Somaliland is granted independence by British government

Saturday, 25 June 1960

25 June 1960 marked the end of 73 years of British regime in Somaliland. Fireworks and singing crowds marked the Independence of Somaliland and celebrations continued throughout the night. During celebrations a big electric sign on a hillside carried the message: “Long Live independence.” 

Mohammed Haji Ibrahim Egal took an Oath on the Quran as Prime Minister of the new nation of Somaliland. Nearly 1 000 British-trained Somali troops were handed over to him by the retiring commandant, Brig. Gen. O. G. Brooks.

In May 1960, British Colonial Secretary, Ian Maclead, formally announced that Britain was about to grant independence to Somaliland so that it can unite with Italian Somaliland (Somalia). Italian Somaliland was scheduled to gain its independence on 1 July 1960. The Secretary made his statement while Somaliland leaders were in London for negotiations of a constitution.

The idea of a possible merger of the British and Italian Somaliland surfaced as early as 1959. In February 1959, British Colonial Secretary, Alan Lennox-Boyd, proposed while he was in Hargeysa that British Somalis have the option to decide between early self-Government and an early association with Italian Somaliland.

• Wardheer News(2009), ‘Somali Independence Week, 21 June, [online] Available at [Accessed 27 May 2011]
•  Cape Times (1960), ‘Somali gains independence, 27 June 1960, [Available at the National Library of South Africa, Cape Town Campus]

Last updated : 25-Jun-2013

This article was produced for South African History Online on 22-Jun-2011