- John William Johnson
[Somali Democratic Republic] (Som. Jamhuriyadda Dimugradiga ee Soomaaliya). Country in the Horn of East Africa. It has an area of 637,657 km² and a population estimated at 11·53 million (2000). The Somali Democratic Republic collapsed in a revolution in 1991, and no political state has been formed to replace it, although the Somali National Movement declared the secession of an independent country called the Somaliland Republic in the north-western region. Somalis are the primary ethnic group and inhabit neighbouring parts of Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. These peripheral populations have been separated from the main population since the colonial partition of Africa. A small number of other Bantu-speaking ethnic groups live among the Somalis. Islam, language and ethnic identity unite all Somalis, but there are internal divisions into clan families, lineages and other subgroupings based on an agnatic genealogy. There are also three main linguistic divisions. Most Somalis are nomadic herders of camels, cattle, sheep and goats or small-scale subsistence farmers. The growing urbanization of the country was curtailed considerably by the civil war, which began in ...