The Majeerteen (Somali: Majeerteen, Arabic: ماجرتين, Muhammad Harti Amaleh Abdi Muhammad Abdirahman Jaberti; also spelled Majerteen, Macherten, Majertain, or Mijurtin) is a Somali clan. Its members form a part of the Harti confederation of Darod sub-clans, and primarily inhabit the Puntland region in northeastern Somalia.
The Majeerteen Sultanates played an important role in the pre-independence era. The clan has produced two presidents, five prime ministers, and first speaker of parliament, as well as two Sultans and a King (Boqor). Majeerteens also held many other important government posts in the 1960s and early 1970s, and continue to play a key role in Puntland.
Majeerteen members traditionally inhabit the northeastern Bari, Nugal and Mudug regions in Puntland. Others can also be found in the Kismayo and Wardheer regions of Somalia and Ethiopia, respectively.
The Majeerteen Sultanate was founded in the mid-18th century. It rose to prominence the following century, under the reign of the resourceful Boqor (King) Osman Mahamuud. It controlled much of northern and central Somalia in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The polity maintained a robust trading network, entered into treaties with foreign powers, and exerted strong centralized authority on the domestic front.
Osman Mahamuud's Sultanate was nearly destroyed in the mid-1800s by a power struggle between himself and his ambitious cousin, Yusuf Ali Kenadid. After almost five years of battle, the young upstart was finally forced into exile in Yemen. A decade later, in the 1870s, Kenadid returned from the Arabian Peninsula with a band of Hadhramimusketeers and a group of devoted lieutenants. With their assistance, he managed to overpower the local Hawiye clans and establish the Sultanate of Hobyo in 1878.
In late 1889, Boqor Osman entered into a treaty with the Italians, making his realm an Italian protectorate. His rival Sultan Kenadid had signed a similar agreement vis-a-vis his own Sultanate the year before. Both rulers had signed the protectorate treaties to advance their own expansionist objectives, with Boqor Osman looking to use Italy's support in his ongoing power struggle with Kenadid over the Majeerteen Sultanate. Boqor Osman and Sultan Kenadid also hoped to exploit the conflicting interests among the European imperial powers that were then looking to control the Somali peninsula, so as to avoid direct occupation of their territories by force.
With the gradual extension into northern Somalia of Italian colonial rule, both Kingdoms were eventually annexed to Italian Somaliland in the early 20th century. Much of the two Majeerteen Sultanates' former domain is today coextensive with the autonomous Puntland region in northeastern Somalia.
There is no clear agreement on the clan and subclan structures and many lineages are omitted. The following listing is taken from the World Bank's Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics from 2005 and the United Kingdom's Home Office publication, Somalia Assessment 2001.
Three subclans – Omar Mahmud (Cumaar Mahamuud), Issa Mahmud (Ciise Mahamuud), and Osman Mahmoud (Cismaan Mahamuud) – comprise the Mahamuud Saleebaan,:17 which a 2010 study identifies as both the main division of Majeerteen and a central and unifying entity in Puntland. During the 1960s, the Ali Saleebaan (or Cali Saleebaan) and Ciise Mahamud formed a powerful business class in Kismayo,:19 while Siad Barre exploited a rivalry between the Cali Saleebaan and Cumaar Mahamuud in an effort to weaken the Majeerteen in general.:17 Historically, the Cali Saleebaan formed part of a coastal trading network around Bosaso, along with other subclans.:19 Nineteen other Majeerteen clans inhabit the Bari Region.:15
Ali A. Abdi, sociologist and educationist, professor of education and international development, and Co-director, Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Research (CGCER) at the University of Alberta.
Ali Abdi Aware, former Puntland State Minister of the Presidency for International relations and Social Affairs.
Ali Haji Warsame, entrepreneur, former Chief Executive Officer of Golis Telecom Somalia