The earliest Somali immigrants in the UK were lascars and merchants who arrived in the 19th century. A second small group of seamen came during the Second World War with the Royal Navy, and stayed in search of employment from the British Somaliland (Present day Somaliland). During the 1980s and 1990s, the civil war in Somalia led to a large number of Somali immigrants, comprising the majority of the current Somali population in the UK.
The Somali community represents one of the largest Muslim groups in the UK. While faced with several social challenges, community members include notable sports figures, filmmakers, activists and local politicians. It has also established business networks and media organisations.