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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. - Puntite.com | Puntland History Blog (@puntland)
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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.

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