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Warsheikh (Somali: Warsheekh, Arabic: وأرشيخ) is a town in the southeastern Middle Shebelle (Shabeellaha Dhexe) region of Somalia. An important historical Islamic center, it is situated on the coast north of Mogadishu.
An early Muslim center in southern Somalia, Warsheikh was one of the principal settlements of the Sultanate of Mogadishu during the Middle Ages. The town has an old mosque situated near a cape, which features an inscription noting its construction in 1278H (1861-1862 CE) by Sheikh Abu Bakr b. Mihzar b. Ahmad al-Kasadi. The masjid has three rows of transverse, east-west piers, and a foliate mihrab. It also has attached chambers, with the Sheikh's tomb situated in an adjacent room. Following the incorporation of Mogadishu in the Ajuran Empire, Warsheikh would also follow suit.
Over the course of three archaeological expeditions in Warsheikh between 1920 and 1921, Enrico Cerulli uncovered coins from the medieval Sultans of Mogadishu. They were deposited in the Scuola Orientale of the University of Rome, but were later lost in World War II. According to Cerulli, similar coins were found in the village of Mos (Moos), located about 14 km to Warsheikh's northwest. Freeman-Grenville (1963) also record another discovery of ancient coins in the latter town.
During the late 19th century, Warsheikh was the stage of a power struggle between Sultan Yusuf Ali Kenadid of the Sultanate of Hobyo and the Omani Sultan of Zanzibar. In 1888, Sultan Kenadid entered into a treaty with Italy, making his kingdom a protectorate known as Italian Somaliland. His rival and cousin Boqor (King) Osman Mahamuud, who ruled the more northerly Majeerteen Sultanate (Migiurtinia), would sign a similar agreement vis-a-vis his own Sultanate the following year. Both rulers had entered into the protectorate treaties to advance their own expansionist goals. Kenadid sought to use Italy's support in his ongoing power struggle with Boqor Osman over the Majeerteen Sultanate, as well as in his dispute with the Sultan of Zanzibar over an area to the north of Warsheikh. 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.
The broader Warsheikh District has a total population of 15,573 residents.
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- Issa-Salwe (1996:34–35)
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- Sheik-ʻAbdi, ʻAbdi ʻAbdulqadir (1993). Divine madness: Moḥammed ʻAbdulle Ḥassan (1856-1920). Zed Books. ISBN 0-86232-444-0.
- The Majeerteen Sultanates
- Warsheikh, Somalia