Mogadishu: Images from the Past

“Merca – Missionari i poveri”

Posted in Marka, People, Religion, Street scenes by rickjdavies on 24 April, 2016

Scan_20160424_114108Dated 1911. Published by Missione Francescana di Mogadiscio

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Qandala and Botiala

Posted in 1800 < before, Aerial photographs, NE Somalia by rickjdavies on 9 January, 2014

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.

gandala1Here is a drawing of the town as seen from the sea. One of the two taller (mud-brick?) buildings could still be seen in 1991

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

boutialaWith the help of Google Translate, I have translated Revoil’s description of Bender Khor [its a very rough translation]

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

Bender KhorThere is very little left of this town at present, as can be seen in the Google Maps photo below (Lat 11° 28.538′, Lon 49° 56.947′)

Screenshot 2014-01-12 16.39.31 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.

Qandala

This Google elevated view provides another perspective

Screenshot 2014-01-12 17.56.18

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

Screenshot 2014-01-12 18.01.01

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”

Screenshot 2014-01-12 18.31.40

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

48678760

Iskushuban – Italian administration building

Posted in 1918 - 1940, NE Somalia by rickjdavies on 9 January, 2014

IskushubanCourtesy of Panoramio Google Maps

Location according to Google Maps +10°17’7.02″, +50°14’4.44″

Iskusuban goolge

I visited this town in 1991, as part of a “post” civil war needs assessment mission to  the north-east of Somalia. It is an oasis in the middle of nowhere. There are two sets of springs, on the top and bottom left, the water from these springs then flows eastwards, to the right. Using a low man made weir some of the water is channeled off to the side to feed an area of date palms, which are off the screen to the right.  The Italian fort is situated on the bluff in the middle of the fork, with the town behind it to the left

A colleague and friend of mine from the 1980s. Dr Ahmed Ismael Jama, was born in this town

The word “iskashuban” means “self-pouring” i.e. a waterfall. Perhaps in better times

Gendershe ruins

Posted in 1980s, X: Other locations by rickjdavies on 8 January, 2014

Gondereshe2008From the Wikipedia entry on Gondershe , with a photo dated as 2008.

But I query the date. The ruins look much more visible here than they did when I visited in site the 1980’s. At that time they were much more overgrown with scrub. And the 2011 Google image below also shows them to be very overgrown, and possibly less intact than the photo above.

The location, as visible via Google Maps

Gondershe

Djibouti, 1929

Posted in 1918 - 1940, Djibouti, Maps by rickjdavies on 4 January, 2014

djibouti1_page2_image12

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.

Somali coast, circa 1688

Posted in 1800 < before, Maps, X: Other locations by rickjdavies on 3 January, 2014

zang1 zang2

Title: Coast of Zanguebar and Aien
Creator: Morden, Robert
Place of Publication: England
Date: 1688
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

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”

Somaliland Protectorate, 1948

Posted in 1940s, Maps, Somaliland, Time periods by rickjdavies on 3 January, 2014

Somaliland 1948“Compiled and Drawn by the Directorate of Colonial Surveys. Photolithographed and printed by War Office, 1948”

Click on image to enlarge

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)

The British in conflict with Sayid Maxamed Cabdille Xasan 1902-1903

Posted in 1900 - 1960 Italian Period, Somaliland, X: Other locations by rickjdavies on 29 July, 2012

All taken from “Black and White“, a weekly British newspaper of the period.  The Black and White ran from 1891 to its eventual incorporation with The Sphere in 1912. The newspaper employed many of the talented artists and engravers of the period to illustrate news and events and to entertain. PS: Better quality copies of these photos will be made available soon

For background read the Wikipedia entry on Sayid Mxammed Cabddille Xasan (known by the British as the “The Mad Mullah”)

“In pursuit of the mullah: The action at Lasakante”

“With the mad mullah in Somaliland”
“The mullah’s European ally- Karl Inger and his adventures. His ideas on Afric and and his appeals to England!

“Preparing for the Somali expedition. Colonel Cobbe bargaining for Camels in the Harradera district “

“Scouting in Somaliland. A reconoitring party questioning a captured goatherd”“The operations againts the mullah in Somaliland. The fight at Erogo”

“The Somaliland expedition: Watering the camels”

“With the forces in Somaliland”

Mogadishu Lighthouse, 1912

Posted in 1900 - 1918, Govt buildings, Marka by rickjdavies on 6 February, 2011

From http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/som.htm

ETH Zurich Creative Commons image

Merca lighthouse, date unknown
Merka Range Rear Light
postcard image courtesy of Michel Forand
http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/som.htm

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

58. – Palmier sur la route de Zeylah

Posted in 1900 - 1960 Italian Period, Djibouti, Zeyla by rickjdavies on 30 January, 2011

Posted 13 October 1902, Djibouti

Please add your comments below on when and where this photo may have been taken

R. C. M. Somali – Carvan leaving Berbera

Posted in Berbera, Markets, Rural by rickjdavies on 30 January, 2011

Please add your comments below on when and where this photo may have been taken

Hobyo / Obbia

Posted in NE Somalia by rickjdavies on 25 September, 2009

700Scan10032

La casa del Sultano di Obbia

From “Cesare Maria de Vecchi di Val Cismon. Orizzonti D’Impero. Cinque Anni di Somalia. A Mondadori – Milano”
[ Horizons of Empire: Five Years in Somalia / Cesare Maria De Vecchi di Val Cismon.  Milano. 1935]

Cesare Maria De Vecchi was Governor from 1923-1928

700Scan10033

Il sultano Ali Jusuf

Son of Yusuf Ali Kenadid

700Scan10035Obbia: la garessa occupata

700Scan10034Obbia in attessa del Governatore

Obbia (Hobyo) location as found via Google Maps

Other photos of Hobyo, elsewhere on the web

Hafun

Posted in 1918 - 1940, X: Other locations by rickjdavies on 24 September, 2009

700Scan10027a “La garesa di Hafun”

Other photos of the Hafun area on the internet

Estimated location on Google Maps

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