English Reading Practice
Somalia is a country in Africa. It is located in a part of
Africa called the horn of Africa. This area is on the eastern part of
Africa. Somalia lies on the water and has coasts on the Indian Ocean.
Largely due to its location, Somalia was a very important trading post
in ancient times. "Ancient" means old or a long time ago. Being in
Africa, Somalia has easy land access to all of Africa as well as to
Southern Europe. Being on the water, Somalia also has easy access to
the Middle East, India, and Asia. In ancient times, Egyptians and other
North Africans and Europeans traded a lot with people in the Middle
East, India, and Asia.
In fact, many historians think that Somalia is the location of the Land
of Put. The Land of Put is a place that has never been found but has
been read about in ancient Egyptian texts. It was an important trading
place for Egypt when Egypt was one of the most powerful nations in the
Trade in Somalia
In ancient times, there were two ways to trade goods: by land or by
sea. When people traded by land, they had many challenges they faced.
For many people, trading by sea was a safer and better option. For
people in Europe and Africa who wanted to trade with the Middle East,
India, and Asia, Somalia was an important destination in trade by sea.
Many different kinds of goods were traded through Somalia. Some of
these goods included ebony (a dark wood), cattle, camels, gold, ivory,
and animal skins. Other items that were traded included spices and
incense. "Incense" is herbs or plants that are burned and smell nice.
Goods were transported by Somali sailors on special Somali ships called
beden. Beden ships were large ships that had sails and were very
sturdy. "Sturdy" means strong and solid. Somali sailors were very good
at navigating the water and were well-known as excellent sailors at the
time. Sometimes, they would sail all the way to China to trade goods.
Somalia continued to be an important country for trade until the 1900s.
During its long history of maritime trade, Somali sailors developed
important tools for navigating the waters. "Maritime" means sea or
ocean. Some of the tools that they used were lighthouses and
Lighthouses are buildings on the edge of the land that have a light at
the top. These help sailors know where the sea meets the land so that
they do not hit the land with their boats.
Hourglasses are made of glass and have sand inside. Sailors would turn
them over and let the sand run from one side to the other as a way of
telling how much time had passed. Hourglasses were used in ancient
times as clocks.
Historians are still doing research and learning more and more about
Somalia's influence on ancient trade. While it is clear now that
Somalia was a key player in trade in ancient times, historians continue
to find more evidence about the goods that were traded and the people
that the Somalis traded with.
And now, practice:
Somalia - Exercises
1. What does "ancient" mean?
2. What does "incense" mean?
a) a kind of wood
b) animal skins
c) herbs or plants burned to smell nice
3. What does "sturdy" mean?
1. Somalia is located in _________ part of Africa called _________ horn
b) the ...the
2. In ancient times, there _________ two ways to trade goods: by land
or by sea.
c) had been
d) will be
3. Goods were transported _________ Somali sailors on special Somali
ships called beden.
1. What areas was Somalia connected to by land?
2. What are two items that were traded through Somalia in ancient times?
3. What maritime tools did Somali sailors use?