Silcis sultanate in Afgooye and El Amir rule in Merka
Local traditions in the Afgooye district speak of the Silcis as despotic rulers. Their sultan enjoyed the ius primae noctis. He exacted tribute from the surrounding populations—by then largely consisting of the ancestors of the present-day Geledi and Wacdaan—in the form of durra and bun, and taxed all livestock which came to water at the river’s edge. The peoples subject to the sultan were compelled to pray at the mosque in Lama Jiidle, the center of Silcis administration. Apparently the Silcis co-opted a segment of the local population; traditions recall that allies of the ruling dynasty placed saab (conical wicker baskets) on the roof peaks of their houses to indicate their immunity from Silcis raids.
Some informants said that the Silcis were actually that section of the Ajuraan which governed the Afgooye district; others that they succeeded the Ajuraan as rulers of the area. In any case, the Silcis, too, were ousted from the lower Shabeelle valley by the combined forces of the Geledi and Wacdaan, whose present-day alliance is said to date from the end of the Silcis sultanate in the early eighteenth century. As with the accounts of Ajuraan decline, a number of different stories purport to explain the end of Silcis rule.
In the vicinity of Marka, a mysterious group known as the El Amir made its appearance in the years between 1650 and 1700. According to an account collected by Guillain in 1847, a leader known as Amir formed a following which invaded the territory of Marka and expelled the Ajuraan. The El Amir then ruled for thirty-four years until the Biimaal definitively occupied Marka.
It is tempting to view this Amir as a warrior-administrator who seceeded from the Ajuraan confederacy and formed a small principality of his own. Biimaal traditions, which associate the end of Ajuraan rule with the defeat of an emir, tend to support this hypothesis; but again, there is a tendency for traditions to confuse the demise of the Ajuraan with that of the El Amir. Guillain suggested that the El Amir were Abgaal; if this were true, their brief period of rule would fit the pattern of Gurqaate ascendancy following upon Ajuraan decline.
Rule by the Silcis and El Amir thus appears to represent the last phase of a period of theocratic government initially imposed by the Gareen. These small polities maintained for a time the form and some of the substance of Ajuraan rule, which helps account for their indistinguishability from the Ajuraan in many (particularly non-Hawiyya) traditions. With the disappearance of the El Amir and the Silcis—the Darandoolle imam remained as a titular clan leader in the Muqdisho area right into the twentieth century—the age of theocracy in southern Somalia came to an end. By the beginning of the eighteenth century, a new pattern of political alliances began to take shape, and the Ajuraan passed into memory and into oral tradition.
Afgooye in the 17th century.
The shaping of Somali society