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The Majeerteen (Somali: Majeerteen, Arabic: ماجرتين‎; also spelled Majerteen, Macherten, Majertain, or Mijurtin)[1] is a Somali clan. It is one of the major Somali clans, with a vast traditional territory spanning 3 major regions of Somalia: Bari, Nugaal and Mudug. From Bosaso down to Garacad, the Majerteen are settled in what is literally considered to be the 'Horn of Africa'. Its members form a part of the Darod clan family, and primarily inhabit the Puntland state of northeastern Somalia.[2]

The Majeerteen Sultanates played an important role in the pre-independence era of Somalia.[3]

Majeerteens also held many other significant government posts in the 1960s and 1970s, and continue to play a key role in Puntland state and Somalia as a whole.


The Majeerteen are traditionally settled in Somalia's northern regions of Bari, Nugal and Mudug.[4] They can also be found in Kismayo in southern Somalia due to migrations starting in the 19th century along with their fellow members of the larger Harti subclan, the Dhulbahante, Dishiishe and Warsangeli.

The Majeerteen are traditionally settled in the land in-between Bandar Siyada an ancient port town facing the Gulf of Aden, and Garacad a coastal port town, facing the Indian Ocean and all the land in between which corresponds to the area encompassing the Horn of Africa.[5] Therefore, the Majerteen are settled in what is literally considered to be 'the Horn of Africa'.

Some Majeerteen people are also found in the Somali Region internationally referred to Ogaden, specifically in the Hawd region near the Somalia border.[2]

The Majeerteen are part of Darod subclans within Somalia.[5]

The Majeerteen are more commonly found in the cities of Bosaso, Garowe and Galkacyo which are all regional capitals of Bari, Somalia, Nugal, Somalia and Mudug respectively.

Majeerteen Kingdoms

Majeerteen ruler Ali Yusuf Kenadid, 2nd Sultan of the Sultanate of Hobyo.

Before the famous Majeerteen Sultanate there was the Sultanate of Amaanle (Abdirahman Awe) which was overthrown and overtaken by Osman Mahamuud who became the subsequent King and Sultan. The Majeerteen Sultanate was founded in the early-18th century. It rose to prominence in the following century, under the reign of the resourceful King (Boqor) Osman Mahamuud.[6] His Sultanate controlled Bari Karkaar, Nugaaal and also central Somalia in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The polity maintained a robust trading network, entered into treaties with foreign powers, and exerted strong centralized authority on the domestic front.[7][8]

Osman Mahamuud's Sultanate was nearly destroyed in the late-1800s by a power struggle between himself and his ambitious cousin, Yusuf Ali Kenadid who founded the Sultanate of Hobyo in 1878. Initially he wanted to seize control of the neighbouring Majeerteen Sultanate, ruled by his cousin Boqor Osman Mahamud. However, Yusuf Ali Kenadid was unsuccessful in this endeavour, and was eventually forced into exile in Yemen. A decade later, in the 1870s, Kenadid returned from the Arabian Peninsula with a band of Hadhrami musketeers and a group of devoted lieutenants. With their assistance, he managed to overpower the local Hawiye clans and establish the Kingdom of Hobyo in 1878.[6][9][10]

Ruins of a Majeerteen Sultanate castle in Bargal

As with the Majeerteen Sultanate, the Sultanate of Hobyo exerted a strong centralized authority during its existence, and possessed all of the organs and trappings of an integrated modern state: a functioning bureaucracy, a hereditary nobility, titled aristocrats, a state flag, as well as a professional army.[7][11] Both sultanates also maintained written records of their activities, which still exist.[12]

In late 1889, Boqor Osman entered into a treaty with the Italians, making his realm an Italian protectorate. His rival Sultan Kenadid had signed a similar agreement vis-a-vis his own Sultanate the year before. Both rulers had signed the protectorate treaties to advance their own expansionist objectives, with Boqor Osman looking to use Italy's support in his ongoing power struggle with Kenadid over the Majeerteen Sultanate. Boqor Osman and Sultan Kenadid also hoped to exploit the conflicting interests among the European imperial powers that were then looking to control the Somali peninsula, so as to avoid direct occupation of their territories by force.[13]

The relationship between the Sultanate of Hobyo and Italy soured when Sultan Kenadid refused the Italians' proposal to allow a British contingent of troops to disembark in his Sultanate so that they might then pursue their battle against the Somali religious and nationalist leader Mohammed Abdullah Hassan's Dervish forces.[13] Viewed as too much of a threat by the Italians, Sultan Kenadid was eventually exiled to Aden in Yemen and then to Eritrea, as was his son Ali Yusuf, the heir apparent to his throne.[14]

Osman Yusuf Kenadid, the son of the first Sultan Yusuf Ali Kenadid, was a famous poet and scholar. Osman Yusuf Kenadid was the inventor of the first phonetically standard script for the Somali language in the 1920s, the Osmanya Script.[15]


There is no clear agreement on the clan and sub-clan structures and many lineages are omitted. The following listing is taken from the World Bank's Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics from 2005 and the United Kingdom's Home Office publication, Somalia Assessment 2001.[16][17]

  • Shiekh Darod (Daarood bin Ismaciil)
    • Marehan
      • Red Dini
      • Rer Hassan
      • Cali Dheere
    • Kabalah
      • Absame
        • Ogaden
          • Makabul
          • Mohamed Zubeir
          • Aulihan
        • Jidwaq
      • Harti
        • Dhulbahante (Dolbahante)
        • Dishiishe (Dishishe)
        • Warsangali (Warsengeli)
        • Majeerteen (Mijerteen)
          • Wabeeneeye
          • Idigfale (Muuse Noleys)
          • Danweyne (Abdalle Noleys)
          • Amaanle
          • Guddoonwaaq
          • Filkucaag
          • Amartiwaaq
          • Tabale
          • Ali Jibraahiil
          • Nuux Jibrahiil
          • Cabdirixiin Ibraahim
          • Wadalmoge
          • Reer Umar
          • Reer Maxamuud
            • Abukar Maxamuud
              • Faarax Ismacil
              • Ciise Ismacil
              • Maxamed Ismacil
            • Qaasin Maxamuud
              • Maxamed Qaasin
              • Axmed Qaasin
              • Aadan Qaasin
              • Bare Qaasin
              • Ibraahim Qaasin
          • Reer Bicidyahan
          • Siwaaqroon
            • Abdirahman
              • Adan Abdiraxman
                • Ibrahim Abdisamad
                • Yoonis Abdisamad
                • Mohamud Abdisamad
              • Cawlyahan (Obokor Abdiraxman)
                • Ciise Cawlyahan
                • Jibriil Cawlyahan
                • Hashim Cawlyahan
            • Mohammed
          • Ugaar Saleebaan
          • Ismail Saleebaan
          • Ali Saleebaan
            • Bicidyahan Ali
            • Auliyahan Ali
            • Omar Ali
            • Adam Ali
            • Ismail Ali
          • Maxamuud Saleebaan
            • Cumar Maxamuud
            • Cusmaan Maxamuud
            • Ciise Maxamuud

2. Omar Mahmud (Cumaar Mahamuud), 3. Issa Mahmud (Ciise Mahamuud), and 4. Osman Mahmoud (Cismaan Mahamuud) – comprise the Mahamuud Saleebaan, Muse Salebaan known as Ugaar Saleebaan is also major subclans[18]:17 which a 2010 study identifies as both the main division of Majeerteen and a central and unifying entity in Puntland. During the 1960s, the Ali Saleebaan (or Cali Saleebaan), Wadalmuge and Ciise Mahamud formed a powerful business class in Kismayo,[18]:19 while Siad Barre exploited a rivalry between the Cali Saleebaan and Cumaar Mahamuud in an effort to weaken the Majeerteen in general.[18]:17 Historically, the Cali Saleebaan formed part of a coastal trading network around Bosaso, along with other subclans.[18]:19 ugaar( muuse saleebaan ) and cali saleebaan are prominent majeerteen clans in bari region with Nineteen other Majeerteen clans inhabit the Bari Region.[18]:15

Prominent figures


  1. ^ Central Intelligence Agency (2002). "Ethnic Groups". Somalia Summary Map. Perry–Castañeda Library. Archived from the original on 30 May 2010. Retrieved 18 May 2010.
  2. ^ a b Humphrey, James Harry (6 May 2018). "Issues in Contemporary Athletics". Nova Publishers. Archived from the original on 30 December 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2018 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-12-30. Retrieved 2017-12-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Royal African Society, African Affairs, Volume 101, (Oxford University Press: 2002) p.101.
  5. ^ a b "Somalia's Complex Clan Dynamics". 10 January 2012. Archived from the original on 31 December 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b Helen Chapin Metz, Somalia: a country study, (The Division: 1993), p.10.
  7. ^ a b Horn of Africa, Volume 15, Issues 1-4, (Horn of Africa Journal: 1997), p.130.
  8. ^ Transformation towards a regulated economy, (WSP Transition Programme, Somali Programme: 2000) p.62.
  9. ^ Lee V. Cassanelli, The shaping of Somali society: reconstructing the history of a pastoral people, 1600-1900, (University of Pennsylvania Press: 1982), p.75.
  10. ^ Lea, David; Rowe, Annamarie (2001). A Political Chronology of Africa. Europa Publications. p. 378. ISBN 1857431162.
  11. ^ Michigan State University. African Studies Center, Northeast African studies, Volumes 11-12, (Michigan State University Press: 1989), p.32.
  12. ^ Sub-Saharan Africa Report, Issues 57-67. Foreign Broadcast Information Service. 1986. p. 34.
  13. ^ a b The Majeerteen Sultanates
  14. ^ Sheik-ʻAbdi (1993:129)
  15. ^ "Yasin Osman Kenadid • Puntite". 1 August 2017. Archived from the original on 31 December 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  16. ^ Worldbank, Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics Archived 2018-06-16 at the Wayback Machine, January 2005, Appendix 2, Lineage Charts, p.55 Figure A-1
  17. ^ Country Information and Policy Unit, Home Office, Great Britain, Somalia Assessment 2001, Annex B: Somali Clan Structure Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine, p. 43
  18. ^ a b c d e Marchal, Roland (May 2010). "The Puntland State of Somalia: A Tentative Social Analysis" (PDF). Sciences Po. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-08-15.
  19. ^ "Controversial Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Muslim turned atheist, to resign from Dutch Parliament - Asian Tribune". Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2018.

External links