Tunni Sultanate

Saldanadda Tunni
سلطنة تُنّي
9th century–13th century
Common languagesSomali · Arabic
• Established
9th century
• Disestablished
13th century
Succeeded by
Ajuran Sultanate

The Tunni Sultanate (Somali: Saldanadda Tunni) was a Somali Muslim Sultanate located in southwestern Somalia, south of the Shabelle river. It was ruled by the Tunni people, who spoke the Tunni language (a language related to Somali). The historical Tunni area corrisponds to the modern-day Lower Shabelle region.[1]



A Tunni Nomad
A Tunni Nomad

The Tunni, composed of five sub-clans (Da'farad, Dakhtira, Goygali, Hajuwa, and Waridi), were the latest to drive the Jiddu into the interior, where they established their own Sultanate in Qoryoley. The Tunni made a treaty with the Jiddu so that Tunni settled on the west bank of the Shabelle and the Jiddu settled on the east bank. Both also agreed to resist foreign penetration, to allow only Seddah Saamood (the three foot-prints, which are the Tuni, the Jiddu, and the wild beasts).[2] However, they did accept the first Muslim migrants, the Hatimi from Yemen and the Amawi from Syria, around the 10th century, for both religious and commercial reasons. Barawa founded by a Tunni saint called Aw-Al became the new capital for the Tunni Sultanate. The town prospered and became one of the major Islamic centers in the Horn, the Barawaani Ulama, attracting students from all over the region. Muslim scholars of that time, such as Ibn Sa'id, wrote about Barawa as "an Islamic island on the Somali coast." Al-Idrisi also described the construction of the coral houses and noted that Barawa was full of both domestic and foreign commodities.[3]

Eventually, the Tunni people abandoned the pastoral lifestyle and established themselves largely as farmers on the rich arable land where they grew a variety of fruits and vegetables but they still continued to practice livestock grazing. They established a number of concentrated settlements on the interior such as Buulo, Golweyn, and Xaramka, Jilib, Jamaame, and their center Qoryooley.[4] The Tunni Somali clan inhabiting the cultivated Shebelle valley behind the coast produced foodstuffs for the coastal towns as well as acting as brokers for other Somali traders further inland.[5]

Warday Treaty

The Warday Oromo clan under King Brawt crossed the Jubba river and invaded the Tunni Sultanate. They were defeated and driven back where the fight finally ended with another alliance that was signed in Jumbo the place now known as Gobweyn, between the Tunni and the Gala Warday. After the treaty was signed, the Tunni settled on the west bank of the Jubba River, and the Warday settle on the opposite side of the river, which was the east bank. These two zones were known as Khad Tunni and Khad Gala (Tunni limit and Wardey limit). The land was also divided into three sections. One portion for the Tunni, another section for the Gala Warday, and the third portion was designated no man's land and was left for grazing. No groups were allowed to go beyond their boundary; both clans lived that way for 300 years.[6]

Ajuran Takeover

By the mid-13th century, the Garen Kingdom headquartered in Kelafo with an army under the great Somali king Abdalle Dayle conquered the Tunni Sultanate and incorporated the state under into the expanding Ajuran Sultanate. The Garen rulers claimed supremacy and religious legitimacy over other groups in the Horn of Africa.[7][8][9]

See also


  1. ^ Mukhtar, Mohamed Haji (25 February 2003). Historical Dictionary of Somalia. p. 50. ISBN 9780810866041.
  2. ^ "The Total Somali Clan Genealogy (second edition)" (PDF).
  3. ^ Mukhtar, Mohamed Haji (25 February 2003). Historical Dictionary of Somalia. p. 50. ISBN 9780810866041.
  4. ^ Lewis, I.M (2011). Understanding Somalia and Somaliland Culture, History and Society. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199326815.
  5. ^ Spear, Thomas (1981). Kenya's Past An Introduction to Historical Method in Africa. Longman. ISBN 9780582646964.
  6. ^ Baraawe News "A Brief History of Baraawe" Check |url= value (help).
  7. ^ Luling, Virginia (2002). Somali Sultanate: the Geledi city-state over 150 years. Transaction Publishers. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-874209-98-0.
  8. ^ Luc Cambrézy, Populations réfugiées: de l'exil au retour, p.316
  9. ^ Mukhtar, Mohamed Haji. "The Emergence and Role of Political Parties in the Inter-River Region of Somalia from 1947–1960". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)