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Somaliland, Italian

SOMALILAND, ITALIAN Italian Somaliland extends on the coast from Bandar Ziyada, a point on the Gulf of Aden intersected by 49 E., eastward to Cape Guardafui, and thence southward to the mouth of the river Juba in o 15' S. Bounded N. and E. by the Indian Ocean it is separated S. from British East Africa by the Juba. Westward it is bounded by Abyssinian and British Somaliland. From the east coast the protectorate extends inland from 100 to 300 m.

The coast-line is largely rock-bound and little indented, and throughout the 1200 m. of its extent there is not one good harbour. The northern shore, along the Gulf of Aden, is backed by tablelands separated by the beds of mountain torrents generally dry. From the table-land rise hills, such as Jebel Kurma, which have an altitude of 4000 ft. or more. The coast rises in a succession of hills (fringed by a narrow margin of beach) until Cape Guardafui is reached. Cape Guardafui isin 11 75' N., 51 26'32*E., and forms, as it were, the tip of the Horn of Africa. The cape, which faces north and east, presents on its northern face a nearly vertical wall of rock rising from the sea to a height of 900 ft. The water is deep right to the base of the cliff and owing to the winds and the strength of the ocean currents, navigation is dangerous. The headland is known to the Somali as Girdif or Yardaf whence in all probability comes the European form Guardafui. But in the lingua^ franca of the Levant the Italian word guarda means " beware," a meaning also attached to the Portuguese word guardafu.

Rounding Guardafui the coast trends southwards, and some 90 m. from that cape is Ras Hafun or Medudda the most easterly point of the continent of Africa being in 10 45' S., 51 27' 52* E., or about a mile and a half east of Guardafui. Ras Hafun consists of a rocky peninsula rising 600 ft. above the sea, and is connected with the mainland by an isthmus 12 m. long. A little south is the mouth of the Darror, a usually dry watercourse with a length of over 200 m., which rises, as the Gebi, in the north-east of the British protectorate. From this point a zone of upheaved coral rocks skirts the shore for some distance.

Chief Towns. The chief towns are on the coast. They are Mukdishu (q.v.), pop. about 5000, Brava (4000), Marka (5000), Warsheik (3000) and Yub. These are all in the southern part of the protectorate between o 15' S. and 2 19' N., and are known generically as El-Benadir (the ports), a name also applied to the coast between the ports. Yub (Jub) is a small town at the mouth of the Juba river. In every case the port is much exposed and unapproachable for months together. Obbia, 5 22' N., and Illig in 7 6p' N., are points of departure for the Ogaden and Dolbahanta countries. Alula, on the Gulf of Aden, is the chief town of the Mijertin Somali.

In the interior is Lugh, a populous city on the left bank of the Juba, about 240 m. from the coast, and further inland is Dolo at the confluence of the Daua and Ganale to form the Tuba. These places are entrepots for the trade of the interior, especially with the Boran district.

In the coast towns of the eastern seaboard there are Swahili, Arab and Indian settlements, and tribes, such as the Amaran, of mixed Arab and Somali blood.

Agriculture and Trade. Though much of the land is barren, the soil is fairly fertile in the valleys of the Webi Shebeli and Wad? Nogal. But the most fertile district is the valley of the lower Juba, where for over loo m. is a strip of land varying from a few hundred yards to some 4 m. wide, annually inundated by the rise of the river. Here are cultivated rich crops of millet and other grains. In other districts lack of water impedes cultivation, though after the rains pasturage is abundant, and resinous plants are so varied and numerous as to justify the ancient name of the region.

Ivory, cattle, butter, coffee, cotton, myrrh, gums and skins are exported from the Benadir country. In the northern ports there is a similar but smaller trade and one also in ostrich feathers. The chief imports are textile fabrics, rice and petroleum. During 1896-1897 the value of the Benadir trade was 120,000; in 1906- 1907 it had risen to over 250,000.

History. The Somali coast, as has been seen, early fell under Moslem influence. The towns on the eastern seaboard, of which Mukdishu and Brava were the chief, formed part of the Zenj " empire " (see ZANZIBAR) and shared its fate, being conquered in turn by the Portuguese (16th century), the imans of Muscat (t7th century), and the sultans of Zanzibar (1866). On account, probably, of the inhospitable nature of the shore the northern portion of the protectorate appears to have been little subject to hostile invasion. By treaties with Somali sultans in 1889 and by subsequent agreements with Great Britain, Zanzibar and Abyssinia, the coast east of the British Somali protectorate fell within the Italian Sphere of influence (see AFRICA, 5) . In August 1892 the sultan of Zanzibar leased the Benadir ports of Italy for fifty years. They were administered first by the Filonardi Company, and from 1898 by the Benadir Company. By an agreement dated the 13th of January 1905 the sultan of Zanzibar ceded his sovereign rights in the Benadir ports to Italy in return for the payment of a lump sum of 144,000. Thereafter the Italian government assumed the direct administration of the ports, a purely commercial undertaking replacing the Benadir Company. In 1905 also Great Britain leased to Italy a piece of land near Kismayu to facilitate communications with the Benadir country. In 1908 a royal decree placed that part of the country between the Juba and the sultanate of Obbia under a civil governor.

A notable event in the history of the protectorate was the co-operation of the Italian authorities in the campaigns against the Mullah Abdullah. In 1904 negotiations were opened with the mullah by the Italians, and by arrangement with the sultan of Obbia and the sultan of the Mijertins the territory between Ras Aswad and Ras Bowen, which was claimed by both parties, was handed over to the mullah. This region, that of the lower Nogal, included the port of Illig. Here Mahommed b. Abdullah established himself under Italian surveillance, and by an agreement dated the sth of March 1905, peace was declared between the mullah, the Italians, British and Abyssinians, and all other Somali tribes. In 1908-1909, however, fighting was renewed, the mullah and the Mijertins failing to agree. Italian (native) troops were sent to the district to restore order. The mullah also attacked tribes living in the British protectorate (see 2).

The station of Lugh, the most advanced point occupied by Italy, had been founded by Captain Bottego in 1895. After the treaty of Adis Adowa, recognizing the independence of Abyssinia, had been concluded in 1896, negotiations were opened for defining the Italian-Abyssinian frontier in the Somali regions. In 1897 an agreement was come to that from the point on the British Somaliland frontier where 47 E. intersected 8 N. the frontier line should be drawn, at a distance of about 180 m. from the Indian Ocean, to the Juba. At the close of 1907 the Negus Menelik, in return for a pecuniary indemnity (120,000), agreed to a modification of the 1897 line, whereby the Italian protectorate was extended north of Lugh to Dolo. From Dolo the frontier goes east to the Webi Shebeli, whence the 1897 line is followed to the British-Abyssinian frontier. By this arrangement (ratified by a convention dated the 16th of May 1908) the Benadir coast obtained a suitable hinterland.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. a. General descriptions, history and books of travel. G. Ferrand, Les Comdlis (Paris, 1903), a brief but comprehensive survey; R. Burton, First Footsteps in East Africa (London, 1856) ; F. L. James, The Unknown Horn of Africa (London, 1888) ; H. G. C. Swayne, Seventeen Trips through Somaliland (yd ed., London, 1903), perhaps the best general book on the country, contains a special fauna section; G. ReVoil, La Vallee de Darror (Paris, 1882) and Dix mois a la c6te orientate d'Afrique (Paris, 1888) ; A. Donaldson Smith, Through Unknown African Countries (London, !897); V. Bottego, II Guiba esplorato (Rome, 1895); L. RobecchiBricchetti, Somalia e Benadir . . . Prima traversata della Somalia italiana (Milan, 1899) and Nel paese degli Aromi (Milan, 1903), M. Guillain, Documents sur I'histoire . . . de I'Afrigue orientale (Paris, n.d. [1856]) ; P. Paulitschke, Harar (Leipzig, 1888).

b. Ethnology, flora, fauna, geology, etc. P. Paulitschke, Ethnographie Nordost-Afrikas. Die materielle Cultur der Dan&kil, Galla und Somal, vol. ii. (Berlin, 1893). Die geistige Cultur der Dan&kil, etc. (1896), and Beitrage zur Ethnographie und Anthropologie der Somal, Galla und Harrari (Leipzig, 1886), containing fine plates; H. M.'Abud, Genealogies of the Somal . . . (London, 1896); A. Engler on the flora in the Sitzungsberichte of the Prussian Academy of Science, Nos. x.-xii. (1904); G. ReVoil, Faune et flore des pays Somalis (Paris, 1882); C. V. A. Peel, Somaliland . . . with a complete list of every animal and bird known to inhabit that country . . . (London, 1900), and " On a collection of Insects and Arachnids " in Proc. Zool. Soc. (1900); R. E. Drake-Brockman, The Mammals of Somaliland (London, 1910); J. W. Gregory, "The Geology of Somaliland," Geol. Mag. (1896).

c. Language. Leo Reinisch, Die Somalie Sprache (Vienna, 1900, et seq.); F. M. Hunter, Grammar of the Somal Language (Bombay, 1880); E. de Larajasse and C. de Sampont, A Practical Grammar of the Somali Language (London, 1897) ; E. de Larajasse, Somali-English and English-Somali Dictionary (London, 1897).

d. For the various protectorates, (i) British the annual reports issued by the Colonial Office, London ; Official History of the Operations in Somaliland, 1(101-1904 (2 vols., London, 1907) ; War Office maps on the scale of 1:1,000,000, also sketch map 1:3,000,000 (1907). (2) French protectorate L'Annee coloniale (Paris); L. Henrique, Les Colonies franc_aises (Obock) (Paris, 1899) ; L. de Salma, Obock (Paris, 1893); Carte de la cote franchise des Somalis, I :Soo,ooo (Paris, 1908). (3) Italian protectorate Somalia italiana, 1885-1805 (official " Green Book "); C. Rossetti, Somalia italiana settentrionale, with map (Rome, 1906); U. Ferrandi, Seconda spedizione Bottego: Lugh empprio commerciale sul Giuba (Rome, 1903).

The Bibliografia etiopica of G. Fumagalli (Milan, 1893) includes works dealing with Somaliland. (F. R. C.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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