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SOMALIA — TIMELINE: 600s–1839

ARRIVAL OF ARABS AND ISLAM

600. Arab tradesmen spread Islam among the Somali people in the coastal cities of the Horn of Africa. Islamicization of Somalia continues in waves as Arab families flee instability in the Arabian Peninsula.

685-705. Abdulmalik ibn Marwan, Caliph of the Umayyad dynasty conquers parts of Somalia.

800. Islam spreads in East Africa and is widely accepted as it provides a comprehensive writing system, a code of ethics, and a legal platform for settlers in the region.

1200. In Mogadishu, a large Somali port, up to 50% of the Somali tribe convert to Islam due to growing trade with Muslims from the Middle East and East Africa. Major trading products include slaves, ivory, gold, spices, iron, tin and copper.

1250. Adal, a Muslim province within Christian Ethiopia (in present day northwest Somalia) is a thriving centre of trade and commerce. Adal is populated by Somali and Afar people.

1331. Immigrant Arabs join Somali rulers to create a federation known as the Muzaffar dynasty. This turns Mogadishu into a flourishing Sultanate. It becomes the heart of Islam on the east African coast.

Early 1400s. After centuries of peaceful relations between Christian Ethiopia and Muslim communities in Somalia, Ethiopia attacks and conquers its rival, the Sultanate of Adal.

1520s. Led by Imam (religious leader) Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi, Somali Muslims are able to reclaim Adal from Ethiopian control with help from the Ottoman empire. They invade Ethiopia and conquer the Ethiopian highlands.

(research by Loes Weijers, Alexander Chernoudov, Mona Dehghan Kiani, Rachael Quick)

CONTINUE TO: Arrival of Europeans; British Occupation (1839-1941)