Muzaffarids (Somalia)

The Muẓaffarids (or Muẓaffar dynasty) were a Muslim dynasty that ruled the Banaadir coast with their capital at Mogadishu from the late 15th or early 16th century until around 1624 or possibly as late as 1700.[1][2] They were of Persian extraction that mixed with the local Somali population and are related to the Ajuran clan.[3] They were effectively independent,[2] but allied to the more powerful Ajuran Sultanate.[3][4] They resisted the Portuguese, but occasionally paid them tribute.[2][5] In the 17th century, the Muẓaffarids were conquered by the Somali Abgaal.[4]

Flag of Mogadishu under the Muẓaffarids, according to Fernão Vaz Dourado's map of 1576

The Muẓaffarid is the second known dynasty of Mogadishu. Its first attested ruler, ʿUmar al-Malik al-Muẓaffar, bore the title of sultan. He is known from his coins.[2] Coins were minted throughout the Muẓaffarid period. The prosperity of Mogadishu during this time stemmed from its status as a trade link between the interior and the sea and its alliance with Ajuran. The city, however, was already in decline when the Muẓaffarids took over.[4]


  1. ^ Chittick 1977, p. 230: "In the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century a Muzaffarid dynasty, apparently related to the Somali Ajuran, who by then controlled the lower Shebele basin, was established at Mogadishu. Later the Ajuran succumbed to Hawiya immigrants and the Muzaffarid dynasty collapsed about 1624."
  2. ^ a b c d Freeman-Grenville, p. 182: "As to Mogadishu, when its independence was once asserted, although tribute was occasionally paid to quieten the Portuguese, the town enjoyed virtual self-government until c. 1700, when the Muzaffarid dynasty was overthrown by an invasion of the Somali, since then its rulers and now the majority of its inhabitants."
  3. ^ a b Mukhtar 2016: "The Ajuran Sultanate amalgamated other existing dynasties such as the Muzaffar, of mixed Persian–Somali ancestry, who ruled the Benadir coast from Mogadishu, and created a confederacy of clans..."
  4. ^ a b c Kassim 1995, p. 24: "Recent coin finds also indicate that Mogadishu minted its own local currency from 1300 to 1700. But this economic affluence was very much dependent on international trade; and the economic decline of these coastal city-states, which may have started around the 15th century, was accelerated when the Portuguese began intercepting their trade during the 16th century. This economic calamity was followed by the overthrow of both the Ajuran dynasty of the Banadir hinterland and Muzaffar dynasty of Mogadishu by Hawiye clans. These allied dynasties had assisted in building a regional economy based on trade and tribute that linked the coast to the interior."
  5. ^ Aguiar 2012: "The Muzaffar dynasty ruled Mogadishu in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The city fought off the Portuguese, who were expanding their sphere of influence all along the Swahili Coast, but by the end of the seventeenth century it had been taken over by another foreign power, the sultan of Oman."


  • Aguiar, Marian (2012). "Mogadishu". In Kwame Anthony Appiah; Henry Louis Gates, Jr (eds.). Mogadishu. Dictionary of African Biography. Vol. 2. Oxford University Press. pp. 178–179.
  • Chittick, H. Neville (1977). "The East Coast, Madagascar and the Indian Ocean". In Oliver, Roland (ed.). The Cambridge History of Africa, Volume 3: From c.1050 to c.1600. pp. 183–231. ISBN 978-0-521-20981-6. OCLC 59023418.
  • Freeman-Grenville, G. S. P. (1963). "Coins from Mogadishu, c. 1300 to c. 1700". The Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of the Royal Numismatic Society, Seventh Series. 3: 179–200. JSTOR 42662497.
  • Kassim, Mohamed M. (1995). "Islam and Swahili Culture on the Banadir Coast". Northeast African Studies. New Series. 2 (3): 21–37. JSTOR 41931111.
  • Mukhtar, M. H. (2016). "Ajuran Sultanate". The Encyclopedia of Empire. Vol. 1. John Wiley & Sons. doi:10.1002/9781118455074.wbeoe146.