This is Chapter 2: The Land and the People – The Horn of Africa can be thought of as a triangle, whose up-tilted eastern point extends so far into the Indian Ocean that it is approximately due south of Tehran. The “Horn,” of course, is not a definite territorial jurisdiction, but for the purposes of this book, we define it arbitrarily (but conveniently) as the region inhabited mainly by Somalis.


Chapter 2: The Land and the People

From the book Somali Nationalism: International Politics And The Drive For Unity In The Horn Of Africa

Somali Nationalism International Politics And The Drive For Unity In The Horn Of AfricaSaadia Touval

Harvard University Press

Cambridge, Massachusetts • 1963

In this chapter









The Horn of Africa can be thought of as a triangle, whose up-tilted eastern point extends so far into the Indian Ocean that it is approximately due south of Tehran. The “Horn,” of course, is not a definite territorial jurisdiction, but for the purposes of this book, we define it arbitrarily (but conveniently) as the region inhabited mainly by Somalis. More specifically, we give it 374,200 square miles, covering the whole of the Somali Republic, about one-third of French Somaliland, about one-fifth of Ethiopia, and about one-fifth of Kenya. One side of the triangle extends along the Indian Ocean for more than a thousand miles, southwest and northeast, from the vicinity of the mouth of the Tana river in Kenya to Cape Guardafui at the eastern tip of the Horn. The northern side of the triangle, running approximately east-west, is the coast of the Gulf of Aden. The third side is an irregular north-south line from the Gulf of Tajura in the north to the Tana River in the south.


The greater part of the Horn of Africa is extremely arid, meagerly supporting a population that is primarily nomadic. The territory is largely high ground. A mountain range extends along the northern leg, facing the Gulf of Aden and leaving room for a very narrow maritime plain. These mountains, which rise above 8,000 feet in some places, are dissected by a series of river beds and valleys running in the general direction of south to north and draining into the Gulf of Aden. Toward the west, where the coast curves northward to the French Somaliland city of Jibuti, the mountains continue inland and connect with an easterly arm of the loftier Ethiopian mountains, home of the Ethiopian city of Harar. South and southeast of this Ethiopian range lies the great Ogaden plateau, covering the whole eastern part of Ethiopia and named after the Ogaden tribes of Somalis that inhabit it. Starting at an elevation of about 6,000 feet, the Ogaden slopes gently toward the Indian Ocean. In the Southern Region of the Somali Republic—formerly Somalia—the plateau gives way to a maritime plain, which is a hundred miles wide in the south, below the coastal city of Mogadishu, but gradually narrows until it hardly exceeds five miles near the eastern tip of the Horn.

Only two watercourses within the Horn of Africa contain water throughout the year. These are the Juba and Webi Shebeli rivers. Both rise in Ethiopia and flow southeast through the Southern Region of the Somali Republic toward the Indian Ocean. Of the two rivers, only the Juba reaches the sea. The waters of the Webi Shebeli are lost in swamps southwest of Mogadishu. Both rivers are used extensively for irrigation, and agricultural settlements have developed in their vicinity. The Tana, part of which forms the southern edge of the Horn as defined here, also runs the year round, and some Somali tribes use it to water their stock during the dry season. Other watercourses run only seasonally. Most of their waters are lost without being used for irrigation, but their valleys often provide good pasture after the rains.

Although the region is arid, it is not a desert, but rather savanna. Rains are meager, and the precipitation fluctuates considerably from year to year and is therefore not only small but unreliable. Precipitation averages a mere two inches annually in the northern maritime plain facing the Gulf of Aden. In the mountains, it reaches up to twenty inches, and farther south, in the plateau, it tapers off gradually; the northern part of the Ogaden sometimes receives up to fifteen inches, whereas the southern section ordinarily gets only two inches. In the Mijertain and Mudugh provinces of the Southern Region, the average annual rainfall is negligible—around four and six inches respectively. In the south of the Southern Region, and in most of northern Kenya, the rainfall is somewhat heavier, though extremely variable from area to area. For example, in Kenya, it has averaged as high as thirty inches at Moyale and as low as five inches at Mandera.[2]

The Land and the People – Somali NationalismThere are two rainy seasons and two dry seasons. In the north, the heavy rains commence in April and taper off by June. The light rains fall between August and October. The other months are exceedingly dry, but the worst dry period hits the north between December and February. The south experiences similar weather, but the seasons begin and end there about a month later than in the north.


Archaeological evidence found at several locations throughout the Horn indicates that the region was inhabited in prehistoric times. The earliest culture found has been assigned to the beginning of the last pluvial age, roughly 100,000 years ago. Several successive stoneage cultures have been identified.[3]

Earliest historical records relating to what is now the Somali coast were found in ancient Egyptian inscriptions. It is known that the ancient Egyptians visited that coast in search of incense and aromatic spices. It is even possible that some of the expeditions sent by various Egyptian rulers established trading settlements there. There is reason to believe that the Jews and the Phoenicians also traded with the coastal peoples. The land of Ophir mentioned in the Bible was probably situated somewhere along the eastern shore of Africa. Records of later contacts between the area and the Mediterranean civilizations are found in the writings of Greek Alexandrine geographers.[4]

For the period following the spread of Islam in the seventh century, information about the Horn is more abundant. Local chronicles, in addition to reports of travelers and explorers, provide valuable data about the coastal settlements, though information about the interior remains rather scanty.[5] It is known that an Arab sultanate was established in the seventh century at Zeila on the Red Sea coast and that by the thirteenth century, it had developed into the powerful “Adal Empire.” In the sixteenth century, the capital was moved to Harar, but the Empire gradually disintegrated and the coast became a dependency of Yemen, thus falling under the nominal suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire.[6]

The towns along the coast of the Indian Ocean were inhabited mainly by Arabs who immigrated at different times from Arabia. Prosperous local Arab sultanates had existed at Mogadishu, Brava, and other localities until the fifteenth century, when pressure from the nomadic people of the interior (probably Somali) increased, interfering with trade. In the sixteenth century, the coastal towns were conquered by the Portuguese. They, in turn, were driven out in the seventeenth century by the Imam of Muscat. In the middle of the nineteenth century, the coastal towns were occupied by the Sultan of Zanzibar, from whose hands they passed later to Italy.[7]


The inhabitants of the Horn were known by a variety of names throughout history. The ancient Greeks and Romans called them Berbers. The name survives today in the town of Berbera in the Northern Region of the Somali Republic. Some of the tribal names mentioned by Arab geographers in the Middle Ages (e.g., Hawiya) are clearly traceable today to individual Somali tribes. The collective name Somali is, however, of more recent origin. Apparently, it first appears in an Ethiopie hymn eulogizing Negus Yeshaq (1414—1429) for his victory against the neighboring Moslem sultanate of Ifat. The name appears quite frequently in the Futuh al Habasha, a chronicle written sometime between 1540 and 1550.[8]

The etymology of the name Somali has not been authoritatively established. According to one version, it is a combination of so (go) and mal (milk), referring to the words the wandering stranger would hear upon his arrival in a Somali encampment when his host sent one of the women or children to fetch some milk. According to another version, the name is derived from “soumahe,” an Abyssinian word for “heathen.” The Somalis’ own view is that the name derives from the name of one of their ancestors. This ancestor, an heir to a rich trader, was nicknamed “Zumal,” which in Arabic means “the wealthy.”[9]

When did the Somali people begin to figure in the history of the region? Unfortunately, little is known. Folk traditions and archaeological evidence indicate that the Somalis arrived in the Horn of Africa during the Middle Ages and therefore are relative newcomers. Earlier, the region had probably been inhabited by Negroid people, who had been pushed southward and replaced by Hamitic invaders. There is evidence that the early Hamitic inhabitants of the Horn were Galla tribes. They were succeeded by the Somalis.[10]

The origin of the Somali tribes is unknown. One possibility is that they are descendants of a distinct wave of Hamitic people who arrived in the area after the Gallas. Another theory is that the Somalis are actually Semiticized Gallas. That is, they are descendants of the Galla tribes which inhabited portions of what is now the Northern Region of the Somali Republic and which were subject to influences emanating from Arabia, both through a certain degree of intermarriage and through the adoption of Islam. Supporting evidence for this theory can be found in many Somali traditions and folk tales.[11] In any case, the Somalis, from their probable original habitat in what is now the Northern Region, spread throughout the Horn.

The Somalis’ expansion from the relatively small area they occupied in the north is believed to have begun in the fourteenth century and to have particularly intensified in the sixteenth. It continues to this day. The present migration southward is caused mainly by the increase in population and stocks and the search for better grazing areas. Most likely, similar pressures had been the cause of past Somali migrations as well, though in some periods, and notably, in the sixteenth century, the economic necessity was apparently supplemented by religious zeal for the spread of Islam. The history of the migrations of the last sixty years suggests that the expansion was carried out by the dual methods of assimilation and war. Some of the Gallas who inhabited the Horn before the Somali expansion were Islamized and assimilated into the Somali tribal structure; others were defeated in war and forced to vacate their lands. Among the first Somalis to move southward were the Hawiya tribe who took the coastal route and occupied around the fourteenth century their present habitat north of Mogadishu. From there, they expanded gradually westward and by the seventeenth century occupied areas between the Webi Shebeli and Juba, though Gallas remained to live among them. The Rahanwein Somalis made their appearance in the south about the same time, settling on the fertile lands along the rivers. A portion of the Darod tribe moved southward along the same coastal route, pushing the Hawiya farther south, and another branch moved westward into the Ogaden, driving the Issa and Ishaq Somalis northward toward the Gulf of Tajura. Some of the Ogaden Darod descended along the Juba river, displacing the Gallas and forcing them to move south and west into what is now Kenya. The Somalis first crossed the Juba sometime in the middle of the nineteenth century, and their expansion into northern Kenya has occurred within the last sixty years.[12]

Thus it came about that the Somalis inhabit today the area of approximately 374,000 square miles stretching from Jibuti in the north to the river Tana in the south, and from the Indian Ocean in the east to the Ethiopian highlands in the west. They number some 2,850,000. Estimates of population and territory are set forth in Table 1.

TABLE 1 Territorial Distribution of the Somali People

The Land and the People – Somali Nationalism


The ethnic composition of the population of the Horn of Africa— except for cosmopolitan Jibuti—is homogeneous: almost the entire population is Somali. There are, however, several minority groups.

From the point of view of their cultural impact, the most important minority are the Arabs. There are close to 35,000 Arabs scattered throughout the Horn—30,000 of them in the Southern Region of the Somali Republic. They are traders living in separate communities, mainly in the coastal towns, with a few dispersed groups in the interior. Some of these communities have been established for centuries, their ancestors having come from Yemen and the Hadramaut; others are more recent immigrants.[13]

There are also scattered Negroid groups in the Southern Region estimated in 1948 at 44,000.[14] Their origins are unknown and are the subject of various hypotheses. It is believed that they are remnants of pre-Hamitic inhabitants of the region and that their ranks were reinforced through intermarriage with large numbers of free slaves. They live in segregated communities along the Webi Shebeli and Juba, as well as in the area between them. The Somalis look upon them as an inferior race; yet in many respects, these communities form “an integral part of the total Somali social structure.” They are mainly agriculturists and hunters and live in a symbiotic relationship with the neighboring Somali tribes.[15]

In the Southern Region, there are also several smaller minorities. Two very small groups of mixed and unknown origins are the Amaranis and the Bajunis. The Amaranis are merchants and sailors and speak a Swahili dialect. They are concentrated mainly in Brava, though smaller communities are to be found in Merca, Mogadishu, and Afghoi. The Bajunis are mainly fishermen and live in Kismayu and the islands near it.[16]

There is also a small Indo-Pakistani population. Approximately 1200 Indians and Pakistanis, mainly traders, live in the Southern Region of the Somali Republic. In the Northern Region and in the Somali-inhabited portions of Kenya there are scattered Indian and Pakistani traders and government employees.[17]

The Europeans in the Horn are few in number. In December 1958 there were in Somalia approximately 3,000 Italians. Of these, 2,330 were permanent residents engaged in commerce and employed by various foreign-owned enterprises, and 536 were employed by the administration. After the attainment of independence in 1960— and even before—many of the Italian civil servants left the country. The rest of the European population in the Horn is largely British and does not exceed a few hundred.[18]


The presence of minority groups does not diminish Somali predominance in the Horn, nor detract from its ethnic homogeneity. The social and political cleavages in the region do not stem from the presence of minority groups but have their roots in the traditional structure of Somali society.

The majority of the Somalis, approximately 80 percent, are nomads who migrate according to the season to places where water and grazing are available. The nomadic tribesmen make their living by raising cattle and camels and in some areas sheep and goats. The animals provide food and transport, as well as the means of exchange for other necessary transactions, such as bride money and blood compensation. Occupational statistics are available only for Somalia, at a time before it became the Southern Region of the Somali Republic; this is the only territory with a sizable sedentary population. The figures are given in Table 2.

TABLE 2 Economic Activity, 1953, in Somalia (Now Southern Region of Somali Republic)

The Land and the People – Somali Nationalism

Permanent settlements in the Horn are relatively few. The largest are the coastal towns, which have served as ports and trading centers for many centuries. The most important of these is Mogadishu, the capital of the Somali Republic and the principal city of the Southern Region, with a population of 90,000. The second largest town is nearby Merca, with 62,000 inhabitants. Hargeisa, the administrative center of the Northern Region, is situated on high ground some distance from the Gulf of Aden and has a population of 45,000. Berbera, the principal seaport of the Northern Region, has 15,000 during the hot season and 30,000 during the cooler months. In the interior of the Horn, a number of small settlements have developed around religious schools and near wells and watering places.

In Western terms, the Somalis have not been greatly affected by urbanization, but in the African framework, their urbanization is moderately high. Mogadishu is the only place in the Horn that approaches a population of 100,000 but there are twenty-two with more than 5,000 inhabitants. The rate of urbanization is highest in the Southern Region (Somalia) where approximately 325,000 people, or about one-fourth of the population, live in towns of more than 5,000 inhabitants. The comparable figure for the remainder of the Somali-inhabited territories is 85,000, or 5.6 percent of the population. Thus the total for the Horn is approximately 410,000 people or 14 percent of the population. This figure includes semi-nomadic people who settle within townships during the dry season. These cannot be considered “urbanized” in the sense of having adopted a city or town way of life. Nevertheless, they are to some extent influenced by urban attitudes.[19]

The two most significant facts concerning Somali society are the Somalis’ belief in common ancestry and their segmentation. Their belief in common ancestry is at the root of Somali national solidarity. Their segmentation into lineage groups provides the key to the understanding of their politics.

The traditional genealogies of Somali tribes trace their origins to the Quraysh, the lineage of the Prophet Mohamed. The claim reflects the historical contact with Arabia and with Islam. Most probably small groups of Arab immigrants settled among the Somalis and intermarried with them. It is not surprising that the Somalis, being Moslem, developed a tradition of having descended from these immigrants, and ultimately, from the Prophet himself.[20]

From their common ancestor, the Somali people branch off into lineage groups, referred to here as “tribes.” The term “tribe” is here used loosely to denote an intermediate group—larger than the clan, yet smaller than the nation. There is no ethnic difference among Somali tribes. The Somalis’ view of their tribal relationships is analogous to the Old Testament version of the tribal segmentation of the Children of Israel.[21]

As the chart shows, there is a primary division in Somali society between Sab and Samaale. This differentiation not only is sociological but also is reflected in politics. The chart is primarily a genealogy, in the sense that all names on it are names of people who are considered ancestors of important Somali groups. The chart also shows present-day tribal divisions, since tribal names usually derive from the person who started the line. Names underlined twice represent the principal Somali tribes, and names underlined once represent their most important divisions.

Generally speaking, the Sab are cultivators, living mainly in the south, between the Juba and Webi Shebeli. They are descendants of formerly nomadic tribes, the first Somalis to migrate into that area and conquer the country from its previous Negroid and Galla inhabitants. The victorious Somalis were much influenced by the vanquished; Negroid and Galla physical and cultural features are noticeable among the Sab. The social organization of the Sab is much more hierarchical and formal than that of the Samaale. The Sab are considered “less warlike, less individualistic, more cooperative and more biddable” than their Samaale brethren.[22]

The Samaale are largely nomadic. They are the dominant element throughout the Horn, except in the fertile lands between the rivers. They are warlike people living in small, temporary hamlets, dismantling their huts and loading them on burden camels as they migrate. Because of the nomadic way of life, their social units are smaller and more self-sufficient than those of the Sab. The Samaale do not recognize clearly defined territorial units, and often families and clans of different tribes are interspersed in the same area. But the tribes do have “home wells” and traditional grazing areas which they inhabit according to the season. Thus, wells and grazing areas might be associated with particular tribes, but not to the exclusion of other tribes or clans which might use the same wells or graze their livestock in the same territory.[23]

The Land and the People – Somali Nationalism

Between the Samaale and the Sab there is some antipathy. I. M. Lewis relates that to the nomad, the Sab are masaafyin, poor not so much in material wealth as in spirit. Their greater respect for authority and Government, founded in their agricultural economy, is at complete variance with the nomadic ideal of the independence of the warrior. Equally, their interest in cultivation provides strong grounds for despisal. Even those westernized Somalis of nomadic origin, who recognize the contribution made by the Sab to the conquest of clanship and to the development of Somali nationalism in Somalia still seem to have a lingering feeling of superiority to the Sab.[24]

A third group, the outcaste sab, must also be mentioned.[25] The term sab denotes low caste and is used to designate three main groups: the Tumal, the Yibir, and the Midgan. The Tumal are blacksmiths making spears, arrows, horse bits, and other such articles. The Yibir are leather workers and the Midgan are hunters. All three groups have a reputation for witchcraft and magic. They are dispersed among the other Somali tribes and are attached to them in a client-patron relationship, the sab performing certain services for the “noble” tribes. There is no mixing or intermarriage between the sab and the patron tribes. The sab seem to accept their inferior status, a disposition reflected in the absence of traditions claiming “noble” ancestry. When questioned, the sab usually answer that their ancestor was found in the bush by the Somali patron tribe.[26]

Traditional political organization among Somali tribes is limited both in scope and in effect.

Among the Sab there often, though not always, exists a formal hierarchical organization of councils and headmen. Where these exist, they are charged with judging disputes, representing the tribe in its relations with other tribes, and organizing and supervising certain public works projects.

As for the nomadic Samaale, their political organization is less formal. Some tribes, though not all, have titular chiefs called Suldaan (sultan), garad, boqor, or ugaas. The chief represents his tribe in dealings with other tribes, and often aids in the settlement of disputes among the clans. The individual’s loyalty extends beyond his family to the “dia-paying group,” that is, the group which jointly pays and receives compensation for murder and other personal injury. These are fairly stable units, varying in size from a few hundred to a few thousand men. With the exception of the “diapaying groups” there are among the Samaale no permanent and stable traditional political units and no traditional formal political organizations. The absence of formal political organizations is probably the consequence of the nomadic way of life, characterized not only by mobility but also by the extreme fragmentation of tribes and clans.[27]


The conditions of life had their effect also on the molding of the Somali character. Generalizations on “national character” are ordinarily of questionable validity. However, the attention paid to the subject by a number of observers, and certain similarities in their descriptions, perhaps justify a few references to the subject. The Somali is invariably described as independent in nature, temperamental, and strikingly intelligent. R. E. Drake-Brockman, who studied the Somalis at the beginning of this century, told how he encountered a caravan in Kenya escorted by natives whom he could not identify. He queried the Muganda police corporal in his own entourage. The corporal replied: “Somalis, Bwana, they no good; each man his own Sultan.”[28] The traits of independence and reluctance to submit to authority have been ascribed to the living conditions, which are not conducive to the development of large social units with the hierarchy and interdependence that they entail. These living conditions tend rather to reward individual initiative and resourcefulness.[29]

By their physical characteristics, the Somalis are classified with the Ethiopie peoples. They are tall, with long legs, shortish arms, curly hair, and “complexion varying from intense pigmentation to very dark.” The Somalis are not as dark as the Negroes and differ from them also in their facial characteristics, having a “narrow, fairly sharp” face, long thin nose, and lips that are “rarely very thick.”[30] The Somalis, however, are not all racially uniform. Among the southern agricultural people one frequently encounters individuals with Negroid characteristics. In the coastal towns, there is a considerable admixture of Arab and Persian stock. These variations notwithstanding, the Somalis are clearly distinguishable by their physical features from their Bantu and Nilo-Hamitic neighbors to the south. On the other hand, it is difficult to distinguish them by their physical features from their Galla and Danakil neighbors to the west and north.


Culturally, there is much cohesion among the Somali people, distinguishing them from the neighboring tribes. They differ from their neighbors in their religion, their language, and to some extent in their customs and way of life.

The practice of Islam differentiates the Somalis from the Christian peoples of Ethiopia, and from the Christian and pagan peoples of Kenya. The Gallas who border on the Somalis in the southwest are mainly pagan. The distinction among the Somalis, the Danakils, and certain Galla tribes near Harar is less clear, since Islam is the religion of all these. Nevertheless, there are some variations among the three groups in their practice of Islam.[31]

Religious practice, for that matter, is not entirely uniform among the Somalis. The settled Somalis in the south are often more orthodox than the nomads. The nomadic Somalis are less regular in their prayers, yet perform certain formal duties of Islam and particularly enjoy certain social aspects of religion, such as celebrations of saints’ days. The religious practice of the nomads has been greatly influenced by Sufism (Moslem mysticism). Four Sufi orders are especially influential among the Somalis: the Qadiriyah, Ahmadiyah, Salihiyah, and Rifaiyah. The orders have established schools throughout the region, usually associated with the burial place of a saint. At times, the influence of an order and its leader can assume considerable proportions and may have political significance, as in the case of the Mullah Mohamed ibn Abdullah Hassan.[32]

The Somali language has been classified as Cushitic. It is related to Afar (spoken by the Danakils), the Galla languages, and other languages spoken along an arc encircling the eastern part of Ethiopia. There are numerous Somali dialects. Linguistically, they can be grouped into three main divisions: one, the dialects spoken by the Samaale nomads; the second, dialects spoken by the Sab agriculturists; the third, the dialects spoken by the inhabitants of the coastal towns of the Southern Region.[33] The dialects differ markedly both in pronunciation and in vocabulary. Nevertheless, Somalis speaking different dialects comprehend each other, and there is no language barrier to oral communications between individuals who may normally live a thousand miles apart.

A great obstacle to communications is the fact that Somali is only a spoken language. Various attempts to adapt an alphabet to Somali have been suspended because of the political controversy they aroused. Three alternative alphabets have been considered: Latin, Arabic, and a specially devised alphabet called Osmaniya (after its inventor Yusuf Kenadid Osman).[34] Sooner or later the political deadlock over this question will be resolved. In the meantime, the absence of an acceptable way of writing Somali creates great difficulties in administration and everyday life and is a barrier to cultural and literary development.

Besides the Somali language, Arabic, Italian, English, French, and Amharic are used throughout the area. Arabic is known by religious teachers and by a portion of the educated Somalis. It is widely used as a scholarly written language, and most newspapers have an Arabic section in addition to the Italian, English, or French text. The use of Italian, English, French, and Amharic is generally limited to official and administrative purposes.

Customs and the way of life are not uniform among all Somalis. As already noted, there is significant differentiation between settled and nomadic tribes. Moreover, customs often vary from place to place and tribe to tribe. The extent of the differentiation between the Somalis and the neighboring peoples is a subject requiring further study. In some cases, the distinction is pronounced. Whereas the Somali tribes of northern Kenya are nomadic, some of their Nilo-Hamitic and Bantu neighbors are settled cultivators. Nomadism distinguishes the Somalis also from the settled Amhara and Galla peoples of the Ethiopian highlands. Again the differences between the Somalis and the nomadic Gallas and Danakils are less clear. As a generalization, it might be said that the Somalis are not as warlike as the Danakils and some of the Galla tribes, and place less importance on killing; but it is often hard to distinguish the Somalis by custom and way of life from neighboring Gallas and Danakils. This is particularly the case in border zones, where there are considerable cross-influences. There are similarities between some Issa and Danakil clans. Settled Somalis in the Harar area bear a close resemblance to the local agricultural people known as Kotu, who probably derive from the amalgamation of Somalis and Gallas centuries ago. And in northern Kenya, cultural distinctions between neighboring Galla and Somali clans are not readily recognizable.

Yet, on the whole, the nature of the country inhabited by the Somalis and some of their cultural and physical traits impose upon them certain characteristics distinguishing them from the neighboring peoples. Does the existence of such characteristics mean that the Somalis ought to be regarded as a distinct and separate nation? The question is important, for the Somali claim to nationhood is at the core of the turbulent politics of the Horn of Africa.


[1] This section of the chapter is based mainly on the following sources: Somaliland Protectorate 7956-1957, pp. 46-49.

H. Deschamps, Côte des Somalis (Paris: Berger-Levrault, 1948), pp. 3-16.

Rapport sur la Somalie 1959, pp. 4-5.

Lewis, Peoples, pp. 56-58, 61-62.

[2] Rainfall figures, taken mainly from the above sources, are for various periods and for imprecisely defined areas and are mentioned here only as rough indications of conditions. The Kenya figures, which are four-year averages (1949-1952), are from [R. G. Turnbull], “Annual Report by the Provincial Commissioner on the Northern Province, 1952.”

[3] Somaliland Protectorate pp. 47-48. For a comprehensive study, see J. D. Clark, Prehistoric Cultures of the Horn of Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1954).

[4] For the Biblical references to Ophir see I Kings 9:26-28; II Chron. 8:18— 19; Job 28. See also A. Gasparro, La Somalia Italiana nell’ Antichita Classica (Palermo: Tipografia Francesco Lugaro, 1910), pp. 5-15, 19-31, 35—53; and The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, ed. Wilfred H. Schoff (New York: Longmans, Green & Co., 1912), pp. 26, 83-86.

[5] For a study of some of these chronicles, see E. Cerulli, Somalia: Scritti vari editi ed inediti, vol. I (Rome: A.F.I.S., 1957).

[6] Ibid., p. 46; Somaliland Protectorate 1954-1955, p. 39; Italy, Ministry of War, Somalia, vol. I (Rome, 1938), pp. 31-32.

[7] On the history of Mogadishu see Cerulli, vol. I, pp. 115-121, 135-137, 169-170, and on Merca, pp. 91-100. See also Gasparro, pp. 58-72.

[8] J. S. Trimingham, Islam in Ethiopia (London: Oxford University Press, 1952), p. 209/71; Lewis, Peoples, p. 13.

[9] Lewis, Peoples, pp. 13-14; C. Johnston, Travels in Southern Abyssinia (London: J. Madden & Co., 1844), vol. I, p. 13; and (on “Zumal”) R. E. Drake-Brockman, British Somaliland (London: Hurst & Blackett, 1912), p. 71.

[10] The term Hamitic is primarily a linguistic one. Its application to racial classification has been subject to some controversy. See C. G. Seligman, Races of Africa, third edition (London: Oxford University Press, 1957), pp. 85-112, 140-141; and J. H. Greenberg, “Studies in African Linguistic Classification: IV. Hamito-Semitic,” Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, vol. 6 (1950), pp. 55-58.

[11] I. M. Lewis, “The Galla in Northern Somaliland,” Rassegna di Studi Etiopici (Rome), vol. XV (1959), pp. 21-38.

[12] On the historic tribal migrations see Trimingham, pp. 5-9, 209-210; Lewis, Peoples, pp. 45-48; Lewis, “Political Movements,” p. 356. For recent examples of the southward movements see: Great Britain, Correspondence Respecting Abyssinian Raids and Incursions into British Territory (Cmd. 2553, 1924-1925), pp. 14-15, 24.

[13] Lewis, “Political Movements,” pp. 344-346; Rapport sur la Somalie 1959, p. 5. In the Somali portions of northern Kenya there were 653 Arabs in 1952.

[14] Four Power Commission, p. 5.

[15] Lewis, Peoples, pp. 41-42, 126-127 (the quotation is from p. 41); Trimingham, pp. 220-221; Cerulli, vol. II (1959), pp. 115-121.

[16] Lewis, Peoples, pp. 42-43.

[17] Rapport sur la Somalie 1959, p. 5. There were 95 Indians and Pakistanis in the Somali portions of northern Kenya in 1952.

[18] On the Italians, see Rapport sur la Somalie 1959, pp. 5, 211, 221. Most of the British are in the Northern Region of the Somali Republic. In the Somali-inhabited portions of northern Kenya in 1952 there were 21 Europeans, probably all of them government employees.

[19] Sources of population figures: Somaliland Protectorate 1956-1957, p. 7; Rapport sur la Somalie 1959, p. 213; The Statesman’s Yearbook,, 1959 (London: Macmillan & Co., 1959), p. 339. Some urbanization rates in other African territories are: South Africa 23.6 percent (African population only), Northern Rhodesia 18.4 percent, Southern Rhodesia 12.8, Ghana 12.0, Nigeria 9.4, Congo (former Belgian) 8.0. These figures are from G. A. Almond and J. S. Coleman, The Politics of the Developing Areas (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1960), p. 271. The relatively high urbanization rate of the Somalis is difficult to explain. The data are probably misleading to some extent since the population of most of the towns fluctuates seasonally. This, however, is at best only a partial explanation.

[20] Lewis, Peoples, pp. 15, 17; Lewis, “Political Movements,” p. 244; Trimingham, p. 211. These traditions are discussed in some detail in Lewis, “Somali Lineage,” pp. 78—89.

[21] On the use of the term “tribe,” compare J. S. Coleman, Nigeria, Background to Nationalism (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1958), pp. 427-428. On the Children of Israel see Genesis 46:8-27, 49:1-28. For a systematic definition of Somali kinship groups, see I. M. Lewis, “Clanship and Contract in Northern Somaliland,” Africa (London), July 1959·

[22] Lewis, “Political Movements,” pp. 245-250. For further details, see Lewis, Peoples, pp. 15-18, 31-50.

[23] Lewis, “Political Movements,” pp. 245-250; Lewis, “Somali Lineage,” pp. 15-36. For further information on the different Samaale tribes, see Lewis, Peoples, pp. 115-131.

[24] Lewis, “Somali Lineage,” p. 41.

[25] Following Lewis’s practice, we use sab when referring to these scattered outcaste peoples, and Sab when referring to the settled Dighil and Rahanwein tribes of the Southern Region.

[26] Lewis, Peoples, pp. 51-55; Cerulli (our note 5, above), vol. II (1959), pp. 95-99.

[27] On the Sab, see Lewis, “Somali Lineage,” pp. 25-28, 39-41. On the Samaale, ibid., pp. 30-41; and Lewis, “Political Movements,” p. 248.

[28] Drake-Brockman (our note 9, above), p. 102.

[29] Maj. H. G. C. Swayne, Seventeen Trips Through Somaliland (London: Rowland Ward, Ltd., 1900), pp. 16-18; J. Jennings and C. Addison, With the Abyssinians in Somaliland (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1905), pp. 225-230; Drake-Brockman, pp. 86-107; D. Jardine, The Mad Mullah of Somaliland (London: Herbert Jenkins, Ltd., 1923), pp. 23-24; Deschamps (our note i, above), pp. 35-37.

[30] Lewis, Peoples, pp. 131-132.

[31] Trimingham, passim; Lewis, Peoples, pp. 172-173.

[32] Trimingham, pp. 214-216; Lewis, Peoples, pp. 140-154. On the Sufi orders, and on saint worship, see Trimingham, pp. 233-256; I. M. Lewis, “Sufism in Somaliland: A Study in Tribal Islam,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (London), vol. XVII (1955), part 3, pp. 581-602, and vol. XVIII (1956), part 1, pp. 145-160. On the Mullah, see our Chapter 5.

[33] Lewis, Peoples, pp. 11-12; Cernili, vol. II, pp. 171-175; C. R. V. Bell, The Somali Language (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1953), p. 1; A. N. Tucker and M. A. Bryan, The Non-Bantu Languages of North-Eastern Africa (London: Oxford University Press for the International African Institute, 1956), pp. 125-126.

[34] Rapport sur la Somalie 1955, pp. 131-132. On Osmaniya see M. Maino, “L’Alphabeto ‘Osmania’ in Somalia,” Rassegna di Studi Etiopici (Rome), vol. X (1951), pp. 108-121; and I. M. Lewis, “The Gadabursi Somali Script,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, vol. XXI (February 1958). See also Martino M. Moreno, Il Somalo della Somalia (Rome: Istituto Poligrafico dello Stato, 1955), pp. 290-297; United Nations Visiting Mission to Trust Territories in East Africa, 1957, Report on Somaliland under Italian Administration (U.N. Doc. T/1344), p. 78; A. A. Castagno, “Somalia,” International Conciliation, no. 522 (March 1959), pp. 370-372.

To be continued …..

About This Book

In this first book on the emergence of Somali nationalism, Saadia Touval draws on extensive research and firsthand knowledge to explore the complex and dangerous situation in easternmost Africa. He describes the land and people, the spread of Somali tribes with their Moslem culture, the arrival of Europeans during the nineteenth century, the development of national consciousness, politics in the new Somali Republic and French Somaliland, problems presented by the Somalis of Kenya and Ethiopia, and the overriding question of boundary lines. Finally, he discusses the prospects for a peaceful solution.

About the Author(s)

Saadia Touval lectures on Political Science and African Politics at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

The book is worth buying: Available from De Gruyter

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.