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(Redirected from Dervish movement (Somali))
Taleh Castle
Mohammed Abdullah Hassan's fort in Taleex.

The Dervish state was a Somali territory that existed semi-officially from 1905 to 1920.


On Mar 3,1905 the "Mad Mullah" declared himself Mahdi of Nogal (other name of the Nugaal valley) in northern Italian Somalia, while the "sultan" was Sayid Maxamad Cabdille Xasan. The territory coincided approximately with the actual Nugaal area in northeastern Somalia. It was ruled like a kind of sultanate in behalf of the Mahdi.

His rule was terminated by Italy in 1911. The Italian victory started on September 3, 1908 when Italian official Di Giorgio conquered Afgoi and the sultan of Ghelédi with his 5000 men surrendered to the Italians (who won an important battle at Araré and Eyl).

Eyl Castle
Eyl Castle.

Sayyid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan (nicknamed the "Mad Mullah" by the British) escaped to British Somaliland, where later died in 1920.

During 1910-1914, Sayyid's capital moved from Illig to Taleex in the heart of Nugaal where he built three garrison forts of massive stone work and a number of houses. He built a "luxurious" palace for himself and kept new guards drawn from outcast clans. By 1913, he had dominated the entire hinterland of the Somali peninsula by building forts at Jildali and Mirashi in Warsangali country, at Werder and Qorahy in the Ogaden and Beledweyne in southern Somalia.

After the collapse of Muhammad Abdullah Hassan’s resistance movement, rebellion and revolt occurred with disputes between different tribes in Northern Somalia.

The Italian government of Somalia again worked together with the old tribesmen in order to try and keep peace between the several tribes, while maintaining close control over the military.

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