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Somalis
(Soomaaliyeed)
الصوماليون
Somaaliyeed.JPG
Total population
15-17 Million
Regions with significant populations
Horn of Africa, Middle East
 Somalia 9.1 million [1]
 Ethiopia 4.6 million [2]
 Yemen 858,000 [citation needed]
 Kenya 481,000 [citation needed]
 Djibouti 350,000 [citation needed]
 Saudi Arabia 50,000 [citation needed]
 Great Britain 43,515 [3]
 Canada 37,785 [4]
 United States 35,760 [5]
 United Arab Emirates 30,000
 Sweden 21,597 [6]
 Norway 19,656 [7]
 Netherlands 19,549 [8]
 Denmark 16,550 [9]
 Finland 9,810 [10]
 Italy 6,414 [11]
Languages

Somali

Religion

Allah-green.svg Islam

Related ethnic groups

AfarAgawAmharaBejaBilenJebertiOromoSahoTigrayTigre

Somalis (Somali: Soomaaliyeed, Arabic: الصوماليون‎) are an ethnic group located in the Horn of Africa, also known as the Somali Peninsula. The overwhelming majority of Somalis speak the Somali language, which is part of the Cushitic subgroup of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Ethnic Somalis number around 15-17 million and are principally concentrated in Somalia (more than 9 million[1]), Ethiopia (4.6 million[2]), Yemen (a little under 1 million), northeastern Kenya (about half a million), Djibouti (350,000), and an unknown but large number live in parts of the Middle East, North America and Europe.

Contents

History

Ahmed Gurey defeated several Ethiopian emperors and embarked on a conquest which brought three-quarters of Ethiopia under the power of the Muslim Sultanate of Adal.[12][13]
History of Somalia
.
Ancient
Laas Geel Culture
Kingdom of Punt
Malaoites  · Oponeans
Mosyllonians
Medieval
Kingdom of Ifat
Adal Sultanate
Ajuuraan Empire
Gobroon Dynasty
Gerad Dynasty
Modern
Sultanate of Hobyo
Dervish State
Italian Somaliland
British Somaliland
Aden Adde Administration
Shermarke Administration
Communist rule
Recent History
Somali maritime history

In antiquity, the ancestors of the Somali people were an important link in the Horn of Africa connecting the region's commerce with the rest of the ancient world. Somali sailors and merchants were the main suppliers of frankincense, myrrh and spices, items which were considered valuable luxuries by the Ancient Egyptians, Phoenicians, Mycenaeans and Babylonians.[14][15] According to most scholars, the ancient Kingdom of Punt and its inhabitants formed part of the ethnogenesis of the Somali people.[16][17][18][19] The ancient Puntites were a nation of people that had close relations with Pharaonic Egypt during the times of Pharaoh Sahure and Queen Hatshepsut. The pyramidal structures, temples and ancient houses of dressed stone littered around Somalia are said to date from this period.[20] In the classical era, several ancient city-states such as Opone, Mosyllon and Malao that competed with the Sabaeans, Parthians and Axumites for the wealthy Indo-Greco-Roman trade also flourished in Somalia.[21]

The Citadel of Gondershe, Somalia was an important city in the Medieval Ajuuraan Empire.

The birth of Islam on the opposite side of Somalia's Red Sea coast meant that Somali merchants, sailors and expatriates living in the Arabian Peninsula gradually came under the influence of the new religion through their converted Arab Muslim trading partners. With the migration of fleeing Muslim families from the Islamic world to Somalia in the early centuries of Islam and the peaceful conversion of the Somali population by Somali Muslim scholars in the following centuries, the ancient city-states eventually transformed into Islamic Mogadishu, Berbera, Zeila, Barawa and Merka, which were part of the Berberi civilization. The city of Mogadishu came to be known as the City of Islam,[22] and controlled the East African gold trade for several centuries.[23] In the Middle Ages, several powerful Somali empires dominated the regional trade including the Ajuuraan State, which excelled in hydraulic engineering and fortress building,[24] the Sultanate of Adal, whose general Ahmed Gurey was the first African commander in history to use cannon warfare on the continent during Adal's conquest of the Ethiopian Empire,[25] and the Gobroon Dynasty, whose military dominance forced governors of the Omani empire north of the city of Lamu to pay tribute to the Somali Sultan Ahmed Yusuf.[26] In the late 19th century, after the Berlin conference had ended, European empires sailed with their armies to the Horn of Africa. The imperial clouds wavering over Somalia alarmed the Dervish leader Muhammad Abdullah Hassan, who gathered Somali soldiers from across the Horn of Africa and began one of the longest colonial resistance wars ever.

Taleex was the capital of the Dervish State.

The Dervish State successfully repulsed the British empire four times and forced it to retreat to the coastal region.[27] As a result of its fame in the Middle East and Europe, the Dervish State was recognized as an ally by the Ottoman Empire and the German empire,[28][29] and remained throughout World War I the only independent Muslim power on the continent. After a quarter of a century holding the British at bay, the Dervishes were finally defeated in 1920 when Britain for the first time in Africa used aeroplanes when it bombed the Dervish capital of Taleex. As a result of this bombardment, former Dervish territories were turned into a protectorate of Britain. Italy similarly faced the same opposition from Somali Sultans and armies and did not acquire full control of parts of modern Somalia until the Fascist era in late 1927. This occupation lasted till 1941 and was replaced by a British military administration. The Union of the two regions in 1960 formed the Somali Democratic Republic that would actively pursue a Greater Somalia policy of uniting all of the Somali inhabited regions of the Horn of Africa.

Pan-Somalism

A poster showing the Ogaden (also known as Somali Galbeed or "Western Somalia"), and the rest of Greater Somalia united as one country.

Somali people in the Horn of Africa are divided among different countries (Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and northeastern Kenya) that were artificially and some might say arbitrarily partitioned by the former Imperial powers. Pan-Somalism is an ideology that advocates the unification of all ethnic Somalis once part of Somali empires such as the Ajuuraan Empire, the Adal Sultanate, the Gobroon Dynasty and the Dervish State under one flag and one nation. The Siad Barre regime actively promoted Pan-Somalism, which eventually led to the Ogaden War between Somalia on one side, and Ethiopia, Cuba and the Soviet Union on the other.

Notable Pan-Somalists

Genetics

Genetic genealogy, although a new tool that uses the genes of modern populations to trace their ethnic and geographic origins, has also helped pinpoint the possible background of the modern Somalis.

Y DNA

According to one prominent study on Y chromosomes published in the European Journal of Human Genetics, the Somalis are closely related to certain Ethiopian and Eritrean groups:

Somali man wearing a traditional koofiyad fez.

"The data suggest that the male Somali population is a branch of the East African population − closely related to the Oromos in Ethiopia and North Kenya − with predominant E3b1 cluster lineages that were introduced into the Somali population 4000−5000 years ago, and that the Somali male population has approximately 15% Y chromosomes from Eurasia and approximately 5% from sub-Saharan Africa."[30]

Besides comprising the majority of the Y DNA in Somalis, the E1b1b (formerly E3b) genetic haplogroup also makes up the bulk of the paternal DNA of Ethiopians, Eritreans, Berbers, North African Arabs, as well as many Mediterranean and Balkan Europeans.[31] The M78 subclade of E1b1b is found in about 77% of Somali males, which may represent the traces of an ancient migration into the Horn of Africa from the upper Egypt area.[30] After haplogroup E1b1b, the second most frequently occurring Y DNA haplogroup among Somalis is the Eurasian haplogroup T (M70),[32] which is found in slightly more than 10% of Somali males. Haplogroup T, like haplogroup E1b1b, is also typically found among populations of Northeast Africa, North Africa, Southwest Asia, and the Mediterranean.

mtDNA

According to a recent mtDNA study, a large proportion of the maternal ancestry of Somalis consists of the M1 haplogroup, which is common among Ethiopians, Egyptians, Libyans and Berbers. M1 is believed to have originated in Asia,[33] where its parent M clade represents the majority of mtDNA lineages[34] (particularly in India).[35] This haplogroup is also thought to possibly correlate with the Afro-Asiatic language family:[36]

"We analysed mtDNA variation in ~250 persons from Libya, Somalia, and Congo/Zambia, as representatives of the three regions of interest. Our initial results indicate a sharp cline in M1 frequencies that generally does not extend into sub-Saharan Africa. While our North and especially East African samples contained frequencies of M1 over 20%, our sub-Saharan samples consisted almost entirely of the L1 or L2 haplogroups only. In addition, there existed a significant amount of homogeneity within the M1 haplogroup. This sharp cline indicates a history of little admixture between these regions. This could imply a more recent ancestry for M1 in Africa, as older lineages are more diverse and widespread by nature, and may be an indication of a back-migration into Africa from the Middle East."[36]

Somali girls in nomadic attire.

Another mtDNA study indicates that:

"Somali, as a representative East African population, seem to have experienced a detectable amount of Caucasoid maternal influence... the proportion m of Caucasoid lineages in the Somali is m = 0.46 [46%]... Our results agree with the hypothesis of a maternal influence of Caucasoid lineages in East Africa, although its contribution seems to be higher than previously reported in mtDNA studies."[37]

Overall, the genetic studies conclude that Somalis and their fellow Ethiopian and Eritrean Northeast African groups represent a unique and distinct racial bloc on the continent:[38]

"The most distinct separation is between African and non-African populations. The northeastern-African -- that is, the Ethiopian and Somali -- populations are located centrally between sub-Saharan African and non-African populations... The fact that the Ethiopians and Somalis have a subset of the sub-Saharan African haplotype diversity -- and that the non-African populations have a subset of the diversity present in Ethiopians and Somalis -- makes simple-admixture models less likely; rather, these observations support the hypothesis proposed by other nuclear-genetic studies (Tishkoff et al. 1996a, 1998a, 1998b; Kidd et al. 1998) -- that populations in northeastern Africa may have diverged from those in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa early in the history of modern African populations and that a subset of this northeastern-African population migrated out of Africa and populated the rest of the globe. These conclusions are supported by recent mtDNA analysis (Quintana-Murci et al. 1999)."[39]

Islam

Somalis are entirely Muslims, the majority belonging to the Sunni branch of Islam and the Shafi`i school of Islamic jurisprudence,[40] although a few are also adherents of the Shia Muslim denomination.[41]

The whitewashed coral stone city of Merca is an ancient Islamic center in Somalia.

Qu'ranic schools (also known as duqsi) remain the basic system of traditional religious instruction in Somalia. They provide Islamic education for children, thereby filling a clear religious and social role in the country. Known as the most stable local, non-formal system of education providing basic religious and moral instruction, their strength rests on community support and their use of locally-made and widely available teaching materials. The Qu'ranic system, which teaches the greatest number of students relative to other educational sub-sectors, is oftentimes the only system accessible to Somalis in nomadic as compared to urban areas. A study from 1993 found, among other things, that "unlike in primary schools where gender disparity is enormous, around 40 per cent of Qur'anic school pupils are girls; but the teaching staff have minimum or no qualification necessary to ensure intellectual development of children." To address these concerns, the Somali government on its own part subsequently established the Ministry of Endowment and Islamic Affairs, under which Qur'anic education is now regulated.[42]

In the Somali diaspora, multiple Islamic fundraising events are held every year in cities like Toronto and Minneapolis, where Somali scholars and professionals give lectures and answer questions from the audience. The purpose of these events is usually to raise money for new schools or universities in Somalia, to help Somalis that have suffered as a consequence of floods and/or droughts, or to gather funds for the creation of new mosques like the Abuubakar-As-Saddique Mosque, which is currently undergoing construction in the Twin cities.

In addition, the Somali community has produced numerous important Islamic figures over the centuries, many of whom have significantly shaped the course of Islamic learning and practice in the Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and well beyond.

Important Islamic figures

Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti: Somali scholar living in Cairo who recorded the Napoleonic invasion of Egypt.

Clan and family structure

This 2002 CIA map shows the distribution of the various Somali clans.

The clan groupings of the Somali people are important social units, and clan membership plays a central part in Somali culture and politics. Clans are patrilineal and are often divided into sub-clans, sometimes with many sub-divisions.

Somali society is traditionally ethnically endogamous, so to extend ties of alliance, marriage is often to another ethnic Somali from a different clan. Thus, for example, a recent study observed that in 89 marriages contracted by men of the Dhulbahante clan, 55 (62%) were with women of Dhulbahante sub-clans other than those of their husbands; 30 (33.7%) were with women of surrounding clans of other clan families (Isaaq, 28; Hawiye, 3); and 3 (4.3%) were with women of other clans of the Darod clan family (Majerteen 2, Ogaden 1).[43]

Major Somali clans include:

Somali world

Beach in Djibouti City.

Somalis comprise the majority of Somalia's population at approximately 94% of the total Somalia population. They are traditionally a nomadic ethnic group, but since the late 20th century, many have moved to the cities. While most Somalis can be found in Somalia proper, large numbers also live in Ethiopia, Yemen, Djibouti, the Middle East, South Asia and Europe due to the seafaring tradition of the Somali people.

Civil strife in the early 1990s greatly increased the size of the Somali diaspora, as many of the best educated Somalis left for the Middle East, Europe and North America. In Canada, the cities of Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Hamilton all harbor Somali populations. Statistics Canada's 2006 Census ranks people of Somali descent as the 69th largest ethnic group in Canada.[4]

Recycling sign in Minneapolis which includes Somali language instructions.

While the distribution of Somalis per country in Europe is hard to measure because the Somali community on the continent has grown so quickly in recent years, the official 2001 UK census reported 43,515 Somalis living in the United Kingdom.[3] Somalis in Britain are largely concentrated in the cities of London, Sheffield, Birmingham, Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, and Leicester, with London alone accounting for roughly 78% of Britain's Somali population.[3] There are also significant Somali communities in Norway: 19,656 (2007)[7]; the Netherlands: 19,549 (2008)[8]; and Denmark: 16,550 (2008).[9]

In the United States, Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Columbus, San Diego, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Los Angeles, Portland, Denver, Nashville, Lewiston, Portland, Maine and Cedar Rapids have the largest Somali populations.

Rays Hotel in Borama, Somalia.

An estimated 20,000 Somalis emigrated to the US State of Minnesota some ten years ago. The Twin Cities now have the highest population of Somalis in North America.[44] The city of Minneapolis hosts hundreds of Somali-owned and operated businesses. Colorful stalls inside several malls offer everything from halal meat, to stylish leather shoes, to the latest fashion for men and women, as well as gold jewelry, money transfer or hawala offices, banners advertising the latest Somali films, and video stores fully stocked with nostalgic love songs not found in the mainstream supermarkets, groceries, and boutiques.[45] The number of Somalis has especially surged in the Cedar-Riverside area (in particular, Riverside Plaza) of Minneapolis.

Somalis now comprise one of the largest immigrant communities in the United Arab Emirates. Somali-owned businesses line the streets of Deira, the Dubai city centre. Internet cafes, hotels, coffee shops, restaurants and import-export businesses are all testimony to the Somalis' entrepreneurial spirit. Star African Air is also one of three Somali-owned airlines which are based in Dubai.[46]

Notable individuals of the diaspora

Born in Mogadishu, supermodel Iman was the first Somali woman to appear on the cover of Vogue in 1979 and to sign a cosmetics contract.

Language

The Somali language is a member of the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Its nearest relatives are the Afar and Oromo languages. Somali is the best documented of the Cushitic languages,[47] with academic studies of it dating from before 1900.

Old Somali stone tablet: After Somali had lost its ancient writing script,[48] Somali scholars over the following centuries developed a writing system known as Wadaad's writing to transcribe the language.

The exact number of speakers of Somali is unknown. One source estimates that there are 7.78 million speakers of Somali in Somalia itself and 12.65 million speakers globally.[49]

The Somali language is spoken by ethnic Somalis in Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Yemen and Kenya, and by the Somali diaspora.

Somali dialects are divided into three main groups: Northern, Benaadir and Maay. Northern Somali (or Northern-Central Somali) forms the basis for Standard Somali. Benaadir (also known as Coastal Somali) is spoken on the Benadir coast from Cadale to south of Merca, including Mogadishu, as well as in the immediate hinterland. The coastal dialects have additional phonemes which do not exist in Standard Somali. Maay is principally spoken by the Digil and Mirifle (Rahanweyn) clans in the southern areas of Somalia.

Since Somali had long lost its ancient script,[48] a number of writing systems have been used over the years for transcribing the language. Of these, the Somali alphabet is the most widely-used, and has been the official writing script in Somalia since the government of former President of Somalia Mohamed Siad Barre formally introduced it in October 1972.[50] The script was developed by the Somali linguist Shire Jama Ahmed specifically for the Somali language, and uses all letters of the English Latin alphabet except p, v and z. Besides Ahmed's Latin script, other orthographies that have been used for centuries for writing Somali include the long-established Arabic script and Wadaad's writing. Indigenous writing systems developed in the twentieth century include the Osmanya, Borama and Kaddare scripts, which were invented by Osman Yusuf Kenadid, Sheikh Abdurahman Sheikh Nuur and Hussein Sheikh Ahmed Kaddare, respectively.[51]

Culture

Culture of Somalia
.
Art
Architecture
Pottery  · Textile
Music  · carving
Language
Literature · Mythology
Writing systems · Poetry
Other
Dance  · Dress
Games · Cuisine
Society · History
Islam · Festivals · Institutions
Science and Technology
Maritime · Medicine · Astronomy · Media
Cinema · Coinage
See also
Education · Politics
Symbols · Military

The culture of Somalia is an amalgamation of traditions indigenously developed or accumulated over a timeline spanning several millennia of Somali civilization's interaction through cultural diffusion with neighbouring and far away civilizations such as Ethiopia, Yemen, India and Persia.

The textile-making communities in Somalia are a continuation of an ancient textile industry, as is the culture of wood carving, pottery and monumental architecture that dominates Somali interiors and landscapes. The cultural diffusion of Somali commercial enterprise can be detected in its exotic cuisine, which contains Southeast Asian influences. Due to the Somali people's passionate love for and facility with poetry, Somalia has also been called, by among others, the Canadian novelist and scholar Margaret Laurence, a "Nation of Poets" and a "Nation of Bards".[52]

All of these traditions, including festivals, martial arts, dress, literature, sport and games such as Shax, have immensely contributed to the enrichment of Somali heritage.

Music

Somalis have a rich musical heritage centered on traditional Somali folklore. Most Somali songs are pentatonic; that is, they only use five pitches per octave in contrast to a heptatonic (seven note) scale such as the major scale. At first listen, Somali music might be mistaken for the sounds of nearby regions such as Ethiopia, Sudan or Arabia, but it is ultimately recognizable by its own unique tunes and styles. Somali songs are usually the product of collaboration between lyricists (midho), songwriters (lahan), and singers ('odka or "voice").[53]

Musicians and bands

Khadija Qalanjo, a popular Somali singer in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • Magool (May 2, 1948 - March 19, 2004) – prominent Somali singer considered in Somalia as one of the greatest entertainers of all time.
  • Khadija Qalanjo – popular Somali singer in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • K'naan – award-winning Somali-Canadian hip hop artist.
  • Ali Feiruz – Somali musician from Djibouti; part of the Radio Hargeisa generation of Somali artists.
  • Hasan Adan Samatar – popular male artist during the 1970s and 80s
  • Maryam Mursal (b. 1950) – famous musician from Somalia; composer and vocalist whose work has been produced by the record label Real World.
  • Mohammed Mooge – Somali artist from the Radio Hargeisa generation.
  • Abdi Sinimo – prominent Somali artist and inventor of the Balwo musical style.
  • Waaberi – Somalia's foremost musical group that toured throughout several countries in Africa and Asia, including Egypt, Sudan and China.
  • Abdullahi Qarshe – Somali musician, poet and playwright known for his innovative styles of music which included a wide variety of musical instruments such as the guitar, piano, and oud.

Art

Old carved window frame from medieval Mogadishu.

Somali art is the artistic culture of the Somali people, both historic and contemporary. These include artistic traditions in pottery, music, architecture, woodcarving and other genres. Somali art is characterized by its aniconism, partly as a result of the vestigial influence of the pre-Islamic mythology of the Somalis coupled with their ubiquitous Muslim beliefs. However, there have been cases in the past of artistic depictions representing living creatures such as the golden birds on the Mogadishan canopies, the ancient rock paintings in northern Somalia, and the plant decorations on religious tombs in southern Somalia, but these are considered rare. Instead, intricate patterns and geometric designs, bold colors and monumental architecture was the norm.

Cinema and theatre

Watching Somali or foreign language musicals and films at the cinema or theatre is considered a popular form of leisure in Somalia. Mogadishu used to host several prestigious film festivals honoring African and Middle Eastern films. In 1988, Somali film director Abdulkadir Ahmed Said released a short film entitled Geedka nolosha ("Tree of Life"), which earned him an award that year for Best Short Film at the Torino International Festival of Young Cinema. More recently, the diasporic Somali film industry, also known as Somalywood, has begun to take shape (particularly in Columbus, Ohio) and is becoming quite popular in the overseas Somali communities as well as back in Somalia.[54] The Somali directors Mohameddeq Ali, AbdiMalik Isak and Abdisalan Aato are at the forefront of this revolution. Somalis are also great fans of Bollywood movies and Somali films are usually a mixture of love stories and Hollywood-oriented action.

Attire

Men

Somali man wearing a macawis sarong.

When not dressed in Westernized clothing such as jeans and t-shirts, Somali men typically wear the macawis, which is a sarong-like garment worn around the waist. On their heads, they often wrap a colorful turban or wear the koofiyad, an embroidered fez.

Due to Somalia's proximity to and close ties with the Arabian Peninsula, many Somali men also wear the jellabiya (jellabiyad in Somali), a long white garment common in the Arab world.

Women

During regular, day-to-day activities, women usually wear the guntiino, a long stretch of cloth tied over the shoulder and draped around the waist. In more formal settings such as weddings or religious celebrations like Eid, women wear the dirac, which is a long, light, diaphanous voile dress made of cotton or polyester that is worn over a full-length half-slip and a brassiere.

Married women tend to sport head-scarves referred to as shash, and also often cover their upper body with a shawl known as garbasaar. Unmarried or young women, however, do not always cover their heads. Traditional Arabian garb such as the jilbab is also commonly worn.

Cuisine

Canjeero, the Somali version of injera, is a staple of Somali cuisine.

Somali cuisine varies from region to region and consists of an exotic mixture of diverse culinary influences. It is the product of Somalia's rich tradition of trade and commerce. Despite the variety, there remains one thing that unites the various regional cuisines: all food is served halal. There are therefore no pork dishes, alcohol is not served, nothing that died on its own is eaten, and no blood is incorporated. Qado or lunch is often elaborate. Varieties of bariis (rice), the most popular probably being basmati, usually serve as the main dish. Spices like cumin, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and sage are used to aromatize these different rice dishes. Somalis eat dinner as late as 9 pm. During Ramadan, dinner is often served after Tarawih prayers – sometimes as late as 11 pm. Xalwo or halva is a popular confection eaten during special occasions such as Eid celebrations or wedding receptions. It is made from sugar, cornstarch, cardamom powder, nutmeg powder and ghee. Peanuts are also sometimes added to enhance texture and flavor.[55] After meals, homes are traditionally perfumed using frankincense (lubaan) or incense (cuunsi), which is prepared inside an incense burner referred to as a dabqaad.

Literature

Award-winning author Nuruddin Farah.

Somali scholars have for centuries produced many notable examples of Islamic literature ranging from poetry to Hadith. With the adoption of the Latin alphabet in 1972 to transcribe the Somali language, numerous contemporary Somali authors have also released novels, some of which have gone on to receive worldwide acclaim. Of these modern writers, Nuruddin Farah is probably the most celebrated. Books such as From a Crooked Rib and Links are considered important literary achievements, works which have earned Farah, among other accolades, the 1998 Neustadt International Prize for Literature. Farah Mohamed Jama Awl is another prominent Somali writer who is perhaps best known for his Dervish era novel, Ignorance is the enemy of love.

Authors and poets

Law

Somalis for centuries have practiced a form of customary law, which they call Xeer. Xeer is a polycentric legal system where there is no monopolistic agent that determines what the law should be or how it should be interpreted.

A guurti (court) is traditionally formed beneath an acacia tree, where judges arbitrate a dispute until both parties are satisfied. This process can sometimes lead to several days' worth of discussions.

The Xeer legal system is assumed to have developed exclusively in the Horn of Africa since approximately the 7th century. There is no evidence that it developed elsewhere or was greatly influenced by any foreign legal system. The fact that Somali legal terminology is practically devoid of loan words from foreign languages suggests that Xeer is truly indigenous.[56]

The Xeer legal system also requires a certain amount of specialization of different functions within the legal framework. Thus, one can find odayal (judges), xeer boggeyaal (jurists), guurtiyaal (detectives), garxajiyaal (attorneys), murkhaatiyal (witnesses) and waranle (police officers) to enforce the law.[57]

Xeer is defined by a few fundamental tenets that are immutable and which closely approximate the principle of jus cogens in international law:[58]

  • Assuring good inter-clan relations by treating women justly, negotiating with "peace emissaries" in good faith, and sparing the lives of socially-protected groups (e.g. children, women, the pious, poets and guests).
  • Family obligations such as the payment of dowry, and sanctions for eloping.
  • Rules pertaining to the management of resources such as the use of pasture land, water, and other natural resources.
  • Providing financial support to married female relatives and newly-weds.
  • Donating livestock and other assets to the poor.

Architecture

.

Somali Architecture

Somali architecture is a rich and diverse tradition of engineering and designing multiple different construction types such as stone cities, castles, citadels, fortresses, mosques, temples, aqueducts, lighthouses, towers and tombs during the ancient, medieval and early modern periods in Somalia, as well as the fusion of Somalo-Islamic architecture with Western designs in contemporary times.

In ancient Somalia, pyramidical structures known in Somali as taalo were a popular burial style with hundreds of these drystone monuments scattered around the country today. Houses were built of dressed stone similar to the ones in Ancient Egypt[59] and there are examples of courtyards and large stone walls such as the Wargaade Wall enclosing settlements.

The peaceful introduction of Islam in the early medieval era of Somalia's history brought Islamic architectural influences from Arabia and Persia, which stimulated a shift in construction from drystone and other related materials to coral stone, sundried bricks, and the widespread use of limestone in Somali architecture. Many of the new architectural designs such as mosques were built on the ruins of older structures, a practice that would continue over and over again throughout the following centuries.[60]

Somali studies

Prominent Somali Studies scholar, Said Sheikh Samatar.

The scholarly term for research concerning Somalis and Somalia and related ethnic groups in the Horn of Africa is known as Somali Studies. It consists of several disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, linguistics, historiography and archaeology. The field draws from old Somali chronicles and oral literature, in addition to written accounts and traditions about Somalis and Somalia from European explorers and neighbouring regions in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. Since 1980, prominent Somalist scholars from around the world have gathered annually, either in Somalia or a different country, to hold the International Congress of Somali Studies.

Somalist scholars

See also

References

  1. ^ a b CIA World Factbook: Somalia, people and Map of the Somalia Ethnic groups (CIA according de Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection). The first gives 15% non-Somalis and the second 6%. Used 90% of current population of Somalia.
  2. ^ a b Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia, "Census 2007", first draft, Table 5.
  3. ^ a b c BBC News with figures from the 2001 Census
  4. ^ a b Statistics Canada - Ethnocultural Portrait of Canada Highlight Tables, 2006 Census
  5. ^ The 2000 USA census
  6. ^ Statistics Sweden
  7. ^ a b Population 1st January 2006 and 2007 and changes in 2006, by immigrant category and country background
  8. ^ a b Statistics Netherlands
  9. ^ a b StatBank Denmark
  10. ^ http://www.stat.fi/til/vaerak/2007/vaerak_2007_2008-03-28_tie_001_fi.html (Finnish)
  11. ^ Official demographic statistics in Italy - ISTAT
  12. ^ Saheed A. Adejumobi, The History of Ethiopia, (Greenwood Press: 2006), p.178
  13. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica, inc, Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 1, (Encyclopaedia Britannica: 2005), p.163
  14. ^ Phoenicia pg 199
  15. ^ The Aromatherapy Book by Jeanne Rose and John Hulburd pg 94
  16. ^ Egypt: 3000 Years of Civilization Brought to Life By Christine El Mahdy
  17. ^ Ancient perspectives on Egypt By Roger Matthews, Cornelia Roemer, University College, London.
  18. ^ Africa's legacies of urbanization: unfolding saga of a continent By Stefan Goodwin
  19. ^ Civilizations: Culture, Ambition, and the Transformation of Nature By Felipe Armesto Fernandez
  20. ^ Man, God and Civilization pg 216
  21. ^ Oman in history By Peter Vine Page 324
  22. ^ Society, security, sovereignty and the state in Somalia‎ - Page 116
  23. ^ East Africa: Its Peoples and Resources‎ - Page 18
  24. ^ Shaping of Somali society Lee Cassanelli pg.92
  25. ^ Futuh Al Habash Shibab ad Din
  26. ^ Sudan Notes and Records‎ - Page 147
  27. ^ Encyclopedia of African history‎ - Page 1406
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