Italian Somalia – Northern Somalia

By | December 15, 2021

Northern Somalia or Migiurtinia faces N. on the Gulf of Aden, E. on the Ocean and is limited to Somalia by the Nogal Valley (Nūgāl), while in the West it borders with British Somalia. It is divided transversely into two large strips by the Darròr Valley. It is essentially a country of plateaus, mostly of mediocre or modest altitude, with a very arid climate and therefore absolutely devoid of perennial streams, rich in brackish groundwater, poor in vegetation.

Geologically it consists of a large Eocene limestone plateau, broken by fractures, but as a whole gently inclined from NW. to the SE., so that the escarpment of the plateau facing the Indian Ocean is much lower than that facing the Gulf of Aden. In the latter, the soils underlying the Eocene also emerge at times: Cretaceous sandstones and limestones, Jurassic marly limestones, crystalline schists and granites. The more recent rocks of the Eocene (sandstones, marly limestones and coralligines of the Oligocene and Miocene) form numerous plates scattered in the coastal areas, both on the Gulf of Aden and on the ocean coast. They are associated with Quaternary benches and, near Càndala, large basaltic flows. Much of the region is then covered with siliceous pebbles reddened by the climate, and deriving from the underlying rocks; nor are the river pebbles, the aeolian sands pushed by the wind up to several tens of meters above the sea and the travertines of the springs. For Somalia government and politics, please check

The northern edge of the migiurtino plateau, between the Gulf of Aden and the Darror (Ḍarōr) is very rugged, and there are some mountain groups such as the massive and complex Al Mescat group (‛Al Maskad) separated from the Al Medò (‘Al Mado) for the horrid and chaotic narrow of the Carin, where the waters of the Degahan collect, which puts its mouth between Bender Ziade and Bender Cassim. The Al Mescat reaches in Mount Bogor m. 2590, and is divided into various buttresses (Habeno, Faddisoma, Hor Bogor, etc.) from which the Baladè, Merero and Hogheir streams originate. In E. the Al Mescat is limited by the large Tog Uen basin that flows into Càndala. Between the Toguen depression and that of Gal Uen, which descends to Alula, is another mountain group (M. Hoda, 400 m.) Which in Durbo even looms over the coast. A third group of the Ahl Mountains (Monte Tagis, 800 m) rises between Bèreda and Tohen, sending its spur up to Capo Guardafui; afterwards it reconnects to the second for an elevated ridge forming the Ras Shenaghel or Falso Guardafui in the Indian Ocean. A strip of this limestone plateau, over 200 meters high and joined to the mainland by a low thin isthmus, forms the promontory of Hafun, the only prominent protrusion of the entire coast. At N. of it the Giahel flows into the sea, at Somalia the Darror. it forms the promontory of Hafun, the only accentuated protrusion of the whole coast. To the north of it the Jahel flows into the sea, to the south the Darror. it forms the promontory of Hafun, the only accentuated protrusion of the whole coast. To the north of it the Jahel flows into the sea, to the south the Darror.

The southern edge of the migiurtino plateau between Darror and Nogal, known as the Sol, culminates at just over 1000 m. NE. di Gardò, and has a gentle and regular course: it faces the depression of Darror in N. with the steep Carcàr escarpment, in Somalia that of Nogal with the Dul Medove escarpment. Even at the sea it ends steeply, with a cliff 100-200 meters high. Few are the streams that cut it a little inland with their valleys: the Gono Jer or Tudi, which immediately flows into N. di Bender Beila, and the Codmo or Dudo a Somalia of this village; the others are marginal streams which have their origins at 30-40 km. from the sea.

The vast depression of the Darror, which is interposed between the two edges of the plateau, has a tectonic origin, although it is identified by most, even in its name, with the main stream that runs through it, the Dut or Luth (Dūd). This originates with many branches from the southern slope of Al Medò, in British territory, and after having received from the right the waters of the Carràr and del Sol for the Boran, the Lohodà, the Dalmedò and the Raghì, and from the left those of the Al Mescat for Uadiaimo, it flows into the ocean at Somalia di Hafun.

A similar depression, that of the Nogal, limits the plateau of the Sol to Somalia, but in the Nogal all the waters are lost, including those of the main course, the Tug Derr, coming from British territory, and only about 70 km away. from the sea the furrow becomes active again due to the confluence of the waters of the marginal streams, and opens up to the sea with a gorge carved into the coastal plateau.

The plateau is bordered along the sea by a coastal strip that is at times discontinuous, but at times very wide, on the Gulf of Aden; narrower, except at the Darror, on the Indian Ocean.

All of Migiurtinia is a very hot and arid country; and all streams are temporary, except for a short stretch near some source.

The limestone rocks of the coastal strip and of the first coastal steps are almost entirely bare of vegetation, and swept by the winds, furrowed by the Aeolian sands, which accumulate shifting dunes in the depressions. At times, aloe bushes abound there and incense shrubs on the cliffs. More inside the plateaus are covered with an intricate thorny prairie grasses (Schizachyrium), or acacia groves (A. Bussei, etc.). Tall trees, especially angèl (Mimusops) and damàs (Conocarpus), line up at the bottom of the valley, where they can take advantage of a more or less poor water table, and are associated with creeping palms, tamarisks, Ficus, etc., to form small groves, a kind of oasis in a thin steppe if not in a real desert. In the valley floor, near the springs and where the subalveal current emerges, the scarce indigenous crops are concentrated, small palm groves of Hyphaene, damàs, date palm, which is here at its extreme limit of habitat, with crops of yams, cane from sugar and little hard. They can be found in the Carin gorge and its outlet, in the hinterland of Bender Cassim, in Càndala, in Alula, in Handa, etc.

Apart from these modest agricultural activities, carried out by domestic servants or hired workers on behalf of the owners, and regardless of the collection of incense, gums, palm leaves, etc. the only important activity of the population that is homogeneous, and belongs to the great tribe of the Migiurtini, consists in nomadic pastoralism, which supplies skins, milk, butter (ghee) and meat. Some low caste families wandering along the coasts (giagi) fish for sharks, turtles, mother of pearl and eat fish and molluscs.

Northern Somalia