Mogadishu: Images from the Past

Colonial period building on the lower Juba

Posted in 1800 - 1900, 1900 - 1960 Italian Period, Govt buildings by rickjdavies on 14 December, 2014

1989-32 editedPhoto taken in 1988, at the mouth of the Juba, on the north side of the river.

It could be Italian or English. This area, known as Jubaland, was once under British colonial control

Possible location: Lat and Long 0°14’55.8″S 42°37’04.0″E
-0.248845, 42.617769

Jama mosque, circa 1880

Posted in 1800 - 1900, Mosques by rickjdavies on 8 January, 2014

jamaFrom “Voyage Chez Les Benadirs, Les Comalis et les Bayouns, par M.G. Revoil en 1882 et 1883″
Published in Le Tour du Monde. Noveau Journal des Voyages. XLIX, 1255 Liv, page 61

Location in Xamar Weyne, courtesy of Google Maps. Minara is visible within the red circle

jama aerialLat and Long: 2°01’56.8″N 45°20’31.6″E
2.032442, 45.342114

Cabdul Aziz mosque, circa 1880

Posted in 1800 - 1900, Mosques by rickjdavies on 5 January, 2014

AAmosqueFrom “Voyage Chez Les Benadirs, Les Comalis et les Bayouns, par M.G. Revoil en 1882 et 1883″
Published in Le Tour du Monde. Noveau Journal des Voyages. XLIX, 1254 Liv, page 46

Revoil and his colleague are in this scene, wearing turbans, located to the left of the camera on the tripod

Location as shown by Google Maps. Given the location of mosque relative to minara, it seems that the above drawing was based on a location to the south east of the minara

AAmosqueGoogle

 Lat and Long: 2°02’13.3″N 45°21’12.3″E

2.037035, 45.353426

Alas, it is no more, after being damaged by fighting between Al Shabab and OAU forces a few years ago, and then in 2013 demolished by order of the current government, with a promise of being “rebuilt” by Turkey

Here are some photos of inscriptions inside of the adjacent mosque (also damaged during the fighting), taken by Mary Harper before its demolition

AAmosqueDamaged3c

Located at the back of the mihrab?

AAmosqueDamaged3bOld inscription or simply recent text written in chalk?

  Location unknown…any ideas?

Fakhr al-Din mosque, circa 1882

Posted in 1800 - 1900, Mosques, Themes by rickjdavies on 5 January, 2014

FADINFrom “Voyage Chez Les Benadirs, Les Comalis et les Bayouns, par M.G. Revoil en 1882 et 1883”
Published in Le Tour du Monde. Noveau Journal des Voyages. XLIX, 1255 Liv, page 51

More engravings from the same source:

FADIN2b

FADIN3b

FADIN4b

FADIN5b

For more information about the marbles, see

Lambourn, E.(1999) ‘The decoration of the Fakhr al-Dīn mosque in Mogadishu and other pieces of Gujarati marble carving on the East African coast‘, Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa, 34: 1, 61 — 86 To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/00672709909511472 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00672709909511472. The first paragraph, showb below, suggests that the marbles shown above may not longer be in place:

textThe following photos are included in the above paper

plate 1

plate 2

plate 3Is this four layered inscription above the arch the same as marble incriptions  photographed by Revoil and shown above (but in the proper vertical order)?

Pre-colonial port, remains circa1882

Posted in 1800 - 1900 by rickjdavies on 5 January, 2014

harbour2From “Voyage Chez Les Benadirs, Les Comalis et les Bayouns, par M.G. Revoil en 1882 et 1883”
Published in Le Tour du Monde. Noveau Journal des Voyages. XLIX, 1255 Liv, page 49

Text on page 50 refers to this view [courtesy Google Translate):

Along the narrow streets of Harmarhouine amid the huts and miserable huts along them, we arrive at the mosque of Hussein Arbou . This edifice , without much importance , dominates a small cove almost square, closed by the nature in which the sea, which breaks with fury on the rocks, pours a veritable cataract of foaming waves , while iridescent by the rays of the sun . Some sections of blackened walls surrounding the mosque, based as it on an entablature of the cliff and peak ground in many places by the hand of man . A little further , the old men say , was a tower of similar construction to the Abdul Aziz tower , and high enough so that we could see it from Meurka ​​. This tower , no marks on the rock, however, it differs in the reef a sharpened screw which, through arched doorway , built strong regularly and a Moorish character quite remarkable staircase gives access to a cave formed by the upper entablature . No clue, no registration revealed the date of the ruins. The other side of the creek, a cut in the rock street is facing the door , and can still be seen , right and left , a few walls identical to those adjoining the mosque.   This cove she was a small port of refuge intended to park the boat against the violence of the monsoon ? or was it used basin repair a flotilla of Moguedouchou ? It is difficult to say today , but there  has certain is that the cave and its surroundings bear traces of human labor . I have natural claims to have found several times small pieces of gold , as for me, I have hardly discovered around these lands broken fragments of pottery and glass beads without much interest. South of the basin , which extends the space between the mosque of Hussein Arbou and that of Aoues al- Garni forms a small cove covered at high tide. The low tide leaves has discovered a kind of platform rocks mishap by algae , and there is generally less research by women for bathing or laundry. Holes that serve tubs or swimming pools seem to have been in all probability foundations of a dead city , once sitting on rocks. But since water and sand walks slowly to the conquest of the rocks, and it was difficult for me to really reconaitre if these ruins were the same age as the Arbor -Hussein stairs. Who can say how many thousands of years have passed since the first inhabitants of these beaches?

If you think you can improve this admittedly rough translation contact me and I will send the original French text

Here below is a later view of the area, shown in a map titled “Oceano Indiano – Somalia Italiana Ancoraggio di Mogadiscio. Dai rilievi Originali della Regia Nave – Staffetta,, 1911 e da Quelli Successivi Fino al 1934”  [Indian Ocean – Italian Somalia Anchorage of Mogadishu. Original Surveys by the Royal Ship “Relay” 1911 Subsequent to Those Until 1934 “] The “small cove almost square” can be seen in the red circle. Around 1985 I remember seeing the eroded remains of a spiral staircase that had been cut down into the rock, giving access to the water line within the cove

square port2

And here is a Google Earth view of the same location, showing the mosque on the top right of the cove

square port2 googleLat and Long: 2°01’52.0″N 45°20’34.5″E
2.031104, 45.342908

Somalia, circa 1841

Posted in 1800 - 1900, Maps, X: Other locations by rickjdavies on 3 January, 2014

pays de scomalClick twice on image to enlarge

North coast of Somalia, circa 1857

Posted in 1800 - 1900, Maps, NE Somalia, Somaliland by rickjdavies on 3 January, 2014

aden_gulf_1860Click on image to enlarge

“Karte der Somali – Kuste und des Golf’s von Aden.  Th. von Heuglin’s Reise, September bis December 1857”

Kismayu, circa 1889

Posted in 1800 - 1900, Maps, X: Other locations by rickjdavies on 3 January, 2014

kISMAYUThe map comes from ” The Earth and its Inhabitants: Africa (South and East Africa)”, authored by Elisee Reclus and published by the D. Appleton and Company. 1889. Pages 407-409

KISMAYU-BRAVA.-MERKA.

“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)

Berbera, circa 1889

Posted in 1800 - 1900, Berbera, Maps, Somaliland by rickjdavies on 3 January, 2014

berberaThe 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)

“Ost-Africa und Madagascar. 1857”

Posted in 1800 - 1900, Maps by rickjdavies on 13 April, 2013

1857Mapb

Click on photo to enlarge

“Map of the Somauli Coast Showing the Position of the Tribes…”

Posted in 1800 - 1900, Maps, Wells by rickjdavies on 10 April, 2013

“….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

1848ac

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” 🙂

Le filage, l’encollage et le devidage du coton a Moguedouchou – Dessin de Riou, d’apres une photographie de auterur

Posted in 1800 - 1900, People by rickjdavies on 3 April, 2013

Scan20_001Click on photo to enlargen

Published in 1885, in Le Tour du Monde: Nouveau Journal Des Voyages, by Charton, Edouard, 1807-1890

Volume XLIX> Voyages chez les Benadirs, Les Comalis et les Bayouns, par M..G. Revoil en 1882 et 1883 . Texte et Dessins inedits

Magadishu vista da ovest & Magadishu dal mare

Posted in 1800 - 1900, Views by rickjdavies on 3 April, 2013

Scan19Click on photo to enlargen

Appears to be looking towards Shangani…

Scan12_009

Click on photo to enlargen

Looking towards to the Garessa (possibly) in the centre, with Fakr ad-Din Mosque and Xamar Weyne on the left and Shangani on the right. Taken from near the beach

Associated text: “Porto di Mogadiscio Sud Protettorato Italiano Somalia”

Add your comments

A Somali village

Posted in 1800 - 1900, Berbera by rickjdavies on 30 January, 2011

Page 80, The Graphic, July 26, 1884

One of three engravings collectively titled “Territory Recently Occupied by Our Troops in East Africa”

Click twice on the image to get a very detailed view

The location as shown by Google Maps

A street in Berbera

Posted in 1800 - 1900, Berbera by rickjdavies on 30 January, 2011

Page 80, The Graphic, July 26, 1884

One of three engravings colelctively titled “Territory Recently Occupied by Our Troops in East Africa”

Click twice on the image to get a very detailed view

The location as shown by Google Maps

Berbera, on the Gulf of Aden

Posted in 1800 - 1900, Berbera by rickjdavies on 30 January, 2011

Page 80, The Graphic, July 26, 1884

One of three engravings collectively titled “Territory Recently Occupied by Our Troops in East Africa”

Click twice on the image to get a very detailed view

The location as shown by Google Maps

Zaila / Zelya / Zeila / Seylac

Posted in 1800 - 1900, Zeyla by rickjdavies on 19 September, 2009

“The Town and People of Zaila, Somali Coast, Africa”

Photos and text from The Graphic, May 7, 1887, page 473

textThe game referred to in the text above may be one called “shax”. Here is a guide to the game, which I wrote in the 1980s

400Scan10024A

400Scan10024BScan10024C

400Scan10024D

600Scan10025F

Scan10024E

600Scan10025G

Scan10025H

Photos of Zeyla on the internet

Google Maps view of Zeyla

La grand Lab de Moguedouchou – Dessin de Y. Pranishnikoff, d’apres une photographie de l’auteur

Posted in 1800 - 1900 by rickjdavies on 10 June, 2009

Scan1000250%50%From page 59,  “Le Tour du Monde”, 1885

Possibly in the location shown below, which has Xamar Weyne to the left and Shangani to the top.

In the 1885 print above the tower in the right distance may be the old minaret in Cabdul Aziz district, seen on this 1889 map, marked “tour

Notre boutre dans la rade de Moguedouchou (voy. p.28) – Dessin de Rio, d’apres des photographies et des documents fournais par l’auteur

Posted in 1800 - 1900 by rickjdavies on 10 June, 2009

Scan1000150%50%From page 25, “Le Tour de Monde” magazine, 1885

Mogadishu, 1882

Posted in 1800 - 1900 by rickjdavies on 19 June, 2008

The Market Place in Mogadishu in 1882 From E. Cerulli, Somalia, Scritti Vari Editi ed Inediti, Vol. 1., Fig. XIV. Istituto Poligrafico dello Stato, P.V., Rome, 1957 (5)

This print shows the upper of the two beaches on the 1934 map shown below. The mosque to the far left (two cones on roof) was still in existence in the1980s, and can be seen in the photos below.

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