Sultanate of Qata

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The Sultanate of Qata was a sultanate founded after 702 by Muslim Balaw (a Beja clan) on the coastal region between Massawa and the Buri Peninsula.


The Aksumite Empire collapsed prior to the year 700 and the great city of Adulis declined and was largely abandoned (the village of Zula is all that remains). The coast and nearby Dahlak Islands were overrun with pirates who attacked Jeddah in 702, prompting a military response from the Umayyad Caliphate. The Umayyads were not interested in the coast and delegated authority to nearby Balaw clans who had already overrun northern Eritrea, creating the Sultanate of Qata. The town of Badi (modern Massawa) was the dividing marker between the Sultanate of Baqulin and Qata.


The ruling Balaw never made up a majority of the population. Most of the inhabitants were either the Saho or Habesha, who had settled there during the Aksumite Empire.


Like the Sultanate of Dahlak, the Sultanate of Qata was a primarily coastal kingdom and was vulnerable to Portuguese attacks during the 16th century. The Sultanate was occupied by Ottoman forces in 1557, and it became part of the Habesh Eyalet.