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Yusuf Ali Kenadid ( , ) was a Somali ruler, and the founder of the Sultanate of Hobyo in the 1880s.


Yusuf Ali Kenadid was born into a Majeerteen Darod family, the uncle of Osman Yusuf Kenadid, who would go on to create the Osmanya writing script for the Somali language.

Majeerteen and Hobyo Sultanates

Initially, Kenadid's goal was to seize control of the neighboring Majeerteen Sultanate, which was then ruled by his cousin Boqor Osman Mahamud. However, he was unsuccessful in this endeavor, and was eventually forced into exile in Yemenmarker. A decade later, in the 1870s, Kenadid returned from the Arabian Peninsula with a band of Hadhrami musketeers and a group of devoted lieutenants. With their assistance, he managed to overpower the local Hawiye clans and establish the small kingdom of Hobyo.

Somali-Italian treaties

In late 1888, Sultan Kenadid entered into a treaty with the Italians, making his realm an Italian protectorate. His rival Boqor Osman would sign a similar agreement vis-a-vis his own Sultanate the following year. Both rulers had signed the protectorate treaties to advance their own expansionist objectives, with Kenadid looking to use Italy's support in his dispute with the Sultan of Zanzibar over an area bordering Warsheikhmarker, in addition to his ongoing power struggle over the Majeerteen Sultanate with Boqor Osman. Both Sultan Kenadid and Boqor Osman 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.


However, the relationship between Hobyo and Italymarker soured when Sultan Kenadid refused the Italians' proposal to allow a British contingent of troops to disembark in his Sultanate so that they might then pursue their battle against the Somali religious and nationalist leader Muhammad Abdullah Hassan's Dervish forces. Viewed as too much of a threat by the Italians, Sultan Kenadid was eventually exiled to Adenmarker in Yemen and then to Eritreamarker, as was his son Ali Yusuf, the heir apparent to his throne.

See also


  1. The Majeerteen Sultanates
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Sheik- ĽAbdi, p.129


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