Somalia History: Antiquity

Somalia History: Antiquity Last updated on Sunday 25th April 2010

The ancient Egyptians knew the region which now includes Somalia as Punt, and the inhabitants were referred to as the Black Berbers.

For five centuries (second to seventh century AD) much of the area came under the rule of the Ethiopian kingdom of Aksum. In the 7th Century AD, Arab tribes set up trading posts along the coastline of the Gulf of Aden, where they found the sultanate of Adel, the main port of which was Zeila.

To the west there was a lot of trading done with the people living where the Omoros (or Gallas), the Afars and the Eritreans now live. The Somali people began to migrate into this region from Yemen in the 13th Century.

The sultanate disintegrated during the 16th century into small independent states, many of which were ruled by Somali chiefs. Zeila became a dependency of Yemen, and was then incorporated into the Ottoman Empire.

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