Somali ethnicity - top countries
Somali ethnicity is common in the following countries, according to MyHeritage DNA users' data.Select another ethnicity
People of Somali extraction trace their heritage to the Horn of Africa. Because of direct routes to Southeast Asia via the Indian Ocean, the region is genetically and culturally influenced by both continents. Islam emerged directly opposite the Somali coast in Arabia and early Somali Muslim scholars converted the entire region by the 7th century. Today, the vast majority of Somalis are Sunni Muslims. The region was home to several powerful empires in the Middle Ages, fortified by successful intercontinental trade via the Arabian Sea. Somali sultans subsequently fought off British and Italian colonization in the 19th century. Ethnic Somalis form a majority in Somalia itself, with large populations also present in Ethiopia and Kenya and smaller diasporas in Europe and North America. Somali culture and politics are influenced strongly by patrilineal clan membership. Known as a “Nation of Bards”, Somalia is home to a rich tradition of poetry that aims to glorify the individual poet’s clan identity and pass on important historical lore about the clan. Somali visual art is rich and unique despite being completely devoid of depictions of the natural world, as per Muslim belief. Geometric designs and patterns therefore dominate, especially in the intricate henna worn by Somali women on their hands and feet.