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Thread: Asia in the Horn. The Indian Ocean trade in Somaliland

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    Asia in the Horn. The Indian Ocean trade in Somaliland

    Abstract
    The Indian Ocean trade in the Horn of Africa during the Middle Ages has received much less attention than in other regions of the Islamic world, such as the Gulf and East Africa. The Horn is still too often represented as a void in maps showing routes and distributions of trade goods. In this article we present the results of archaeological surveys conducted between 2016 and 2020 in places of trade around Berbera, one of the main Red Sea ports in Somaliland. We will be focusing on the period comprised between the eleventh century, when the first traces of long distance connections are documented, and the late sixteenth century, when commerce collapsed. We will review the archaeological evidence with particular attention to ceramic imports, which reveal the intense participation of Somaliland (and the Horn at large) in the Indian Ocean system. This participation went through different cycles in which the nature of commercial relations, the volume of imported goods and their provenance varied. However, trade with Asia was always predominant, amounting, in the case of ceramics, to 90% of all imported items. Our surveys also suggest that Somaliland was not so much a destination as a transit market zone that conveyed products to the interior of the Horn of Africa.




    https://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...21000350#s0005
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    Biyo Gure is enigmatic for other reasons. Two things are unique of this site: on the one hand, this is the only permanent settlement with stone architecture located so far in the Guban, the torrid coastal plain of Somaliland. All other sites were found in the mountains, the escarpment or the inland plateau. On the other hand, the extraordinary amount of imports, which is similar to Farhad of Siyaara, is much superior not only to similar sites inland, but also to very large towns. In fact, if we only had the assemblage to decide on the nature of the site, we would have said that it was a market, not a settlement. It cannot be totally ruled out that the people of Biyo Gure were not local, but foreign merchants that settled in this strategic locale. Whoever they were, the inhabitants of the site combined cultivation and trading activities, making the most of the agricultural potential of the surroundings and of the privileged location near Berbera
    The settlement of Biyo Gure was short-lived. There is nothing that can be dated before 1400 or after 1600 and an end date during the first half of the sixteenth century is the most likely. The end of the site is enigmatic but obvious: three of the houses show clear traces of destruction by fire. We conducted shovel tests in two of them and found thick (0.40 m) layers of ashes, charcoal, charred branches from the roof, and the burnt pavement covered with broken pottery, glass and jars. A third structure (no. 1) was washed away but we could document many fragments of charcoal on the surface, which indicates that it met a similar end. It is very likely that other buildings in the central part of the site were also burnt, the traces erased by erosion. The three buildings with evidence of fire are located far apart, so it is reasonable to infer that the site as a whole had a violent end. Who destroyed Biyo Gure? It is difficult to say, as the sixteenth century was one of turmoil, with nomad invasions, civil conflict, war with Ethiopia and Portuguese and Ottoman intervention.
    Somalis noticed weakness in the Muslim kingdoms (who used to recruit them as military muscle or mercenaries) enter from the East and perhaps started raiding these settled peoples? The vast majority of the farming settlements and towns in Western & Central Somaliland were not fortified with the exception of Qalcadda (a state-sponsored caravanserai) which was meant to safeguard the caravans arriving from the coast in Berbera from the nomadic raiding Somalis.
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    Quote Originally Posted by drobbah View Post
    Somalis noticed weakness in the Muslim kingdoms (who used to recruit them as military muscle or mercenaries) enter from the East and perhaps started raiding these settled peoples? The vast majority of the farming settlements and towns in Western & Central Somaliland were not fortified with the exception of Qalcadda (a state-sponsored caravanserai) which was meant to safeguard the caravans arriving from the coast in Berbera from the nomadic raiding Somalis.
    I'd seen you say this sort of thing years ago and I don't know where you get this, walaal. There's no historical evidence anywhere that "Muslim kingdoms" like Adal were some foreign entity and Somalis were just mercenaries or something. In fact, the picture you get from reading historical accounts going back to the 1100s-1300s or so is that Somalis were always clearly the majority in coastal towns like Zeila where people like Battuta point out that there are many camels slaughtered there and the people are the same people who live all the way down to Mogadishu (dark-skinned herders of camels and sheep he calls "Berbera"). And this is the same picture you get during the early modern era like in Richard Burton's book. There usually wasn't any need to really "defend" against nomads in regards to trade caravans. The go-to was usually to make alliances and truces with them like how the Harari Emir in the 1800s married a local Bartire Somali chieftain's daughter:

    The Berteri, who occupy the Gurays Range, south of, and limitrophe to, the Gallas, and thence extend eastward to the Jigjiga hills, are estimated at 3000 shields. Of Darud origin, they own allegiance to the Gerad Hirsi, and were, when I visited the country, on bad terms with the Girhi. The chief’s family has, for several generations, been connected with the Amirs of Harar, and the caravan’s route to and from Berberah lying through his country, makes him a useful friend and a dangerous foe. About the Gerad Hirsi different reports were rife: some described him as cruel, violent, and avaricious; others spoke of him as a godly and a prayerful person: all, however, agreed that he had sowed wild oats. In token of repentance, he was fond of feeding Widads, and the Shaykh Jami of Harar was a frequent guest at his kraal.

    The Amir Ahmed’s health is infirm (Amir of Harar). Some attribute his weakness to a fall from a horse, others declare him to have been poisoned by one of his wives.30 I judged him consumptive. Shortly after my departure he was upon the point of death, and he afterwards sent for a physician to Aden. He has four wives. No. 1. is the daughter of the Gerad Hirsi; No. 2. a Sayyid woman of Harar; No. 3. an emancipated slave girl; and No. 4. a daughter of Gerad Abd el Majid, one of his nobles. He has two sons, who will probably never ascend the throne; one is an infant, the other is a boy now about five years old.

    Honestly, I think "empires" like Adal are somewhat overblown. I doubt northern Somali territory was ever not how it appeared to the Greeks in the 1st century AD and how it again appeared in the Early Modern Era. Always a smattering of coastal city-states that controlled some hinterland towns where it clearly seems there was some notable Southern Ethiosemitic presence and large swathes of tribal land run by chieftains and Xeer. Adal was probably just a very influential polity centered in Zeila but I doubt it was quite as concrete a "kingdom" as what you see in feudal Japan or Western Europe, for instance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Awale View Post
    I'd seen you say this sort of thing years ago and I don't know where you get this, walaal. There's no historical evidence anywhere that "Muslim kingdoms" like Adal were some foreign entity and Somalis were just mercenaries or something.
    Somali oral history points to Sanaag as the medieval origin of majority of the Somali clans and the Futuh Al Habasha consistently showed that Somalis were nothing more than a nomadic camel herding periphery people.Yes certain clans lived within the Sultanate during the Imam's time including my own but it is clear the Walashma dynasty and many of the elites of these muslim states were not of Somali origin.I think what the Futuh called the clans of Harla lived there, this explains the animosity the Harlas had for Somalis in particular.The Imam did all he could to keep these two ethnic groups away from each other.Multiple times in the Futuh the animosity between these two groups comes up


    In fact, the picture you get from reading historical accounts going back to the 1100s-1300s or so is that Somalis were always clearly the majority in coastal towns like Zeila where people like Battuta point out that there are many camels slaughtered there and the people are the same people who live all the way down to Mogadishu (dark-skinned herders of camels and sheep he calls "Berbera"). And this is the same picture you get during the early modern era like in Richard Burton's book. There usually wasn't any need to really "defend" against nomads in regards to trade caravans. The go-to was usually to make alliances and truces with them like how the Harari Emir in the 1800s married a local Bartire Somali chieftain's daughter:
    Camels are not everyday meat in the Horn. These animals are slaughtered “on feast days, religious occasions of special significance, and for the important occasions of births, marriages and deaths only.This suggests Ibn Battuta came during a medieval trade fair which probably attracted nomadic Somalis from the east but also different folks in the region (like the possibly Ethio-Semitic Harla).Also it is very likely non-Somali (Cushitic or heavlily Cushitic admixed) population lived in Zeila and Ibn Battuta wouldn't be able to differentiate between the different Horners, there's also no evidence that modern clans like Cisse,Samarone or Habar Awal are indigenous to this region and this falls in line with our own oral history.

    There usually wasn't any need to really "defend" against nomads in regards to trade caravans.
    Not true as I come from a clan (Jibriil Abokor) who were notorious for banditry and raiding caravans due to our strategic position in between Harar & Berbera and is one of the reasons why the Abyssinians in the 19th century built a fort at Jigjiga.Raiding is a normal part of Somali nomadic culture and nomads in others parts of the world.Settled populations in particular are very vulnerable to raiding by nomads without a state protecting them.
     




    Qalcadda fort is the only medieval fort in Somaliland and this was discovered by StateHorn (an EU funded project).

    Qalcadda is exceptional for many reasons. Not only it is the only caravanserai with a plan similar to those from the Middle East having found so far in Subsaharan Africa, but it is also a clear example of the close cultural and economic relationships between Somaliland, Arabia and the Middle East during the Middle Ages. Its importance also derives from its symbolism as a state initiative. Although there are several villages and other settlements around Qalcadda, their small size and the isolation of the caravan station makes it unlikely that it was a private enterprise, as it often happened in the Middle East. Qalcadda thus probably represents one of the few material examples known so far of strategies used by the Sultanate of Adal to reassert its control upon the region, either directly or through proxies.



    [CENTER]
    Honestly, I think "empires" like Adal are somewhat overblown. I doubt northern Somali territory was ever not how it appeared to the Greeks in the 1st century AD and how it again appeared in the Early Modern Era. Always a smattering of coastal city-states that controlled some hinterland towns where it clearly seems there was some notable Southern Ethiosemitic presence and large swathes of tribal land run by chieftains and Xeer. Adal was probably just a very influential polity centered in Zeila but I doubt it was quite as concrete a "kingdom" as what you see in feudal Japan or Western Europe, for instance.
    The coast never really had any permanent settlements besides Zeila and anyone who has been to the coast would know why. Which is why majority of the medieval settlements are near mountains and places suitable for agriculture (dry river beds that turn into rivers during the raining season like my ancestral tribal home of Arabsiyo).Aw-Barkhadle which was the site of the forefather of the Walashma dynasty for example was probably fortified and quite large according to Mire.


    Temporary trading fairs between nomads and foreigners in places near Berbera (Bandar Cabbas,Buluxaar etc) and in Sanaag like the city of Xiis.I think the vast majority of these farming locals in western & central Somaliland and the skilled city folks were not Somali, perhaps after Adal collapsed these populations were absorbed by the waves of even more migrating Somalis.Also farming and craftmanship was something Somalis culturally had disdain for and the vast majority of clans in Western Somaliland and Fafaan region only became semi-nomadic cultivators within the last 2 or 3 centuries.I never denied the presence of Somalis clans within the sultanate of Adal but they were not an important factor besides taking sides in civil wars between the muslim elite as mercenaries.


    Here's an interesting quote from a paper published by StateHorn on medieval Somaliland:
    Two of these influences in Somaliland were trade and religion. The specific
    seasonal patterns of Somaliland favour the presence of nomadic populations by
    the coast at a moment when the monsoon winds allow the arrival of ships in
    and out of the Red Sea (González-Ruibal & Torres 2018: 4), and that coincidence
    has settled the bases for a long tradition of trading seasonal gatherings and fairs
    which has lasted until the 19th century (Cruttenden 1849: 54-55).
    In a coast where
    Zeila was the only permanent trading centre during the Middle Ages, these seasonal markets were not just a resource for the nomads: they were a key factor in the
    economy of the Ifat and Adal sultanates, which had in trade one of their strategic
    sources of wealth and influence (Pankhurst 1961: 346-350). The second key reference for the seasonal movements were the sanctuaries which acted as aggregation centres for the nomads. The excavation of one of these sites has proved the
    continuation of many pagan traditions well into the 14th century, when Islam was
    well consolidated in the region (González-Ruibal & Torres 2018: 14).
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    Quote Originally Posted by drobbah View Post
    Somali oral history points to Sanaag as the medieval origin of majority of the Somali clans and the Futuh Al Habasha consistently showed that Somalis were nothing more than a nomadic camel herding periphery people.Yes certain clans lived within the Sultanate during the Imam's time including my own but it is clear the Walashma dynasty and many of the elites of these muslim states were not of Somali origin.I think what the Futuh called the clans of Harla lived there, this explains the animosity the Harlas had for Somalis in particular.The Imam did all he could to keep these two ethnic groups away from each other.Multiple times in the Futuh the animosity between these two groups comes up.
    I've read the Futuh and it does not imply what you're saying about demographics. Somalis were not some irrelevant periphery people when dealing with the Adal at all. The Imam you just referenced himself had married his sister off to a Somali chieftain. Is that something you would do for a periphery, not very relevant people? And, walaal... most of the northwest despite its greater fertility is still very arid. It would not support some large agricultural population that could control nomadic Somalis. As for the nucleus point of Somalis being Sanaag I agree with that but it was not as recent as 500 years. I don't see any proof for that.

    And there is no genetic evidence for what you're saying. Northwestern Somalis don't really look different in terms of auDNA from the folks to their east or even their south for the most part and the uniparental difference does not skew in the direction of Ethiosemites. Even the South-Arabian in northwestern Somalis is found in their northeastern and southern fellow Somalis. How did such a large population of people just disappear with no genetic impact whatsoever? What you're saying would honestly make a lot of sense if we were Afars. Afars so far actually show a lot of auDNA overlap with Highland Ethiopians like Habeshas and also a lot of Y-DNA overlap too. Northwestern Somalis? Not really.

    Finally, it's strange that you don't mention that there were clearly always coastal settlements and inland towns even in Sanaag and Bari to the far east of the northern Somali region just like there was in the northwest. The northwest was just more dense due to its greater fertility. There was always, like there clearly was in the classical era and the early modern era, a subset of coastal Cushites who indulged in fishing, sailing and merchant work and coalesced in coastal towns and a few inland ones as well. This was true even in arid Bari which as far east as it gets from the regions you're talking about in the northwest:


    Of a total population of 82,653 for the Mijertein region, 59,554 are pastoralist, 5,297 agriculturalist-pastoralist, 920 sedentary cultivators, 9,692 fishermen and sailors, and 3,097 merchants. - Peoples of the Horn of Africa: Somali, Afar and Saho

    Quote Originally Posted by Drobbah
    Not true as I come from a clan (Jibriil Abokor) who were notorious for banditry and raiding caravans due to our strategic position in between Harar & Berbera and is one of the reasons why the Abyssinians in the 19th century built a fort at Jigjiga.Raiding is a normal part of Somali nomadic culture and nomads in others parts of the world.Settled populations in particular are very vulnerable to raiding by nomads without a state protecting them.



    Qalcadda fort is the only medieval fort in Somaliland and this was discovered by StateHorn (an EU funded project).
    I just showed you proof of what I was talking about? Are you just going to gloss over the source? Yes, nomads raided. That's obviously true but my point was that in a lot of cases the strategy was to deal with them through alliances and truces like what was going on during the 17-1800s which is probably why a lot of these towns didn't need to be walled. As long as you didn't earn the ire of the clans along your trade route you should be fine and if you did... You get the picture.

    Quote Originally Posted by drobbah View Post
    Camels are not everyday meat in the Horn. These animals are slaughtered “on feast days, religious occasions of special significance, and for the important occasions of births, marriages and deaths only.This suggests Ibn Battuta came during a medieval trade fair which probably attracted nomadic Somalis from the east but also different folks in the region (like the possibly Ethio-Semitic Harla).Also it is very likely non-Somali (Cushitic or heavlily Cushitic admixed) population lived in Zeila and Ibn Battuta wouldn't be able to differentiate between the different Horners, there's also no evidence that modern clans like Cisse,Samarone or Habar Awal are indigenous to this region and this falls in line with our own oral history.
    A lot of speculation on your part, walaal. Medieval Arab scholars were pretty aware of the difference between Habeshas and Somalis ("Berbers"). I think they would have noticed that the people in places like Sanaag and Koonfur were very different from folks around Waqooyi and Awdal if that was truly the case and not lumped them together as Ibn Battuta does when he says all the Berbera people are "herders of camels and sheep". Especially considering that they traded and for periods of time settled among these peoples. But I don't disagree about the camel consumption. I've pointed out on this forum for people myself that goats and sheep were always the main meat animals for Somalis. But one other interesting thing worth noting is that when Ibn Battuta goes to Mogadishu, where he actually stayed for a time, he notes the same practice of slaughtering camels in its alleyways. And also, Ethiosemitic folks are not known for being coastal settling people who use sewn boats like Somalis and fish and whatnot outside of Tigres and Tigrinyas. They are chiefly a hinterland people, especially Southern-Ethiosemites. Meanwhile we know for sure that Somalis have indulged in coastal settling, fishing and sailings for centuries.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drobbah
    Temporary trading fairs between nomads and foreigners in places near Berbera (Bandar Cabbas,Buluxaar etc) and in Sanaag like the city of Xiis.I think the vast majority of these farming locals in western & central Somaliland and the skilled city folks were not Somali, perhaps after Adal collapsed these populations were absorbed by the waves of even more migrating Somalis.Also farming and craftmanship was something Somalis culturally had disdain for and the vast majority of clans in Western Somaliland and Fafaan region only became semi-nomadic cultivators within the last 2 or 3 centuries.I never denied the presence of Somalis clans within the sultanate of Adal but they were not an important factor besides taking sides in civil wars between the muslim elite as mercenaries.
    The odd thing is that you don't seem to know that the expanding Somalis I've seen you talking about in other threads which I admit I kinda brought into fashion myself with an old post of mine were most certainly agro-pastoralists. Heck, I used to talk to Lank about this nearly a decade ago. It's been known for a long, long time that Proto-Somali (the ancestor of Af-Maay and Af-Maxaa) clearly had an agricultural vocabulary and that early Somalis were therefore familiar with farming as well as pastoralism. So no, it wouldn't have been far-fetched for them to be sedentary farmers in these areas the same way they have been such over recent centuries. And if I've seen DNA results for the craftsman groups you're talking about they pretty much look like normal Somalis except for one I recently saw who had some "Ethiopian" in him but that was known to him and his family as recent maternal line admixture.
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    Quote Originally Posted by drobbah View Post
    Somalis noticed weakness in the Muslim kingdoms (who used to recruit them as military muscle or mercenaries) enter from the East and perhaps started raiding these settled peoples? The vast majority of the farming settlements and towns in Western & Central Somaliland were not fortified with the exception of Qalcadda (a state-sponsored caravanserai) which was meant to safeguard the caravans arriving from the coast in Berbera from the nomadic raiding Somalis.
    First of all most of the Muslim leaders and the population in North-Western regions was Somali if not all and they recruited nomads mainly during the Futuh wars. Because they needed the man power and the numbers.

    The site of Biyo Gure seeing as there have been traces of fire and burns, it's most likely one of the many sites burned down and bombarded by the Portuguese at the turn of the 16th century and abandoned following the decline of trade. As they were bombing and destroying many coastal cities and settlements around the Somali peninsuala. Clearly not signs of raids by nomads

    Berbera and Zeila were both bombed and sacked by the Portugese. . That site is near Berbera


    According to archeological evidence the urban dwellers and pastoralists were living in relatively peaceful collaboration with eachother. Were dependant on eachother. And the nomads themselves were integrated in the state.
    Built on diversity: Statehood in Medieval Somaliland (12th-16th centuries AD)

    Leaving aside these examples, the bulk of the trade in Somaliland was conducted all along the coast at trading posts such as Siyara, Farhad or Heis (González-Ruibal and Torres 2018). We don’t know if caravans from the interior would arrive to trade to the coast or if the nomad communities would conduct the trade themselves, but what it’s incontestable is that nomads were fundamental for the proper functioning and stability of the trade routes in Somaliland. Either allowing the pass through their territories, providing guide and protection or acting as traders themselves, commerce would have been impossible without their participation and collaboration. The absolute lack of references in the written texts to incidents related to trade point to the existence of a wide agreement on recognizing trade as a beneficial activity for all the stakeholders involved –foreigners, nomads, urban dwellers and state. The lack of walls in all the settlements found so far in the region speaks of a –more or less- peaceful coexistence between all the groups trading in Somaliland. Although problems could always arise –the fort of Qalcadda is an obvious example that caravans needed to be protected-, the importance of trade in the Horn of Africa only declined by external factors such as the blockage of the Red Sea by the Portuguese (Trimingham 1965: 86). What the archaeological record of trade points to in Somaliland is a clear coordination between the nomads that benefited from the exchanges and the pass of the caravans through their territories, the urban dwellers that acted as nodes to allow the caravans resupply and rest, and the state which could have overseen the whole system.
    It's most likely that arrangement between the nomads and urban dwellers were the same as what you saw in Arabia. Between Bedouins and the sedentary. The sedentary people were previously nomadic themselves with connections and relations with the bedouins who they hired to safeguard and keep their camels/livestock and guard and direct their caravans. They were also traders themselves and would also act as semi-nomads or settling in the towns for trade. This is what textual evidence and archeology shows.

    Only the inland towns towards the west had fortified settlements because of their proximity with the Abyssinians that used to raid and attack them.

    ). This lack of defenses is surprising if we consider the permanent state of war between
    Christians and Muslims described in the written sources, and should be explained by the backward position of the Somaliland sites with respect to the border with the Christian kingdom. Fortresses and fortified settlements are more common the closer they are to the Ethiopian highlands (Fauvelle-Aymar and Hirsch2010a: 33-34).
    The Caravvan stations like Qalcada was only a means for the state to control and secure the trade. The lack of walls in many of the settlements shows how the populations with different lifestyles were living in relative peaceful collaboration with eachother.

    The farmers from what i can tell seemed to have been Somalis as indicated by the Al-Umari who explained Awdal population cultivating with the use of the Somali Calendar.
    “they cultivate two times annually by seasonal rains … The rainfall for the winter is called ‘Bil’ and rainfall for the ‘summer’ is called ‘Karam’ in the language of the people of Zayla’
    It seems that in Medieval times many agricultural settlements were proping up in different places with arable land, lakes, wells rivers etc seeing as there are numerous stone ruins across Akin to the development that was happening in the 18th-19th century during the revival of Islam.

    This isn't suprising because Islam encourages urbanization and sedentarianism. This is the only way to practice the religion fully and where it has its expression.

    Their widespread subsequent abandonement in 16th-17th can be explained by the collapse of the State, oromo invasion, civil war and the disturbance of interior trade networks, portuguese bombing and trade blockage caused a re-nomadization and de-urbanization of the population. During the upheaval of the 16th century.
    Last edited by Mirix; 05-16-2021 at 10:54 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Awale View Post
    I've read the Futuh and it does not imply what you're saying about demographics. Somalis were not some irrelevant periphery people when dealing the Adal at all.
    The Somalis besides when the muslim sultanates were in desperate need of muscle power were mostly irrelevant periphery people. There's a reason when the Hiraabu Goita Tedrous (cheif of Marexaan) fled to what Shihabudeen called the land of the Somalis which was probably east of central Somaliland (Sool iyo Sanaag).Where till today segments of the Hawiye clan still preside like the Fiqishiini



    The Imam you just referenced himself had married his sister off to a Somali chieftain
    I never denied that some Somali clans lived within Adal but it definitely wasn't a Somali territory.
    And, walaal... most of Somaliland despite its greater fertility is still very arid. It would not support some large agricultural population that could control nomadic Somalis. As for the nucleus point of Somalis being Sanaag I agree with that but it was not as recent as 500 years. I don't see any proof for that.
    Western Somaliland & central Somaliland especially the Gabiley plains (which is an extension of Ethiopian Fafaan) and parts of Awdal is extremely fertile and cannot be compared to the rest of Somaliland could definitely host a large scale population.Central Somaliland was less populated but there were sizable farming settlements and decent sized towns to control the nomads. Ultimately via alliances and marriage is how they kept Somalis in check as long as there was a strong state like Ifat or Adal.As for nucleus point of Sanaag I never claimed Somalis expanded 500 years ago but rather between the 12th & 13th century when Somalis became muslims and this probably when some of the clans mentioned in the Futuh migrated as partially islamized within the domain of the sultanate and others ventured south and into the vast grazing lands of the modern Somali region of Ethiopia







    I just showed you proof of what I was talking about? Are you just going to gloss over the source? Yes, nomads raided. That's obviously true but my point was that in a lot of cases the strategy was to deal with them through alliances and truces like what was going on during the 17-1800s which is probably why a lot of these towns didn't need to be walled. As long as you didn't earn the ire of the clans along your trade route you should be fine and if you did... You get the picture.
    Never said otherwise...don't know what the 20th century Bartire have to do with what we are talking about walaal.The Bartire marrying some powerless Harari emir does not refute my claim that the violent end of Biyo Gure was probably because of incoming nomadic Somalis. Biyo gure was a farming settlement that is so far was the only Somaliland site that clearly showed glass producing capabilities while farming using irrigation which is why even the authors suggested it was inhabited by foreigners.It was a probably an easy target for what I presume were probably Dir or Isaaq nomads.


    The odd thing is that you don't seem to know that the expanding Somalis I've seen you talking about in other threads which I admit I kinda brought into fashion myself with an old post of mine were most certainly agro-pastoralists. Heck, I used to talk to Lank about this nearly a decade ago. It's been know for a long, long time that Proto-Somali (the ancestor of Af-Maay and Af-Maxaa) clearly had an agricultural vocabulary and that early Somalis were therefore familiar with farming as well as pastoralism.
    The Somalis diverged from these Maay folks a long time prior to the medieval Somali expansion in the 12th or 13th century and expanded primarily as camel herders.The cultures between these two ethnic groups must have been very different by the 13th century, in my personal opinion I just don't think Somalis expanded in the medieval period as agro-pastoralists but my knowledge on this specific topic is quite limited.


    And if I've seen DNA results for the craftsman groups you're talking about they pretty much look like normal Somalis except for one I recently saw who had some "Ethiopian" in him but that was known to him and his family as recent maternal line admixture.
    I score 100% Somali on 23&me and my father does so aswell on ancestrydna yet on qpadm both me and him show elevated Mota ( father scores between 10 & 15% and I get between 5-7%) and that's not typical of Somalis.I wouldn't take his commercial test results at face-value bro and you are speaking of that J-P58 Madhibaan individual I presume
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mirix View Post
    First of all most of the Muslim leaders and the population in North-Western regions was Somali if not all and they recruited nomads mainly during the Futuh wars. Because they needed the man power and the numbers.

    The site of Biyo Gure seeing as there have been traces of fire and burns, it's most likely one of the many sites burned down and bombarded by the Portuguese at the turn of the 16th century and abandoned following the decline of trade. As they were bombing and destroying many coastal cities and settlements around the Somali peninsuala. Clearly not signs of raids by nomads

    Berbera and Zeila were both bombed and sacked by the Portugese. . That site is near Berbera


    According to archeological evidence the urban dwellers and pastoralists were living in relatively peaceful collaboration with eachother. Were dependant on eachother. And the nomads themselves were integrated in the state.
    Built on diversity: Statehood in Medieval Somaliland (12th-16th centuries AD)



    It's most likely that arrangement between the nomads and urban dwellers were the same as what you saw in Arabia. Between Bedouins and the sedentary. The sedentary people were previously nomadic themselves with connections and relations with the bedouins who they hired to safeguard and keep their camels/livestock and guard and direct their caravans. They were also traders themselves and would also act as semi-nomads or settling in the towns for trade. This is what textual evidence and archeology shows.

    Only the inland towns towards the west had fortified settlements because of their proximity with the Abyssinians that used to raid and attack them.



    The Caravvan stations like Qalcada was only a means for the state to control and secure the trade. The lack of walls in many of the settlements shows how the populations with different lifestyles were living in relative peaceful collaboration with eachother.

    The farmers from what i can tell seemed to have been Somalis as indicated by the Al-Umari who explained Awdal population cultivating with the use of the Somali Calendar.

    It seems that in Medieval times many agricultural settlements were proping up in different places with arable land, lakes, wells rivers etc seeing as there are numerous stone ruins across Akin to the development that was happening in the 18th-19th century during the revival of Islam.

    This isn't suprising because Islam encourages urbanization and sedentarianism. This is the only way to practice the religion fully and where it has its expression.

    Their widespread subsequent abandonement in 16th-17th can be explained by the collapse of the State, oromo invasion, civil war and the disturbance of interior trade networks, portuguese bombing and trade blockage caused a re-nomadization and de-urbanization of the population. During the upheaval of the 16th century.
    The Portuguese didn't march into the interior of Somaliland (no such thing of a NW Somalia) and attacked settlements.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drobbah View Post
    The Portuguese didn't march into the interior of Somaliland (no such thing of a NW Somalia) and attacked settlements.
    Portuguese bombarded Berbera several times. Biyo Gurre is right next to the port of Berbera it has fire marks erosion and obvious signs of it being bombed and burned down, put two and two together.

    And why did you try to misrepresent the archeological findings that said the opposite of what you tried to imply?

    Sadly for you there is no evidence to back such nonsense up and Somalis are not static group either.
    Last edited by Angoliga; 05-20-2021 at 01:19 AM. Reason: Terms of Service Violation (3.14) - Personalization removed

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    Quote Originally Posted by drobbah View Post
    The Somalis besides when the muslim sultanates were in desperate need of muscle power were mostly irrelevant periphery people. There's a reason when the Hiraabu Goita Tedrous (cheif of Marexaan) fled to what Shihabudeen called the land of the Somalis which was probably east of central Somaliland (Sool iyo Sanaag).Where till today segments of the Hawiye clan still preside like the Fiqishiini
    Walaal, there is really no proof for the things you're claiming in terms of demographics. I've read the book. It's been available to us for decades. We both read it years ago and it never gave me or anyone any impression that the Somalis were a periphery group. And the Futuh doesn't just make it known that Somalis live in Adal territory as you acknowledge but clearly that they were an important demographic that needed to be appeased with important marriages (the leading Imam's own sister) which is pretty much identical to what was going on during the Early Modern era.

    If you follow the Futuh carefully as well as Somali clan oral traditions and some historical documents from Harar the picture honestly looks very startlingly similar to what Burton describes during the 1800s which is that there had to be marriages and alliances made with the local nomads who had a presence among the elites because even back then they were probably a great threat to trade caravans and the dominant presence in the coastal towns and could hence choke the trade of the hinterland towns:

    “He who commands at Berberah, holds the beard of Harar in his hand,” is a saying which I heard even within the city walls."- Burton

    I made some edits to my old reply so you probably missed it but one thing you don't seem to realize is that Southern-Ethiosemites are not a coastal settling people. It is simply not in their culture. Sewn boats like what Swahilis and Arabians use, coastal fishing and so forth is completely foreign to them for obvious reasons and likely always has been but not so to coastal Cushitic groups like Somalis, Afars and Sahos who have always had a subset of their population indulging in this even in the most arid and inhospitable regions:

    Of a total population of 82,653 for the Mijertein region, 59,554 are pastoralist, 5,297 agriculturalist-pastoralist, 920 sedentary cultivators, 9,692 fishermen and sailors, and 3,097 merchants. - Peoples of the Horn of Africa: Somali, Afar and Saho

    Sewn boats in the western Indian Ocean, and a survival in Somalia

     







    And like I said in my earlier reply:

    A lot of speculation on your part, walaal. Medieval Arab scholars were pretty aware of the difference between Habeshas and Somalis ("Berbers"). I think they would have noticed that the people in places like Sanaag and Koonfur were very different from folks around Waqooyi and Awdal if that was truly the case and not lumped them together as Ibn Battuta does when he says all the Berbera people are "herders of camels and sheep". Especially considering that they traded and for periods of time settled among these peoples. But I don't disagree about the camel consumption. I've pointed out on this forum for people myself that goats and sheep were always the main meat animals for Somalis. But one other interesting thing worth noting is that when Ibn Battuta goes to Mogadishu, where he actually stayed for a time, he notes the same practice of slaughtering camels in its alleyways.

    Just doesn't add up that there would be little Somali presence. Sounds like wild speculation to me, walaal.

    Quote Originally Posted by drobbah
    Biyo gure was a farming settlement that is so far was the only Somaliland site that clearly showed glass producing capabilities while farming using irrigation which is why even the authors suggested it was inhabited by foreigners.It was a probably an easy target for what I presume were probably Dir or Isaaq nomads.
    It's been known since long before these more recent scholars that a foreign presence was likely. In fact, I knew this as far back as a decade ago and seemingly made some of it more known to you via sources like that paper on the Semitic loanwords in Somali. Scholars have always assumed the hinterland had a Southern-Ethiosemitic presence of some kind but pretty much all of them tend to agree that the coastal towns were probably majority Somali for the sorts of reasons I've shared so far. It's worth noting that even Chinese sources on what seems like the north coast of Somalia pretty much imply a population with mainly pastoral nomadic roots and not a majority settled, agricultural population. I'm sorry, walaal, I don't think there's any dancing around the fact that Somalis were present as a major demographic in Adal territory as nomadic pastoralists, probably intermixed with the Southern-Ethiosemites in the hinterland villages and towns and definitely along the coast like Zeila.

    Quote Originally Posted by drobbah
    The Somalis diverged from these Maay folks a long time prior to the medieval Somali expansion in the 12th or 13th century and expanded primarily as camel herders.The cultures between these two ethnic groups must have been very different by the 13th century, in my personal opinion I just don't think Somalis expanded in the medieval period as agro-pastoralists but my knowledge on this specific topic is quite limited.
    Except even Sanaag, which you point out as a nucleus for Somalis, clearly has the same sorts of hinterland settlements, as well as agriculture going on and back centuries, as does Bari. Both also have proof of coastal towns and maritime silk-route trade going back to the classical era. So, your 100% camel herder expanding Somalis were literally doing, at least in the part, the exact same things that were going on to their west. And Af-Maxaa and Af-Maay diverged around 1,500 years ago so at least by then early Somalis were certainly familiar with farming even if a large portion of them expanded as herders there was likely always an agro-pastoral and cultivator subset who took up agriculture wherever it was possible like I've explained in the past. Wherever cultivatable land is found you generally do find Somali subclans who indulge in fully settled farming or agro-pastoralism all over Somaliweyn. Mirix is not wrong in that the situation is not so different from Arabians at all. Majority pastoral nomadic population because most of the land is arid, settled farmers and agro-pastoralists wherever arable enough land is available then some fishermen and traders along the coast.

    Even in the 1st Century AD the Greeks clearly lump coastal Bejas, coastal Eritreans, Jabuutians and the people on the coast of northern Somalia together as they could probably see the same phenomenon the medieval Arabs and early modern Europeans encountered which is a continuous belt of coastal Cushitic pastoralist people from southeastern Egypt down to the Somali coast. Even the descriptions the Aksumite Emperors give of coastal people around what is now southern Eritrea and Jabuuti and possibly Awdal appears to clearly be describing a majority pastoral nomadic population.

    Quote Originally Posted by drobbah
    Western Somaliland & central Somaliland especially the Gabiley plains (which is an extension of Ethiopian Fafaan) and parts of Awdal is extremely fertile and cannot be compared to the rest of Somaliland could definitely host a large scale population.Central Somaliland was less population but there were sizable farming settlements and decent sized towns to control the nomads.Ultimatetly via alliances and marriage is how they kept Somalis in check as long as there was a strong state like Ifat or Adal.As for nucleus point of Sanaag I never claimed Somalis expanded 500 years ago but rather between the 12th & 13th century when Somalis became muslims and this probably when some of the clans mentioned in the Futuh migrated as partially islamized within the domain of the sultanate and others ventured south and into the vast grazing lands of the modern Somali region of Ethiopia
    I've been to the northwest. Most of that land, before modern agricultural techniques was not cultivatable and don't let how green looking and beautiful some of the northwest is fool you; a lot of it is marginal land that is mostly just good for grazing livestock. There were subclans of your own clan and the neighboring Dir dedicated to settled farming and agro-pastoralism before the 20th century and yet that area was still not very populated at all and still majority nomadic for a reason. Southern-Ethiosemites definitely lived in the hinterland and traded with and politicked big-time with Somalis, this cannot be denied in my opinion but I really don't see much evidence that they were some massive, politically dominating group.

    Quote Originally Posted by drobbah
    I score 100% Somali on 23&me and my father does so aswell on ancestrydna yet on qpadm both me and him show elevated Mota ( father scores between 10 & 15% and I get between 5-7%) and that's not typical of Somalis.I wouldn't take his commercial test results at face-value bro and you are speaking of that J-P58 Madhibaan individual I presume
    You can find the same thing in other Somali regions, walaal. Nothing too special, I'd say. Again, I'd say you'd have a strong leg to stand on if northwestern Somalis were like Afars with lots of J1, some J2 and a strong overall skew toward Habeshas in terms of auDNA but that isn't remotely the case and northwestern Somalis mostly look identical to their eastern and southern neighbors in terms of auDNA and the Y-DNA difference (like T-L208) is not at all in direction of Ethiosemites. If there was such a massive agricultural, non-Somali population you'd expect a strong genetic impression but there really is none.

    As for the Madhiban, I know who you're talking about and he's not the only "low-caste" Somali I've seen; like I said, they look like normal Somalis from what I've seen but hopefully we'll get more samples in time. Mind you, I am of the opinion that at least the Tumaal are possibly assimilates from Ethiopia. In fact, I think LE Cushites like Somalis quite possibly got our whole caste-system concept from the Highlands within the last 2,000-3,000 years. For example, the Somali word for "metal ("bir") clearly shares a root with the word for "metal" in Ethiosemitic languages. Metallurgy seemingly entered the Horn around 1000 BCE with the Protoethiosemites and probably spread to Cushites like Somalis via Habeshas or from other Cushites who were influenced by Habeshas. But the possible assimilation of these castes likely happened so long ago that it'll likely bear no fruit to rummage through their DNA nowadays as I've seen so far but we'll see with more samples.

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