The Somali People Origins: What You Should Know

Scattered across several African countries, the Somali people are just one ethnic group out of the many that make up the cultural diversity of the Horn of Africa. For centuries, parts of the Horn of Africa were under Egyptian rule.

By the 10th century, most Somalis had already converted to Islam. In the end, Arabs shifted their interest towards the coasts of Somalia and across the Indian Ocean. Be that as it may, you do understand that humans are still evolving. And also, they too were evolving at that time, and continue to evolve?

The Somali People

To clarify, the Somali People are not in the form of a living fossil. What you are suggesting is that humans left East Africa, took a subset of the total genetic diversity with them out of Africa.

Continuing to evolve into the various people we see today, but Somalis are a living fossil and never changed? If I was a Somali I might be offended by this.

What are the Historical Origins of the Somali People?

Around 1200 A.D., Somali people appeared in southern Ethiopia and then migrated into northern Kenya 150 years later. They then gradually moved north and occupied the Horn of Africa. And by the 13th century, Mogadishu was the epicenter of flourishing trade routes on the East African coast.

On the other hand, by the 18th century, Somalis were the dominant ethnic group on the Horn of Africa. From this point onwards, the Somali people were under the rule of France until 1973.

The Somali People, along with most of their fellows, especially, related to Northeast African ethnicities (like the Afar, Beja, and Oromo), are what I believe to be early humans (may have looked like). And also, that their unique and unordinary combination of aquiline features and dark skin is not a result of mixing or miscegenation of any sort.

Rather, on the contrary, the Somali People are indeed very homogenous, not just culturally and phenotypically, but also genetically.


The Somali people occupy all of Somalia and Somaliland and the northern part of Djibouti. In Djibouti, they are concentrated in the capital city and the south-eastern region.

In addition, they are said to constitute around 60 percent of Djibouti’s population. They are also present in north-western Kenya and the Ogaden region of Ethiopia.

The Somali People Culture

The Somali People Culture

Most Somalis belong to the Issa or Gadabuursi clans. They recognize each other by referring to one’s clan or family. But, it is not required of them to carry a family name or surname. However, they all share one common faith: Islam of the Sunni sect.

Although Djibouti, Somaliland, and Somalia all have coastlines, Somalis are inherently herdsmen and nomadic people. Particularly, who are constantly on the move in search of resources. The nomads live in portable huts that they can transport on camels when needed.

After all, the majority of Somali people agree that the camel – which has for centuries embodied the most important source of income. Such as meat, and milk to nomadic Somalis – is the emblem of the ethnic group. In rural areas, this is still an important aspect of Somali culture today.

The Somali People
Somali women are among the most beautiful women in the world © Zineb Boujrada / Culture Trip

The arid climate, scarce resources and sparse vegetation across the Horn of Africa have forced Somalis to become competitive. And eventually, they have been the cause of wars and clashes with neighboring groups such as the Afar.

Nowadays, while nomadic shepherds are struggling to find appropriate grazing spaces inland for their cattle. Whereby, urban youth suffer from growing unemployment levels and a lack of opportunities.

Their Language & Ceremony

Somali people are the only homogenous ethnic group in all of Africa that speak one common language. The Somali language is an Eastern Cushitic dialect from the Afro-Asiatic family of languages, also previously called Hamito-Semitic.

For ceremonial occasions like weddings, religious holidays, births and others, the Somali People gather together with their families. Especially, to make coffee and tea, bake bread, slaughter sheep and goats.

Following the Islamic precepts in celebrations. Like distributing food to the less fortunate and inviting neighbors to join in the festivities.

Related Sources;

I hope you loved reading, learning and understanding more about the Somali People as I have guided you.

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Finally, you can Join Our Free Guest Authoring Membership for that matter and help us provide our readers with more credible sourced blog posts. Below are more useful and related to the topic links;

  1. Wikipedia: History of the Arabs
  2. Living Fossils: Popular Science
  3. Horn of Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya)
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