Somaliland was a British colony until 26 June 1960, when it became the Somaliland Protectorate, an independent country. On 1 July, 1960, the Somaliland Protectorate joined a new country called Somalia, and they formed the Somali Republic. In May of 1991, after a war, five families in the Somali Republic declared independence. They formed Somaliland out of six political areas in northern Somalia.
Currently, Somaliland is an unrecognized state. This means that no country or international organization thinks that Somaliland is a real country. Instead, they include Somaliland as a part of Somalia.
Somaliland has a republican government, with free elections. The capital is Hargeisa.
Most people in Somaliland speak Somali and Arabic. Article 6 of the Constitution of 2001 says the official language of Somaliland is Somali, but Arabic is a mandatory subject in school. English is also spoken and taught in schools.
The main Somali dialect is Standard Somali. Standard Somali is spoken in most of Somalia and in countries that border it. Standard Somali is used by almost all of the media in the Somaliland region.
Almost all Somalilanders are Muslims. This is because Islam is the state religion, and practicing a religion other than Islam is against the law. Small amounts of non-Islamic traditions exist in Somaliland, but Islam is very important to the Somali sense of national identity.
- "Somaliland Official Website". somalilandgov.com. http://www.somalilandgov.com/cprofile.htm. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
- "THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOMALILAND". International relations and security network. 31 May 2001. http://www.chr.up.ac.za/undp/domestic/docs/c_Somaliland.pdf. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
- Lacey, Marc (5 June 2006). "The Signs Say Somaliland, but the World Says Somalia". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/05/world/africa/05somaliland.html?scp=1&sq=The%20Signs%20Say%20Somaliland,%20but%20the%20World%20Says%20Somalia&st=cse. Retrieved 25 December 2010.
- "Background Note: Somalia". U.S Department of State. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2863.htm. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
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