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AfriGeneas Africa Research Forum

The Somal, Their Origin and Peculiarites

First Footsteps in East Africa; Or, an Exploration of Harar
4: The Somal, Their Origin and Peculiarites

Before leaving Zayla, I must not neglect a short description of its inhabitants, and the remarkable Somal races around it
.

Eastern Africa, like Arabia, presents a population composed of three markedly distinct races.

The Aborigines or Hamites, such as the Negro Sawahili, the Bushmen, Hottentots, and other races, having such physiological peculiarities as the steatopyge, the tablier, and other developments described, in 1815, by the great Cuvier.

The almost pure Caucasian of the northern regions, west of Egypt: their immigration comes within the range of comparatively modern history.

The half-castes in Eastern Africa are represented principally by the Abyssinians, Gallas, Somals, and Kafirs. The first-named people derive their descent from Menelek, son of Solomon by the Queen of Sheba: it is evident from their features and figures,—too well known to require description,—that they are descended from Semitic as well as Hamitic progenitors.

About the origin of the Gallas there is a diversity of opinion.

Some declare them to be Meccan Arabs, who settled on the western coast of the Red Sea at a remote epoch: according to the Abyssinians, however, and there is little to find fault with in their theory, the Gallas are descended from a princess of their nation, who was given in marriage to a slave from the country south of Gurague. She bare seven sons, who became mighty robbers and founders of tribes: their progenitors obtained the name of Gallas, after the river Gala, in Gurague, where they gained a decisive victory our their kinsmen the Abyssins.

A variety of ethnologic and physiological reasons,—into which space and subject prevent my entering,—argue the Kafirs of the Cape to be a northern people, pushed southwards by some, to us, as yet, unknown cause. The origin of the Somal is a matter of modern history.

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The Somal, Their Origin and Peculiarites
Re: The Somal, Their Origin and Peculiarites

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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