Found in the Horn of Africa, Somaliland is a self-declared independent country. It is a small region found within Somali territory and has its currency, culture, military, passports, constitution, and political structure. Somaliland is bordered by Somalia in the east, Ethiopia in the south and west, and Djibouti in the northwest. Its largest city, Hargeisa, is also its capital.

Map of Somaliland
Source: TheEconomist

Somaliland was once a protectorate of Britain. It gained its independence from the British in 1960, where it became part of Somali. After the Somali Civil War in the 1980s, Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia in 1991. Ten years after breaking away from Somalia, the government held a referendum that resulted in the citizens’ support in Somaliland’s independence. However, it is still not internationally recognized. This lack of international recognition is one reason why Somaliland has one of the poorest economies in the world.

Emblem of Central Bank
Source: Wikipedia

The Bank of Somaliland is the central bank of the Republic of Somaliland. It was founded in 1994 under article 13 of the Constitution.

The First Somaliland Shilling

The Somaliland shilling is the official currency of Somaliland. It replaced the Somali shilling, which stopped being legal tender after January 1995, on 18 October 1994 at a rate of 100 to 1.

5 Shillings | 1994 | P-1a |
Source: Banknote World Educational

The first series of Somaliland shilling notes were issued in 1994. Smaller denominations, from 5 shillings to 50 shillings, had similar designs and measurements but different color schemes. Meanwhile, larger denominations had a different design.

The 5 Somaliland shilling note had a green and brown color scheme. Its front design included a view of the Goodirka building and a picture of a male greater kudu. Its back design featured two nomads with three camels walking towards the twin hills of Naasa-Hablood. Early notes like this one did not have security threads nor watermarks. However, they measured 120 mm x 53 mm.

20 Shillings | 1996 | P-16 |
Source: Banknote World Educational

In 1996, the Bank of Somaliland issued three different commemorative series to celebrate the 5th anniversary of independence. These notes continued the designs of the previous issues. However, they had overprints in gold, silver, or bronze ink. The gold overprints read “5th Anniversary of Independence 18 May 1996” and “Sanad Gurada 5ee/Gobanimadda 18 May 1996”. Meanwhile, the bronze and silver overprints only read the latter phrase.

500 Shillings | 2002 | P-6d |
Source: Banknote World Educational

Modern Series

In 2002, the bank introduced an upgraded version of the 500 Shilling note. The dark brown color scheme was changed to blue and also a windowed security thread was added. However, it still retained its initial design elements. For instance, its front design still featured the Bank of Somaliland headquarters and camels and its back design retained the depiction of herdsmen and their flocks of goats and sheep walking in Berbera Port. The note still did not have a watermark but its dimensions were 145 mm x 66 mm.

1,000 Shillings | 2006 |
Source: Banknote World Educational

In 2006 a 1,000 Shilling note began to circulate. However, this note does not have legal tender status because it is for numismatic purposes only. It had a purple, brown, and orange color scheme and dimensions of 160 mm x 76 mm. Its obverse side depicted a Somaliland girl in native clothing with a reclining lion at the back. Its reverse side featured a standing lion and a camel. Though this note did not have a security thread, it had a watermark of a diagonal line pattern.

5,000 Shillings | 2015 | P-21c |
Source: Banknote World Educational

Due to hyperinflation, the Bank of Somaliland introduced two new denominations—the 1,000 shillings and the 5,000 shillings. In addition, these notes had similar designs to the 100 and 500 shilling notes. However, they had windowed security threads with demetalized BOS and their denomination. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *