Osman Mahamuud

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Osman Mahamuud
عثمان محمود
King of the Majeerteen Sultanate
Reign mid-1800s-early 1900s
Predecessor Mahmud V ibn Yusuf
Successor n/a
Full name
Cismaan Maxamuud
Dynasty Majeerteen Dynasty
Religion Islam

Osman Mahamuud (Somali: Cismaan Maxamuud, Arabic: عثمان محمود‎), also known as `Uthman III ibn Mahmud, was a Somali ruler. He led the Majeerteen Sultanate during its Golden Age in the mid-19th to early 20th centuries. Along with Sultan Yusuf Ali Kenadid of the Sultanate of Hobyo and Sultan Mohamoud Ali Shire of the Warsangali Sultanate, Boqor Osman was one of the three prominent rulers of present-day Somalia at the turn of the 20th century.

Majeerteen Sultanate[edit]

Main article: Majeerteen Sultanate

The Majeerteen Sultanate was established around 1600 CE by Somalis from the Majeerteen Darod clan. Osman Mahamuud was the son of Mahmud V ibn Yusuf, who had ruled the Sultanate from 1844 to 1860. Mahmud fils thereafter assumed the throne, governing under the regal title of Boqor (King).[1] The Majeerteen Sultanate rose to prominence that century under Boqor Osman's guidance.[2]

Majeerteen-British agreement[edit]

Due to consistent ship crashes along the northeastern Cape Guardafui headland, Boqor Osman's kingdom entered into an informal agreement with Britain, wherein the British agreed to pay the King annual subsidies to protect shipwrecked British crews and guard wrecks against plunder. The agreement, however, remained unratified, as the British feared that doing so would "give other powers a precedent for making agreements with the Somalis, who seemed ready to enter into relations with all comers."[3]

Sultanate of Hobyo[edit]

Main article: Sultanate of Hobyo

Osman Mahamuud's Sultanate was nearly destroyed in the mid-1800s by a power struggle between himself and his ambitious cousin, Yusuf Ali Kenadid. After almost five years of battle, the young upstart was finally 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 separate Sultanate of Hobyo in 1878.[2][4]

Majeerteen-Italian treaties[edit]

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. In signing the agreements, the rulers also hoped to exploit the rival objectives of the European imperial powers so as to more effectively assure the continued independence of their territories.[5]

The terms of each treaty specified that Italy was to steer clear of any interference in the sultanates' respective administrations.[5] In return for Italian arms and an annual subsidy, the Sultans conceded to a minimum of oversight and economic concessions.[6] The Italians also agreed to dispatch a few ambassadors to promote both the sultanates' and their own interests.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Somali Traditional States". Worldstatesmen. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Helen Chapin Metz, Somalia: a country study, (The Division: 1993), p.10.
  3. ^ David D. Laitin, Politics, Language, and Thought: The Somali Experience, (University Of Chicago Press: 1977), p.71
  4. ^ Lee V. Cassanelli, The shaping of Somali society: reconstructing the history of a pastoral people, 1600-1900, (University of Pennsylvania Press: 1982), p.75.
  5. ^ a b c Issa-Salwe (1996:34–35)
  6. ^ Hess (1964:416–417)


External links[edit]