Open menu | Puntland History Blog @puntland

69 Images
Puntite is a blog dedicated to Puntland State. It is brought to you in collaboration with the the Ministry of Culture and Heritage and the Puntland Historical Preservation Society . Located in northeast Somalia, Puntland state is widely viewed as the most peaceful and prosperous region in the country. - | Puntland History Blog (@puntland)
Puntland arts and culture week this week garowe @puntland

Puntland Arts and Culture Week

This week, Garowe played host to a successful arts & culture week which spanned the first week of June. The festivities were organized by the Ministry of Information, Communications, Culture & Heritage and brought together participants from the 9 regions of the state, in celebration of Somali culture & arts and the role they play in fostering peace and community-building.

Maalim jaamaa bilaal father of the modern @puntland

Ma’alim Jaama'a Bilaal - Father of the Modern Somali Education System

Born and raised in Yemen, Ma’alim Jaama’a Bilaal ( along with Haji Dirie Hersi) is credit for laying the foundation for the modern Somali education system. In Aden, he was educated in Arabic and English and became a teacher at a renowned school.

In the 1920s, Bilaal returned to Somalia to work as the secretary for Boqor Osman of the Migiurtinia Sultanate. He was based in Hafun where he wrote up treaties between the Boqor and the Italians until 1927, when the Italians bombarded the region and imprisoned Jaama’a Bilaal alongside Boqor Osman. He was then taken to Mogadishu, the capital of Italian Somaliland, for close observation by the Italians.

In 1932, with the help and financial backing of Haji Dirie Hersi, Bilaal returned to his first passion – teaching. The first school was in a modest building in the Iskuraran district of Mogadishu. Assuming his role as director, Ma’alim Jaama’a Bilaal differentiated the school from the typical traditional Koranic teaching school by introducing a modern type of teaching and a set curriculum. The curriculum was that of Aden, based on five books, including Hidayat al-Islam and a book for arithmetic. Students were also taught to read and write in Arabic and the native Osmaniya script. Open-minded Somalis sent their children to the school for modern education.

In 1941, the British occupiers of the country nationalized the school and moved it to Hamar Weyne, near the De Martino Hospital. When it became too small for the many students, they transferred it to Hamar Jajab. Senior Civil Affairs Officer Duncun, the official in charge of education, praised Jaama’a Bilaal and Haji Dirie Hersi for providing the foundation of modern education in the country. After the school was nationalized, the curriculum was extended to include English.

In 1950, when the Italians came back and began to prepare the country for independence, they took over the school and extended its curriculum for secondary schools. Many graduates of the Ma’alim Jaama’a Bilaal’s school went on to hold significant positions in post-Independence Somali governments. Bilaal revolutionized the Somali education system and by 1950, there were 29 similar schools in Mogadishu.

Hersi boqor leader of the rebellion in december @puntland

Hersi Boqor - Leader of The Rebellion

In December 1925, led by the charismatic leader Hersi Boqor, son of Boqor Cusmaan, the sultanate forces drove the Italians out of Hurdiyo and Hafun, two strategic coastal towns. Another contingent attacked and destroyed an Italian communications center at Cape Guardafui, at the tip of the Horn. In retaliation, and to demoralize the resistance, Italian warships were ordered to target and bombard the sultanate’s coastal towns and villages. In the interior the Italian troops confiscated livestock.

After a violent confrontation Italian forces captured Eyl, which until then had remained in the hands of Hersi Boqor. In response to the unyielding situation, Italy called for reinforcements from their other colonies, notably Eritrea. With their arrival at the closing of 1926, the Italians began to move into the interior where they had not been able to venture since their first seizure of the coastal towns. Their attempt to capture the Dharoor Valley was resisted, and ended in failure.

De Vecchi, the governor of Italian Somaliland, had to reassess his plans as he was being humiliated on many fronts. After one year of exerting full force he could not yet manage to gain total control over the sultanate. In spite of the fact that the Italian navy sealed the sultanate’s main coastal entrance, they could not succeed in stopping them from receiving arms and ammunition through it. It was only early 1927 when they finally succeeded in shutting the northern coast of the sultanate, thus cutting arms and ammunition supplies for Migiurtinia. By this time, the balance had tilted to the Italians’ side, and in January 1927 they began to attack with massive force, capturing Iskushuban, at the heart of Migiurtinia. Hersi Boqor unsuccessfully attacked and challenged the Italians at Iskushuban.  By the end of the 1927, the Italians had nearly taken control of the sultanate. Hersi Boqor and his troops retreated to Ethiopia in order to rebuild their forces, but were unable to retake their territories, effectively ending the Campaign of the Sultanates. Migiurtinia was the last region to fall to the Italian colonists.

Hurdiyo @puntland

Ruins of an Ancient Mosque

Ruins of an ancient Mosque in Hurdiyo, Bari.

The women of puntland a collection of photographs @puntland

The Women of Puntland

A collection of photographs from the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Oasis sayn yar village puntland @puntland

Oasis - Sayn Yar village, Puntland 

Habo xaabo puntland habo is a town steeped in @puntland

Habo (Xaabo), Puntland

Habo is a town steeped in history, but has been largely unexplored due to its remote location. Located east of Alula in the Bari province of Puntland, in the area known by the Romans as the Cape of Spices, Habo was an important place for the ancient cinnamon and Indian spice trade route. The town sustained damage during the Italian bombardment of the coastal regions in the late 1920s. 

Dr abdirashid ali sharmarke 1919 1969 dr @puntland

Dr. Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke ( 1919 -1969 )

Dr. Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke was born in 1919 to an aristocratic family in the Harardhere district of the Obbia Sultanate. He later moved to Mogadishu where he attended a government school and, after graduation, embarked on a career as a trader.

In May 1943 he became one of the early members of the first political party in Somalia – the Somali Youth League (SYL). The SYL’s founder, Yasin Haji Osman Sharmarke, was his first cousin. In 1944, when the British were in control of the administration of his country, Abdirashid entered the civil service. He continued to serve in the government service after 1950, when Somalia became a UN Trust Territory under Italian administration, rising to the position of Chief of the Department of Finance. While engaged in the government service by day, he pursued his education at night at the School of Public Administration in Mogadishu. He later earned a scholarship to study at the prestigious Sapienza University of Rome where he obtained a Ph.D. in Political Science in 1958.

After returning to Somalia in 1959, he was elected to the Legislative Assembly from the Gardo (Qardho) district. When Somalia gained its independence on July 1, 1960, he was appointed by President Aden Abdulle Osman as the Prime Minister of the Somali Republic. Sharmarke’s duties as Prime Minister saw him travel abroad extensively in pursuit of a non-aligned and neutral foreign policy. He remained Prime Minister until March 1964, when the first general elections were held.

The 1967 Presidential elections, conducted by a secret poll of National Assembly members, pitted former Prime Minister Sharmarke against President Aden Abdulle Osman. The central issue was moderation versus militancy on the pan-Somali question. Osman had stressed priority for internal development. Sharmarke, who had served as Prime Minister when pan-Somalism was at its height, was elected President of the Republic of Somalia. The new President nominated as Prime Minister Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal, who raised cabinet membership from thirteen to fifteen members and included representatives of every major clan family.

In September 1968, Somalia and Ethiopia agreed to establish commercial air and telecommunication links. The termination of the state of emergency in the border regions, which had been declared by Ethiopia in February 1964, permitted the resumption of free access by Somali pastoralists to their traditional grazing lands and the reopening of the road across Ethiopian territory between Mogadishu and Hargeysa. With foreign affairs a less consuming issue, the government’s energy and the country’s meager resources was now applied more effectively to the challenges of internal development. However, the relaxation of tensions had an unanticipated effect. The conflict with its neighbors had promoted Somalia’s internal political cohesion and solidified public opinion at all levels on at least one issue. As tension from that source subsided, old cleavages based on clan rivalries became more prominent. Resentment and discontent grew. It was during Abdirashid and Egal’s administration that the mass of Somalis became irrevocably alienated from the political system.

In 1968, President Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke would narrowly escape the first attempt on his life when a grenade exploded near the car that was transporting him back from the airport. Of the dissatisfied groups, the most significant element was the military who, since 1961, had remained outside politics. It had done so partly because the government had not called upon it for support and partly because, unlike most other African armed forces, the Somali National Army had a genuine external mission in which it was supported by all Somalis - that of protecting the borders with Ethiopia and Kenya.

The stage was set for a coup d'état. On October 15, 1969, the second attempt on President Sharmarke’s life would prove to be fatal. The President had been touring the country to witness the effects of a severe drought. During a stopover in Las Anod, police constable Abdulkadir Abdi Mohamed, a 22-year-old policeman who was sent to Las Anod on security strengthening for the Presidential visit, assassinated the President sending the country into shock.

At the time, Prime Minister Egal was overseas on an official visit, but upon his return Egal convened with members of his party to decide who should be Sharmarke’s replacement. After careful deliberation, the decision was made to replace Sharmarke with Haji Muse Boqor. The decision, especially when it became apparent that the selection would be confirmed by the National Assembly, angered certain members of the military.

On October 21, 1969, while the country had just finished observing the traditional 5 days of mourning, members of the military took over strategic points in Mogadishu, rounded up government officials, suspended the constitution, abolished the National Assembly, and banned political parties, effectively putting an end to the brief period of democracy in Somalia. Sharmarke would be the last democratically elected President of Somalia.

Ancient door bandar qasim bosaso puntland @puntland

Ancient Door - Bandar Qasim ( Bosaso), Puntland 

A beautifully crafted ancient door in the traditional Arab-influenced architectural style popular in the coastal regions of Puntland. ( Photo date: 1925).

The ruins of bandar ziyada bandar qasim bandar @puntland

The Ruins of Bandar Ziyada & Bandar Qasim

Bandar Qasim ( Bosaso), known as Mosylon by the ancient Greeks, is a strategically located port city in the Bari region of Puntland. The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea indicates that ancient Greek merchants sailed to Bandar Qasim, providing notes about the strategic and geographical location.

Located just outside of Bandar Qasim, Bandar Ziyada (Qaw) is an ancient town that was active in the Horn of Africa’s ancient trade system. The town was destroyed by the British colonialists when colonial rule divided the Somali territory into five parts since it lay on the borderline between British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland.

Statue of sayyid mohammed abdullah hassan after @puntland

Statue of Sayyid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan 

After independence a statue in honor of Sayyid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan and his favourite horse Hiin-Faniin was erected in Mogadishu. Following the collapse of the national government in 1991, the statue was destroyed by looters and its parts sold as scrap metal.

Dhuudo bari puntland @puntland

Dhuudo, Bari - 1975

Dhuudo is a historic village located 100 km east of Qardho town in the Bari region of Puntland.

Qandala bari 1984 qandala is an ancient port @puntland

Qandala, Bari - 1984

Qandala is an ancient port city located on the Gulf of Aden. A diary dated to 50 CE indicates that Qandala was a trade centre for cinnamon and spices. This trade seems to be evidence that the people were seafarers who traveled to the Far East, as far as present-day India and China.

Apart from gums, ivory, animal skins and incense, the rise of the coastal trading post was due to the commercial opportunities the port generated. Ancient migration routes joined Gulf countries to Qandala. Archaeological evidence suggests that Qandala may have been an important trading center in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, participating in East Africa’s trade with the Middle East and Asia. Qandala City’s early name was “Gacanka Hodonka”, which means Gulf Of Prosperity referring to the Qandala community and to the successful traders of East Africa. One of the largest exports of Qandala is a traditional gum, which is exported to several countries in the Arabian Peninsula, Asia and Australia. 

Taleh sool 1975 the ruins of the ancient city @puntland

Taleh, Sool - 1975

The ruins of the ancient city of Taleh ( Taleex), a historical town in the northeastern Sool region of Puntland. It served as the headquarters of the pre-independence Dervish movement. It’s renown for its large fort which was built around a collection of Dervish tombs, the earliest of which was that of Carro Seed Magan, the mother of Mohammed Abdulla Hasan.

Northeastern bari puntland 1890 1935 a @puntland

Northeastern Bari, Puntland ( 1890 - 1935)

A collection of illustrations from the Alula - Cape Guardafui area.

Sultan ali yusuf keenadiid 1926 sultan ali @puntland

Sultan Ali Yusuf Keenadiid - 1926

Sultan Ali Yusuf Keenadiid ( son of Sultan Yusuf Ali Keenadiid) and other elders in Mogadishu soon after the Italian colonists captured Obbia and exiled them to the capital of Italian Somaliland.

First hoisting of somali flag in 1954 location @puntland
First hoisting of Somali flag in 1954 ( Location: Scusciuban,Bari).

Birth of The Somali Flag

Today marks the 58th anniversary of the adoption of the flag of the Somali people. The flag was created by Somali scholar Mohammed Awale Liban after he had been selected by the Somali labour trade union to come up with a design in preparation for independence. It was officially adopted on October 12, 1954.

The five-pointed white Star of Unity in its center represents the Somali ethnic group found in Djibouti, the Ogaden region in Ethiopia, the North Eastern Province in Kenya, and the former British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland territories ( present-day Somalia).

The flag’s light blue backdrop was originally influenced by the flag of the United Nations, in recognition of the UN’s role in Somalia’s transition to independence during the trusteeship period.

Coastal sanaag bari puntland mid to late @puntland

Coastal Sanaag & Bari, Puntland - Mid to late 1840s

Illustrations done by French explorer Charles Guillain, between 1846 and 1848, during his visits to the coastal Sanaag and Bari regions of Puntland.

Hafun fort 1920s @puntland

Hafun, Puntland - 1920s

The bombardment of Hafun Fort by Italian forces.

Eyl puntland 1960 @puntland

Eyl, Puntland - 1960

Eyl is an ancient town situated near the Hafun peninsula. This isolated coastal town once served as the capital of the Dervish state.

The tombs of taleh @puntland

The Tombs of Taleh (Taleex)

The tombs of the relatives of the Dervish movement including Carro Seed Magan, mother of Sayid Mohammed Abdalla Hasan ( leader of the Dervish movement). The famous fort of Taleh was later built around the collection of the Dervish tombs.

Coastal puntland cape of spices 1880 part 2lgoo @puntland

Coastal Puntland - 1880 (Part 2)

The above are illustrations by a French explorer who visited several coastal towns and villages in the “Cape of Spices” (the north-eastern tip of Africa).

Coastal puntland cape of spices 1880 @puntland

Coastal Puntland - 1880 (Part 1)

The above are illustrations by a French explorer who visited several coastal towns and villages in the “Cape of Spices” (the north-eastern tip of Africa).

Bosaso bandar qasim qaw 1920s @puntland

The Greater Bosaso area ( Bandar Qasim & Qaw), Puntland - 1920s

Eyl puntland @puntland

Eyl, Puntland.

Eyl is a sleepy fishing town in the Nugaal district of Puntland and the home of many historical artifacts. Fun fact: it was also the site of the first professional archaeological excavation in Somalia.

Raas binna @puntland

Raas Binna ( Ras Binnah), Puntland.

South of Baargaal (Bari region), Raas Binna is a cape that consists of a rocky, steep cliff about 154m high. When seen from the north, this point looks like an island. A lagoon stands close to Binna and the coast between the cape and Surat Village, about 21 miles south, is low, sandy and covered with bushes.

Caluula 1927 @puntland

Caluula (Alula), Puntland.

These images where taken 1927 in the Caluula district of eastern Bari after the Italians captured the former town from the Boqor (King) of Migiurtinia and his troops.

Nugaal valley @puntland

Nugaal Valley, Puntland.

The Nugaal Valley is a shallow valley, long and broad, with an extensive network of seasonal watercourses. During the April-June rainy season it is fed by the Nugaal and Dheere seasonal rivers.

Dry river bed bari puntland @puntland

An aerial of dry river beds in eastern Bari, Puntland.

Hafun puntland beach @puntland

Hafun (Xaafuun), Puntland.

Hafun is a 40 km long low-lying peninsula in the northeastern Bari region of Puntland. Many of its residents are fishermen who rely on their daily catch for sustenance. 

Somalia first flag hoisting @puntland

The image depicts the first hoisting of the Somali flag in 1954 ( shortly after its creation). The photo was taken in Baargaal, Puntland during the Italian Trusteeship Administration.

Migiurtinia post card @puntland

A postcard from the colonial era.

An Italian postcard depicting the Miguirtina region ( presently known as Bari, Puntland).

Las khorey laasqoray puntland man stands at @puntland

Las Khorey (laasqoray), Puntland.

Man stands at the window of an old mosque. Las Khorey is home to one of the oldest mosques in Somalia.

Picturesque galgala puntland galgala bari @puntland

Picturesque Galgala, Puntland.

Galgala, Bari, Puntland. Photo taken in 1973 as the sun rises from behind the Galgala mountains.

Goldogob galdogob puntland famous for its @puntland

Goldogob (Galdogob), Puntland:

Famous for its red sandy plains, this growing town located in central Somalia (towards the southern border of Puntland) is the gateway to Somali region of Ethiopia.

The women of puntland a rare photo of two somali @puntland

The women of Puntland:

A rare photo of two Somali women in the Bari region of what is today known as Puntland ( taken in 1912).

Lama daye falls sanaag puntland lama daye @puntland

Lama Daye Falls, Sanaag, Puntland.

Lama Daye Falls, located in Eastern Sanaag, is one of the hidden gems of the Puntland region.

Historic bosaso boosaaso puntland a group of @puntland

Historic Bosaso (Boosaaso), Puntland.

A group of women walk past the ruins of a castle in Bosaso. The port city was known as Mosylon by the ancient Greeks and is home to many ancient structures. ( Photo taken in the mid-1980s).

The sleeping lion of cape guardafui cape @puntland

The sleeping lion of Cape Guardafui.

Cape Guardafui ( aka Ras Aseyr), known in ancient times as the Cape of Spices, is the northern most point in Somalia. Approaching the Cape from the South one see the natural rock formation of the cape (a lion couchant).

Drivinghroughbari @puntland

Driving through the rolling hills of Bari.

Bari is the largest province in Somalia and one of the least explored. From “the sleeping lion” of Cape Guardafui to the farms of Galgala, the region is rich in both  history and beauty.

Hirsimagan @puntland

Hirsi Magan Isse (Xirsi Magan Ciise).

Born in 1935, was one of the first Somalis to graduate from an Ivy League university ( Columbia University). A trained linguist and anthropologist by profession, Isse was one of the leading advocates for the adoption of the Cismaaniya alphabet as the national script for the Somali language. Cismaaniya was one the only indigenous script in contention but it was rejected for political reasons. In 2008, Hirsi passed away in London, England.

Iskushuban scusciuban puntland this ancient @puntland

Iskushuban( Scusciuban), Puntland.

This ancient royal seat, located in northeastern Bari, is an stunning oasis filled with springs, palm trees and waterfalls. Its name comes its strategic location - straddling the meeting point of two rivers.

Illig @puntland

Illig (Ilig),Puntland.

This historic fishing village, located in Eyl district, is renown for its white sandy beach and crystal blue ocean. href="" name="_ftnref76" title="" id="_ftnref76"

Boocame puntland boocame is an ancient town in @puntland

Boocame, Puntland.

Boocame is an ancient town in the district of the same name. It is located in the Sool region of Puntland and serves as the commercial centre for the largely agricultural surrounding communities.

Bixin puntland located north of garowe the @puntland

Bixin, Puntland.

Located north of Garowe ( the capital of Puntland), Bixin is a small but growing farming community.

Laag spring puntland located a short drive from @puntland

Laag Spring, Puntland.

Located a short drive from Bosaso, Laag is a popular tourist location especially during the summer holidays.

The beaches of puntland puntland has a 1600 km @puntland

The Beaches of Puntland.

Puntland has a 1600 km long coastline which is abundant with fish and other natural marine resources.

Fishermen in the commercial capital of puntland @puntland

Fishermen in the commercial capital of Puntland ( Boosaaso / Bosaso).

Somali man harvesting myrrh from a tree did you @puntland

Somali man harvesting myrrh from a tree.

Did you know that Somalia is the worlds largest producer of myrrh? In Ancient Egyptian history, the land of Punt was renowned for its myrrh and during Queen Hatshepsuts famous expedition to the land of Punt in the 18th dynasty, myrrh trees were dug up and brought to Egypt. Today, most of Somalia’s myrrh ends up in Southern Europe (The Vatican in particular) to be used in Christian rituals.

Abscir dorre abshir dhore siyad muhammad @puntland

Abscir Dorre (Abshir Dhore):

Siyad Muhammad Abdalla Hasan’s brother-in-law and deputy commander of the notorious Dervish movement.

Sheikh ali abdurahman sheikh ali mijjurtein @puntland

Sheikh Ali Abdurahman (Sheikh Ali Mijjurtein):

Sheikh Mijjurtein, born 1787 in what is now Puntland was one of the great Muftis of Somalia, settling in the Merca to spread the religion. The Sheikh died in 1852 at the age of 65.

Couple taking a stroll on the beach bandar bayla @puntland

Couple taking a stroll on the beach (Bandar Bayla, Puntland).

Hafun puntland once the bustling capital of @puntland

Hafun, Puntland:

Once the bustling capital of Italian Somaliland, it bears the scars of the World War 2 battle in which the British bombed and seized the town from Mussolini’s forces. The town was flattened once again by the deadly tsunami wave of 2004.

The sultanate of obbia hobyo the sultanate @puntland

The Sultanate of Obbia ( Hobyo ).

The Sultanate of Obbia was a 19th century Somali kingdom in present-day central Somalia established by Sultan Yusuf Ali Kenadid cousin of the Boqor Uthman Mahamud, the ruler of the Kingdom of Miguirtina.

Biyokulule bio kulule puntland biyokulule is @puntland

Biyokulule ( Bio-Kulule), Puntland.

Biyokulule is a hot spring a short distance from Bosaso (10 km). It is a tourist hotspot because of the abundant palm trees and the naturally boiled water that flows freely from the spring as a stream and then collects to three different pools were people take baths.

The sultan of somaliland sultan mohamoud ali @puntland

The Sultan of Somaliland.

Sultan Mohamoud Ali Shire (Maxamuud Cali Shiire) was the 26th Sultan of the Warsangeli Sultanate, reigning from 1897 to 1960.

Also known as the Gerad, the Sultan was the sole regent and governor of the sultanate. He also enjoyed many other titles, including “Sovereign of the House of North East of Somaliland Sultanate” and “Sultan of Sultans of Somaliland”.

Somalia cusmaan yuusuf left creator of the @puntland


Cusmaan Yuusuf (left) creator of the Osmanya Script with his nephew Yaasiin. Yaasiin was influential in the Somali linguistic circles during the 1950s at a time when a national writing language hadn’t been chosen. 

Caluula @puntland

Caluula ( Aluula), Puntland.

Caluula is a port town in the northeastern Bari region of Puntland, west of Cape Guardafui, at the extremity of the Horn of Africa. During the mid-1800s to early 1900s, the city served as the capital of the Miguirtina Kingdom.