Welcome to Merca, a historic port city located in the southern Lower Shebelle province of Somalia. Known for its rich history and vibrant culture, Merca is a must-visit destination for any traveler looking to explore the Horn of Africa. The city is located approximately 109 km (68 mi) to the southwest of the nation’s capital, Mogadishu, making it easily accessible for those traveling by land or sea.

Merca is the traditional home territory of the Major Bimal clan and was the center of the Bimal revolt, a guerrilla war against the Italian Somaliland in southern Somalia. It was fought from the years 1896 to 1926 and largely concentrated in the Lower Shebelle, Banadir, and Middle Shebelle. The war was centered around Merca and Danane. Named after the Bimal clan since they were the major element in the resistance. For more about Bimal or Merca revolt see:

Merca has a rich history dating back to antiquity. The city of Essina is believed to have been the predecessor state of Merca. It used to be an ancient Proto-Somali emporium city-state and is mentioned in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, a Greek travel document dating from the first century AD, as one of a series of commercial ports on the Somali littoral. According to the Periplus, maritime trade already connected peoples in the Merca area with other communities along the Somali Sea coast.

During the Middle Ages, the area was one of several prominent administrative centers of the Ajuran Sultanate. The polity formed one of the largest kingdoms in the Horn region. Various pillar tombs exist in the region, which local tradition holds were built in the 15th century when the Sultanates naaibs governed the district. According to Ibn Said in the thirteenth century described nearby Merca as one of the three most important cities on the East African coast along with Mogadishu and Barawa all serving as the commercial and Islamic centers for the Indian Ocean.

Merca was one of the most powerful sultanates to have emerged from Southern Somalia called the Geledi Sultanate centered in Afgooye in the late 17th century. It incorporated the Merca territory into its kingdom until the Bimaal rebelled in the mid-1800s for independence. The Sultanate of Geledi tried to attack and destroy the Bimaal clan many times to try and re-capture the coastal city of Merca. But the Bimal of Merca managed to defeat the Geledi Sultanate 2 times. In 1843 Yusuf Mahamud, the Sultan of Geledi, vowed to destroy the Bimaal once and for all and mobilizes the Geledi army. In 1848 the sultan of the Geledi, Yusuf Mahamud was killed at Adaddey Suleyman, a village near Merca, in a battle between the Bimaal and Geledi Sultanates. His son Sultan Ahmed Yusuf tried to seek revenge but was also killed in 1878 at Agaaran, near Marka by the Bimal. This caused a steady decline in the Geledi Sultanate.

Today, Merca is a bustling city with a population of around 63,900 inhabitants according to the UNDP in 2005. It is primarily inhabited by 12 koofi and mashayikh tribes, with there being a recognizable amount of other Somali tribes. The city has a jetty-class seaport, the Port of Merca, and the nearest airport is the K50 Airport in the Lower Shebelle province.

Whether you are interested in history, culture, or just want to soak up the sun on the beautiful beaches, Merca has something to offer for everyone. Come and explore this unique destination and discover why Merca is truly a hidden gem in the Horn of Africa!

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