Ancient History of Puntland- Cape of Spices

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how do i use this
Before the Sultanates, and the ruling Houses of various Daarood factions, notably the Harti Daarood, there was the Cape of Spices.

In ancient times, the Kingdom of Punt, which is believed by several Egyptologists to have been situated in the area of modern-day Somalia, had a steady trade link with the Ancient Egyptians and exported precious natural resources such as myrrh, frankincense and gum. This trade network continued all the way into the classical era. The city states of Mossylon, Mundus and Tabae in Somalia engaged in a lucrative trade network connecting Somali merchants with Phoenicia, Ptolemic Egypt, Greece, Parthian Persia, Saba, Nabataea and the Roman Empire. Somali sailors used the ancient Somali maritime vessel known as the beden to transport their cargo.

Beden Ship


Mosylon aka Bosaso

Mosylon was the most prominent emporium on the Red Sea coast, as outlined in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. With its large ships, it handled the bulk of the cinnamon trade arriving from the ports of ancient India. Dioscorides consequently noted that the city became known as the source of the best variety of the spice in the ancient world.A specific species of cinnamon exported from the harbour was known as Mosyllitic.
According to classical writers such as Pliny, the Mosylonians imported flint glass and glass vessels from Ancient Egypt, unripe grapes from Diospolis, unmilled cloths for the Berberi markets, including tunics and cloths manufactured at Arsinoe, as well as wine and tin. The main export items were gums, tortoise shells, incense and ivory.The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea indicates that ancient Greek merchants sailed to Bosaso, providing notes about the strategic and geographical location of the current Bosaso area, which was known as Mosylon in ancient times.

Mosylon during the bombardment of the Italians

Mosylon after the bombardment of the Italians

Mosylon Today;

Opone aka Xaafuun (Hafun)

Opone was an ancient city situated in the Somali Peninsula. It is primarily known for its trade with the Ancient Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Persia and the states of ancient India. Through archaeological remains, the historic port has been identified with the northeastern Hafun peninsula in modern-day Somalia.

Pottery found in Oponean tombs date back to the Mycenaean Kingdom of Greece that flourished between the 16th and 11th century BC. Its major periods of activity were during the 1st century BC and the 3rd to the 5th centuries AD. Opone was mentioned by an anonymous Greek merchant in the 1st century CE Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. The town is featured in the ancient document's thirteenth entry, which in part states:
“ And then, after sailing four hundred stadia along a promontory, toward which place the current also draws you, there is another market-town called Opone, into which the same things are imported as those already mentioned, and in it the greatest quantity of cinnamon is produced, (the arebo and moto), and slaves of the better sort, which are brought to Egypt in increasing numbers; and a great quantity of tortoiseshell, better than that found elsewhere. ”
Opone served as a port of call for merchants from Phoenicia, Egypt, Greece, Persia, Yemen, Nabataea, Azania, the Roman Empire and elsewhere,[citation needed] as it sat at a strategic location along the coastal route from the Mochan trading center of Azania to the Red Sea. Merchants from as far afield as Indonesia and Malaysia passed through the city, exchanging spices, silks and other goods, before departing south for Azania or north to Yemen or Egypt on the trade routes that spanned the length of the Indian Ocean's rim. As early as 50 CE, it was well known as a center for the cinnamon trade, along with the barter of cloves and other spices, ivory, exotic animal skins and incense.
Archaeological remains[edit]

Ancient Egyptian, Roman and Persian Gulf pottery has been recovered from the site by an archaeological team from the University of Michigan. In the 1970s, Neville Chittick, a British archaeologist, initiated the British-Somali expedition where he and his Somali colleagues encountered remains of ancient drystone walls, houses with courtyards, and the location of the old harbour

Botiala aka Qandala

Qandala (also known as Candala, Andala, Bender Chor, Bandar Kor, Bender Kor or Taba Tege[1]) is an ancient port town in the northeastern Bari province of Somalia.

Qandala sits on a wadi estuary, which forms a natural protective harbor for vessels on the Gulf of Aden.The city is located in the autonomous Puntland region of Somalia. In antiquity, Qandala was an active trading center for merchants from the interior of the Horn of Africa, who transported goods such as incense, gum and aromatic woods to and from the port. Its nickname Gacanka Hodonka ("Gulf of Prosperity") is a relic from this era.
Additionally, Qandala is coextensive with the ancient town of Botiala. The latter settlement features an old fortress complex, which overlooks and controls the mouth of the wadi leading inland.

Aromata promontorium aka Cape Guardafui

Cape Guardafui (Somali: Gees Gardafuul), also known as Ras Asir and historically as Aromata promontorium, is a headland in the autonomous Puntland region in Somalia. Coextensive with the Gardafuul administrative province, it forms the geographical apex of the Horn of Africa.
Referred to as Aromata promontorium by the ancient Greeks, Guardafui was described as early as the 1st century CE in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, along with other flourishing commercial settlements on the northern Somali littoral.

Excerpt of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea

Sailing along the coast beyond Mosyllum, after a two days' course you come to the so-called Little Nile River, and a fine spring, and a small laurel-grove, and Cape Elephant. Then the shore recedes into a bay, and has a river, called Elephant, and a large laurel-grove called Acanna; where alone is produced the far-side frankincense, in great quantity and of the best grade.

12. Beyond this place, the coast trending toward the south, there is the Market and Cape of Spices, an abrupt promontory, at the very end of the Berber coast toward the east. The anchorage is dangerous at times from the ground-swell, because the place is exposed to the north. A sign of an approaching storm which is peculiar to the place, is that the deep water becomes more turbid and changes its color. When this happens they all run to a large promontory called Taba, which offers safe shelter. There are imported into this market-town the things already mentioned; and there are produced in it cinnamon, (and its different varieties, gizir, asypha, arebo, magla, and moto) and frankincense.

13. Beyond Taba, after four hundred stadia, there is the village of Pano. And then, after sailing four hundred stadia along a promontory, toward which place the current also draws you, there is another market-town called Opone, into which the same things are imported as those already mentioned, and in it the greatest quantity of cinnamon is produced, (the arebo and moto), and slaves of the better sort, which are brought to Egypt in increasing numbers; and a great quantity of tortoise-shell, better than that found elsewhere.

14. The voyage to all these far-side market-towns is made from Egypt about the month of July, that is Epiphi. And ships are also customarily fitted out from the places across this sea, from Ariaca and Barygaza, bringing to these far-side market-towns the products of their own places; wheat, rice, clarified butter, sesame oil, cotton cloth, (the monacheand the sagmatogene), and girdles, and honey from the reed called sacchari. Some make the voyage especially to these market-towns, and others exchange their cargoes while sailing along the coast. This country is not subject to a King, but each market-town is ruled by its separate chief.

"Ciidiisa udgoon baa aduunka ku caanee"


. The Majerteen Sultanate existed 1800-1924 and had capitols at Bargal and Alula. The Majerteen fort at Hafun was built after 1800 and had no connection to Mosylon, which was associated with Bosasso. :holeup:

"In the early 19th century, Somali seamen on the northern coast barred entry to their ports, while engaging in trade with Aden and Mocha in adjacent Yemen using their own vessels.[15]

'According to official reports from 1924 commissioned by the Regio Governo della Somalia Italiana, the Majeerteen Sultanate maintained robust commercial activities before the Italian occupation of the following year. The Sultanate reportedly exported 1,056,400 Indian Rupees (IR) worth of commodities, 60% of which came from the sale of frankincense and other gums. Fish and other sea products sold for a total value of 250,000 IR, roughly equivalent to 20% of the Sultanate's aggregate exports. The remaining export proceeds came from livestock, with the export list of 1924 consisting of 16 items.[16]"

This was a continuation of the pattern mentioned in the Periplus at least 1500 years earlier, in which Somali produce was ferried by raft or small boat to the Yemeni coast for transportation by Himyarite, Omani or Indian vessels to more distant markets. The beden ships originated in Oman and were under Omani-Zanzibari control until very late. The Balitung ship, the earliest beden known, from the 9th century, was from Oman:

Why confuse this period more than it already is?
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