This copy provided courtesy Bruce Eady: ” It is an official Italian army postcard which was sent free of postage by the troops. Soldiers had to put their unit details to get the free postage — in this case it was the Commando Divisione Fanteria “Puglie” ( 38 ). There is an army post office postmark of January 1941. These army postmarks deliberately didn’t disclose their location so unless we can discover where field post office N12 was we cannot pin down where it originated. Research needed !”
I visited Qandala in late 1991, travelling overnight by boat along the coast from Bossaso. A memorable trip!
G. Revoil described his travels along this coast 100 years beforehand in Voyage au pays des Medjourtaines (Cap Gardufui – Afrique Orientale), pages 254-269, Bulletin de la Societe de Geographie, Mars 1880.
The map below shows Qandala in relation to Bender Khor, also labeled Boutiala. Boutiala/Botiala is a site of some antiquity, as described in this Wikipedia entry
Two different times I visit Khor Bender or Bottiala . This city is about six miles from the coast , on an island formed by the two arms of dried up Khori , a stream which pours into the sea through narrow and steep gorges. The sea arrives into these gorges, washes to the first huts of the city, maintaining a depth around 5 to 6 cubits or doudouns, which allows small sambucos or dhows to come loaded with mechandises to Bender Khor .
Bender Khor is unquestionably the city where the traveller may be the best at what he has before his eyes , refer to the first era of civilization of the people. Four adobe forts guard the gorge, complete with all defence accessories. The cemetery is placed right in the middle of the village and from the mosque, the huts scattered symmetrically under the protection of the forts: …… , contributed to this locality trapped in a huge amphitheatre and a great character that strikes the attention.
Here is his drawing of the town of Bender Khor
The location of the four forts mentioned by Revoil is not clear. On the Revoil map shown above one high point is marked with a C, and this corresponds roughly with the ruins shown in the Google Maps photo shown below. They stand on the edge of a small plateau, about 200 metres to the west of Bender Khor, at Lat 11° 28.538′, Lon 49° 56.947′ The structure is perhaps 25 x 30 metres in size. The irregular extension to the top right of the structure may be a more recent addition, perhaps an animal enclosure.
This Google elevated view provides another perspective
Further towards the coast there are remains of other buildings, which may have been Revoil’s four forts.
They are between 10 and 20 metres square in size
The Wikipedia entry also says “To the north of the fortress complex is an impressive field of approximately 200 stone cairns (taalo) of varying sizes, some of which are associated with standing stones. Close by and along the shoreline are extensive shell middens. Neither structures have yet been excavated or dated“
This Google photo may show the cairns. I thought at first they were wells, but no longer think so. They are to the immediate south-west of the “four forts”
And here is a view of the same coastal valley, taken from the coast looking inland (found via Panoramio).
The gorge referred to by Revoil looks more impressive from this angle. The remains of the “four forts” may be visible on the right, above the first modest sized dark cliff overlooking the waterway
From “Atlas France”, 1929. Click twice on image to enlarge
I drove to Djibouti from Hargeysa (to the south of this map) in 1983 and 1984. We got the coast somewhere to the east of Zeyla, I think, then crossed the border at Loyada, further NW along the coast. The (french built) Djibouti border post was like something out of the film Beau Geste. On one occasion we drove our 4 wheel drive Toyota inland from Djibouti town ,across very rough tracks, to the shores of Lac Assal, just inland from the head of the Gulf of Tadjoura, seen here. It seems to have less water in it than I was there. Where we stopped there was a hot water spring feeding into the lake,which was incredibly salty. The shoreline and lake floor was covered in salt crystals, some of which were too sharp to stand on.
Title: Coast of Zanguebar and Aien
Creator: Morden, Robert
Place of Publication: England
Published in Modern’s Atlas Terestris.
More information: http://imagesearchnew.library.illinois.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/africanmaps/id/1066/rec/9
Described as “Rare early English map of the East African Coastline, perhaps the earliest obtainable English map of the region” The above version seems to have been colored after removal from the atlas
“Kismayu, or Kisimayau is the last anchorage on the Somali coast, going north eastwards in the direction of Cape Guardafui, to which the term port can be applied. But even this place is little used except as a harbour of refuge, so little developed is the movement of exchanges along this inhospitable seaboard. Nevertheless, Kismayu is the natural outlet of the vast basin of the Juba, which reaches the sea about 12 miles to the north-east. In 1869 this town did not yet exist, but in that year some Somali emigrants from the Upper Juba Valley, and especially from the neighbourhood of Bardera, or Bat Tir, the chief market of the interior, established themselves at this favourable point of the coast, and opened direct commercial relations with Zanzibar. Later some members of the Mijurtin tribe, the most energetic traders on the whole seaboard, also settled in the same place, the population of which had already risen to eight thousand six hundred in the year 1873. At that time the suzerainty of the Sultan of Zanzibar was represented in Kismayu by some Arab traders and a small Baluchi garrison. In 1870 a Marseilles commercial house had hoisted the French flag in this port, but after the battle of Sedan the Sultan of Zanzibar hastened to reassert his authority over the place.
Bardera is inhabited by Mohammedans, who if not actually Wahabites, are fully as fanatical as those troublesome sectaries. They neither smoke nor take snuff, and display an almost rabid zeal in their efforts to enforce their peculiar views on the surrounding Somali populations. Hence insurrections, massacres, migrations. of tribes, and disorders of all sorts. In the year 1845, the town of Bardera was utterly destroyed by the enraged inhabitants of the district, who slew all the men and sold the women and children into bondage. A few fugitives, however, contrived to break through the fiery circle closing round the doomed city, and going northwards to the Ganane country, founded a town on the left bank of the Webi, which has flourished, and is now a great centre of trade. Bardera also again rose from its ashes, and with it was revived the old spirit of religious intolerance. Here were massacred in 1865 the two travellers Link and Von der Decken The vessel with which the unfortunate explorers had navigated the river, and which the natives had succeeded in recovering from the rapids, was till recently used by them as a ferry-boat between the two banks of the Juba”
The full text of the book is available online here (in a big .pdf file)
The map comes from page 413-414 of ” The Earth and its Inhabitants: Africa (South and East Africa)”, authored by Elisee Reclus and published by the D. Appleton and Company. 1889.
Text above and below the map, and on the back side of the map, reads as follows:
MAYET – BERBERA – BULHAR 412
Other havens or roadsteads follow in the direction of the west, where Mayet (Mehet) is the seaport of the Habr Ghar-Haji people. According to the local
MAYET – BERBERA 413
tradition, here died the great Sheikh Ishak) ancestor of all the Habr or ” Grandmother” tribes, which belong to the widespread Hashiya division of the Somali race. Formerly the Somali advanced in years came from all the surrounding regions and settled near the venerated shrine, in order after death to secure a last resting-place near the remains of the founder of their nation. All the houses and cabins of Mayet were at one time grouped round about the tomb of the saint; but they have since been displaced in the direction of the west, near the mouth of a little coast-stream. Towards the north-east is visible the volcanic islet of Jebel- Tiur, or ‘Bird Mountain,” which contains a deposit of guano, and to which the English have given the name of Burnt. Island, from the colour of its lavas. The island is annually visited by about forty Arab dhows, from the port of Makalla in Hadramaut, returning laden with cargoes of this manure for their tobacco plantations.
West of Mayet follow the seaports of Heis, Ankor’, Kerem, all of which belong to the Habr Tol nation. Then, after rounding a headland, the seafarer comes in fuIl view of a deep inlet in the coast forming the important harbour of Berbera. This 3 the only thoroughly sheltered haven on the whole seaboard, and has consequently been a busy seaport from the remotest antiquity. The town still keeps the old lame of Barbaria formerly applied by the Greeks, not to any particular point, but
SOUTH AND EAST AFRICA 414
to all the coastlands skirting the south side of the Gulf of Aden. Yet notwith¬standing its obvious maritime advantages, this privileged seaport has at times been completely abandoned. Thus a war which broke out in the year 1870 between the surrounding Gadibursi and Dolbobant nations compelled all the inhabitants of Berbera temporarily to quit their homes. But under the protection of Great Britain, which has inherited all the rights of Egypt as the ruling power on this seaboard, Berbera has again become the centre of considerable commercial activity. It has now a lighthouse, piers, warehouses, and even an aqueduct, whose copious water, thermal at the fountain-head, is brought from a distance of about seven miles. Berbera is the successor of Bender Abbas, another town some ruins of which are still visible on the low-lying shores of the Tamar peninsula enclosing the road¬stead on the north and north-west. Lying 160 miles to the south of Aden, and nearly under the same meridian, Berbera shares with that town and with Zaila, another port belonging to England, the whole of the commercial movement in the western parts of the Gulf of Aden.
On the beach at Bullhar, about 45 miles farther west, lies the market-place where the Berbera traders meet the caravans coming from Harrar and from all the Somali and Galla Lands to ,the south and west of that place. During the busy season, from October to January, as many as 15,000 persons are attracted to this place. Then, after all the commodities have changed hands, the tents are struck, the long strings of camels laden with their purchases move off in all directions towards the interior, the Arab dhows set sail, and solitude once more prevails along the seaboard. The Somali prefer the Bulhar market to that of Berbera itself, because they find in the, neighborhood convenient pasturages for their numerous herds and Hocks, whereas round about Berbera nothing is offered except here and there a few trailing plants and shrubs. Bulhar has unfortunately no harbour, and its surf-beaten shores are too often strewn with wreckage. The explorers who have ventured to penetrate from this point into the inland plateaux report the existence of numerous burial-places.
The most frequented trade route running south• westwards in the direction of the city of Harrar has its seaward terminus at Bulhar. But Samawanak and Dungareta have been spoken or as more convenient starting-points for the future railway, which has already ‘been projected, and which must sooner or later run through the Gadibursi territory towards the great city of the Upper Webi basin, easternmost station and bulwark of the kingdom of Shoa. Accordingly England and France have recently put forward rival claims for the possession of this future gateway to the interior of the continent from this direction. The English mean¬time retain in their hands the disputed station, recognising in return the absolute sovereignty of France over the Gulf of Tajurah, which also gives access to the inland regions from the head of the Gulf of Aden.
The full text of the book is available online here (in a big .pdf file)
Available via Tobias Hagmann’s website:
- Mohamed Sheikh Ali Giumale (undated), Mogadishu: Pearl of the Indian Ocean. Mogadishu: Local Government.
- Somali Democratic Republic (1971), Beautiful Somalia. Mogadishu: Ministry of Information and National Guidance.
- Somali Democratic Republic (1977), New Era Quarterly Magazine, Issue No 4, Oct./Dec. 1977. Mogadishu: Ministry of Information and National Guidance.
- Somali Democratic Republic (1979), Selected Speeches of the SRSP Secretary General and the Somali Democratic Republic President, Jaalle Mohamed Siad Barre. Mogadishu: Ministry of Information and National Guidance.
- Puzo, W. D. (1972), Mogadishu, Somalia: Geographic Aspects of its Evolution, Population, Functions, and Morphology. PhD thesis, University of California, Los Angeles.
From page 5 of “Mogadishu: Pearl of the Indian Ocean” (pdf copy here)
Undated, could be in the 1970s.
Photo copied from Vintage Somalia – a website worth visiting, with a large and eclectic collection of photos
When was this photo taken? Leave your comment below
Boondhere district is visible as a new settlement in the distant centre and right
I hope to create a list here, including audio files and links to other websites with audio files. Here is one
Dur Dur – Somali Music from the 1980’s on Kezira -Music in the Horn of Africa
“….by Lieutenant C.J. Cruttenden. I.N., with additions from the Surveys of Capt. Owen, R.N. Liets, Barker, Christopher & Carless, I.N”
Published in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, London 1849
The generous description of the Nugal valley on this map reminds me another place described by a friend Axmed I J…many years ago, a place where there were “valleys of milk, valleys of honey and valleys of good pasta” 🙂