The Federal Republic of Somalia is the easternmost country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Indian Ocean to the east, Kenya to the southwest, Ethiopia to the west, and Djibouti to the northwest. It has the longest coastline on Africa’s mainland and occupies an important geopolitical position between the countries of Arabia and southwestern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Because of its location, it is among the most probable locations of the ancient Land of Punt. Somalia has been described as Africa’s most culturally homogenous country, with almost 85% of the population being Somali. In the late 19th century, Somali sultanates were colonized by Italy, Britain, and Ethiopia. The Republic of Somalia was formed by the federation of a former Italian colony and a British protectorate in 1960. After Mohamed Siad Barre’s dictatorship from October 1969 to January 1991, the Republic of Somaliland in the north declared its independence and separated from Somalia. In 1998, the autonomous region of Puntland followed Somaliland and declared itself the Puntland State of Somalia. The Federal Republic of Somalia was officially declared in 2012.
The official currency in Somalia is the Somali shilling, also known as the Somali scellini. When the Republic of Somalia declared independence in 1960, it established the Banca Nazionale Somala (National Bank of Somalia, BNS). The Banca Nazionale Somala combined central and commercial banking activities. Early shilling notes in 1962 had a leopard head watermark, no security threads, and featured different landmarks on the reverse side. The succeeding series of banknotes in 1966 had the same design, but added better security features including a solid security thread that fluoresces blue under UV light. In 1975, the Bankiga Qaranka Soomaaliyeed (Somali National Bank) took over issuing authority from the Banca Nazionale Somala and issued newly designed banknotes that featured the national emblem in front and two different scenic landmarks and native species on either side of the note. In 1977, issuing authority was transferred to the Bankiga Dhexe ee Soomaaliya (Central Bank of Somalia). In 1982, the Central Bank reduced the size of the banknotes and introduced the 50 shilling note. Due to Somali’s failing economy, the 500 and 1,000 shilling notes were introduced. Centralized government ceased after the outbreak of the civil war in November 1990, and later dated notes were issued by unauthorized leaders such as rival warlords and local businessmen.