Somalia is divided into 18 regions ( gobolka ): Awdal, Bakool, Banaadir, Bari, Bay, Galguduud, Gedo, Hiiraan, Jubbada Dhexe, Jubbada Hoose, Mudug, Nugaal, Sanaag, Shabeellaha Dhexe, Shabeellaha Hoose, Sool, Togdheer, and Woqooyi Galbeed.
Until 1973, the country was divided into eight regions, each headed by an official chosen by the central government. The regions were subdivided into 48 districts, headed by district commissioners also appointed by the government. There were 83 municipalities and sub-municipalities. The powers of the municipal councils included local taxation, town planning, registry and census, public services, and approval of the local budget. The major educational, economic, and social services were financed and maintained by the central government, which also exerted supervisory control over the municipal councils through its power to remove mayors and to dissolve the councils.
In 1973, reorganization increased the number of regions from 8 to 16 and the number of districts to 80. In 1986 there were 15 regions, each governed by a regional revolutionary council, the members of which were appointed by the president.
By 1990, this pattern of local government had collapsed. The UN and United States sought to restructure local services and representative bodies, but without a convincing military presence it was difficult to sustain. UNOSOM-II was mandated to create the peace necessary to help reconstruct the country, but the mission ended with the UN's withdrawal.