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Somaliland Protectorate

Italian Somaliland



Armed Forces

Regional States





SOMALIA DEVELOPED FROM A STRING OF ARAB SULTANATES ALONG THE northeast coast of Africa, which in turn had grown up from trading posts established from the 17th century onwards. As Arab influence waned, the British, French and Italians established protectorates on the Somali coast during the late-19th century. These were the subjects of various treaties, forged amid frequent border clashes between the colonial powers and the neighbouring Ethiopians, and between the European powers themselves.


The north of today’s Somalia was conquered by the British in 1884 and placed under the protection of the British crown. The east was conquered in 1887 by the Italians. This part, called Benadir, was from 1897 until 1905 under the jurisdiction of the Societa Commerciale Italiana del Benadir which ceded it to the Italian Government. The territory consisted of two colonies: Italian Somaliland and Mogadishu. In 1941 it was occupied by the British and was under British administration until 1949 when it became a United Nations Trust Territory under Italian administration. In 1950 it was rendered to the Italian government. On the 26th of june 1960 it became a sovereign republic with the name of Repubblica Somala. On the first of July of the same year the British part of Somaliland joined this republic.

From 21st of October 1969 Somalia is a Democratic Republic (Repubblica Democratica Somala / Jamhooriyadda Dimoqraadiga Soomaaliya). From 1976 the name of the country in Italian is left out and the name is spelled in latin as well as in arabic lettering since then.


The regime of the Democratic Republic was ousted in January 1991; turmoil, factional fighting, and anarchy have followed in the years since. In May of 1991, northern clans (in the former British part) declared an independent Republic of Somaliland that now includes the administrative regions of Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed, Togdheer, Sanaag, and Sool. Although not recognized by any government, this entity has maintained a stable existence, aided by the overwhelming dominance of a ruling clan and economic infrastructure left behind by British, Russian, and American military assistance programs. The regions of Bari and Nugaal and northern Mudug comprise a neighboring self-declared autonomous state of Puntland, which has been self-governing since 1998, but does not aim at independence; it has also made strides towards reconstructing a legitimate, representative government, but has suffered some civil strife. Puntland disputes its border with Somaliland as it also claims portions of eastern Sool and Sanaag.




Somaliland Protectorate



The badge of British Somaliland, from 1903 flown on the blue ensign, was a white disc with the head and shoulders of a great kudu (Traghelaphus strepsiceros - Bovidæ), facing to the right. The great kudu is an antilope common in Somalia.

By Royal Warrant of 18th of December 1950 the protectorate was given a coat of arms.

In the arms the minaret on the green field symbolizes the muslim immigrants. The dhow and the golden anchor symbolize the trade and shipping in the Gulf of Aden, washing the shores of the protectorate. (The dhow on the waves of the sea was the badge of Aden Protectorate, the anchor is the symbol of the British Admiralty).

The shield and crossed spears are for the people of Somaliland.

In the achievement the head of the kudu from the badge reappears as a crest. Between his horns is the British Imperial State Crown.

The achievement was abolished on the 1st of July 1960



Drawing: Roberto Bresci


Arms: Per pale in the first Vert, a minaret Or, the second Azure two bars wavy Argent, in chief a dhow sailing to the dexter and in base an anchor per pale Or. And a chief Or, two spears in saltire charged with a Somalian shield proper.

Crest: On a wreath Azure and Vert a kudu-head guardant, between its horns the Imperial State crown.

                        By Royal Warrant 18.12.1950



Somaliland Chief's Medal, 1937. Bronze oval, 67.6 Î 49.8.3 mm. Obv. Crowned bust L.: GEORGE VI KING AND EMPEROR. Rev. by E. Carter Preston, Antelope head ¾ L.: SOMALILAND  PROTECTORATE. Red-gold patina. [1]


Italian Somaliland



The ancient Mnara-lighttower of Mo-gadishu as on a 19th c. picture. [2]


For the colony of Italian Somaliland a coat of arms was adopted by decree of the 3rd of April 1919. It is parted per fess Azure and Gules, a fess wavy Argent, in chief a panther (Panthera pardus - Felidæ) passant guardant proper, above his head a five-pointed star Argent, and in base two six-pointed stars Argent. On the shield is an antique crown of  nine points.

For the colony of Mogadishu a coat of arms was adopted on the same date. The decree for the arms of Mogadishu Colony reads:


Mogadiscio (Colonia) Di rosso, all’antica sua torre al naturale, fondata nel mare di argento con raggi dello stesso, escenti dalle quattro aparture del foro, che è sulla cima della torre. Corona da citta. (Decreto Lugotenenziale, 3 Aprile 1919 – RR.LL.PP. 9 Guigno 1919) [3]

(I.e.: Gules, the ancient tower (of Mogadishu) proper, standing in a sea Argent, with rays Argent coming from the four windows in the upper part of the tower. Municipial Crown. No picture available)


In 1936 Somaliland became a part of Italian East Africa (A.O.I.) and for the occasion the coat of arms was augmented with a red chief  “of the fasces” (del littorio) which was the symbol of the Italian State of the time. This consisted of a golden fasces surrounded by a garland of branches of olive and oak proper.[4]       


Coat of arms of Somalia, 1919

Coat of arms of Somalia, 1936


The Republic and the Democratic Republic of Somalia


The achievement of the Repubblica Somala was adopted on the 10th of October 1956, even before the gaining of independence. It is a white star on a blue field, crowned with a mural crown and supported by two panthers, standing on two crossed palm-leaves and spears. Below the achievement is an empty listel.

The white and blue are the colors of the United Nations which administrated the colony until 1950. The five-pointed star symbolizes the five territories inhabited by Somalians i.e. apart from British and Italian Somaliland also Djibouti (French Somaliland), the Ogades of Ethiopia and the North of Kenia.

The same achievement is used by the government of the Democratic Republic of Somalia.


Arms: Azure, a five-pointed star Argent (within a bordure Or)

Crown: A mural crown of five battlements Or.

Supporters: Two panthers (Panthera pardus - Felidæ) proper.

Compartment: Two native spears and two palm-leaves in saltire proper, intertwined with a listel Argent.


Æ See illustration in the head of this article.


Presidential seal


National Intelligence and Security Agency





Nabad Sugida Qaranka / National Security Service






Armed Forces





Coat of Arms




Coat of Arms


Air Force


Coat of Arms




Regional States


As of 2016, Somalia is in theory officially divided into 6 proposed regional states:

  • Puntland
  • Galmudug
  • Jubaland
  • South West State (NN)
  • Hir-Shabelle
  • Somaliland


Note: Somaliland declared independence in 1991 and has no relations with the Government of Somalia. Despite that, no country has recognized Somaliland's independence. The Government of Somalia considers Somaliland as a federal member state.

Four out of the 5 proposed regional states (Puntland, Galmudug, Jubaland, South West State) have submitted their nominations for candidates in the Upper House of Federal Parliament

The emerging Hir-Shabelle state (merging Hiiraan and Middle Shabelle regions) and Somaliland have yet to submit their Upper House nominations. Somaliland politicians have refused to partake in the Upper House.


The Republic of Somaliland


Reconstruction Hubert de Vries


The emblem of the Republic of Somaliland was, together with the flag, approved by the Conference of the Elders of the Somaliland Communities on 14th of October 1996.

The Constitution of the Republic of Somaliland of 30 of April 2000 reads, for the flag and emblem [5]:


Article 7: The Flag, the Emblem and the National Anthem


 1.  The flag of the Republic of Somaliland shall consist of three horizontal, parallel and equal sections, the top section of which is coloured green and has inscribed in its midst in white in Arabic language (the phrase) La Ilaaho Ila-Allaah Muhammad Rasuulah-Allaah   (There is no God, but Allah and Mohammad was his Prophet); the middle section is white and has inscribed in its midst an equally sided five pointed black star; and the bottom section is coloured clear red.


2.  The emblem of the nation shall consist of a coffee coloured falcon with (the words), in Arabic language, “ALLAHU AKBAR” (God is great) inscribed on its breast. Below the eagle are two hands shaking, and a set of scales hang above it and come down on both of its sides. The falcon and the scales and hands are in turn surrounded on both sides and below by two strands of green leaves intertwined at the base, and with the Arabic words Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim inscribed at the top gap between the two leaves.


For unknown reasons the words Allahu Akbar on the disc were replaced by an (unreadable) image, and the color of the word Bismillah was changed from brown to red


In the emblem the balance symbolizes Justice, the coffee-coloured eagle holding the scales is a sign of Democracy, the two clasped hands symbolize Equality and Freedom and the olive branches Peace. The yellow background represents the bright and beautiful culture and people of Somaliland. The word Bismillah means “In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful” and symbolizes that Islam is the official religion of Somaliland


Galmudug State



Galmudug, officially Galmudug State, is an autonomous region in central Somalia. Galmudug's name is derived from a conflation of the names of the Galgduud and Mudug regions. Galmudug consists of Galgaduud and southern half of Mudug region. However, according to CIA Factbook northern Mudug is part of Puntland. Unlike the secessionist Somaliland region in northwestern Somalia, Galmudug is not trying to obtain international recognition as a separate nation. It considers itself an autonomous state within the larger Federal Republic of Somalia, as defined by the provisional constitution of Somalia





Jubaland (Jubbaland,: جوبالاند‎‎), the Juba Valley (Dooxada Jubba) or Azania (Asaaniya, آزانيا‎‎), is an autonomous region in southern Somalia. Its eastern border lies 40–60 km east of the Jubba River, stretching from Gedo to the Indian Ocean, while its western side flanks the North Eastern Province in Kenya, which was carved out of Jubaland during the colonial period.


Maakhir State


Maakhir (Goboleedka Maakhir, ماخرMaakhirian), officially the Maakhir State of Somalia (Maamul Goboleedka Maakhiran;  ولاية ماخر الصومال‎‎Wilaayatul baladul Maakhir balad- aṣ-Ṣūmmāal) was an autonomous region in northern Somalia, situated in an area disputed by the Somaliland and Puntland macro-regions. In January 2009, it was incorporated into Puntland


Puntland State



Puntland (Dhul-Udug, أرض البنط‎‎), officially the Puntland State of Somalia (Dowladda Puntland ee Soomaaliya, بونتلاند دولة الصومال‎‎), is a region in northeastern Somalia, centered on Garoowe in the Nugal province. Its leaders declared the territory an autonomous state in 1998



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© Hubert de Vries, 2008-10-12. Updated 2017-05-20




[1]  Retrieved from an unknown internet source.

[2] "The Mosque of Abdul Aziz and the Mnara tower in Mogadishu in 1882'. From E.Cerulli, Somalia, Scritti Vari Editi ed Inediti, Vol. 1., Fig. XVI. Istituto Poligrafico dello Stato, P.V., Rome, 1957. Figure is referenced as Dal Voyage chez les Benadirs di G. Revoil. Figure courtesy Library of Congress" (from page 138 of "Somalia in Word and Image", 1986, Ed by K.S. Loughran., J.L. Loughran., J.W. Johnson., S.S. Samatar. Published by the Foundation for Cross Cultural Understanding, Washington, D.C., and Indiana University Press). Retrieved from Wikipedia Commons.

[3] Rivista Araldica, 1933, p. 318 e.v.

[4] Bascapé, Giacomo & Marcello del Piazzo: Insege e Simboli. Araldica Pubblica e privata medievale e moderna. Min. per beni culturale e ambientali. Roma, 1983.

[5] Official translation in English.

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