Horn of Africa

Countries in the Horn of Africa

The Horn of Africa ( Somali: Geeska Afrika, Oromo: Gaaffaa Afriikaa, Amharic: የአፍሪካ ቀንድ yäafrika qänd, Arabic: القرن الأفريقيal-qarn al-'afrīqī, Tigrinya: ቀርኒ ኣፍሪቃ) (shortened to HOA) is a peninsula in Northeast Africa. It juts hundreds of kilometers into the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean, lying along the southern side of the Gulf of Aden. The area is the easternmost projection of the African continent. The Horn of Africa denotes the region containing the countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia. [1] [2] [3] [4]

It covers approximately 2,000,000 km2 (770,000 sq mi) and is inhabited by roughly 115 million people (Ethiopia: 96.6 million, Somalia: 12.3 million, Eritrea: 6.4 million, and Djibouti: 0.81 million). Regional studies on the Horn of Africa are carried out, among others, in the fields of Ethiopian Studies as well as Somali Studies.

History

Prehistory

The Horn of Africa is one of the proposed urheimats (original homelands) of the Proto-Afroasiatic language.

Shell middens 125,000 years old have been found in Eritrea, [5] indicating the diet of early humans included seafood obtained by beachcombing.

According to both genetic and fossil evidence, archaic Homo sapiens evolved into anatomically modern humans solely in Africa between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago. Evidence to support the theory that recent modern humans originated in East Africa is not conclusive. [6]

The Bab-el-Mandeb crossing in the Red Sea: now some 12 miles (20 km) wide, in prehistory narrower.

Today at the Bab-el-Mandeb straits, the Red Sea is about 12 miles (20 kilometres) wide, but 50,000 years ago it was much narrower and sea levels were 70 meters lower. Though the straits were never completely closed, there may have been islands in between which could be reached using simple rafts.

It has been estimated that from a population of 2,000 to 5,000 individuals in Africa, [7] only a small group of possibly as few as 150 to 1,000 people crossed the Red Sea. [8]

According to linguists, the first Afro-Asiatic-speaking populations arrived in the region during the ensuing Neolithic era from the family's proposed urheimat ("original homeland") in the Nile Valley, [9] or the Near East. [10] Other scholars propose that the Afro-Asiatic family developed in situ in the Horn, with its speakers subsequently dispersing from there. [11] Genetic analysis also indicates that, beginning in the pre-agricultural period, settlers from the Near East founded communities in Northeast Africa. These early settlements eventually gave rise to the Afro-Asiatic-speaking populations in the Horn and Maghreb as the groups spread. [12]

Ancient history

Queen Ati, wife of King Perahu of Punt, as depicted on Pharaoh Hatshepsut's temple at Deir el-Bahri.

Together with northern Somalia, Djibouti, the Red Sea coast of Sudan and Eritrea is considered the most likely location of the land known to the ancient Egyptians as Punt (or "Ta Netjeru," meaning god's land), whose first mention dates to the 25th century BCE. [13]

Dʿmt was a kingdom located in Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, which existed during the 8th and 7th centuries BCE. With its capital at Yeha, the kingdom developed irrigation schemes, used plows, grew millet, and made iron tools and weapons. After the fall of Dʿmt in the 5th century BCE, the plateau came to be dominated by smaller successor kingdoms, until the rise of one of these kingdoms during the 1st century, the Aksumite Kingdom, which was able to reunite the area. [14]

The Kingdom of Aksum (also known as the Aksumite Empire) was an ancient state located in the highlands of present-day Ethiopia and Eritrea, which thrived between the 1st and 7th centuries CE. A major player in the commerce between the Roman Empire and Ancient India, Aksum's rulers facilitated trade by minting their own currency. The state also established its hegemony over the declining Kingdom of Kush and regularly entered the politics of the kingdoms on the Arabian peninsula, eventually extending its rule over the region with the conquest of the Himyarite Kingdom. Under Ezana (fl. 320-360), the kingdom of Aksum became the first major empire to adopt Christianity, and was named by Mani as one of the four great powers of his time, along with Persia, Rome and China.

Ancient trading centers in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula according to the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea

Northern Somalia was an important link in the Horn, connecting the region's commerce with the rest of the ancient world. Somali sailors and merchants were the main suppliers of frankincense, myrrh and spices, all of which were valuable luxuries to the Ancient Egyptians, Phoenicians, Mycenaeans, Babylonians and Romans. [15] [16] The Romans consequently began to refer to the region as Regio Aromatica. In the classical era, several flourishing Somali city-states such as Opone, Mosylon and Malao also competed with the Sabaeans, Parthians and Axumites for the rich Indo- Greco-Roman trade. [17]

The birth of Islam opposite the Horn's Red Sea coast meant that local merchants and sailors living on the Arabian Peninsula gradually came under the influence of the new religion through their converted Arab Muslim trading partners. With the migration of Muslim families from the Islamic world to the Horn in the early centuries of Islam, and the peaceful conversion of the local population by Muslim scholars in the following centuries, the ancient city-states eventually transformed into Islamic Mogadishu, Berbera, Zeila, Barawa and Merka, which were part of the Berber civilization. [18] [19] The city of Mogadishu came to be known as the "City of Islam" [20] and controlled the East African gold trade for several centuries. [21]

Middle Ages and Early Modern era

Ruins of the Sultanate of Adal in Zeila

In ancient and medieval times, the Horn of Africa was referred to as the Bilad al Barbar ("Land of the Berbers"). [22] [23] [24] It is also known as the Somali peninsula.

During the Middle Ages, several powerful empires dominated the regional trade in the Horn, including the Adal Sultanate, the Ajuran Sultanate, the Warsangali Sultanate, the Zagwe dynasty, and the Sultanate of the Geledi.

The Sultanate of Showa, established in 896, was one of the oldest local Islamic states. It was centered in the former Shewa province in central Ethiopia. The polity was succeeded by the Sultanate of Ifat around 1285. Ifat was governed from its capital at Zeila in northern Somalia and was the easternmost district of the former Shewa Sultanate. [25]

The Adal Sultanate was a medieval multi-ethnic Muslim state centered in the Horn region. At its height, it controlled large parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Eritrea. Many of the historic cities in the region, such as Amud, Maduna, Abasa, Berbera, Zeila and Harar, flourished during the kingdom's golden age. This period that left behind numerous courtyard houses, mosques, shrines and walled enclosures. Under the leadership of rulers such as Sabr ad-Din II, Mansur ad-Din, Jamal ad-Din II, Shams ad-Din, General Mahfuz and Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi, Adalite armies continued the struggle against the Solomonic dynasty, a campaign historically known as the Conquest of Abyssinia or Futuh al Habash.

The Warsangali Sultanate was a kingdom centered in northeastern and in some parts of southeastern Somalia. It was one of the largest sultanates ever established in the territory, and, at the height of its power, included the Sanaag region and parts of the northeastern Bari region of the country, an area historically known as Maakhir or the Maakhir Coast. The Sultanate was founded in the late 13th century in northern Somalia by a group of Somalis from the Warsangali branch of the Darod clan, and was ruled by the descendants of the Gerad Dhidhin.

The citadel in Gondershe, an important city in the medieval Ajuran Sultanate

Through a strong centralized administration and an aggressive military stance towards invaders, the Ajuran Sultanate successfully resisted an Oromo invasion from the west and a Portuguese incursion from the east during the Gaal Madow and the Ajuran-Portuguese wars. Trading routes dating from the ancient and early medieval periods of Somali maritime enterprise were also strengthened or re-established, and the state left behind an extensive architectural legacy. Many of the hundreds of ruined castles and fortresses that dot the landscape of Somalia today are attributed to Ajuran engineers, [26] including a lot of the pillar tomb fields, necropolises and ruined cities built during that era. The royal family, the House of Gareen, also expanded its territories and established its hegemonic rule through a skillful combination of warfare, trade linkages and alliances. [27]

The Zagwe dynasty ruled many parts of modern Ethiopia and Eritrea from approximately 1137 to 1270. The name of the dynasty comes from the Cushitic-speaking Agaw people of northern Ethiopia. From 1270 onwards for many centuries, the Solomonic dynasty ruled the Ethiopian Empire.

The Lalibela churches carved by the Zagwe dynasty in the 12th century.

In the early 15th century, Ethiopia sought to make diplomatic contact with European kingdoms for the first time since Aksumite times. A letter from King Henry IV of England to the Emperor of Abyssinia survives. [28] In 1428, the Emperor Yeshaq sent two emissaries to Alfonso V of Aragon, who sent return emissaries who failed to complete the return trip. [29]

The first continuous relations with a European country began in 1508 with Portugal under Emperor Lebna Dengel, who had just inherited the throne from his father. [30] This proved to be an important development, for when Abyssinia was subjected to the attacks of the Adal Sultanate General and Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi (called "Gurey" or "Grañ", both meaning "the Left-handed"), Portugal assisted the Ethiopian emperor by sending weapons and four hundred men, who helped his son Gelawdewos defeat Ahmad and re-establish his rule. [31] This Abyssinian–Adal War was also one of the first proxy wars in the region as the Ottoman Empire, and Portugal took sides in the conflict.

When Emperor Susenyos converted to Roman Catholicism in 1624, years of revolt and civil unrest followed resulting in thousands of deaths. [32] The Jesuit missionaries had offended the Orthodox faith of the local Ethiopians. On June 25, 1632, Susenyos's son, Emperor Fasilides, declared the state religion to again be Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, and expelled the Jesuit missionaries and other Europeans. [33] [34]

During the end of 18th and the beginning of 19th century the Yejju dynasty (more specifically, the Warasek) ruled north Ethiopia changing the official language of Amhara people to Afaan Oromo, including inside the court of Gondar which was capital of the empire. Founded by Ali I of Yejju several successive descendants of him and Abba Seru Gwangul ruled with their army coming from mainly their clan the Yejju Oromo tribe as well as Wollo and Raya Oromo. [35]

The Sultanate of Hobyo's cavalry and fort

The Sultanate of the Geledi was a Somali kingdom administered by the Gobroon dynasty, which ruled parts of the Horn of Africa during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was established by the Ajuran soldier Ibrahim Adeer, who had defeated various vassals of the Ajuran Empire and established the House of Gobroon. The dynasty reached its apex under the successive reigns of Sultan Yusuf Mahamud Ibrahim, who successfully consolidated Gobroon power during the Bardera wars, and Sultan Ahmed Yusuf, who forced regional powers such as the Omani Empire to submit tribute.

The Majeerteen Sultanate (Migiurtinia) was another prominent Somali sultanate based in the Horn region. Ruled by King Osman Mahamuud during its golden age, it controlled much of northeastern and central Somalia in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The polity had all of the organs of an integrated modern state and maintained a robust trading network. It also entered into treaties with foreign powers and exerted strong centralized authority on the domestic front. [36] [37] Much of the Sultanate's former domain is today coextensive with the autonomous Puntland region in northeastern Somalia. [38]

The Sultanate of Hobyo was a 19th-century Somali kingdom founded by Sultan Yusuf Ali Kenadid. Initially, Kenadid's goal was to seize control of the neighboring Majeerteen Sultanate, which was then ruled by his cousin Boqor Osman Mahamuud. However, he was unsuccessful in this endeavor, and was eventually 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 establish the kingdom of Hobyo, which would rule much of northeastern and central Somalia during the early modern period. [39]

Modern history

Building of regional administration in Asmara

In the period following the opening of the Suez canal in 1869, when European powers scrambled for territory in Africa and tried to establish coaling stations for their ships, Italy invaded and occupied Eritrea. On January 1, 1890, Eritrea officially became a colony of Italy. In 1896 further Italian incursion into the horn was decisively halted by Ethiopian forces. By 1936 however, Eritrea became a province of Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana), along with Ethiopia and Italian Somaliland. By 1941, Eritrea had about 760,000 inhabitants, including 70,000 Italians. [40] The Commonwealth armed forces, along with the Ethiopian patriotic resistance, expelled those of Italy in 1941, [41] and took over the area's administration. The British continued to administer the territory under a UN Mandate until 1951, when Eritrea was federated with Ethiopia, as per UN resolution 390(A) and under the prompting of the United States adopted in December 1950.

Map of Africa in 1909, the Horn region is the easternmost projection of the African continent.

The strategic importance of Eritrea, due to its Red Sea coastline and mineral resources, was the main cause for the federation with Ethiopia, which in turn led to Eritrea's annexation as Ethiopia's 14th province in 1952. This was the culmination of a gradual process of takeover by the Ethiopian authorities, a process which included a 1959 edict establishing the compulsory teaching of Amharic, the main language of Ethiopia, in all Eritrean schools. The lack of regard for the Eritrean population led to the formation of an independence movement in the early 1960s (1961), which erupted into a 30-year war against successive Ethiopian governments that ended in 1991. Following a UN-supervised referendum in Eritrea (dubbed UNOVER) in which the Eritrean people overwhelmingly voted for independence, Eritrea declared its independence and gained international recognition in 1993. [42] In 1998, a border dispute with Ethiopia led to the Eritrean-Ethiopian War. [43]

Place Menelik in Djibouti City in 1905

From 1862 until 1894, the land to the north of the Gulf of Tadjoura situated in modern-day Djibouti was called Obock and was ruled by Somali and Afar Sultans, local authorities with whom France signed various treaties between 1883 and 1887 to first gain a foothold in the region. [44] [45] [46] In 1894, Léonce Lagarde established a permanent French administration in the city of Djibouti and named the region Côte française des Somalis ( French Somaliland), a name which continued until 1967.

In 1958, on the eve of neighboring Somalia's independence in 1960, a referendum was held in the territory to decide whether or not to join the Somali Republic or to remain with France. The referendum turned out in favour of a continued association with France, partly due to a combined yes vote by the sizable Afar ethnic group and resident Europeans. [47] There was also reports of widespread vote rigging, with the French expelling thousands of Somalis before the referendum reached the polls. [48] The majority of those who voted no were Somalis who were strongly in favour of joining a united Somalia, as had been proposed by Mahmoud Harbi, Vice President of the Government Council. Harbi was killed in a plane crash two years later. [47] Djibouti finally gained its independence from France in 1977, and Hassan Gouled Aptidon, a Somali politician who had campaigned for a yes vote in the referendum of 1958, eventually wound up as the nation's first president (1977–1999). [47] In early 2011, the Djiboutian citizenry took part in a series of protests against the long-serving government, which were associated with the larger Arab Spring demonstrations. The unrest eventually subsided by April of the year, and Djibouti's ruling People's Rally for Progress party was re-elected to office.

Statue of Sayyid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan (the "Mad Mullah"), leader of the Dervish State

Mohammed Abdullah Hassan's Dervish State successfully repulsed the British Empire four times and forced it to retreat to the coastal region. [49] Due to these successful expeditions, the Dervish State was recognized as an ally by the Ottoman and German Empires. The Turks also named Hassan Emir of the Somali nation, [50] and the Germans promised to officially recognize any territories the Dervishes were to acquire. [51] After a quarter of a century of holding the British at bay, the Dervishes were finally defeated in 1920 as a direct consequence of Britain's new policy of aerial bombardment. [52] As a result of this bombardment, former Dervish territories were turned into a protectorate of Britain. Italy faced similar opposition from Somali Sultans and armies, and did not acquire full control of parts of modern Somalia until the Fascist era in late 1927. This occupation lasted until 1941, and was replaced by a British military administration. Northern Somalia would remain a protectorate, while southern Somalia became a trusteeship. The Union of the two regions in 1960 formed the Somali Republic. A civilian government was formed, and on July 20, 1961, through a popular referendum, a new constitution that had first been drafted the year before was ratified. [53]

Due to its longstanding ties with the Arab world, Somalia was accepted in 1974 as a member of the Arab League. [54] During the same year, the nation's former socialist administration also chaired the Organization of African Unity, the predecessor of the African Union. [55] In 1991, the Somali Civil War broke out, which saw the collapse of the federal government and the emergence of numerous autonomous polities, including the Puntland administration in the northeast and Somaliland, an unrecognised self-declared sovereign state that is internationally recognised as an autonomous region of Somalia, [56] in the northwest. Somalia's inhabitants subsequently reverted to local forms of conflict resolution, either secular, Islamic or customary law, with a provision for appeal of all sentences. A Transitional Federal Government was subsequently created in 2004. [57] The Federal Government of Somalia was established on August 20, 2012, concurrent with the end of the TFG's interim mandate. [58] It represents the first permanent central government in the country since the start of the civil war. [58] The Federal Parliament of Somalia serves as the government's legislative branch. [59]

Haile Selassie's reign as emperor of Ethiopia is the best known and perhaps most influential in the nation's history.

Modern Ethiopia and its current borders are a result of significant territorial reduction in the north and expansion in the east and south toward its present borders, owing to several migrations, commercial integration, treaties as well as conquests, particularly by Emperor Menelik II and Ras Gobena. [60] From the central province of Shoa, Menelik set off to subjugate and incorporate ‘the lands and people of the South, East and West into an empire.’ [60] [61] He did this with the help of Ras Gobena's Shewan Oromo militia, began expanding his kingdom to the south and east, expanding into areas that had not been held since the invasion of Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi, and other areas that had never been under his rule, resulting in the borders of Ethiopia of today. [62] Menelik had signed the Treaty of Wichale with Italy in May 1889, in which Italy would recognize Ethiopia’s sovereignty so long as Italy could control a small area of northern Tigray (part of modern Eritrea). [63] In return Italy, was to provide Menelik with arms and support him as emperor. [64] The Italians used the time between the signing of the treaty and its ratification by the Italian government to further expand their territorial claims. Italy began a state funded program of resettlement for landless Italians in Eritrea, which increased tensions between the Eritrean peasants and the Italians. [64] This conflict erupted in the Battle of Adwa on 1 March 1896, in which Italy’s colonial forces were defeated by the Ethiopians. [65]

The early 20th century in Ethiopia was marked by the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie I, who came to power after Iyasu V was deposed. In 1935, Haile Selassie's troops fought and lost the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, after which point Italy annexed Ethiopia to Italian East Africa. [66] Haile Selassie subsequently appealed to the League of Nations, delivering an address that made him a worldwide figure and 1935's Time magazine Man of the Year. [67] Following the entry of Italy into World War II, British Empire forces, together with patriot Ethiopian fighters, liberated Ethiopia in the course of the East African Campaign in 1941. [68]

Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia since 1886.

Haile Selassie's reign came to an end in 1974, when a Soviet-backed Marxist-Leninist military junta, the Derg led by Mengistu Haile Mariam, deposed him, and established a one-party communist state, which was called the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. In July 1977, the Ogaden War broke out after the government of President of Somalia Siad Barre sought to incorporate the predominantly Somali-inhabited Ogaden region into a Pan-Somali Greater Somalia. By September 1977, the Somali army controlled 90% of the Ogaden, but was later forced to withdraw after Ethiopia's Derg received assistance from the USSR, Cuba, South Yemen, East Germany [69] and North Korea, including around 15,000 Cuban combat troops.

In 1989, the Tigrayan Peoples' Liberation Front (TPLF) merged with other ethnically based opposition movements to form the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), and eventually managed to overthrow Mengistu's dictatorial regime in 1991. A transitional government, composed of an 87-member Council of Representatives and guided by a national charter that functioned as a transitional constitution, was then set up. The first free and democratic election took place later in 1995, when Ethiopia's longest-serving Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was elected to office. As with other nations in the Horn region, Ethiopia maintained its historically close relations with countries in the Middle East during this period of change. [70] Zenawi died in 2012, but his Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) party remains the ruling political coalition in Ethiopia.

Other Languages
asturianu: Cuernu d'África
Avañe'ẽ: Afrika Hatĩ
azərbaycanca: Afrika buynuzu
Bân-lâm-gú: Hui-chiu-kak
bosanski: Afrički rog
brezhoneg: Korn Afrika
čeština: Africký roh
Cymraeg: Corn Affrica
Esperanto: Korno de Afriko
hrvatski: Afrički rog
Bahasa Indonesia: Tanduk Afrika
íslenska: Horn Afríku
italiano: Corno d'Africa
Basa Jawa: Sungu Afrika
Kiswahili: Pembe la Afrika
Lëtzebuergesch: Har vun Afrika
македонски: Африкански Рог
მარგალური: სომალიშ ჩქონი
Bahasa Melayu: Tanduk Afrika
မြန်မာဘာသာ: အာဖရိက ဦးချိုဒေသ
Nederlands: Hoorn van Afrika
Nordfriisk: Hurn faan Afrikoo
norsk nynorsk: Afrikas horn
occitan: Bana d'Africa
português: Corno de África
română: Cornul Africii
русиньскый: Африканьскый ріг
Simple English: Horn of Africa
slovenčina: Africký roh
slovenščina: Afriški rog
Soomaaliga: Geeska Afrika
српски / srpski: Рог Африке
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Afrički rog
svenska: Afrikas horn
татарча/tatarça: Сомали ярымутравы
Türkçe: Afrika Boynuzu
Tiếng Việt: Sừng châu Phi
粵語: 非洲之角
中文: 非洲之角