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Section headingEdit

Mogadishu (pronounced /ˌmɒɡəˈdɪʃuː/; Somali: Muqdisho, popularly Xamar; Arabic: مقديشو‎ Maqadīshū; Italian: Mogadiscio, literally "The Seat of the Shah") is the largest city in Somalia and the nation's capital.

Located in the coastal Benadir region on the Indian Ocean, the city has served as an important port for centuries.

Mogadishu

مقديشو Maqadīshū ("The Seat of the Shah")[1]

[1]

Section headingEdit

HistoryEdit

[edit] Early historyEdit

Main article: History of Mogadishu[2][3]Engraving of the 13th century Fakr ad-Din Mosque.According to the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, maritime trade connected Somalis in the Mogadishu area with other communities along the Indian Ocean coast as early as the 1st century CE With Muslim traders from the Arabian Peninsula arriving circa 900 CE, Mogadishu was well-suited to become a regional center for commerce.

The name "Mogadishu" is held to be derived from the Arabic مقعد الشاه Maq'ad-u-Shah ("The seat of the Shah"), a reflection of the city's early Persian influence.[1]

For many years, Mogadishu stood as the pre-eminent city in the بلاد البربر Bilad-ul-Barbar ("Land of the Berbers"), which was the medieval Arabic term for the Horn of Africa.[5][6][7] Following his visit to the city, the 12th century Syrian historian Yaqut al-Hamawi wrote that it was inhabited by dark-skinned Berbers, the ancestors of the modern Somalis.[8][9] [4][5]Flag of the Ajuuraan State, a Somali empire of which medieval Mogadishu was an important vassal.The Sultanate of Mogadishu developed with the immigration of Emozeidi Arabs, a community whose earliest presence dates back to the 9th or 10th century.[10] This evolved into the Muzaffar dynasty, a joint Somali-Arab federation of rulers, and Mogadishu became closely linked with the powerful Somali Ajuuraan State.[11]

By the time of the Moroccan traveller Ibn Batuta's appearance on the Somali coast in 1331, the city was at the zenith of its prosperity. Batuta described Mogadishu as "an exceedingly large city" with many rich merchants, which was famous for its high quality fabric that it exported to Egypt, among other places.[12][13] He added that the city was ruled by a Somali Sultan originally from Berbera in northern Somalia who spoke both Somali (referred to by Batutta as Mogadishan, the Benadir dialect of Somali) and Arabic with equal fluency.[14][15] The Sultan also had a retinue of wazirs (ministers), legal experts, commanders, royal eunuchs, and other officials at his beck and call.[14]

The Portuguese would later attempt to occupy the city, but never managed to take it. The Hawiye Somali, however, were successful in defeating the Ajuuraan State and bringing about the end of Muzaffar rule.[11]


1800s-1950sEdit

By 1892, Mogadishu was under the joint control of the Somali Geledi Sultanate (which, also holding sway over the Shebelle region in the interior, was at the height of its power) and the Arab Sultan of Zanzibar.[16] [6][7]Downtown Mogadishu in 1936. Arba Rucun mosque to the center right.In 1892, Ali bin Said leased the city to Italy. Italy purchased the city in 1905 and made Mogadishu the capital of the newly-established Italian Somaliland. After World War I, the surrounding territory came under Italian control with some resistance.

Thousands of Italian colonists moved to live in Mogadishu and founded small manufacturing companies. They also developed some agricultural areas around the capital such as the Villaggio duca degli Abruzzi and the Genale.[17]

In the 1930s, new buildings and avenues were built. A 114 km narrow-gauge railway was laid from Mogadishu to Jowhar, then called "Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi". An asphalted road, the Strada Imperiale was also constructed, intended to link Mogadishu to Addis Ababa.

Mogadishu remained the capital of Italian Somaliland throughout the existence of the latter, and became the capital of independent Somalia in 1960.

Modern historyEdit

Main articles: Somali Civil War, Battle of Mogadishu (1993), Battle of Mogadishu (2006), Fall of Mogadishu, Battle of Mogadishu (March–April 2007), Battle of Mogadishu (November 2007), Battle of Mogadishu (2008), Battle of South Mogadishu, Battle of Mogadishu (2009), and Battle of Mogadishu (2010)[8][9]A residential area of Mogadishu, with a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter in the foreground. (1992).Rebel forces entered and took the city in 1990, forcing the then President of Somalia, Mohamed Siad Barre, to flee in 1991 to Kenya. One faction proclaimed Ali Mahdi Muhammad president, another Mohamed Farrah Aidid. A contingent of United States Marines landed near Mogadishu on December 9, 1992 to spearhead the United Nations peacekeeping forces during Operation Restore Hope, in which Pakistan, Italy and Malaysia also participated. [10][11]Skyline of Mogadishu. (2006).In the wake of Operation Restore Hope, further US peacekeeping continued, until, on October 4, 1993, American forces were finally evacuated to the UN's Pakistani base by an armored convoy along the so-called "Mogadishu Mile". In that exercise alone, 19 U.S. soldiers died and 73 were injured, while two US Black Hawk helicopters were shot down and three further MH-60s put out of action. After the battle, one or more US casualties of the conflict were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu by crowds of local civilians and SNA forces. The Malaysian forces lost one soldier and had seven injured, while the Pakistanis suffered two injured. Casualties on the Somali side were heavy, with estimates on fatalities ranging from 500 to over 2,000 people. The Somali casualties were a mixture of militiamen and local civilians. Somali civilians suffered heavy casualties due to the dense urban character of that portion of Mogadishu. Two days later, a mortar round fell on the U.S. compound, killing one U.S. soldier, and injuring another twelve. [12][13]Flag of al-Shabaab, Somalia's most prominent rebel group since the collapse of the Islamic Courts Union.Mogadishu was subsequently run by competing warlords until 2006, when Islamists and businessmen formed a successful coalition government, which came to be known as the Islamic Courts Union (ICU). The ICU seized control of the entire country, except for the town of Baidoa, which was held by the Transitional Federal Government, the internationally recognized government of Somalia. Later that same year, the Ethiopian military ousted the ICU and restored the internationally-recognized government,[18] which had long remained in exile in Kenya, with Baidoa being its only Somali foothold. [14][15]Map of Mogadishu showing which areas are controlled by which factions as of March 2010.Mogadishu was the scene of bitter warfare and devastation caused by fighting between Ethiopian and Somali government troops, and Islamist guerrillas. Fighting escalated in March–April 2007, November 2007 and April 2008 with hundreds of civilian casualties. In October 2008, the BBC reported that the city had been "abandoned by at least half of its residents", and that there were "street after ruined street of bombed-out buildings in the center of Mogadishu".[18]

As of 2008, a 2,700-strong African Union peacekeeping force is attempting to bring stability and security to the city,[18] as well as providing medical aid to the population.[19]

Since May 8, 2009, there has been an increase in violence reportedly leading to the displacement of more than 165,000 of the inhabitants. The violence has culminated in several suicide bomb attacks, normally rare occurrences in Somalia.[20][21][22] The attacks have claimed many lives, amongst them Mohamed Hussein Addow, a legislative politician and the third high-profile public killing in as many days throughout the country.[23] During 2009, Mayor Abdurisaq Mohamed Nor told civilians to seek refuge from the fighting outside the capital, advising to keep at least 2 km distance between themselves and the capital ahead of a government offensive.[3] The more formidable nature of the al-Shabab fighters has been attributed to the training received from foreign fighters, veterans of the Iraq/Afghani conflict, who are to blame for the two explosions in Mogadishu on August 21, 2010.[24] In August 2010, a round of heavy fighting in Mogadishu culminated in a suicide attack on a hotel near the presidential palace, in an area where the security is known to be 'tight'. The attack was followed by an hour of fighting and left 32 dead, including 6 Somali MPs and 5 government officials.[25]

There is no effective police force in the city. The only hope for security is through the service of private guards for-hire.

GeographyEdit

Mogadishu is located at 2°4′N 45°22′E / 2.067°N 45.367°E / 2.067; 45.367. The Shebelle River (Webiga Shabelle) rises in central Ethiopia and comes within 30 kilometers (19 mi) of the Indian Ocean near Mogadishu before turning southwestward. Usually dry during February and March, the river provides water essential for the cultivation of sugarcane, cotton, and bananas.

Features of the city include the Hamarwein old town, the Bakaara Market, and the former resort of Gezira Beach. The sandy beaches of Mogadishu are reported by the few Western travelers to be among the most beautiful in the world, offering easy access to vibrant coral reefs.


ClimateEdit

For a city situated so near the equator, Mogadishu has a dry climate. It is classified as hot and semi-arid (Köppen climate classification BSh). Much of the land the city lies upon is desert terrain. The city has a low annual rainfall of 427mm, most which falls in the wet season. The rains are very variable from year to year, and drought is a constant problem for the people living in Somalia.

Sunshine is abundant in the city, averaging eight to ten hours a day year-round. It is lowest during the wet season, when there is some coastal fog and greater cloud coverage as warm air passes over the cool sea surface.

[hide]Climate data for Mogadishu
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 34
(93)
32
(90)
33
(91)
36
(97)
34
(93)
32
(90)
32
(90)
30
(86)
32
(90)
32
(90)
32
(90)
34
(93)
36
(97)
Average high °C (°F) 30
(86)
30
(86)
31
(88)
32
(90)
32
(90)
29
(84)
28
(82)
28
(82)
29
(84)
30
(86)
31
(88)
30
(86)
30
(86)
Average low °C (°F) 23
(73)
23
(73)
24
(75)
26
(79)
25
(77)
23
(73)
23
(73)
23
(73)
23
(73)
24
(75)
24
(75)
24
(75)
24
(75)
Record low °C (°F) 20
(68)
18
(64)
20
(68)
20
(68)
18
(64)
20
(68)
15
(59)
16
(61)
18
(64)
18
(64)
21
(70)
20
(68)
15
(59)
Precipitation mm (inches) 0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
58
(2.28)
58
(2.28)
97
(3.82)
64
(2.52)
48
(1.89)
25
(0.98)
23
(0.91)
41
(1.61)
13
(0.51)
427
(16.81)

Source: BBC Weather [27

Source: BBC Weather [27]

[edit] EconomyEdit

[16][17]Bakaara Market in the heart of Mogadishu. Somali marketplaces have thrived due to the fragility of the government.[28][18][19]A Coca-Cola bottling plant in MogadishuMogadishu serves as a commercial and financial center. The economy has recovered somewhat from the civil unrest although the Somali Civil War still presents many problems. The effective absence of government yields free trade without taxes or regulatory expenditures, but comes at the cost of civil society and infrastructure. Businesses have hired armed militias to provide security against gunmen, leading to a gradual reduction in open street violence[citation needed]. However, high levels of crime including frequent murders and occasional bombings are still found in the city.

Principal industries include food and beverage processing and textiles, especially cotton ginning. The main market offers goods from food to electronic gadgets.

Hormuud Telecom, the largest telecommunications company in southern and central Somalia, has its headquarters in Mogadishu. Telcom is another telecommunications service provider based in the city.

[edit] TransportationEdit

RoadEdit

Roads leading out of Mogadishu connect the city to other Somali locales and to Ethiopia and Kenya.

[edit] AirEdit

Private airlines such as Jubba Airways service Mogadishu at airports within and around the city. The intense fighting largely destroyed the old Mogadishu International Airport (now renamed Aden Adde International Airport), which briefly reopened before the War in Somalia (2006-2009). As of 2007, K50 Airport serves Mogadishu.[29]

[edit] SeaEdit

Mogadishu leads Somalia in port traffic and still serves as a major seaport. International traders actively benefit from its de facto duty-free status. However, piracy is widespread around Somalia's coastal areas, making sea transport risky.[30][31]

[edit] RailwayEdit

There were projects during the 1980s to reactivate the 114 km railway between Mogadishu and Jowhar, built by the Italians in 1926 but dismantled in WWII by British troops. The Mogadishu-Villabruzzi Railway was planned in 1939 to reach Addis Ababa.


GovernmentEdit

Since February 2009, the Transitional Federal Government, with the help of the African Union and the support of the United Nations,[32] has started drafting a constitution to help "shape [Somalia's] destiny". Furthermore steps have been taken to counter the insurgency from groups such as al-Shabab through military means. This has incurred little success and, currently, up to a third of Mogadishu is held by insurgents.[33] Attempts have been made to negotiate a diplomatic solution through either a cease fire or even appease the aggressive nature of al-Shabab, with the implementation of Shari'a law, neither method has been met with success.[34][35]

[edit] EducationEdit

Despite the civil unrest, Mogadishu counts several institutions of higher learning. [20][21]The Hammar Jab Jab School in Mogadishu.Mogadishu University (MU) is a non-governmental university that is governed by a Board of Trustees and a University Council. It is the brainchild of a number of professors from the Somali National University as well as other Somali intellectuals who sought to find ways to provide post-secondary education in the wake of the civil war. Financed by the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as well as other donor institutions, the university counts hundreds of young Somali graduates from its seven faculties, some of whom continue on to pursue Master's degrees abroad thanks to a scholarship program. Mogadishu University has established partnerships with several other academic institutions, including the University of Aalborg in Denmark, three universities in Egypt, seven universities in Sudan, the University of Djibouti, and two universities in Yemen. It has also been scored among the 100 best universities in Africa in spite of the harsh environment, which has been hailed as a triumph for grass-roots initiatives.[36] [22][23]New Mogadishu University campus.The Somali National University, founded in 1954 during the "Italian Trust Administration of Somalia" (AFIS), has been closed indefinitely due to extensive damage.

Benadir University (BU) was established in 2002 with the intention of training doctors. It has since expanded into other fields.

Due to human capital shortage in the country's private sector management, the Somali Institute of Management and Administration Development (SIMAD) has given priority to the fields of business administration, information technology and accountancy.

[edit] SportEdit

The city is home to Mogadiscio Stadium, which plays host to the Somalia Cup and to football teams from the Somalia League.

[edit] Notable MogadishansEdit

[24][25]Born in Mogadishu, supermodel Iman was the first Somali woman to appear on the cover of Vogue in 1979 and to sign a cosmetics contract.*Ayub Daud, professional footballer

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