Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/396

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380
SOMALILAND

race of magnificent physique, tall, active and robust, with fairly regular features, but showing Negro blood in their frequently black complexion and still more in their kinky and even woolly hair. Their colour varies from the Arab hue to black, and curiously enough the most regular features are to be found among the darkest groups.

There are four classes in Somaliland: (1nomads who breed ponies, sheep, cattle and camels, live entirely on milk and meat, and follow the rains in search of grass; (2) settled Somali, comparatively few, living in or near the coasts; (3) outcast races, not organized in tribes but living scattered all over Somaliland; they are hunters, workers in iron and leather, and the chief collectors of gum and resin; (4) traders. The national dress is the “tobe,” a simple cotton sheet of two breadths sewn together, about 15 ft. long. Generally it is thrown over one or both shoulders, a turn given round the waist, and allowed to fall to the ankles. The “tobes” are of all colours from brown to white. A ceremonial “tobe” of red, white and blue, each colour in two shades, with a narrow fringe of light yellow, is sometimes worn. Old men shave the head and sometimes grow a beard. Middle-aged men wear the hair about an inch and a half long; young men and boys in a huge mop; while married women wear it in a chignon, and girls in mop-form but plaited.

The Somali are a fighting race and all go armed with spear, shield and short sword (and guns when they can get them). During the rains incessant intertribal lootings of cattle take place. Among certain tribes those who have killed a man have the right to wear an ostrich-feather in their hair. They are great talkers, keenly sensitive to ridicule, and quick-tempered. Women hold a degraded position among the Somali (wives being often looted with sheep), doing most of the hard work. The Somali love display; they are inordinately vain and avaricious; but they make loyal and trustworthy soldiers and are generally bright and intelligent.

The Somali have very little political or social cohesion, and are divided into a multiplicity of rers or fakidas (tribes, clans). Three main divisions, however, have been clearly determined, and these are important both on political and ethnical grounds.

I. The Hashīya (Abud's Asha), with two great subdivisions: Daroda, with the powerful Mijertins, War-Sangeli, Dolbohanti and others; and Ishak including the Gadibursi, Issa (Aïssa), Habr-Wal, Habr-Tol, Habr-Yuni, Babibli, Bertiri. All these claim descent from a member of the Hashim branch of the Koreish (Mahomet's tribe), who founded a powerful state in the Zaila district. All are Sunnites, and, although still speaking their Somali national tongue, betray a large infusion of Arab blood in their oval face, somewhat light skin, and remarkably regular features. Their domain comprises the whole of British Somaliland, and probably most of Italian Somaliland.
Il. The Hawīya, with numerous sub-groups, such as the Habr-Jalet, Habr-Gader, Rer-Dollol, Daji, Karanlē, Badbadan, Kunli, Bajimal and Ugass-Elmi; mostly fanatical Mahommedans forming the powerful Tarika sect, whose influence is felt throughout all the central and eastern parts of Somaliland. The Hawīya domain comprises the Ogaden plateau and the region generally between the Nogal and Webi-Shebeli rivers. Here contact has been chiefly with the eastern Galla tribes.
Ill. The Rahanwīn, with numerous but little-known sub-groups, including, however, the powerful and warlike Abgals, Barawas, Gobrons, Tuni, Jidus and Kalallas, occupy in part the region between the Webi-Shebeli and Juba, but chiefly the territory extending from the Juba to the Tana, where they have long been in contact, mostly hostile, with the Wa-Pokomo and other Bantu peoples of the British East Africa Protectorate. Of all the Somali the Rahanwīn betray the largest infusion of negroid blood.
Of the outcast races the best known are the Midgan, Yebir, and Tomal. The Midgan, who are of slightly shorter stature than the average Somali, are the most numerous of these peoples. They are great hunters and use small poisoned arrows to bring down their game. The Yebir are noted for their leather work, and the Tomal are the blacksmiths of the Somali.

Prehistoric Remains.—The discovery of flint implements of the same types as those found in Egypt, Mauritania, and Europe show Somaliland to have been inhabited by man in the Stone age. That the country was subsequently occupied by a more highly civilized people than the Somali of to-day is evidenced by the ruins which are found in various districts. Many of these ruins are attributable to the Arabs, but older remains are traditionally ascribed to a people who were “before the Galla.” Blocks of dressed stone overgrown by grass lie in regular formation; a series of parallel revetment walls on hills commanding passes exist, as do relics of ancient water-tanks. This ancient civilization is supposed to have been swept away by Mahommedan conquerors; before that event the people, in the opinion of several travellers, professed a degraded form of Christianity, which they had acquired from their Abyssinian neighbours. Of more recent origin are the ruins known as Galla graves (Taalla Galla). These are cairns of piled stones, each stone about the size of a man's head. The cairns are from 12 to 15 ft. high and about 8 yds. in diameter. Each is circular with a central depression.

Exploration.—Somaliland was one of the last parts of Africa to be explored by Europeans. The occupation of Aden by the British in 1839 proved the starting-point in the opening up of the country, Aden being the chief port with which the Somali of the opposite coast traded. The task of mapping the coast was largely undertaken by officers of the Indian navy, while the first explorers of the interior were officers of the Indian army quartered at Aden-Lieut. Cruttenden (1848), Lieut. (afterwards Captain Sir Richard) Burton, and Lieut. J. H. Speke (the discoverer of the Nile source). In 1854 Burton, unaccompanied, penetrated inland as far as Harrar. Later on the expedition was attacked by Somali near Berbera, both Burton and Speke being wounded, and another officer, Lieut. Stroyan, R.N., killed. For twenty years afterwards no attempt was made to open up the country. The occupation of Berbera by the Egyptians in 1875 was, however, followed by several journeys into the interior. Of those who essayed to cross the waterless Haud more than one lost his life. In 1883 a party of Englishmen—F. L. and W. D. James (brothers), G. P. V. Aylmer, and E. Lort-Phillips—penetrated from Berbera as far as the Webi-Shebeli, and returned in safety. At the instance of the Indian government surveys of the country between the coast and the Webi-Shebeli and also east towards the Wadi Nogal were executed by Major H. G. C. Swayne and his brother Captain E. J. E. Swayne between 1886 and 1892. Meanwhile a French traveller, G. Révoil, had (1878–1881) made three journeys in the north-east corner of the protectorate, especially in the Darror valley. The first person who reached the Indian Ocean, going south from the Gulf of Aden, was an American, Dr A. Donaldson Smith (b. 1864). He explored (1894–1895) the head streams of the Shebeli, reached Lake Rudolf, and eventually descended the Tana river to the sea, his journey thus taking him through southern Somaliland. Meantime the greater part of the eastern seaboard having fallen under Italian influence, the exploration of the hinterland had been undertaken by travellers of that nationality. In 1890 Brichetti-Robecchi made a journey along the eastern coast from Obbia to beyond Cape Guardafui. In the following year he went from Mukdishu to Obbia, and thence crossed through Ogaden to Berbera on the Gulf of Aden. In the same year Prince Eugenio Ruspoli made a journey southwards from Berbera, while two other Italians penetrated to Imi on the upper Shebeli, which place was also reached in 1903 by H. G. C. Swayne. In 1892 Captain Vittorio Bottego and a companion left Berbera and made their way past Imi to the upper Juba, which Bottego explored to its source, both travellers finally making their way via Lugh to the east coast. Prince Ruspoli in 1893 reached Lugh from the north, thence turning north-west. He was killed in the Galla country by an elephant. In 1895 Bottego, with three European companions, left Brava to investigate the river system north of Lake Rudolf, and succeeded in tracing the Omo to that lake. Subsequently in the Abyssinian highlands the expedition was attacked by Galla and Captain Bottego was killed. Dr Sacchi, who was returning to Lugh with some of the scientific results of the mission, was also killed by natives. An English expedition under H. S. H. Cavendish (1896–1897) followed somewhat in Donaldson Smith's steps, and the last named traveller again crossed Somaliland in his journey from Berbera via Lake Rudolf