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Title: Majeerteen  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Somali Rebellion, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, Kismayo, Darod, Military history of Somalia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Regions with significant populations
Somali and Arabic
Related ethnic groups
Dhulbahante, Meheri, Warsangali and other Harti and Darod groups.

The Majeerteen (Somali: Majeerteen, Arabic: ماجرتين‎, Muhammad Harti Amaleh Abdi Muhammad Abdirahman Jaberti; also spelled Majerteen, Macherten, Majertain, or Mijurtin)[1] is a Somali clan. Its members form a part of the Harti confederation of Darod sub-clans, and primarily inhabit the Puntland region in northeastern Somalia.

The Majeerteen Sultanates played an important role in the pre-independence era. The clan has produced two presidents, five prime ministers, and first speaker of parliament, as well as two Sultans and a King (Boqor). Majeerteens also held many other important government posts in the 1960s and early 1970s, and continue to play a key role in Puntland.


  • Territory 1
  • Majeerteen Sultanates 2
  • Clans and subclans 3
  • Prominent figures 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Majeerteen members traditionally inhabit the northeastern Bari, Nugal and Mudug regions in Puntland.[2] Others can also be found in the Kismayo and Wardheer regions of Somalia and Ethiopia, respectively.

Majeerteen Sultanates

The Majeerteen Sultanate was founded in the mid-18th century. It rose to prominence the following century, under the reign of the resourceful Boqor (King) Osman Mahamuud.[3] It controlled much of northern and central Somalia in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The polity maintained a robust trading network, entered into treaties with foreign powers, and exerted strong centralized authority on the domestic front.[4][5]

Ali Yusuf Kenadid, the second Sultan of the 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 Sultanate of Hobyo in 1878.[3][6]

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. Boqor Osman and Sultan Kenadid also hoped to exploit the conflicting interests among the European imperial powers that were then looking to control the Somali peninsula, so as to avoid direct occupation of their territories by force.[7]

With the gradual extension into northern Somalia of Italian colonial rule, both Kingdoms were eventually annexed to Italian Somaliland in the early 20th century.[7] Much of the two Majeerteen Sultanates' former domain is today coextensive with the autonomous Puntland region in northeastern Somalia.[8]

Clans and subclans

There is no clear agreement on the clan and subclan structures and many lineages are omitted. The following listing is taken from the World Bank's Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics from 2005 and the United Kingdom's Home Office publication, Somalia Assessment 2001.[9][10]

Three subclans – Omar Mahmud (Cumaar Mahamuud), Issa Mahmud (Ciise Mahamuud), and Osman Mahmoud (Cismaan Mahamuud) – comprise the Mahamuud Saleebaan,[11]:17 which a 2010 study identifies as both the main division of Majeerteen and a central and unifying entity in Puntland. During the 1960s, the Ali Saleebaan (or Cali Saleebaan) and Ciise Mahamud formed a powerful business class in Kismayo,[11]:19 while Siad Barre exploited a rivalry between the Cali Saleebaan and Cumaar Mahamuud in an effort to weaken the Majeerteen in general.[11]:17 Historically, the Cali Saleebaan formed part of a coastal trading network around Bosaso, along with other subclans.[11]:19 Nineteen other Majeerteen clans inhabit the Bari Region.[11]:15

Prominent figures


  1. ^  
  2. ^ Royal African Society, African Affairs, Volume 101, (Oxford University Press: 2002) p.101.
  3. ^ a b Helen Chapin Metz, Somalia: a country study, (The Division: 1993), p.10.
  4. ^ Horn of Africa, Volume 15, Issues 1-4, (Horn of Africa Journal: 1997), p.130.
  5. ^ Transformation towards a regulated economy, (WSP Transition Programme, Somali Programme: 2000) p.62.
  6. ^ Lee V. Cassanelli, The shaping of Somali society: reconstructing the history of a pastoral people, 1600-1900, (University of Pennsylvania Press: 1982), p.75.
  7. ^ a b The Majeerteen Sultanates
  8. ^ Istituto italo-africano, Africa: rivista trimestrale di studi e documentazione, Volume 56, (Edizioni africane: 2001), p.591.
  9. ^ Worldbank, Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics, January 2005, Appendix 2, Lineage Charts, p.55 Figure A-1
  10. ^ Country Information and Policy Unit, Home Office, Great Britain, Somalia Assessment 2001, Annex B: Somali Clan Structure, p. 43
  11. ^ a b c d e Marchal, Roland (May 2010). "The Puntland State of Somalia: A Tentative Social Analysis" (PDF).  
  12. ^

External links

  • The Majeerteen Sultanates
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