Warning This Artical Contains Many Inaccurate Information About The Somali Clans Especially The Dir Clan.
Reunification of the Somali People
Jack L. Davies
The Somali Ethnic Group and Clan System <103>
Table of Contents
Ethnic Origins of the Somali People
Founding the Somali Ethnic Group
The Clan Structure of the Somali People
A.4.1 Ethnic Origins of the Somali People
Almost all of the many different ethnic groups on the Horn of Africa trace their origins on the male side either
as Hamitic people back to Ham, the second son of Noah or
as Semitic people back to Shem, the first son of Noah.
The Somali people are one of several Hamitic ethnic groups in East Africa known as Cushites, descendants of the Kingdom of Cush. Their language is also one of several related languages referred to as Cushitic languages. As Hamites, they probably migrated from the Arabian Peninsula sometime earlier. One can speculate that the Kingdom of Cush was originally founded by Cush, the first son of Ham, who was the second son of Noah.<104> According to the elders of the Beja ethnic group in Ethiopia, another Cushitic ethnic group, they do explicitly claim to be descendents of Cush, the son of Ham, the son of Noah.<105>
The Kingdom of Cush was formed about 1000 B.C., i.e. about 30 to 40 generations before Christ. It lasted until about 330 A.D, with a lifespan of about 1300 years or 40 to 50 generations -- much longer than that of any modern nation. Its written language has never been deciphered completely and therefore there is only scanty knowledge about its history.<106> Since the language of Egypt at that time has been deciphered, much of what we know about Cush is due to incidental references to Cush in the history of Egypt as its neighbor.
The Kingdom of Cush was the immediate neighbor of Egypt to the South, in what is now the Sudan. Its first capital was in Napata on the Nile River, but the capital moved from Napata to Meroë around 600 B.C. There was much trade and interchange of ideas between Egypt and Cush, as well as major battles between them. Prior to formation of this Kingdom, the Cushitic people may have been largely dominated by Egypt. During the existence of this Kingdom, there was a closer balance of power, back-and-forth, whereby the Kingdom of Cush supplied the Kings who ruled Egypt in its 25'th Dynasty.<107>
The Kingdom of Cush played a major role in introducing the technology and production of iron and iron implements in this region. However, the history of the beginning of the Iron Age is unclear, particularly concerning whether this technology developed at one location and spread to other locations or developed spontaneously at several different locations at about the same time. It appears that the Cushites developed this technology for producing and using iron themselves, but there is no firm proof.
The move of their capital from Napata to Meroë was probably due to the combination of an Egyptian military expedition that occupied Napata and the better conditions for producing iron at Meroë.
Warning This Artical Contains Many Inaccurate Information About The Somali Clans Especially The Dir Clan.
The Kingdom of Cush exchanged ambassadors with Rome and probably provided elephants and training of elephants for military use in the Roman empire and by its adversaries. It maintained extensive trade with Arabia to its East and with Africa to its South. From a high point of about 200 B.C., the fortunes of the Kingdom of Cush declined, particularly due to the growing power of the Auxumites from Auxum (located in the province of Tigray of modern Ethiopia). Their military defeat of the Cushites around 330 A.D. appears to have marked the end of the Kingdom of Cush.
The origin of the Auxumites appears to have been as Saebean settlers, who crossed the Red Sea from Southern Arabia around 1000 B.C. and who intermarried with local African people. Their famous "Queen of Sheba" (sometimes "Queen of Saba" or "Queen of the South") went to Jerusalem at the time of King Solomon.<108,109> According to legend, the Ethiopian monarchy was founded by Menelik I, who is supposed to be a son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Emperor Haile Selasse of Ethiopia claimed to be in the 225'th generation.<110>
Again according to legend, Menelik I is also also supposed to have visited his father, King Solomon, for one year as a young man for his Bar Mitzvah. When he returned to Auxum, King Solomon sent a bodyguard with him, consisting of the eldest sons of the elders. The Falasha Jews of Ethiopia claim to be descendents of this bodyguard. It is also conceivable that the larger Hamitic Agaw ethnic group, with whom the Falashas live, could also have the same descent, since they have been surrounded by the Semitic Amharas. Judaism< may actually have come to the Horn of Africa during the reign of King Solomon, where it is still practiced in its pre-Talmudic form.<111>
The Orthodox Church of Ethiopia has been associated with the Coptic Church of Egypt some of the time. Christianity was changed and adapted by the Orthodox Church of Greece and the Roman Catholic Church of Rome as it spread from Israel to Europe. The same process took place in adapting the original Christian faith of Israel in the first few hundred years after Christ to the Horn of Africa. It assimilated some elements of local religions, the same as the Christian faith assimilated some elements of European religions as it migrated into Europe. Therefore, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church today appears from a European perspective to have many elements of Judaism and local religious components integrated within it. It is possible that it is closer to the original Christian faith in Israel at the time of Christ than the Roman Catholic Church.
The Auxumites developed their own written language, Ge'ez, written differently from their original Saebean language, from left to right and including diacritical markings. It is still used in Ethiopia today, particularly in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The inscriptions on many old monuments are in all three languages: Saebean, Ge'ez, and Greek -- indicating that all 3 languages and alphabets were used at the same time.
The history of the descendants of the Kingdom of Cush is very scanty after the collapse of their Kingdom around 330 A.D. due to the growing power of Auxum. Apparently some of the Cushites migrated Southwards along the Horn of Africa, into the areas of modern Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, and Northern Kenya by 1000 A.D. Along the way, they intermarried with original African settlers. Others migrated Westward to Lake Tschad, where they brought their technology for making iron and iron implements. The dynamics of these migrations are unclear, but probably include forced migration due to conflicts with neighbors and the search for better grounds when fleeing droughts. It is also possible that these migrations took place much earlier.
Today, most of these Cushitic ethnic groups still have strong Caucasian features, often including straight hair more rather than the kinky hair that is more typical of Africans with whom they intermarried. Some groups of Cushites even have rather light-colored skins and some have rich green or blue eyes.
The Somali Coast was referred to as the Land of Punt by ancient Egyptian and Greek sailors, but it is quite likely that it was not occupied by the Somali people at that time. Rather, there appears to have been a long process of Cushites interacting and intermarrying with African Bantu farmers while gradually driving them Southwards around the Horn of Africa into Kenya. This process was complicated by Arabian traders establishing trade along the whole coast of East Africa, with settlements and interactions with local people along the coast. Even before Christ, there were significant settlements of not only Arabs, but also Indian and Malysian traders along the coast, intermarrying and introducing their cultural influences.
Arabian traders from Southern Arabia, today's Oman, introduced the Islamic religion along the coast and it spread inwards, displacing Christianity and other older local religions. This process started within the lifetime of Mohamed, the Prophet. However, the Islamic religion in East Africa retained strong elements of the older local religions, including the earlier Christianity.
As one example of this phenomenon, the circumcision of women plays an important role in most of the older religions of this region. (The partial or complete removal of the clitoris in a semi-religious ceremony.) Although circumcision of women is not mentioned in the Koran, it has been retained as a key and mandatory element of the Islamic faith as practiced today in most of East Africa, even though it is not practiced by Islamic people in most other Islamic countries. This same example also applies to the earlier Christian religion, since many Christian ethnic groups in this region also practice circumcision of women, as well as of men. In fact the practice of polygamy along the rules of Islam is common even among members of Protestant and Roman Catholic faiths, that were introduced much later. Similarities among religions have contributed to a high level of tolerance for different religions as well as a large number of conversions back-and-forth within the lifespan of individuals in some cases.<112>
A.4.2 Founding the Somali Ethnic Group
There were many Arab settlers along the Coast of East Africa, who intermarried with local people and had cultural influence in this region. A very small number of Arab settlers founded the current Somali ethnic group about 1200 A.D. At that time, it appears that the territory which is now the Republic of Somaliland, the former British Somaliland, was occupied primarily by the Oramo ethnic group. They are a Cushitic ethnic group that makes up about 40% of the population of Ethiopia today -- sometimes called the Galla, although they themselves do not like the name of Galla. This hypothesis is supported by the fact that the Somali and Oramo languages are both distinct Cushitic languages that are more similar to each other than to other nearby Cushitic languages, such as of the Afars (Danakils) living today as neighbors both in Djibouti (40% of the population) and in the Danakil Desert of Eastern Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The following Somali legend concerning its foundations seems to be reasonably substantiated by the available evidence.<113,113a>
Darod landed first at Heis, about 10 miles (16 km) West of Mait on the Northern Coast of the Republic of Somaliland. Isaq probably landed later at Mait, where there is still a stone memorial at his grave. They married local women, developed a traditional clan structure based upon descendants on the male side, and gradually spread out, particularly into the South, including Eastern Ethiopia, the former Italian Somalia, and Northern Kenya. They either assimilated local people by marrying their women or drove them back so that they made up well over 90% of the population in their territory. When Somalis and Oramos meet each other as strangers on a street today, they are usually unable to distinguish whether the other person is a Somali or an Oramo, unless they are wearing traditional clothing or begin to speak in their own native language.
There are also hypotheses that the Oramos were primarily herders of cattle, which were susceptible to the frequent minor and major droughts. The Arabian influence on the Somalis placed a higher emphasis upon camels, sheep, and goats -- which were better suited for this environment. Whenever the Oramos moved out of dry rangelands during periods of drought, the Somalis pushed them back toward Ethiopia, with their better mixture of livestock.<114>
This simple version is complicated by the fact that some Somali clans were founded by at least two earlier settlers, Ram Nag and Samarone. They probably were Arabs who landed at or near Zeila, next to the border with Djibouti. Therefore, Darod and Isaq are not the oldest forefathers of the Somali ethnic group and not all of the Somali ethnic group derive directly from them. Yet, they are considered to be the cultural heros or fathers who brought their relatives together within the clan structure that now defines the Somali ethnic group. Most Somalis also claim to be direct descendents of the Prophet Mohamed (founder of the Islamic religion), who is their religious hero.
Darod married a daughter of Dir Irrir, a great grandson of Ram Nag. Therefore, all of the descendents of Ram Nag became relatives of the descendents of Darod -- as in-laws on the side of his wife.
These early relationships are illustrated in Figure A-4-1, including the foundations of a few of the Somali clans and groups of clans.
Figure A-4-1: The Foundations of the Somali Ethnic Group
The Somali people, as in most ethnic groups of this region, only use given first names and no family name, as is customary in Europe. For better identification, each individual states the names of his or her father, grandfather, etc. to an optional number of levels after their own given name. This is often confusing for us, since we often call a Somali with the name of X Y Z simply Mr. Z. However, this is improper, since Y, the name of his father, is more important than Z, the name of his grandfather. Women also have a given name plus the names of their father, grandfather, etc. Therefore, married women do not take on any of the names of their husband when they marry. Sometimes, the given name is replaced by a nickname. When a clan is based upon a man who is better known by his nickname that his given name, then the clan may bear the nickname, rather than the given name of the founder. The word "Sheikh" is usually used as a title, rather than as a name. It can be included as appropriate in the list of given names that a person uses.
Many Somali men have memorized the names of all of their male ancestors back to these origins, usually about 25 or more generations back, which does agree with the alleged origin about 800 years ago, since 800 / 25 = 32 as the average age of fathers when each son was born. This leads to the unusual situation where each Somali knows his own individual heritage in great detail and depth, but very little about the overall big historical picture -- the exact opposite of Europeans who know their big historical picture much better but do not know their own individual heritages in nearly this depth or detail. When the first modern census is taken, using computers for processing the data, it should be possible to put together a fairly accurate genealogy of the Somali ethnic group, going back about 25 generations to its foundations.
Warning This Artical Contains Many Inaccurate Information About The Somali Clans Especially The Dir Clan.
Some experts challenge at least parts of this legend for the creation of the Somali ethnic group. As examples, some people believe that
Isaq was a later descendent of Dir Irrir Zumali,
there was a son with the name of Esi between Irrir and Dir,
Madoba< was a son of Dir instead of Irrir, and
the Gadabursi group of clans are also descendents of Dir Irrir Zumali rather than a separate Arab settler by the name of Samarone.
There also appear to be a small number of descendents from at least 8 brothers of Zumali Ram Nag. They are not shown in Figure A-4-1, which is only a simplification to see the overall structure. As one example, one brother was Meyle Zumali Ram Nag and the Hawadle clan was formed about 3 generations later by a grandson or great-grandson. Many members of the Hawadle clan live in Mogadishu and they have played an important role as mediators in the conflict in Mogadishu between the supporters of Ali Mahdi and General Aidid.
It may not be so important for us to solve the uncertainties of the origins of the various Somali groups of clans. Rather, it is more important for us to understand the relationships of clans within the major groups of clans -- in order to understand the current political situation in Somalia. When the first modern census is taken, it should be possible to resolve the uncertainties at the top of this clan structure.
There is no clear proof as to where the name "Somali" comes. Some people claim that it comes from the two words "so", meaning "go", and "mal meaning the verb "milk". Whenever a visitor visited a family of Somalis, the first words that he usually heard were "so mal", meaning to go fetch some milk to treat the guests.<115> However, the focal point of the discussion above is upon the role of Zumali Ram Nag as the key father of the Somali people. Therefore, we suspect that the name "Somali" comes from the name "Zumali", with a slightly different spelling and pronunciation. The Somalis themselves sometimes spell the name "Zumali" as "Samaale" and sometimes refer to him as Sheikh Cushman. There is also an Arabic word with similar pronunciation, meaning "wealthy". The Somalis sometimes divide themselves into the Somaale (usually nomads) and Saab (usually settlers between the 2 rivers).
We should also at least note that there are a large number of small clans who do not appear to fit into this structure at all, but are more-or-less considered to belong to the Somali< ethnic group today. Some of them
* live in specific locations, closely associated with other clans, such as the possibly pre-Somali Hinjinleh and Magdleh clans, that live together with the Dhulbahante clan,
the Turyer< clan, who also live together with the Dhulbahante clan,
descendents of Turkish, Arabic, and Portuguese settlers, who live mainly in Mogadishu and Merca, or
the Zeilawi< clan, which is a mixed race from the ancient city of Zeila; or
* are uniformly distributed throughout all of the Somali people, such as the pre-Somali Midgan clans (Musa Derieh and Madiban< who are usually hunters< or leather workers,
the Yibir clan, especially among the Majerteen clan, who are sorcerers, and
the pre-Somali Tomal clan, who are usually blacksmiths.
Whenever a son is born, a member of the Yibir clan comes. If the family does not pay the Yibir with an animal or otherwise mistreat him, they believe that their son will not grow up to be normal.
Figure A-4-2: Two Chains Leading into the Somali Ethnic Group
Figure A-4-2 illustrates the two larger chains that define the Somali ethnic group. One is from the Hamitic Kingdom of Cush and the the other is from Semitic Arab settlers. They merged together to create the Somali ethnic group. Genetically and culturally, the older Cushitic chain is the dominant force. The Somali language comes from this chain. In terms of clan structure and religion, the more recent chain from about 4 Arab settlers may be the dominant force. However, the Islamic religion was present before these clans originated and both the clan structure and other traditions are very similar to those of the Oramo ethnic group that lived there earlier.
There is a very new genetic technique, based upon comparing the DNA molecules in human mitichondria, that enables geneticists to estimate the number of generations back when two people had a common mother. Using this technique, it should now be possible, as an example, to determine how closely the different Cushitic ethnic groups are related to each other. This technique may be very useful in closing the gap from about 330 AD until about 1200 AD, where we know very little about how the Cushitic people evolved.<116>
Concerning religion, these 4 Arab settlers, as well as others in the region at that time, were Sunni Moslems belonging to the Kadirieh sect. Practically all Somalis are Moslems today. Around the end of the last century, the Sudanese Mohamed Salih founded the Salihiya sect. There may be parallels between the role of this sect in Islam and the reformist roles of Martin Luther and John Calvin in Christianity. The Somali, Sayid Mohamed Abdullah Hassan, known in Great Britain as the "Mad Mullah" for fighting against British colonialism, was converted to this sect in Mecca by Mohamed Salih and then brought this reformist Islamic sect to Somalia in 1895, where it has many followers today.<117>
However, the nomadic culture of the Cushites evolved in this region over a much longer period of time, in equilibrium with the local ecology. Therefore, the cultural and economic patterns were dominated by this historical background. The Somali people kept their original Cushitic language, although Arabic became their defacto written language for religious matters.
Since the Somali language was not a written language until about 1972, the Somali people developed an "oral tradition and "oral history". They preserved legends and history as both narratives and poems that they passed down from generation to generation orally. Particularly the poems, which are memorized word-for-word, transfer historical information from one generation to the next with a minimal loss or distortion of information. With the introduction of the new option of writing in their own language, there was much literary activity after 1972. Part of this activity consisted of documenting the existing oral history, part consisted of creatively modifying this history in new forms, and part consisted of glorification of the socialist revolution of General Barre, with some parallels to art under Mao in China.<118>
Most of this oral history only goes back to the origins of the Somali ethnic group, about 800 years ago. One could propose the hypothesis that the introduction of the Islamic religion even earlier placed a greater emphasis upon history after the arrival of Islam than the culture and history within the framework of other earlier religions. This hypothesis is based upon the more recent experience, where the conversion of Black Africa to Christianity by missionaries in the last 2 centuries was accompanied by Christian schools that taught European history while neglecting or de-emphasizing traditional local history.
A.4.3 The Clan Structure of the Somali People
Many of the ethnic groups of Northeastern Africa and Arabia have clan structures, where membership in a clan is based upon having the same male ancestors. They are family trees of male descendants, that generally do not consider the roles of women, unless a man has more than one wife and there is a distinction between his sons by different wives. Much of the early chapters of the Christian Holy Bible is devoted to documenting such early Jewish clan structures.
However, this does not mean that women have no importance in such male hierarchies. Rather, there are subtle roles for women, that differ in the clan structures from one ethnic group to another ethnic group. As one example, there are exogan ethnic groups, such as the Hadjerai, who are farmers in the mountains of Tschad. Among the Hadjerais, it is forbidden for a man to marry a woman from his own clan. He may marry several women, but the process is complex. He has to serve practically as the slave of each father-in-law for several years as was also practiced by the Jewish people in ancient times.<119> Therefore most men have only one wife. Although his wife joins him in living among his clan, she remains a member of her original clan and does not join the clan of her husband -- and her children.<120>
Among the Somali clans, a man is free to marry a member of his own clan or subclan, a member of any other clan or subclan, or a non-Somali. As Moslems, Somali men are allowed to be married up to a maximum of 4 wives at one time, but economic conditions seldom allow them to have more than 1 or 2 wives at one time. When a man dies, a brother sometimes marries the widow as a part of assuring social security within the extended family.
Intermarriage among clans and subclans also has important political functions. When a small group from one clan moves into a territory dominated by another clan, it is prudent for their men to marry women from the larger clan, and vice versa, in order achieve peaceful relations. There are many similarities to the way that the royal families in Europe intermarried for several hundred years, more out of political reasons than simple love.
The importance of a given clan or subclan depends more upon the size of the clan or subclan and its wealth, usually measured by the number of animals that it owns, rather than the age of the clan or position of the founding father in the Somali family hierarchy. Small clans may effectively merge with larger clans for survival and small clans also often live for long periods of time interspersed within a larger clan, as if they were members of that clan.
Figure A-4-1 above illustrated the top of the hierarchy of the Somali ethnic group, including some of the earliest clans or groups of clans. The Somali ethnic group can be divided into 3 major groups of clans:
the clans founded from descendents of Ram Nag,
the clans founded by a small number of other Arab settlers,
the clans founded by original inhabitants, who do not derive on the male side from Arab settlers who arrived about 1200 AD.
For the clans founded by Ram Nag, it appears to be reasonably certain that Ram Nag was an Arab settler and that his wife was a local Oramo woman. Going down the family tree from Ram Nag, his son Zumali Ram Nag and one of his several grandsons, Irrir Zumali Ram Nag, played a major role in defining the Somali clan structure. Figure A-4-3 illustrates the structure of the clans founded by the 9 sons of Zumali, but not yet going into detail for the descendents of Irrir Zumali. One of these clans, the Hawadle, has played a significant role in the fighting in Mogadishu between the factions of General Aidiid and Ali Mahdi, since they have been one of the several neutral clans in the middle who have stopped some fighting between these two factions.
Figure A-4-3: The Somaale People, Defined by Zumali Ram Nag
Figure A-4-1 above already illustrates the next level below, for the clans founded by descendents of Irrir. There is still some confusion concerning
whether Dir is a son of Irrir, or a grandson with Esi in between, and
whether Madoba was a son of Irrir or a son of Dir.
Figure A-4-4 shows the structure of the clans founded by descendents of Dir. There is also some dispute here concerning whether Isaq, the founder of the Isaq group of clans was a descendent of Dir or not. The alleged position of Isaq in this hierachy under Dir is shown in Figure A-4-4. However, there is some evidence that Isaq was an Arab settler who landed on the Somali coast sometime after Darod landed there.
Figure A-4-4: The Foundations of the Dir Group of Clans
Figure A-4-5: The Foundations of the Hawiye Group of Clans
Figure A-4-5 illustrates the hierarchy of the clans founded by Hawiye Irrir Zumali Ram Nag, now known as the Hawiye group of clans.<121>
The Hawiye group of clans is a large and complex group of clans, where it is necessary to understand relationships among subclans as well as clans.<122>
Two of the several major clans in the Hawiye group of clans are the Habar Gedir clan and the Abgal clan, where each clan has several major subclans. General Mohamed Farah Hassan (`Aidid') comes from the Saad subclan of the Habar Gedir clan and Ali Mahdi comes from the Harti subclan of the Abgal clan. In the fighting in Mogadishu, the personal loyalties of the respective subclans to General `Aidid' and Ali Mahdi respectively have been as important than personal loyalties of these two clans. Therefore, the "clan bases" for personal loyalty and support for these two leaders has been relatively small, probably representing less than 1% of the Somali people. (In the Index, you will see that we have listed over 60 different Somali clans, which is far from being complete, and in this case, we are talking about 2 subclans from the approximately dozen subclans of these two clans!) It is extremely misleading when reporters visit Mogadishu for a few days and then report that the fighting there is primarily a clan conflict between the Habar Gedir and Abgal clans and even exaggerating further that these two clans are "the" two major clans in Somalia!
There are also other major related clans and subclans that make up a substantial part of the population in Mogadishu. They include the Hintire subclan of the Abgal clan, the Murasade clan, the Gugundhabe clan, and the Sheikh Gendershe subclan of the Sheikhal clan -- all belonging to the Hawiye group of clans. There are also the Hawadle clan, that are descendants of Meyle Zumali Ram Nag and do not belong to any of the major groups of clans.
It should also be noted that these individual Hawiye clans are also spread out very widely geographically. As one example, the Qudubi subclan of the Sheikkal clan lives primarily in the Republic of Somaliland, over 1000 km away from the Sheihk Gendershe subclan of the same clan that lives mainly in Mogadishu. Most of the Habar Gedir clan, of General Aidid, live near Galkayo in the Muduq Region, about 600 km from Mogadishu. In fact, most of the members of the Saad subclan (General Aidid) of the Habar Gedir clan and of the Harti subclan (Ali Mahdi) of the Abgal clan do not live in Mogadishu.
There are claims that Abgal, the founder of the Abgal clan, had 8 sons and 1 daughter, and that this daughter married Habar Gedir. Therefore, she is supposed to be the matriarch of all members of the Saad subclan (General `Aidid'). Therefore, the members of the Abgal clan consider themselves to be clan uncles of the Saad subclan. This would imply that the two subclans of General `Aidid' and Ali Mahdi are very closely related in the clan structure. However, the chart of Figure A-4-5 shows several generations of difference between Habar Gedir and Abgal, which may challenge either these claims or the details of this chart. In any event, they have had no previous history of fighting each other.
Figure A-4-6: The Foundations of the Isa Group of Clans
Figure A-4-6 illustrates the hierarchy of clans founded by Isa Madoba Irrir Zumali Ram Nag, now known as the Isa group of clans. As noted earlier, there is uncertainty as to whether Madoba was a son of Irrir or Dir. There are also 3 other clans that live together with the Isa group of clans, even though they were founded by 3 different men, of unknown origins, probably Arab settlers (Urweina, Wardikh, and Horone). Since most of the Isa group of clans did not live in British Somaliland, this chart is probably tentative and incomplete.
Usually, only the sons of a man are listed that led to the formation of clans under them.<123>
Figure A-4-7: The Foundations of the Isaq Group of Clans
Figure A-4-7 illustrates the hierarchy of clans founded by Isaq, now known as the Isaq group of clans. Each of the 6 major clans has a complex structure of subclans. The chain of subclans down to the Esa Musa subclan are shown as an example, since this subclan was involved in fighting at Burao and Berbera during 1992.
Figure A-4-8: The Foundations of the Darod Group of Clans
Figure A-4-8 illustrates the hierarchy of clans founded by Darod and a daughter of Dir Irrir Zumali Ram Nag, now known as the Darod group of clans. The Aurtoble clan is a relatively small clan that lives interspersed with the larger Majerteen clan -- even though they are quite far apart in this family tree. However, the Majerteen, Dhulbahante, and Warsangeli clans live as neighbors, which is not surprising, due to their close relations. The are often referred to as the "Harti group of clans", since they have Harti as a common ancestor.
Figure A-4-9: The Foundations of the Gadabursi Group of Clans
Figure A-4-9 shows the foundations of the Gadabursi group of clans, founded by Samarone. One peculiarity of this particular group of clans is that the Habar Affan clan is composed of the descendents of 3 descendents of Samarone, plus the descendents of 4 other men of unknown origin, most likely also Arab settlers (Hebjirreh, Jibrain, Ali Ganun, and Gobo). As noted earlier, there is a dispute concerning whether the Gadabursi were founded by Samarone, an Arab settler, or by Ahmed, a grandson of Dir.
Figure A-4-10: The Structure of the Saab Group of Clans
The Somalis sometimes think of the Somali people as being divided primarily between the Samaale, descendents of Zumali Ram Nag, and the Saab. The Samaale are primarily nomads who are widely scattered in the region and the Saab are settled farmers, living mainly between the two rivers of Juba and Shebelle in the former Italian Somalia. We have not yet been able to trace the origins of the Saab group of clans and we do not know whether they are organized internally with the same structures as the other Somalia clans. Figure A-4-10 shows the structural relationships among some of the main clans in this group. The names "Siyed" and "Sagal" in the Somali language mean "8" and "9" respectively, for the two groups of 8 and 9 clans in the Rahanweyn group of clans.
The Rahanweyn clan or group of clans is important for understanding the situation in Somalia today since they are the predominant clan living in and around Baidoa. Since their SDM liberation movement essentially split the two Marehan/Darod groups of supporters of General Barre after he fled Mogadishu in January 1991, they have been special targets for genocide and oppression by the military forces of General Barre since January 1991. This is the reason why there have been so many former farmers and their families starving to death in Baidoa. These victims were almost entirely members of the Rahanweyn clan who suffered deliberate oppression by the military forces of General Barre.
Groups of Clans Population Camels Sheep Goats Cattle
Isa 55,000 8.6% 125,000 225,000 225,000 30,000
Gadabursi 45,000 7.0% 60,000 100,000 300,000 60,000
Isaq 420,000 65.6% 710,000 1,390,000 720,000 108,100
Habar Awal Saad Musa 100,000 15.6% 125,000 370,000 130,000 100,000
Habar Awal Esa Musa 30,000 4.7% 15,000 100,000 200,000 5,000
Arab 20,000 3.1% 50,000 80,000 30,000
Eidegalla 40,000 6.2% 100,000 170,000 50,000
Habar Yunis (Burao) 90,000 14.1% 220,000 370,000 110,000
Habar Yunis (other) 40,000 6.2% 50,000 100,000 100,000 2,000
Habar Tojala Mohd Abokr 60,000 9.4% 150,000 200,000 100,000 1,000
Habar Tojala Mohd Abokr and Omr 40,000 6.2% 40,000 200,000 200,000 100
Darod 120,000 18.8% 265,000 440,000 200,000 25,000
Dhulbahante 100,000 15.6% 240,000 370,000 130,000 20,000
Warsengeli 20,000 3.1% 25,000 70,000 70,000 5,000
640,000 100% 1,200,000 2,335,000 1,645,000 223,100
Figure A-4-11: Estimates for the Size of the Population and their Livestock Herds within the former British Somaliland as of 1944
Figure A-4-11 shows the relative sizes of the major clans within the former British Somaliland as of 1944. These relative sizes give at least a first estimate for the current relative sizes of the major clans in the Republic of Somaliland today. However, the total size of the population has grown substantially since then, to a little less than 3 million, and a few hundred thousand Isaqs were killed during the program of genocide against them in the early 1980's and the war-of-liberation that resulted from this genocide -- which probably implies that they now have a slightly smaller relative size compared to the non-Isaq clans who suffered much fewer casualties during the war-of-liberation.
Figure A-4-12 shows the locations of some clans and their liberation movements as of 1991.
Figure A-4-12: The Geographical Distribution of Major Liberation Movements and Some Somali Clans in 1991
Footnotes for Appendix 4
103. This Appendix is copied from Chapter 1 of "Somaligate: The Decision to Suppress Democracy in Somalia", Abdulkarim Ahmed Guleid and Jack L. Davies, Davies Consulting GmbH. Somali readers are invited to send corrections and additions to the author.
104. Genesis 10:1-8 in the Holy Bible.
105. "African Ark", Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher, Collins Harvill, London, 1990, pp 80 and "Islam in Ethiopia", J. S. Trimingham, London, 1952.
106. "Africans and Their History", Joseph E. Harris, New American Library, 1972, pages 36 and 42-45.
107. See "The City of Meroe: John Garstan's Excavations in the Sudan", by Lázió Török, Kegan Paul International, 1992, London for more details about the Kingdom of Cush.
108. See 1 Kings 10:1-13
109. See also the Holy Qur'an, Chapter 27, Verses 23 - 45
110. Assuming an average of 25 years per generation, 25 x 225 = approximately 5,625 years; i.e., approximately 3,600 B.C., which is earlier than some historians claim that the Sabeans migrated to the Horn-of-Africa.
111. "African Ark", Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher, Collins Harvill, London, 1990, pp 10, 17, 49-52
112. "Hadiya Bauern in Ethiopia", Museum für Völkerkunde in Frankfurt, 1979, pages 23 - 26.
113. See "A General Survey of the Somaliland Protectorate: 1944 - 1950", by John A. Hunt, prepared as the final report on "An Economic Survey and Reconnaissance of the British Somaliland Protectorate 1944-1950" under the Colonial Development and Welfare Scheme D.484, and published in 1951. This "legend" is summarized on pages 150-151 and the structure of the Somali clans derived from these two founders is presented in detail in Table 21 on pages 125-150.
113a Note: This reference with hyperlink was added after the publication of this book in 1996: “Historical Aspects of Genealogies in Northern Somali Social Structure (1)”, I. M. Lewis, Reprinted from Journal of African History, Ill I (1962) pp. 35 – 48 - This is an excellent analysis of the reliability of Somali genealogies as passed down orally in documenting actual history.
114. "African Ark", Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher, Collins Harvill, London, 1990, pp 176.
115. "Ursachen der Arbeitslosigkeit, Inflation und Marktspaltung und ihre Auswirkungen auf die Somalische Wirtschaft", Mohamed Noor, Kyrill Method Verlag, 1991, pp 8.
116. "The Recent African Genesis of Humans: Genetic studies reveal that an African woman of 200,000 years ago was our common ancestor", Allan C. Wilson and Rebecca L. Cann, Scientific American, April 1992.
117. See "Socialist Somalia: Rhetoric & Reality", Ahmed I. Samatar, Institute for African Alternatives and Zed Books Ltd, 1988, pages 26-28
118. "Rise of Written Somali Literature, B. W. Andrzejewski, the manuscript for a speech given on 16 August 1975 at the Somali Institute of Development Administration and Management, under the auspices of the Academy of Culture.
119. As an example, Jacob agreed to serve Laban for 7 years in order to marry Laban's daughter, Rachel -- Genesis 29:18>
120. See "Sudan: Landschaft, Mensche, Kulturen zwischen Niger und Nil" by Peter Fuchs, Verlag Anton Schroll & Co, 1977, pp 107
121. We do not know the original source of the detailed document that we used for constructing this chart -- probably from a member of the Hawiye group of clans.
122. "A Summary of the Political Situation in the Republic of Somaliland and the Former Italian Somaliland", Abdulkarim Ahmed Guleid and Jack L. Davies, Davies Consulting GmbH, 9 March 1992, pp 7-8.
123. This chart, as most of the charts of clan structures was derived from the detailed lists of descendents of the founders, 25 pages long, from "A General Survey of the Somaliland Protectorate: 1944 - 1950" by John A. Hunt. Exceptions are the charts for the Dir, Hawiye, and Saab groups of clans, which did not live in British Somaliland at that time and were therefore not included in his lists, other than just their founders.
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