Past Cities

Baydhaba, Bay, Somalia

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Baydhaba, also known as Baidoa, is a city located in the southwestern part of Somalia, specifically in the Bay region. It is the capital city of the Bay region and is the second-largest city in the region after the port city of Marka. Baydhaba has a long and interesting history that dates back centuries, and it has been affected by various political and geographical factors over time.

One of the earliest known groups to inhabit the Baydhaba area were the Digil and Mirifle clans, who were primarily pastoralists and farmers. In the late 19th century, the city was founded as a trading center by the Somali warrior and leader, Yusuf Ali Kenadid. Kenadid had previously established himself as the ruler of the Sultanate of Hobyo, which encompassed much of central and southern Somalia.

During the colonial period, Baydhaba was part of Italian Somaliland, which was established in the late 19th century. The Italians established a military outpost in the city, which was used to suppress local uprisings against their rule. After Somalia gained independence in 1960, Baydhaba became part of the newly formed Somali Republic.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Baydhaba was a relatively stable and prosperous city. It was an important agricultural center, with fertile land and a favorable climate for farming. The city also had a strong manufacturing sector, with industries producing textiles, leather goods, and other products. However, the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 had a devastating impact on the city and its inhabitants.

Baydhaba was one of the first cities to fall to rebel forces during the civil war. In 1992, the city was captured by the Somali National Movement (SNM), a rebel group that was fighting against the government of Siad Barre. The SNM was soon driven out by a coalition of other rebel groups, including the United Somali Congress (USC) and the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM). The USC eventually gained control of the city, but its rule was marked by violence and instability.

During the mid-1990s, Baydhaba was a stronghold of the USC, which was fighting against other rival factions for control of southern Somalia. In 1995, the city was attacked by the forces of the Somali National Alliance (SNA), which was led by the warlord General Mohamed Farah Aidid. The attack resulted in the deaths of many civilians and the displacement of thousands of others.

Since the end of the civil war in 2000, Baydhaba has slowly begun to recover. The city has a population of approximately 200,000 people, who are primarily Somali Muslims. The city is also home to a significant number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have fled conflict and drought in other parts of the country.

Today, Baydhaba is an important center of agriculture and commerce in the Bay region. The city is known for its production of bananas, sorghum, and other crops, which are sold in markets throughout Somalia and exported to neighboring countries. The city also has a growing textile industry, with factories producing clothing and other textiles.

Baydhaba has a rich and varied history that has been shaped by various political and geographical factors. The city has faced numerous challenges over the years, including colonization, civil war, and economic instability. However, despite these challenges, the people of Baydhaba have remained resilient and continue to work towards a brighter future for themselves and their city.