HISTORY OF GOVERNANCE PART I ( PRE-IMPERIALISM)
The northeast region of Somalia has, since August 1st, 1998, been referred to as Puntland State of Somalia. The territory is characterized by vast semi-arid range lands on which nomadic pastoralists raise herds of camels, goats and sheep. There are also a number of small towns and small coastal settlements where people practice rudimentary fishing.
The economy is primarily dependent on pastoralism, the livestock trade, and the import and export of goods at the port of Bosaaso on the northeast coast. Stretching from the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean to the north and east, to south Mudug region in central Somalia and bordering Ethiopia and Somaliland in the west, the area encompasses the traditional territory of the Harti clan group of the Darood clan-family and a number of other Darood clans and is considered one of the most homogeneous Somali regions.
Although pre-colonial Somali society did not have a national government with modern structures and clearly defined international borders, the northeast region had traditional structures of government dating from the 18th century. These traditional structures of government included:
The Sultanate of Migiurtinia (mid 18th century - 1927)
The Sultanate of Obbio (1878–1925)
The Warsangeli Sultanate of Sanaag (1896–1925)
The Dervish State (1899 -1920)
These Sultanates had administrative and military structures, which safeguarded security, social welfare and political stability until they were disrupted by colonial powers (the Italians in the first two Sultanates and the British in the last two).
As Prof. Said Samatar of Rutgers University put it:
"In precolonial times the only states worthy of the name in the Somali peninsula had been the Migiurtin Sultanate of Boqor, or king, 'Ismaan Mohamuud in the Baargaal-Boosaaso region on the extreme eastern coast and the kingdom of Obbia (Hobyo) belonging to 'Ismaan's nephew, the dour Yuusuf Ali Keenadiid. These were both highly centralized states with all the organs and accoutrements of an integrated modern state--a hereditary nobility, titled aristocrats, a functioning bureaucracy, a flag, an army and a not insignificant network of foreign relations with embassies abroad.
Nowhere else in Somalia did anything even remotely comparable ever arise, except perhaps the Ujuuraan on the Shabeelle valley and Adal on the northwestern coast, both states having reached the apogee of power in the sixteenth century. In modern times theMigiurtin stand alone, absolutely alone, in having created a centralized state. This means that the Migiurtin clan in general, and the Migiurtin elite in particular, have a seasoned, unique experience in the nature and processes of statecraft that no other Somali group possesses. "
The Warsangeli Sultanate was noted for its robust tax-based centralized administration and trade and commercial relations existed between the Sultanates, the Indian sub-continent and Arabian Gulf states. For instance, ad valorem taxation systems, export of livestock, animal and agro-forestry products and import of consumer goods thrived in the Sultanate of Migiurtinia during the second half of the 19th century and first quarter of the 20th century.
In Puntland, “Isim” (singular) or “Isimo” (plural), the traditional titled leaders or paramount chiefs, are usually crowned in a traditional ceremony known as “’Aano-Shub” (meaning crowning with milk, pouring milk on the head) or “’Aleemo-Saar” (meaning showering with green leaves). The highest traditional position for the Darood clan is the Boqor (king), with other positions denoted as Ugaas, Garaad, Islan, Beeldaaje, Sultan, Qud, Caaqil (chief), Nabaddon, Samadoon and Oday.