The Barawa seafront.
|Nickname(s): Brava Ierè|
|Time zone||EAT (UTC+3)|
In the 16th century, Barawa, which was then part of the Ajuran Empire, was sacked by the Portuguese during the Battle of Barawa but quickly recovered from the attack. In 1840, soldiers of the Bardheere Jama'a took the city under siege while attempting to discover a more direct sea route, and inflicted much damage. The town's inhabitants pleaded with Sultan Yusuf Mahamud Ibrahim of the Geledi Sultanate for protection, with the Sultan's troops then invading Bardera and burned the city to the ground. Eventually, in 1889, Barawa was ceded to the control of the Italians when the Sultan of Zanzibar was forced to agree to the annexation of all the Banadir ports to the Italian Company already established in the Horn of Africa. The city, however, like the rest of the Benadir coast, was not under Zanzibari control but under Gobroon and Bimal rule, therefore making the Italian-Zanzibar agreement null and void. The Italians faced stiff resistance from many parts of the Benadir coast, and its inland regions and the slave trade of the Somali merchants would remain unchallenged for years to come.
Sheikh Uways al-Barawi organized an Ikhwaan and led the Banadir revolt, which was duly crushed in 1908. The Sheikh subsequently migrated to Biyoley to reorganize his Ikhwan, but was killed in 1909. One result of the unsuccessful revolt was the establishment of the Uwaysiyya order, named after the martyr Sheikh Uways, which succeeded in establishing jama’as in the riverine region of southern Somalia and neighboring regions, which acted as centres of charity and learning. In addition to the famous Sheikh Uways, Baraawe has produced numerous well respected Ulama including Sheikh Nureini Sabiri, Sheikh Qassim al-Baraawi, Sheikh Ma'llim Nuri and a female poet-saint, Dada Masiti. The city was the stronghold of the Hizbiya Digil-Mirifle (HDM) party, which was founded in 1947 and later became the Hizb al-Dastuur Mustaqil al-Somali (Somali Independent Constitutional Party, HDMS)
As of 2009, the Barawa area had come under the control of al-Shabab. In September 2009, a United States military raid killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a suspected al-Qaida operative. In October 2013, United States Navy SEAL Team Six launched a raid against a beachside house in Barawa, targeting Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, the leader of Al-Shabaab, but was unable to complete the mission, having come under heavy fire.
The town's traditional inhabitants are the Tunni, as well as the Bravanese. In addition to Standard Somali, the Tunni speak Af-Tunni (another Afro-Asiatic language) and the Bravanese speak Chimwiini (a dialect of Swahili).
- Barbosa, 1866, p. 15 (originally from about 1517)
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- Port Cities of the Horn
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