Regions of Somalia

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Under the Change history at ~1968, I had been showing populations for six of the eight provinces that came from a softbound Hammond Citation Atlas dated 1979. The same figures appear in the hardbound Hammond Citation World Atlas, dated 1966. I've replaced the entire column with data from source [2], which in most cases agrees with the Hammond figures within a few hundred, and fills in the missing provinces' populations. I've also found source [3], which has population estimates for 1995-2015. I quote the 1997 estimates, since anything later than that combines the uncertainty of the estimates with the uncertainty of extrapolation.

The formal name of the country has changed from Somali Democratic Republic to Federal Republic of Somalia.

FIPS 10-4 Change Notice 11, dated 2006-07-11, has assigned new FIPS codes corresponding to the creation of two new regions in 1984, as shown below.

Country overview: 

Short nameSOMALIA
ISO codeSO
LanguageSomali (so)
Time zone+3


Italian Somaliland was chartered to a company until 1905, when it became a simple Italian colony. It acquired a strip of land beyond the Juba River (Italian Jubaland; Oltre Giuba [Italian]) from Kenya in 1925. In 1936-06, it merged with Eritrea and Ethiopia to form Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana), in which it was a state. After the British took it in World War II, it remained under British military government until 1950-04-01, when it was restored to Italy as a U.N. trust territory. Meanwhile, British Somaliland was a British protectorate (except for a brief Italian occupation) until it became independent on 1960-06-26. Less than a week later, on 1960-07-01, Italian Somaliland also became independent, and the two states merged to form the Somali Republic. The border with Ethiopia has never been finally established.

Currently Somalia is ill-governed, and local government, if any, is unofficial. There is a de facto government which controls roughly Bari, Mudug, Nugaal, Sool, and part of Sanaag regions. It is called Puntland.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Somalia
  2. Dutch: Somalië, Somaliland, Republiek Somaliland (formal)
  3. English: Federal Republic of Somalia (formal)
  4. Finnish: Somalia
  5. French: Somalie f, République f fédérale de Somalie (formal)
  6. German: Puntland, Somalia, Somaliland n
  7. Icelandic: Sómalía
  8. Italian: Somalia f
  9. Norwegian: Den demokratiske republikk Somalia (formal) (Bokmål), Den demokratiske republikken Somalia (formal) (Nynorsk), Somalia
  10. Portuguese: Somalilândia, Somália f, República f da Somalilândia f (formal)
  11. Somali: Jamhuriyadda Dimugradiga ee Soomaaliya (formal)
  12. Russian: Республика Сомалиленд (obsolete), Сомали, Сомалийская Демократическая Республика (obsolete), Сомалийская Республика (formal)
  13. Spanish: Somalia f, República f Democrática Somalí (formal)
  14. Swedish: Somalia
  15. Turkish: Somali, Somali Demokratik Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

from local word somal: black, used to describe the natives

Primary subdivisions: 

Somalia is divided into eighteen gobolka (regions).

Region HASC FIPS Pop-1997 Pop-1980 Area(km.²)Area(mi.²)CapitalFormer
Awdal SO.AWSO21143,900    BakiHargeisa
Bakool SO.BKSO01258,600148,70027,00010,000XuddurAlto Giuba
Banaadir SO.BNSO02731,100520,1001,657640MogadishuBanaadir
Bari SO.BRSO03242,100222,30070,00027,000BoosaasoMigiurtinia
Bay SO.BYSO04681,100451,00039,00015,000BaydhaboAlto Giuba
Galguduud SO.GASO05196,100255,90043,00017,000Dhuusa MarreebMudug
Gedo SO.GESO06350,200235,00032,00012,000GarbahaarreyAlto Giuba
Hiiraan SO.HISO07234,400219,30034,00013,000BeledweyneHiiraan
Jubbada Dhexe SO.JDSO08201,500147,80023,0009,000Bu'aaleBasso Giuba, Alto Giuba
Jubbada Hoose SO.JHSO09294,200272,40061,00024,000KismaayoBasso Giuba
Mudug SO.MUSO10342,600311,20070,00027,000GaalkacyoMudug, Migiurtinia
Nugaal SO.NUSO18121,000112,20050,00019,000GarooweMigiurtinia
Sanaag SO.SASO12230,500216,50054,00021,000CeerigaaboBurco
Shabeellaha DhexeSO.SDSO13441,700352,00022,0008,000JawharBanaadir
Shabeellaha HooseSO.SHSO14650,400570,70025,00010,000MarkaBanaadir
Sool SO.SOSO2263,800     LaascaanoodBurco
Togdheer SO.TOSO19242,300383,90041,00016,000BurcoBurco, Hargeisa
Woqooyi Galbeed SO.WOSO20329,100655,00045,00017,000HargeysaHargeisa, Burao
18 regions 5,754,6005,074,200637,657245,640
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes. If periods are replaced by
    hyphens, these are the same as the region codes from ISO standard 3166-2.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Pop-1997: 1997 estimates (source [3]).
  • Pop-1980: 1980 estimates (source [1]).
  • Capital: Some sources disagree.
  • Former: Province(s) from ~1968 covering approximately the same area.

Further subdivisions:

See the Districts of Somalia page.

The regions are subdivided into 84 districts.

Territorial extent: 

The UN LOCODE page  for Somalia lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

  1. Bari: = east
  2. Dhexe: = middle
  3. Hoose: = lower (i.e. downstream)
  4. Woqooyi Galbeed: = northwest

Change history: 

  1. 1925-06-29: Transjuba (everything in modern Somalia west of the Juba River) transferred from Kenya to Italian Somaliland.
  2. 1931: Italian Somaliland at this time consisted of seven commissariats. Their names and populations in the 1931 census were Alto Giuba (292,263), Alto Uebi-Scebeli (257,219), Basso Giuba (173,994), Basso Uebi-Scebeli (109,644), Migiurtinia (48,863), Mogadiscio (20,288), and Mudugh (119,301).
  3. 1960-07-01: British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland (Somalia) merged to form the Somali Republic. Its divisions were the six districts of British Somaliland: Berbera, Borama, Burao, Erigavo, Hargeisa, and Las Anod; and the six districts of Italian Somaliland: Alto Giuba, Basso Giuba, Benadir, Hiran, Migiurtinia, and Mudugh.
  4. ~1964: North-Eastern (Burao) Province formed by merging Burao, Erigavo, and Las Anod districts; North-Western (Hargeisa) Province formed by merging Berbera, Borama, and Hargeisa districts.
  5. ~1968: Capital of Basso Giuba moved from Kismayu (Italian: Chisimaio) to Jamame. After this change, the provinces, with some of the variant names of their capitals, were:
Alto Giuba362,234131,492Baidoa; Baydhabo (variant); Iscia Baidoa, Isha Baidoa (obsolete)
Basso Giuba113,44949,917Jamame; Margherita (Italian)
Banaadir387,60045,004Mogadishu; Mogadiscio (Italian); Muqdisho (Somali)
Burao330,000128,000Burao; Burco (variant)
Hargeisa270,00048,000Hargeisa; Hargeysa, Harghessa (variant)
Hiiraan176,52825,647Beled Weyne; Belet Uen, Belet Wein (variant)
Migiurtinia82,65390,744Boosaaso; Bender Cassim, Bender Kassim (obsolete); Bosaso (variant)
Mudug141,120118,737Galka'yo; Gaalkacyo (variant); Gallacaio, Rocca Littorio (Italian)
8 provinces1,863,584637,541
  • Population: 1961 estimates (source [2]).
  1. ~1982: Somalia reorganized from eight provinces into sixteen regions.
  2. 1984-06: Awdal region split from Woqooyi Galbeed (former FIPS code SO16); Sool region split from Nugaal (SO11). FIPS has also changed the code for Togdheer from SO15, suggesting that FIPS believes that Togdheer was also affected by this change. Geographically, it's possible that part of Togdheer was attached to Sool.

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Alto Giuba: Alto Juba, Upper Juba (variant)
  2. Banaadir: Benadir, Mogadishu (variant)
  3. Bari: East (variant)
  4. Basso Giuba: Basso Juba, Lower Juba (variant)
  5. Burao: Burro, Eastern, North-East (variant)
  6. Galguduud: Galgadud, Galgudug (variant)
  7. Gedo: Gado (variant)
  8. Hargeisa: Hargeysa, Harghessa, North-West, Western (variant)
  9. Hiiraan: Hiraan, Hiran (variant)
  10. Jubbada Dhexe: Central Juba, Middle Juba (variant)
  11. Jubbada Hoose: Lower Juba (variant)
  12. Migiurtinia: Mijertein, Mijirtein, Mijurtein (variant)
  13. Mudug: Madugh, Mudugh (variant)
  14. Nugaal: Nogal (variant)
  15. Shabeellaha Dhexe: Central Shabele, Middle Shabelle (variant)
  16. Shabeellaha Hoose: Lower Shabele (variant)
  17. Sool: Sol (variant)
  18. Togdheer: Togdeer, Togder (variant)
  19. Woqooyi Galbeed: North-West, Waalbaad, Woqooyi Gelbeed (variant)


  1. [1] "Ershiyi (21) Shiji Shijie Diming Lu", a three-volume world gazetteer.
  2. [2] Encyclopædia Britannica World Atlas, 1964 edition.
  3. [3] Report of the UNFPA Consultant on Population Statistics of Somalia , Table 2. K.E. Vaidyanathan, U.N. Development Programme, 1997 (retrieved 2013-12-04).
  4. [4] Somalia National Peace Conference  (retrieved 2001-04-11).
  5. [5] The 1961 Referendum on the 1960 Somali Republic Constitution . Somaliland Law website (retrieved 2013-12-09).
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