Somalia Internal History Part I

By | December 15, 2021

The oldest population of Somalia, of which we know, is that of the Bantu negroes; but, alongside these black populations, we find a lineage of pariahs whose characteristic is the profession of hunters; lineage that probably also represents residues of human groups prior to the Negroes. The remains of these groups of hunters still exist today, both in various Somali tribes such as the Bon, living with the Hawiyya tribes, the living Midgan with the Isāq and Darod tribes, the Eile and Ribi living with the Dighil tribes and, finally, the Sanye and the Boni of the current Oltregiuba.

The Bantu Negroes, who already considered these hunter populations of which we have spoken as their pariahs, are attested to us safely by a historical document, the so-called Book of the Zengi, in the region of Juba and specifically in the lower valley of this river. For Somalia history, please check

The Negroes had a type of agricultural culture, they were organized in a confederation of tribes, which the document attests to be that of the Wangika, today in Kenya and Tanganyika. They had relations with the first Arab colonies along the coast and it can be said that they supplied the Arabs with the main commodity of their trade, that is, slaves.

But, in addition to these Negro nuclei of Juba, we can consider, as current residues of the permanence of the Bantu Negroes, in Somalia, other human groups that today are found much further north, namely the so-called “freedmen of the river”, on average and lower Scebeli valley (Shidle, etc.); the so-called freed Elai, who still inhabit the plateau of Baidoa today, and finally that city population of Brava, who still speak Bravano today, which is a Bantu language, thus forming a Negro linguistic island in Somali territory.

The Bantu Negroes were driven out of present-day Somalia by an invasion from the NE. that is, from the invasion of the Galla. The Galla, after a long series of struggles with the Negroes, which probably will have to be fixed in more than a century, gradually came to take over the region of today’s Italian Somalia between the Juba and the Shebeli, pushing back on the Juba and beyond the Negroes their enemies.

However, this struggle did not remain without great influences in the very constitution of the Galla, who, both for the long contact they had during the wars and after with the Bantu Negroes, and for having absorbed defeated lineages of Negroes, adopted on the basis of their social constitution the ordering by age group, which was that of the Bantu. This arrangement, which the populations close to the Negroes consider particularly suitable for war, was considered, first by the Galla and then by the Somalis of Oltregiuba who succeeded them, as a kind of defense to strengthen the military position of the tribe, aggravating its internal discipline. The circumstance is particularly important because subsequently the Galla, starting from Somalia, invaded in the century. XVI the Ethiopian plateau,

Therefore, in the region that we now call Somalia from their name, the Somali populations succeeded the Galla. It is not easy to identify the beginnings and the first constitution of these populations, especially since their very name of Somali was originally only a partial name of a certain group of tribes which was subsequently extended to all the other related ones.. The Somalis had to live in the region between the Gulf of Tagiura and present-day British Somalia, in particularly arid and inhospitable areas, where they are squeezed between the Dancali, their traditional enemies, to the north, and the Galla to the south.

The pressure of the Somalis towards the south, to reach lands that, like those along the rivers, must have constituted a popular destination for the shepherds of the Gúban (the “parched land” of the Gulf of Aden), probably exercised with a series of raids and depredations interrupted by agreements for which, as we are attested, for example, for very recent times, Somali nuclei passed as customers of the galla tribes from which they were adopted, except at a later time to attack their patrons and take up arms in a position more advantageous.

Still in the century. XI, the Somalis did not go beyond Hafun, as the Arab geographers attest to us; and in the region that today we call Migiurtinia the memories of the time in which it was inhabited by the Galla enemies of the Somalis are still alive. Suffice it to mention, for example, the historical traditions that have led to the name of Gālka‛ayo (“Whence the Galla departed”) given to the well-known locality in the interior of Obbia, in memory of a defeat that the Galla would have suffered in that locality.

Instead the Arab geographer al-Idrīsī, who wrote in the mid-century. XII, already gives Merca as a Somali city and places the Somali Hawiyya along the Uebi Scebeli.

In the century XIII the Moroccan traveler Ibn Baṭṭütah found Mogadishu the capital of a small Arab-Somali state.

The entry of Somalis in what we call Italian Somalia can therefore be fixed wholesale from the century. XII to XIII.

The first Somali population to enter the region between the Uebi and the Juba was that of the Giddu (Ǧiddu), as local traditions unanimously attest.

The Giddu have long fought against the Galla in the coastal region; among other things, a curious memory of these struggles has remained in the language of the Galla Bararetta populations today on the Tana river in the Kenyan colony, because the Bararettas give the name of Giddu to all Somalis. The Giddu themselves must have assimilated sufficiently strong nuclei of populations galla defeated by them, which is proven, not only by the social structure of their tribe, but also by the same dialect that is spoken by them today.

The passage of the Giddu in the region north of Mogadishu, which is now inhabited by the Somali Abgāl populations, is reminded by the Somali proverb which says how in that region there have been: the nine Giddus, the nine Agiuran (Aǧurān) and the nine Abgal. Another memory of the struggles of the Giddu is the tradition of Au Garwēn, a rock near Gonderscia between Merca and Brava, which is said to have been attacked in the wars between Galla and Giddu by galla knights who tried to take advantage of the low tide to reach the armed enemies who had been hospitalized. on the rock.

Somalia Internal History 2