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Thread: The territories of the Somali clans, and their historic migrations and wanderings.

  1. #1

    The territories of the Somali clans, and their historic migrations and wanderings.

    This is a 1930's map of the borders of the clans and sub-lineages.

    clanmap.jpg

    2jev1gk.jpg

    A Somali clan shows it's claim to a land by owning control of it's wells. Because control of wells means control of food and the most critical resource for the Somalis: the largest camel population in the world.

    Since the 1920's, nothing huge has changed outside of a stretch of the NW Somali frontier bordering the Hararghe Oromo and Afar being cleansed of it's Somali population and swallowed into Oromo and Afar territory. With the Afar, it has been a back and forth, as not only the Hararghe Highlands, but likely up until the Awash river and the Chercher mountains - the latter which was only recently inhabited by Somalis. Most Somali expansion - mostly fueled by men from the Isse subclan of the Dir - has been thus been targeted towards territory that was in Somali hands prior to a likely Afar expansion from towards the north deeper into the Afar desert and the Dahlak archipelago - a place nearby to where I'd guess the early Saho-Afar expanded from southwards beginning around 1000 years ago.

    In the south during the period from 1830 to 1920, a large territory was conquered by the massive exodus from the northern Somali plain, a violent expansion of sub-lineages from all the major clans except the Isaaq took part. The Isaaq themselves - especially the Garhajis - were driving from towards the Berbera littoral and plunging towards the eastern Haud, driving several Ogaden subclans southwards. Other Ogaden and Hawiye subclans like the Auliyahan and Degodiye crossed the Shabelle and consolidated a pan-Somali front and proceeded to drive and dismantle the Arsi Oromo closer to Bale.

    In the south - Harti clansmen from the Dhulbahante, Majerteen, and Warsangeli subclans due to severe conflict and famine during the period took to the seas and landed 1000 miles south in beyond the Benadir, landing nearby to the Bajuun archipelago, from a arid, highland desert climate to a lush, dense tropical jungle enviroment. The quickly allied with incoming Darood clans such as the Auliyahan, who decades earlier had just crossed the Shabelle and whose septs had now established themselves in former Boran and Wardey Oromo territory. The seaborne Harti clansmen drove inland with their camels, as the a large host of Somali subclans such as the Auliyahan and Degodiye and Marehan and Ajuraan after 100's of miles and decades of migration from the northern/central Somali heartlands, began to meet at the terminus of their migrations, congregating around El-Wak.

    It seems in the wake of this expansion, Somali clans came into contact with not only the Arsi, Wardei, and Boran Oromo, but had established contact with non-Swahili Bantus at the Tana confluence, where they vassalized the Pokomo and used their canoes to ferry Somali warriors across the Tana, and began raiding the Kamba and ever closer to the environs of Mount Kenya. Nilotic groups such as the Masai and Samburu had come into contact with the Somali in this period, and there was definite raiding between these groups and especially the Auliyahan and Degodiye and Muhammed Zubeyr. These Nilotic herder groups were usually dissuaded by Boran cavalry and military superiority in the northern Frontier and the eastern shore of lake Turkana, as we see in the defeat and annihilation of the Laikipia Masai at the hands of the Borana.

    The earliest Somali prescence perhaps established in the northern frontier would be the Walemuge Ajuran, and other Ajuran subgroups who likely fled the fall of their empire at the hands of a collective revolt by the Somali clans against Ajuran tyrannical conduct. These Somalis due to their weak position became vassalized by the Boran for around 200 years, but as the tides turned these Ajuran found salvation at the hands of incoming Somali clans, who assimilated now partially Oromized Ajuran, and they were brought back into the fold. These very Ajuran essentially formed a wedge and became the spearpoint of the Somali advance into Southeast Africa.

    The Isaaq - especially of the Habr Yunis and Habr Toljec'lo - began expanding into Dhulbahante territory towards the southeast, and had driven as far as the Nugaal plain. In addition, more Darandoole Hawiye subclans were pouring into the Benadir littoral, as the Murusade and Abgaal fought for supremacy over the region.

    Several Rahanweyne groups had formed a bulwark against the incoming northern Somali clans, centered on the Geledi clan. The Geledi successfully held out against the incoming groups, and managed to emerge as the dominant power of the southern Somali territories - including the Benadir. While Omani Zanzibar had nominal influence and control of parts of the Benadir, the Geladi sultans maintained true power over the coastal cities.

    A few decades earlier in the 1700's, the Majerteen Sultanate had plunged into a civil war as several Majerteen clans refused to acknowledge the kingship of the Osman Mahmoud Majerteen subclan. This led to an exodus, as some clans went into the highlands of Bari, others as far as Djibouti, and others to the trans-Juba/Shabelle southern Somali hinterland. Many Majerteen and Dishiishe clansmen and their families fled to Arabia, and joined the Somali expatriate community there. But this wave of Somali migration into the Arabian peninsula had no entrepreneurial character, and was a wave of tribal migration as these incoming Somali migrants settled in tribal areas of southern Arabia, settling in Mahra, Dhofar, and Azd Uman. Within a few generations, these Somali immigrant clans had established themselves as amongst the more recognized tribal groups in the Dhofar area.

    The Shiekhaal also in this period seemed to have completed their long migration from the eastern Hararghe highlands and towards the Benadir and Indian Ocean. Some Dhulbahante groups also migrated southwards into the inland Galbeed. Hararghe Oromos also seemed to have taken control of several vital mountain passes in the Hararghe highlands, and driven out several Somali clans out of the eastern portion of the highalands. The Isse subclan were pushing into Afar territory, and fierce fights and skirmishes occurred between the satellite camel camps of the Afar and Somali. Weirdly enough in this period, some Somali clansmen had married into the Afar around the Gulf of Tadjoura, and grew large enough to become subclans and also began to fight against the incoming Somali - an somewhat brother versus brother conflict.

    I'm find myself much more interested in where all the Somali clans were prior to 1300. It was clearly the north, but what territory can be cleanly delimited as Somali vs non-Somali? the Garre were as far inland nearby Qelafo a few hundred years earlier. I believe Somali territory in the late 900's was delimited by the Awash river to the east, the Chercher Highlands, and as southern border far south as the Shabelle, and likely north of Adale as well. I don;t know how far north past Zeila the Somalis extended, but I'd believe as far north as the Gulf of Tadjoura at least.
    Last edited by VytautusofAukstaitija; 08-02-2019 at 09:42 PM.

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    E-Y18637

    The Origins of the Galla and somali BY HERBERT S. LEWIS

    "The first clear written reference to any Galla or Somali group is found in
    the writings of the thirteenth-century Arab geographer, Ibn Sa'id. Ibn
    Sa'id says that Merca, a town on the southern Somali coast near the Shebeli
    River, was the 'capital of the Hawiye country', which consisted of more
    than fifty villages (or districts or tribes).3 This area is today the home of the
    Hawiye Somali clan-family, so there is good reason to assume that the Merca
    region has been occupied continuously by the same Somali group for the
    past 700 years. In fact, we can probably extend this to 800 years, for the
    geographer al-Idrisi remarks that Merca was the region of the 'Hadiye' in the twelfth century. It is quite likely that the extant texts contain an
    error, and that it should be 'Hawiye', as Guillain, Schleicher, and Cerulli"

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  5. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Omaar View Post
    The Origins of the Galla and somali BY HERBERT S. LEWIS

    "The first clear written reference to any Galla or Somali group is found in
    the writings of the thirteenth-century Arab geographer, Ibn Sa'id. Ibn
    Sa'id says that Merca, a town on the southern Somali coast near the Shebeli
    River, was the 'capital of the Hawiye country', which consisted of more
    than fifty villages (or districts or tribes).3 This area is today the home of the
    Hawiye Somali clan-family, so there is good reason to assume that the Merca
    region has been occupied continuously by the same Somali group for the
    past 700 years. In fact, we can probably extend this to 800 years, for the
    geographer al-Idrisi remarks that Merca was the region of the 'Hadiye' in the twelfth century. It is quite likely that the extant texts contain an
    error, and that it should be 'Hawiye', as Guillain, Schleicher, and Cerulli"
    This always confused me. As most of the more elderly branches of the core Hawiye were far to the north, such as the Darandoole (who migrated south in the past 400 years), and the Habr Gedir. The former group in fact have their subclan founder buried in the north. But I expect at least some Darandoole Hawiye to have migrated with the Ajuran further south closer to the Shabelle, as the maternal uncles of the Abgaal clan are said to be the Ajuran themselves, as Abgaal himself had a Ajuran mother of the notable Garen family, who lead the Ajuran conquest of the south.

    I always expected the earliest Somalis to have showed up in the southern Somali territories past the Shabelle by 900 AD - I should edit my post on this. I chose 1300 simply because beyond that point it gets very hazy in the historical records on the distribution of the Somali clans.

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  7. #4
    One thing I wish we could start testing the old clan founders for their ydna, as most of their burials are still known. Despite it's age, E-Y163928 looks like some sort of Harti lineage, and it has the same age as the Djibouti Somali (or maybe Madaxweyne Dir) T1a1a2b2 mrca, which was also around 750 years.

    The Xawadle also have a recent E-V32 mrca, I'll have to look that up.

    Those T1a1a2b Arabs seem to have Somali or Horn African male ancestors at some point, similar to some of the E-V32 Arabs. Alot seem to come from Nejdi Bedouin tribes.

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  9. #5
    This map of the Somali territories is largely the same as the 1930's maps.

    maab%u00252Bcusub.jpg

    But the problem is they make the Garre and Sheikhaal as Hawiye, when the former is never considerd Hawiye and sometimes still have their old ethnic conciousness, whereas the latter is a regular Somali clan that was never Hawiye. The Ajuran and Degodiye are more acceptable as being mentioned as Hawiye, but nonethless, the Gaalje'el and Degodiye and Ajuran and Xawadle are really independent, stand alone clans of their own right.

    It's weird how the Aweer (Boni), a remnant hunter-gatherer group with alot of non-HG ancestry are mentioned as Garre when not only are they ethnically distinct, but are only connected to them by vassalage and servitude, and speak a Garre dialect.
    Last edited by VytautusofAukstaitija; 08-05-2019 at 11:06 PM.

  10. #6
    To have a good idea of what Somalis of this period looked like - prior to the heavy cultural Arabization that took place in the later colonial period throughout the Somali territories - here are photos from the period in focus:

  11. #7
    Last edited by VytautusofAukstaitija; 08-06-2019 at 03:28 AM.

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  13. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by VytautusofAukstaitija View Post
    One thing I wish we could start testing the old clan founders for their ydna, as most of their burials are still known. Despite it's age, E-Y163928 looks like some sort of Harti lineage, and it has the same age as the Djibouti Somali (or maybe Madaxweyne Dir) T1a1a2b2 mrca, which was also around 750 years.

    The Harti clan were mentioned in the Futuh-al-Habash written in the 1500s as a clan able to send out their own soldiers by that time. So the TMRCA of 800-700 years before present makes perfect sense.

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  15. #10
    It seems the early Somali Imperial era (700's-1200's) was the period where all the large Somali subclans have their founders, and their major expansions and incubations ratio-wise within the Somali population. The Isaaq subclans will in all likelihood have their founders in this period as well, and they also were also probably fielding units during the Conquest - probably being the Habr Maqadi of the Futuh. The Xawadle founder E-V32 is probably from this time period as well, and the same is true for the Hiraab, Biimal, and Gaalje'el. All these clans and subclans founders were probably near contemporaries and possibly all are buried in the northern territories.

    So far we have it confirmed for the Isse and the Harti, if this holds with the Isaaq subclans and other Hawiye, Dir, Xawadle, Ajuraan, Degodiye, and Gaalje'el - as historical evidence would suggest - what do you think would cause this explosion in this early Middle Ages/Somali Imperial age? My answer is that I take it this age was one of great conflict and troubles caused by both enviromental and Habesha expansionist pressures, one that necessitated a pan-Somali collectivization, which manifest in an age of statebuilding and sophisticated statecraft, fueling the rise of two Somali states under the rule of two theocratic Somali lineages in a first-of-equals rulership. This would explain:

    1) the rise of a cultivated class of early Imperial era Somali military statesmen hailing from all the clans, men who served as leaders of the subclans, and who were the governing and administrative class of the empire and served as it's foremost commanders of its field armies and commanderies - the Ughazes and Gerads - whose orientation was in upholding the first-amongst-equals rule of the reigning Somali subclan, and preventing the outbreak of devastating blood feuds between the Somali clans that would threaten the cohesiveness of the state, who fought to maintain the pan-Somali peace amongst the Somali clansmen, and whom had a very aggressive, militaristic, and expansionist drive towards the hated Habesha.

    2) the peace and likely alliance between the two dominant Islamic states of the Horn, the Ajuraan of the south, and the Adalites of the north. The Ajuraan probably backed their Somali Adalite kinsmen of the north probably through economic means, seeing as they were the more economically robust and richer of the two, whereas the Adalites were marginally more militaristic.

    One of the main drivers of the issues of that period has to do with climatology, as the MWP did cause a drier and likely hotter climate in the Horn, and this probably had a outsized impact on the northern Somali territories. The plains of the Haud and Nugaal were probably unable to support such large camel herds, and likely warfare partially caused by this overpopulation may have triggered a southwards expansion just as we see nascent state-building in the northern Somali territory, a tradition which may have been carried southward with the Ajuraan migration past the Shabelle frontier, setting the stage for the conquest and consolidation of the southern Somali territories under the Garen family and the Ajuraan Empire.

    The exodus out of the north may have been more peaceful if later pan-Somali migrations are good evidence, since the Ajuraan and Biimaal may have arrived together with Hawiye subclans like the Gugundabe, and thus the Somali migration and conquest of the southern territories may have been composed of confederations of subclans from several clans, which usually indicates a state of reigning peace between the Somali clans outside of small blood feuds, as we see in the expansion into the northerly sections of the northern frontier and Libin by a pan-Somali front composed of the Harti, Ogadeen, Degodiye, Jidle, and Ajuraan.

    Quote Originally Posted by NetNomad View Post
    The Harti clan were mentioned in the Futuh-al-Habash written in the 1500s as a clan able to send out their own soldiers by that time. So the TMRCA of 800-700 years before present makes perfect sense.
    Only 300-200 years from the Harti founder, and the Harti Darood were already large enough to be sending Harti clansmen into the Somali military expeditions into Ethiopia. The Darood subclan had already developed a reputation of being "stoic, stolid swordsmen", and functioned as an elite vanguard infantry in the Conquest. Here's the snippets you likely referenced:

    "The he [the imam] tied a red standard to a spear and entrusted it to his brother in law Mattan Utman Kaled, the Somali, their chieftain, their knight, and the most courageous, the bravest of them all. There rallied to him 110 knights and 3,000 infantry, along with the tribe of the Harti, the tribe of Jairan, and the tribe of Mazra, all of whom were Somalis."

    And

    "....may God have mercy upon him, says: On the left was the Somali tribe of Harti, from the people of Mait: a people not given to yielding. There were three-hundred of them, famous among the infantry as stoic, stolid swordsmen. In the same way there was the tribe of Yibbcri, around four- hundred infantrymen, archers. So the imam attached them to the five-hundred who held the centre, saying to them,‘Hold your positions; don't budge, any one of you.’ The tribe of Girri were all horsemen, renowned as riders"

    The Harti are mentioned explicitly as a people of Mait, which is our contemporary Maydh - the old town where the entire Isaaq patriarch is buried, and only located around 130 miles from Haylaan, the old site where the Darood patriach is buried. Nearby is historic ruins of Qa'ableh, the burial ground of Harti himself. The Dir are likely to have inhabited the region, as both patriarchs Isaaq and Daroods wives, the matriarchs Donbira and the lady of the Magaadle Dir were Dir clanswomen, and the Darood matriarch Donbira is buried along with Darood in Haylaan.

    This shows that Maydh was one of major hearths of the early Imperial era Somali subclans (700's - 1200's), and a dispersal point. The Hiraab Hawiye and their famous subclans also had their start in the Nugaal valley and the plains of Sool and Sanaag, as the patriarch Hiraab along with his sons are also all said to be buried in Sanaag, with the sons of Hiraab having lived nearby their near contemporary Harti, and his sons.

    This, along with the long-lineaged Karanle and Gugundabe Hawiye subclans of the extreme northwest of the northern Somali territories, whose territory extends into deep what is now Oromia, and the formerly Somali lands all the way east of Meiso as well as the bordering areas in the current borders of the Somali region. The Karanle and Gugundabe certianly took part in one of the several exodus out of the northern territories into the south, as the famous scions of the Gugundabe, the Baadi'adde, the nomad clansmen who once dominated the metropolitan Benadir and its hinterland, and who lorded over the urbane Arabo-Persian Benadiri, whom they probably governed under Ajuraan appointment. It is very likely that the Hawiye mentioned by Ibn Said and Al-Idrisi in the 12th century were these very Baadi'adde, along with their inland clansmen - the Jejele and Jidle who inhabited the trans-Juba. It is also likely that the Somali lineages present in the Benadiri are from the Baadi'adde and other Gugundabbe, as it is the amongst the ranks of old Benadiri clans that the we see a large share of Benadiri lineages who claim Somali founders, from the Ajuraan and Hawiye subclan. This was a period where the Somalis were likely heavily outnumbered but the motly mix of Samaale and Arabo-Persian Benadiri peoples and subgroups, and the Baadi'adde and other Somali subclans did not have the manpower to settle the Benadiri cities and towns and demographically displace the Benadiri, as all available Somali manpower was focused on furthering Somali interests in the newly conquered southern territories of the Benadir and trans-Juba, and ensure and cement continued Somali domination of newly conquered territories and its non-Somali peoples. The Somalis were an immigrant warrior aristocratic caste of nomads who had to rely on the unity of the Somali subclans and their collective manpower to put down any attempt of losing their newly conquered territory and newly formed empire. This probably explains how different Somali subclans and clans ruled over different areas under Ajuraan sovereignty, as a means of sodlifying power through delegating military and socio-political matters to their fellow Somalis. I think because of this that the sultan Ibn Batuta met in Mogadishu was a Baadi'adde clansman.

    The Gugundabe, Hiraab, and Karanle Hawiye subclans spearheaded along with other Somali subclans must have had two different migration corridors, one from westerly sections of the northern Somali territories via the Shabelle, the old homeland of a section of the Hawiye, and another thrusting from the central and easterly portions of the northern Somali territories, from Sanaag/Sool and Bari. The Shabelle corridor likely the migration route the Gugundabe took from their hearth in the northwest frontier of the Somali territories, with the Hiraab taking the easterly route southwards from the Nugaal valley and Mudug. One migration likely preceded the other, and as the most notable matriarchs of the Hiraab were Karanle and Ajuraan, both named Fadumo, and the mother of Hiraab himself was said to be Karanle, it most likely the Baadi'adde and perhaps the other Gugundabe were the first group, as the Karanle preceded the existence of Hiraab, and the Baadi'adde were probably the first to depart from the northwestern Somali frontier.

    The Hawiye subclans of Adal, likely partially of the Karanle, were also sending troops for the Adalite field armies, as mentioned by Shihab al-Din:

    "At this the companions of the imam screamed out, saying, ‘The infidels have tricked us; they are after the livestock,’ whereupon the imam split his forces into two divisions: one he entrusted to Garad Ahmusa, composed of the Somali spearmen of the Marraihan, the Gorgorah and the Hawiya; around one-thousand of them from among the most famous spearmen. And from the soldiers bearing shields, the same number. And about forty knights, amongst whose leaders were al-Kusem Nor, Garad Nasr, Del Sagad the knight of Sim, Garad Ahmadus, son of the emir Mahfuz, Farasaham Satut, and about forty other knights like them"

    The likely hearths of the Karanle and Gugundabe is also mentioned in the futuh, as we see outright mention of Hawiye clan territory in the western fringes of the Adalite state:

    "The sharifs reached him in the region of the Hawiya where he was. He greeted them courteously, and sent back with them the horses and the blood-money"

    It is strongly possible that there were not just a single wave of Gugundabe clansmen that migrated southwards, but several, as we see in the migration of the Jidle Murulle southwards into the northern frontier, were they served as one of the main subclans of the pan-Somali coalition into the northern frontier and Libin.
    Last edited by VytautusofAukstaitija; 08-13-2019 at 09:57 PM.

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