Somalia Governorate

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Italian Somaliland Governorate coat of arms.

Somalia Governorate was one of the six governorates of Italian East Africa.


The Somalia Governorate lasted from 1936 until 1941. Its administrative capital was Mogadishu. In 1936, the capital had a population of 50,000 inhabitants, of which nearly 20,000 were Italian Somalis.[1]

By 1941, 30,000 Italians lived in Mogadishu, representing around 33% of the city's total 90,000 residents.[2] They frequented local Italian schools that the colonial authorities had opened, such as the "Liceum".

The Italian authorities in 1937 began construction of a paved highway from Mogadishu to Addis Ababa, which was completed in 1940 and called Via dell'Impero. Other roads were started in 1939, from Mogadishu to the northern Somali coast and to the British Kenya Colony to the south.[3]

Additionally, there was a project to connect Mogadishu with the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway, and another to start the construction of an airport on the outskirts of the city. The ports of the capital and of Kismayo further south were also slated for enlargement in 1941. However, the outbreak of World War II put a halt to these plans.

From 1936 the Mogadishu port started to have a weekly international ship line for passengers, connecting Italian Mogadiscio with Massaua in Eritrea and Genova in Italy with the Italian Lloyd Triestino and Italian Line.[4] The MS Vulcania was a transatlantic ship that served the port of Mogadiscio. Later, in 1941 the port was damaged by British bombings during World War II.

The colony in the late 1930s was one of the most developed in all Africa in terms of the standard of living of the colonists and of the local inhabitants, mainly in the urban areas like the capital and Genale & Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi. Also a car race circuit was created in the capital: the colonial-era famous Mogadiscio circuit.

By 1940, the Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi (called also "Villabruzzi"; actual Jowhar) had a population of 12,000 people, of whom nearly 3,000 were Italian Somalis, and enjoyed a notable level of development with a small manufacturing area with agricultural industries (sugar mills, etc.).[5] The biggest production of salt in the world was exported from the Saline Dante[6] of Hafun Salt Factory in northern Somalia (actual Hafun, then called "Dante").

In the summer of 1940, Italian forces invaded British Somaliland and incorporated it into the Somalia Governorate. British troops later re-seized the territory in March 1941.

Governorates of Italian East Africa[edit]

1936-1941 Somalia Governorate map, with the Ogaden region annexed
English Italian Capital Total population Italians[7] Tag Coat of Arms
Amhara Governorate Amara Gondar 2,000,000 11,103 AM Coat of arms of Amhara governorate-2.svg
Eritrea Governorate Eritrea Asmara 1,500,000 72,408 ER Coat of arms of Eritrea (1926-1941).svg
Galla-Sidamo Governorate Galla e Sidama Jimma/Gimma 4,000,0000 11,823 GS Coat of arms of Galla-Sidamo governorate.svg
Harrar Governorate Harar Harrar 1,600,000 10,035 HA Coat of arms of harar governorate.svg
Scioa Governorate [8] Scioà Addis Abeba 1,850,000 40,698 SC Coat of arms of Scioa governorate.svg
Somalia Governorate [8] Somalia Mogadishu 1,150,000 19,200 SOM Coat of arms of Italian Somaliland governorate.svg

See also[edit]



  • G. Pini. La strada nell’Africa Orientale Italiana in “Quaderni italiani serie xv, L’Africa Italiana” n. 4