|Mogadoxa (Mogadishu). © NMM|
The Somalis are one of the oldest African communities in Britain. They have communities in the port cities of Cardiff, Liverpool, Hull, South Shields and London.
Despite their long association with Britain, very little is known or has been written about the Somali community in Britain.
|Map of the Horn of Africa, showing Somali speaking regions. © NMM|
The people who call themselves Somali only adopted the name in the 19th century. Prior to that time they preferred to use the name of their clan (Darood, Isaaq, Dir, Hawiye, Digil and Rahanweyn).
The name Somali comes from the word 'Soma', meaning to 'milk the animal' and it refers to their shared pastoral lifestyle. The Somali occupy a large part of the Horn of Africa, including the present day Republic of Somalia.
There are large numbers of Somalis in northeast Kenya, the Ogaden area of southeast Ethiopia and the Republic of Djibouti.