Mogadishu under Italian rule

Downtown Mogadishu in 1936. Arba'a Rukun Mosque to the centre right. Nearby can be seen the Catholic Cathedral and the Arch of Umberto.

The city of Mogadishu came under Italian control in the 1880s after they acquired the territory of Italian Somaliland. In 1905, it was made the capital of the territory. The Italians subsequently referred to the city as Mogadiscio. After World War I, the surrounding territory came under Italian control with some resistance.[1][2]p. 28

Thousands of Italians settled in Mogadishu and founded small manufacturing companies. They also developed some agricultural areas in the south near the capital, such as Janale and the Villaggio duca degli Abruzzi (present-day Jowhar).[3]p. 233 In the 1930s, new buildings and avenues were built. A 114 km (71 mi) narrow-gauge railway was laid from Mogadishu to Jowhar. An asphalted road, the Strada Imperiale, was also constructed and intended to link Mogadishu to Addis Ababa.[4]p. 41

In 1940, the Italo-Somali population numbered 22,000, accounting for over 44% of the city's population of 50,000 residents.[5][6] Mogadishu remained the capital of Italian Somaliland throughout the latter polity's existence. In February 1941, during World War II it was captured by British forces.

After World War II Mogadishu was made the capital of the Trust Territory of Somaliland, an Italian administered fiduciary political entity under the ONU mandate, for ten years (1950–1960).


  1. Ade Ajayi, J. F. Africa in the Nineteenth Century Until the 1880s. UNESCO. p. 387.
  2. Hamilton, Janice. Somalia in Pictures. Twenty-First Century Books.
  3. Bevilacqua, Piero; Clementi, Andreina De; Franzina, Emilio (2001). Storia dell'emigrazione italiana (in Italian). Donzelli Editore. ISBN 978-88-7989-655-9.
  4. Eichstaedt, Peter H. (1 October 2010). Pirate State: Inside Somalia's Terrorism at Sea. Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-1-56976-774-0.
  5. Termentin, Fernando (13 May 2005). "Somalia, una nazione che non esiste" (in Italian). Pagine di Difesa. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  6. "Il Razionalismo nelle colonie italiane 1928-1943 - La "nuova architettura" delle Terre d'Oltremare" (PDF). Fedoa. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
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