somalia hidden history

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somalia hidden history

Postby omar » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:53 am

136 Lieut. Cruttenden, I.N., on E!astern Africa.

and Arroosie. There are smaller cafilas that trade to Arreea,
Ogahdeen, and other parts of the Somauli country. Hence
cafilas trade yearly to Berberah between the months of October
and March, occupying from 30 to 40 days on the road. Camels
are used for the journej^, laden with coffee, ivory, ghee (clarified
butter), ostrich feathers, gums, &c., and slaves, both male and
female, are also exported to Zeylah as well as to Berberah.
In return they receive blue and white coarse coi ton and Indian
manufactures, Indian piece goods, English prints, silks, shawls,
red cotton-yarn, beads, zinc, copper, copper wire, &c. ; and,
from the Somauli country, frankincense and book-koor So-
mauli. 'JTie Hurrurh people are called " Hurrurhji," and also
" Hurrj." They are rigid Mohammedans, paying strict atten-
tion to the fasts and ceremonies enjoined by the false prophet.
Their language bears some aflfinity to the Amharic. They use
the Arabic character. The climate resembles that of Alio
Amba, which is 3000 feet below Ankobar. Hurrurh possesses
advantages that certainly no other town on this side of Africa
has of penetrating to the interior.

XII. — On Eastern Africa. By Lieut. Crottendun, I.N. (Com-
municated to Mr. M'Queen by Sir Wm. Harris, Political
Resident, Aden.)

[Read gth May, 1848.]

The Bur e Somal, or Somali country, properly speaking, ex-
tends from Has el Khyle, on the eastern coast, to the Esa
tribe, who reside in the neighbourhood of Zeylah. The people
of Mukdeeshah are not Somalis, but of the Haweea tribe.
The river usually known as the Webbe forms their southern
boundary, or, as they express it, is " the separation of the
Moslemin from the Kaffirs " (under which common term they
include English as well as Galla). The country, as you pro-
ceed to the westward from Cape Jered Hafoon, changes in
its productions. Coffee in great abundance is found in the
mountains of the Gidr Beersi, but no gums ; whilst to the
eastward the coffee vanishes, and the hills produce so great an
abundance of gums that the " regio thurifera" ought, properly
speaking, to be looked for there, rather than on the plains of
More bat and Haseh.

The Somalis, especially those who live on the coast, are fond
of dating their origin from the Arabs. By their tradition.
Sheikh Isaakh, an Arab chief of great sanctity, settled on the
Somali coast near Mette, and, marrying a female of that place,
became the father of the Habr Awal, Habr Gerhajis, and

River Wehhe — Wadi Nogal. 137

ITabr't el Jahleh, which three tribes extend from Mette to
Jibel Ehuiss in the yn'esent day. To the eastward of Mette
we find the warlike tribe of the " Wursiingeli," which name
means "has brought good news " (it is spelled in the chart Oor
Singali, which is incorrect), and thence to the eastward round
Cape Jered Haioon, and down to Ras el Khyle, the country
belongs to the numerous clans of the Mijjertheyn. These are
the tribes on the coast. To the southward we find the country
of Murreyhan, and next in succession to the westward the
tribes of Dulbahanti, Burtirrhi, Abbaskool, Ghirri, Gidr Beersi,
and Eesa, whilst the Bheer Whallea tribe inhabits the banks of
the Webbe, and the province of Ogaliden fills up the space be-
tween them and the Haweea, who reside on the bend of the
river and on the coast of Mukdeeshah. This river Webbe,
which takes its rise in Gurague, pursues, as far as my accounts
go, a different course to that usually laid down for it. After
leaving the country of the Bheer Whallea, it flows more to the
E.N.E., and approaching near the sea some two days' journey
to the N.W. of Mukdeeshah, takes a sudden bend to the S.W.,
and passing that town at 6 hours' distance, is finall}' absorbed
in a marsh a little below the latitude of Brava, and about 6
days from the sea. Annual expeditions are made by the
Mijjertheyn and Wursungeli to the river, where they purchase
ivory and myrrh with cowries, which they bring with them from

From Has el Khyle to Berbera, the Wadi Nogal extends in
almost a straight line between two ranges of mountains. The
"happy valley" is spoken of in the most glowing terms by the
natives, and apparently forms their great road for trade. The
people of Ogahden, Murreyhan, &c., bring all their gums,
ivory, and ghee along this valley, as being the safest and least
fatiguing route, and the people are described as a peaceful
race, who subsist chiefly by the chace, and by their sale of
ostrich feathers, myrrh, and ghee.

This valley would form an advantageous starting-point
for a traveller, nor do I apprehend any particular danger. In
a commercial point of view the Mijjertheyn and Wursungeli
territories are the most valuable, and I consider that a small
vessel of 300 or 400 tons might with ease procure a cargo of
gum arabic, luban, and myrrh, at any of the bunders belong-
ing to these tribes. The fact of upwards of 800 tons having
been exported during my stay of 7 months on that coast, from
thi-ee ports alone, sufficiently attests the abundance of the
article, and in some measure may account for the rapid for-
tunes accumulated by the Banians, in whose hands alone does
this trade lie. Arrangements should be made with the mer-

138 Lieut. Cruttenden, I.N.^ on Eastern Africa.

chants on the Somali coast before the commencement of the
foul weather, say the month of April, to have a cargo ready
for the vessel by the 1st of the Novi-Ruz, or about the 28th of
August. The coast is then approachable, and the gums could
be shipped off at Bunder Murayah, Bunder Khor, and Bunder
Zeaada,, or Bunder Ghasin, with but little delay. It is to be
earnestly hoped that English enterprise will open this trade
before long. The name of an Englishman is much respected
by the natives, and they make a marked difference between
them and any other nation. Promises of all kinds were made
to me, that they would give every facility to the English mer-
chant who would bring his wares himself amongst them, and
who could thus afford to sell them cheaper, and one or two
offered to guarantee a certain supply annually if arrangements
were made in time. It would be useless, however, sending
out a vessel without some person who understood the character
of the people, and who could converse in Arabic with them
without the aid of an interpreter.

To the westward of the Mijjertheyn hill, the Wursungeli
range, 4000 feet high, affords an inexhaustible supply of frank-
incense, though but little gum-arabic, and no myrrh. The
climate on these mountains is described as most invigorating,
and the country abounds in large game, the lion being very
common in these parts.

Westward of the Wursungeli the gum-trees become scarce,
and though there are some parts having considerable trade
throughout the year, all their gums are brought from the Dul-
bahanti and Ogahden tribes. Sheep form the chief article of
export from Kurrum westwards, and the countless flocks that
are driven down almost daily and shipped off for the Arabian
coast exceeds belief Berbera is of course the greatest mart
at one season of the year, as all the tribes collect there, but
an English vessel would do but little when placed in competi-
tion with the Banians, whose cargoes are, generally speaking,
engaged the season before. I may here mention as a proof of
the peaceful nature of the country, that frequently the Banians
go for 20 days' journey inland, for change of air, and are
allowed to live unmolested. I would not, therefore, advise a
vessel to go to Berbera to trade, but endeavour to be off the
sea ports to the eastward as soon as ever the season opens.
The gums are then all packed in readiness for shipment, and
but very trifling delay would occur.

To the westward of Berbera there are no trading ports
until we come to Zeylah, where doubtless a vessel would get a
valuable cargo of coffee and mules; but I fear much time
would be lost. But a small quantity of gum is brought into

Chimerium. 139

Zeylah - coffee, dye, and ghee, with ivory in small quantities,
and ostrich feathers, form the articles of export ; and though
probably the present ruler. Sheikh Sherwarkhi Ali Saleh, will
by his wise form of government eventually open the trade to
Hurrur, it is a thing to be looked forward to, and does not
exist at present. I should average the quantity of gums ex-
ported from the Somali coast at 1500 tons, though occasion-
ally, after a good season, I believe that the Mijjertheyn tribe
alone export nearly that quantity.

XIII. — Remarhahle Localities on the Coast of Epirus. By James
Henry Skkne, Zante. (Communicated by Mr. Greenough.)

[Read 12th June, 1848.]


After the defeat of the Corinthian naval force by that of
Corcyra in the year 435 b.c, we read that the fleet of the
former lay in the harbour of Chimerium, on the coast between
the mouths of the rivers Acheron and Thyamis, and that the
fleet of the latter was anchored at Sybota. The hostile forces
are stated to have thus remained during a whole summer with-
out meeting in battle;* and that three years afterwards also
these respective fleets again occupied the same stations, f
Chimerium is here described by Thucydides as being in the
Elaiatis, and dependent on the town of Ephyra. The best work
on the topography of this part of Greece ;|; attempts to prove
that Chimerium was Arpitza, although its learned author
admits that there exist objections to this conclusion. He is
obliged, for instance, to give a forced meaning to the word
iiiil^, which is used by Thucydides to convey the relative posi-
tions of the town of Ephyra and the harbour of Chimerium ;
because Cape Varlam, which he supposes to be the Chimerian
promontory, is, by his own avowal, 12 or 14 miles from the
probable site of Ephyra. The bay also, which he considers to
be the harbour, is described by himself as being " a retirement
of the coast with a sandy beach :" now this would be but a
poor station for a fleet during many months, as the place
happens to be exceedingly exposed to violent winds and heavy
seas from the north and west, without any kind of shelter
whatever. Moreover, such a beach would hardly be called a

* Thucyd., 1. 1, c. 29 et seq. f Il^i'l- '• 1, c. 46.

J Colonel Leake's Northern Greece, vol. iii. p. 5 et seq.
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