Somalia Internal History Part II

By | December 15, 2021

As we have said, the Somali proverb recalls that the nine Giddus were succeeded by the nine Agiuran. The Agiuran population, which must be reconnected to the Somali ones of the Hawiyya group, actually advanced from the north towards the Shebeli valley and tradition recalls two distinct wars of the Agiuran: one against the Giddu, who were in turn driven back from the lower Uebi valley. as far as the region of Brava, whence they had previously driven out the Galla; the other supported by the Agiuran against the Galla, who on their arrival occupied the upper part of the Uebi upstream of the Giddu.

This arrival of the Agiuran in the valley of the Uebi seems from various indications that it can be dated around the century. XV; and this, both because the traditions refer to twenty generations that have passed since the arrival of the Agiuran, and because they repeatedly allude to the bonds existing between the Agiuran who took possession of the Uebi area and the sultans of the Mudaffar dynasty of Mogadishu, which was reigning in the century. XVI. For Somalia history, please check

The Agiuran thus came into contact with the Arab colonies of Mogadishu and Merca and absorbed not only Arab cultural elements, but also probably groups of populations of Arab origin, as their own historical traditions attest.

But the dominance of the Agiuran could not last long due to the growing pressure of the other Hawiyya Somali tribes who, proceeding from NE. towards the SW., and therefore along the same route of invasion of the Agiuran, they pressed on the region of the river.

Two of the main Hawiyya groups, the Hirabe and the Cuggunḍabo, with two separate invasions managed to destroy the sultanate of the Agiuran and oblige them to take refuge in the even higher part of the Uebi, in the area which today we give the name of Sciaveli.

While the Darod and Hawiyya populations thus advanced along the coast of the Indian Ocean until they reached the Uebi, other Somali groups, proceeding through the current Ogadēn, also tried to flow into the plateau of the same river.

These populations are known to us by the generic name of Dighil. They arrived in the Uebi region, occupying it in the stretch where the Uebi, coming out of the narrow mountain gorge, enters the Somali lowland near the watering known as Malka Dūbe.

The Dighil, also owners of a fertile area from an agricultural point of view, remained close between the Somali Agiuran who lived on the river further downstream, and the residual galla populations, who lived on the same river upstream of the Dighils and south of the river until to Juba and the Baidoa plateau (Bay-ḍowa).

Increased in number, the Dighil then resumed their movement towards the south, it seems at the beginning of the century. XVII, thus taking advantage of the weakening of the galla tribes for their invasion of Ethiopia, which took place in the second half of the century. XVI.

The nuclei still known today with the name of Gherirre (Garirrä) and the freedmen Dūbe, who speak a dialect of the Dighil group, remained on the Uebi in their ancient locations. The other more numerous Dighils went down to Lugh and from there attacked the Galla del Baidoa, occupying that fertile plateau.

The situation therefore, of what is today Italian Somalia, is attested for the century. XVII by tradition and is confirmed by a historical document: the letter of the missionary Father Giovanni da Velasco dated 25 July 1625, with this distribution of the populations on the traditional communication route between Mogadishu and Abyssinia: first the Somali Hawiyya on the Uebi river; then the Galla Baraytumā in the Buracaba region; then the Somali Dighil from Baidoa to Lugh.

Subsequently, in the eighteenth century, the Dighil resumed the fight against the Galla and managed, after a series of wars, to occupy Buracaba, to expel the galla tribe of the Worrā Dayā from the region of the Doy pastures, which today is found in Oltregiuba and in the colony of Kenya, and reached the middle valley of Juba, occupying it all from Lugh to Barḍēra.

A final Somali invasion to the south was the one that led to the occupation of what is now Oltregiuba. Groups of Somali populations of the Darod branch, coming from Ogadēn, open a way between the Hawiyya Agiuran and the Hawiyya Caranle, pass the Uebi, occupy the region between Uebi and Juba north of the Dighil and, having crossed the Ḍawa, enter the ‘Oltregiuba held by the Galla.

Here, too, tradition attests that for a certain period local nuclei preferred to be adopted by the galla tribes to prepare the ground for the real invasions to come. Only in the second half of the century. In the nineteenth century, the Somalis finally managed to forcibly remove the Galla from Oltregiuba, who were thus forced to take refuge along the banks of the Tana river.

Thus, what is now the general physiognomy of the distribution of the Somali populations and the limits of Somalia, which starting north from the Gulf of Tagiura, were brought south over the Indian Ocean to the Tana River was thus formed. After the occupation by the European powers, the great migratory movements can be said to have ceased; however, the movements of the Somali populations that do not adapt to the new situation continue, with various devices and methods. These movements, albeit slower, as the use of arms is now excluded, may in the long run change the situation in the region again. First of all, the Somalis still tend to expand in small groups towards the Tana River and beyond, pressing on the galla populations and on the Negro colony of Kenya.

Somalia Internal History