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Immigration and Emigration
South East Wales

Somalia

Somalia forms the cap of the Horn of Africa in eastern Africa. It is bordered by Kenya in the south, Ethiopia in the west, Djibouti in the northwest, the Gulf of Aden in the north, and the Indian Ocean in the east.

22/4/1884 - East Dock
© BHAC [Butetown History and Arts Centre]
In the 1880s Britain and Italy occupied different parts of Somaliland, and it remained under colonial control until after World War Two. By 1950 the UN had voted to grant independence to Somalia, and in 1960 the Somali Republic was formed.

After only nine years the civilian government was overthrown by Siad Barre in a military coup. Armed domestic opposition to his government began in the north of the country in the late eighties, and although it was brutally suppressed, other clan-backed groups joined the struggle, eventually driving Siad Barre out in early 1991.

Mahmood Mattan
The last man to be executed at Cardiff prison was Somali seaman Mahmood Mattan, hanged in 1952. Accused of murder, he was pardoned in 1998 when the conviction was overturned after it was revealed that he had not received a fair trail. His family eventually received compensation, the first time the Home Office had made an award to the family of a person wrongfully hanged.
In 1972 the Somali Language, with Somali script based on the Roman alphabet, was adopted as the official language of the country replacing the colonial English and Italian languages in government and education.

The Somali people are divided into numerous clans, groups that trace their common ancestry back to a single father. These clans, which in turn are subdivided into numerous sub-clans, combine at a higher level to form clan-families. Somali culture, with a nomadic tradition practised by about half of the population, encourages travel. There is a Somali adage that says, "A person who has not travelled does not have eyes." (Abdi Agli, Cardiff)


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Internet Links
Bay People - An oral history of settlers in Cardiff's Tiger Bay
A Seafaring Tale By Isman Hassan Ali
Camels and Curran's by Jama Mohammed Ali
Article: Wales has been a refuge to a persecuted patriot
English/Somali Bilingual newsletter from Cardiff
News site for UK Somali community
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Brian(R), brother Kenneth(L) and sister Pauline(M) with Amah in Kuala Lumpur, Malaya, 1930
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