The Warsangali Sultanate was an imperial ruling house centred in northeastern and in some parts of southeastern Somalia. It was one of the largest sultanates ever established in the territory, and, at the height of its power, included the Sanaag region and parts of the northeastern Bari region of the country, an area historically known as Maakhir or the Maakhir Coast. The Sultanate was founded in the 13th century in northern Somalia by a group of Somalis from the Warsangali branch of the Darod clan, and was ruled by the descendants of the Gerad Dhidhin. In the late 19th century, the influential Sultan Mohamoud Ali Shire governed the Sultanate, assuming control during some of its most turbulent years.
The Majeerteen Sultanate (Migiurtinia) was founded in the mid-18th century. It rose to prominence the following century, under the reign of the resourceful Boqor (King) Osman Mahamuud. Centred in Aluula, it controlled much of northern and central Somalia in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The polity maintained a robust trading network, entered into treaties with foreign powers, and exerted strong centralized authority on the domestic front.
The Majeerteen Sultanate was nearly destroyed in the mid-1800s by a power struggle between Boqor Osman and his ambitious cousin, Yusuf Ali Kenadid. After almost five years of battle, the young upstart was finally forced into exile in Yemen. A decade later, in the 1870s, Kenadid returned from the Arabian Peninsula with a band of Hadhrami musketeers and a group of devoted lieutenants. With their assistance, he managed to overpower the local clans and establish the Sultanate of Hobyo in 1878.
In late 1889, Boqor Osman entered into a treaty with Italy, making his realm an Italian protectorate. His rival Sultan Kenadid had signed a similar agreement vis-a-vis his own Sultanate the year before. Both rulers had signed the protectorate treaties to advance their own expansionist objectives, with Boqor Osman looking to use Italy's support in his ongoing power struggle with Kenadid over the Majeerteen Sultanate. Boqor Osman and Sultan Kenadid also hoped to exploit the conflicting interests among the European imperial powers that were then looking to control the Somali peninsula, so as to avoid direct occupation of their territories by force.
With the gradual extension into northern Somalia of European colonial rule, all three sultanates were annexed to Italian Somaliland and British Somaliland in the early 20th century. The local commercial hub of Bosaso was represented in the parliament of the succeeding Trust Territory of Somaliland by the MPs Haji Bashir Ismail Yusuf and Ugaas Yassin Ugaas Abdirahman. Much of the northern sultanates' former domain is today coextensive with the autonomous Puntland region in northeastern Somalia.
Following the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991, a homegrown constitutional conference was held in Garoowe in 1998 over a period of three months. Attended by the area's political elite, traditional elders (Issims), members of the business community, intellectuals and other civil society representatives, the autonomous Puntland State of Somalia was established to deliver services to the population, offer security, facilitate trade, and interact with domestic and international partners. Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed served as the fledgling state's founding president.
As stipulated in Article 1 of the Transitional Federal Charter of the Somali Republic, Puntland is a part of the Federal State of Somalia. As such, the region seeks the unity of the Somalis and adheres to a federal system of government. Unlike the secessionist region of Somaliland to its west, Puntland is not trying to obtain international recognition as a separate nation. However, both regions have one thing in common: they base their support upon clan elders and their organizational structure along lines based on clan relationships and kinship. Since 1998, Puntland has also been in territorial disputes with Somaliland over the Sool and Sanaag regions.
The legal structure of Puntland consists of the judiciary, legislative (House of Representatives) and the executive (the President and his nominated Council of Ministries) branches of government. Though relatively peaceful, the region briefly experienced political unrest in 2001 when then President of Puntland, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, one of the founding fathers of the Puntland State and its first president, wanted his term extended. Ahmed and Jama Ali Jama fought for control of the region, with Ahmed emerging victorious the following year. Ahmed served his second term as president until October 2004, when he was elected President of Somalia. He was succeeded in office by Mohamed Hashi, who served until January 2005 when he lost a re-election bid in parliament to General Mohamud Muse Hersi "Adde".