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The Sultanate of the Geledi (Somali: Saldanadda Geledi, Arabic: سلطنة غلدي‎) also known as the Gobroon Dynasty[1] was a Somali kingdom that ruled parts of the Horn of Africa during the late-17th century and 19th century. The Sultanate was governed by the Gobroon Dynasty. It was established by the Geledi soldier Ibrahim Adeer, who had defeated various vassals of the Ajuran Sultanate and founded the House of Gobroon. The dynasty reached its apex under the successive reigns of Sultan Mahamud Ibrahim who built the Geledi army and successfully repelled the Oromo invasion and Sultan Yusuf Mahamud Ibrahim, who successfully modernized the Geledi economy and consolidated Geledi power during the Conquest of Bardera in 1843,[2] and Sultan Ahmed Yusuf, who forced regional powers such as the Omani Empire to submit tribute. The sultanate was eventually incorporated into Italian Somaliland in 1908, and ended with the death of Osman Ahmed in 1910.[3]

View of the Bardera Citadel in the mid 1800s by Baron Karl Klaus von der Decken.

The Sultanate of Geledi exerted a strong centralized authority during its existence and possessed all of the organs and trappings of an integrated modern state: a functioning bureaucracy, a hereditary nobility, titled aristocrats, a taxing system, a state flag, as well as a professional army.[7][8] The great sultanate also maintained written records of their activities, which still exist.[9]

The Geledi Sultanate's main capital was at Afgooye. It had a number of castles, forts and other variety of architectures in various areas within its realm, including a fortress at Luuq and a citadel at Bardera.[10]

Economy

The Geledi Sultanate maintained a vast trading network, trading with Arabia, Persia, India, Near East, Europe and the Swahili World, dominating the East African trade, minted its own currency, and were recognized as regional powers.[11]

In the case of the Geledi, wealth accrued to the nobles and to the Sultanate not only from the market cultivation which it had utilized from the Shebelle and Jubba valleys but also trade from their involvement in the slave trade and other enterprises such as ivory, cotton, iron, gold, and among many other commodities. Generally, they also raised livestock animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, and chicken.[12]

By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Gobroon dynasty had turned their religious prestige into political power and were recognized as the rulers of an increasingly centralized and wealthy state. As already mentioned, much of their wealth was based on control of fertile riverine lands. Using slave labour obtained through the coastal ports the Geledi gradually shifted their economic base away from its traditional dependency on pastoralism and subsistence agriculture to one built largely on plantation agriculture and production of cash crops such as grain, cotton, maize, sorghum, and a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially bananas, mangos, sugarcane, cotton, tomatoes, squash and much more. It is traversed by historic caravan routes. Trade on the rivers themselves connected with the coast to the interior markets.[13] During this period, the Somali agricultural output to Arabian markets was so great that the coast of South Somalia came to be known as the Grain Coast of Yemen and Oman.[14]

Afgooye, the headquarters of the Sultanate, was an extremely wealthy and large city. Afgooye had some thriving industries such as Weaving, Shoemaking, Tableware, Jewellery, and produced other various products. Afgooye was the crossroads of caravans bringing ostrich feathers, leopard skins, and aloe in exchange for foreign fabrics, sugar, dates and firearms. Afgooye merchants boasted their wealth; one of their wealthiest said, "moordiinle iyo mereeyey iyo mooro lidow, maalki jeri keenow kuma moogi malabside" (Bring all the wealth of moordiinle, mereeyey, and the enelsures of lidow, I scarcely notice it.) The farmers of Afgooye outskirts produced large quantity of fruits and vegetables. They raised numerous livestock animals for meat, milk and ghee. It is said that every household in Afgooye was wealthy and you could not find a single poor person.[15]

Military

The Geledi army numbered 20,000 men in times of peace, and could be raised to 50,000 troops in times of war.[16] The supreme commanders of the army were the Sultan and his brother, who in turn had Malaakhs and Garads under them. The military was supplied with rifles and cannons by Somali traders of the coastal regions that controlled the East African arms trade.

The best horse breeds were raised in Luuq and later sent to the army after maturity. They would be used for military purposes, and numerous stone fortifications were erected to provide shelter for the army in the interior and coastal districts. In each province, the soldiers were under the supervision of a military commander known as an emir, and the coastal areas and the Indian ocean trade were protected by a navy.[17]

Rulers

If you wish to learn more about Geledi history check out the rulers of Geledi Sultanate

Geledi Sultanate was a Rahanweyn Kingdom ruled by the noble Geledi clan which controlled the entire Jubba River and extending parts of Shebelle River and dominating the East African trade. The Geledi Sultanate had enough power to force the southern Arabians to pay tribute to the noble Geledi Rulers like Ahmed Yusuf (Gobroon).[5]

The nobles within the Geledi claim descent from Omar al-Din. He had 3 other brothers, Fakhr and with 2 others of whom their names are given differently as Shams, Umudi, Alahi and Ahmed. Together they were known as Afarta Timid , 'the 4 who came', indicating their origins from Arabia. [6]

The Sultanate of Geledi exerted a strong centralized authority during its existence and possessed all of the organs and trappings of an integrated modern state: a functioning bureaucracy, a hereditary nobility, titled aristocrats, a taxing system, a state flag, as well as a professional army.[7][8] The great sultanate also maintained written records of their activities, which still exist.[9]

The Geledi Sultanate's main capital was at Afgooye. It had a number of castles, forts and other variety of architectures in various areas within its realm, including a fortress at Luuq and a citadel at Bardera.[10]

Economy

The Geledi Sultanate maintained a vast trading network, trading with Arabia, Persia, India, Near East, Europe and the The Geledi Sultanate's main capital was at Afgooye. It had a number of castles, forts and other variety of architectures in various areas within its realm, including a fortress at Luuq and a citadel at Bardera.[10]

The Geledi Sultanate maintained a vast trading network, trading with Arabia, Persia, India, Near East, Europe and the Swahili World, dominating the East African trade, minted its own currency, and were recognized as regional powers.[11]

In the case of the Geledi, wealth accrued to the nobles and to the Sultanate not only from the market cultivation which it had utilized from the Shebelle and Jubba valleys but al

In the case of the Geledi, wealth accrued to the nobles and to the Sultanate not only from the market cultivation which it had utilized from the Shebelle and Jubba valleys but also trade from their involvement in the slave trade and other enterprises such as ivory, cotton, iron, gold, and among many other commodities. Generally, they also raised livestock animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, and chicken.[12]

By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Gobroon dynasty had turned their religious prestige into political power and were recognized as the rulers of an increasingly centralized and wealthy state. As already mentioned, much of their wealth was based on control of fertile riverine lands. Using slave labour obtained through the coastal ports the Geledi gradually shifted their economic base away from its traditional dependency on pastoralism and subsistence agriculture to one built largely on plantation agriculture and production of cash crops such as grain, cotton, maize, sorghum, and a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially bananas, mangos, sugarcane, cotton, tomatoes, squash and much more. It is traversed by historic caravan routes. Trade on the rivers themselves connected with the coast to the interior markets.[13] During this period, the Somali agricultural output to Arabian markets was so great that the coast of South Somalia came to be known as the Grain Coast of Yemen and Oman.[14]

Afgooye, the headquarters of the Sultanate, was an extremely wealthy and large city. Afgooye had some thriving industries such as Weaving, Shoemaking, Tableware, Jewellery, and produced other various products. Afgooye was the crossroads of caravans bringing ostrich feathers, leopard skins, and aloe in exchange for foreign fabrics, sugar, dates and firearms. Afgooye merchants boasted their wealth; one of their wealthiest said, "moordiinle iyo mereeyey iyo mooro lidow, maalki jeri keenow kuma moogi malabside" (Bring all the wealth of moordiinle, mereeyey, and the enelsures of lidow, I scarcely notice it.) The farmers of Afgooye outskirts produced large quantity of fruits and vegetables. They raised numerous livestock animals for meat, milk and ghee. It is said that every household in Afgooye was wealthy and you could not find a single poor person.[15]

The Geledi army numbered 20,000 men in times of peace, and could be raised to 50,000 troops in times of war.[16] The supreme commanders of the army were the Sultan and his brother, who in turn had Malaakhs and Garads under them. The military was supplied with rifles and cannons by Somali traders of the coastal regions that controlled the East African arms trade.

The best horse breeds were raised in Luuq and later sent to the army after maturity. They would be used for military purposes, and numerous stone fortifications were erected to provide shelter for the army in the interior and coastal districts. In each province, the soldie

The best horse breeds were raised in Luuq and later sent to the army after maturity. They would be used for military purposes, and numerous stone fortifications were erected to provide shelter for the army in the interior and coastal districts. In each province, the soldiers were under the supervision of a military commander known as an emir, and the coastal areas and the Indian ocean trade were protected by a navy.[17]

If you wish to learn more about Geledi history check out the rulers of Geledi Sultanate

# Sultan Reign Notes
1 Ibrahim Adeer late 17th century–mid 18th century Founded the Geledi Sultanate after defeating the Ajuran Sultanate. First ruler in the Gobroon Dynasty.[18]
2 Mahamud Ibrahim mid-18th-1828[19] Inherited throne from father. Militarized the Geledi state and successfully repelled the Oromo invaders and tackled
# Sultan Reign Notes
1