Somalia was losing the war, but got help from neighboring Ethiopia. In exchange, however, Somalia became a vassal of Ethiopia after the war (with the reservation that Somalia would remain Islamic and Ethiopia would make no attempts to Christianise it).
With the changes in Ethiopian politics and its economic demise however, the deals were struck with European powers at leasing certain ports of Somalia to them, without much support of the Caliph, now a vassal of the Ethiopian Emperor. This was generally seen as a betrayal by the Somalians. After the First Great War, the port cities of Somalia became colonies of the European powers and the Caliph held power (as a vassal) only in non-coastal Somalia.
During the Ethiopian Liberation War, Ethiopia had retaken these cities in 1940. After the Somali Revolt of 1944, the powers of the Caliph were increased. When Ethiopia was defeated, the Caliph attempted to declare an independent caliphate of Somalia and to agree upon peace with the allies, but this was not supported by the allies, and Somalia was quickly defeated in the Somalian War.
After the Great War 2 with the establishment of the Confederation of Ethiopia, most other Ethiopian territories were divided into states of the new confederation along ethnic lines, although Somalia was divided according to the traditional Somali clans. This was done because, had there been a single Somali state, it would be easily the largest and most powerful in the Confederation, which was not wanted.
Although traditional disagreements between clans became more powerful at first, eventually the Somali states showed much more cooperation with each other than with other states. After the Federation of Ethiopia, aimed at re-establishing the old Ethiopian rulers, was established by the western Ethiopian States, the Somalians declared independence. The Caliph was put in power in 1989. However, Somalia was not recognised as an independent state. Currently the government of the Caliphate of Somalia controls the western areas of Ethiopia, mostly ones inhabited by the Somali nation.
This page was created by Abdul-aziz.