Mogadishu, popularly known as Xamar, is the largest city in Somalia and the nation's capital. Located in the coastal Benadir region on the Indian Ocean, the city has served as an important port for centuries.
Tradition and old records assert that southern Somalia, including the Mogadishu area, was historically inhabited by hunter-gatherers of Bushman physical stock. These were later joined by Cushitic agro-pastoralists, who would go on to establish local aristocracies. Starting in the late 9th or 10th centuries, Arab and Persian traders also began to settle in the region. During its medieval Golden Age, Mogadishu was ruled by the Somali-Arab Muzaffar dynasty, a vassal of the Ajuuraan State. It subsequently fell under the control of an assortment of local Sultanates and polities, most notably the Gobroon Dynasty. The city later became the capital of Italian Somaliland in the colonial period.
Mogadishu is a multi-ethnic city. Its original core population consisted of Bushmen aboriginals, and later Cushitic, Arab and Persian migrants. During the Arab slave trade, many Bantu peoples were brought in for agricultural work from the market in Zanzibar. The mixture of these various groups produced the Benadiri or Reer Xamar (“People of Mogadishu”), a composite population unique to the larger Benadir region. In the colonial period, European expatriates, primarily Italians, would also contribute to the city's cosmopolitan populace.The main area of inhabitation of Bantu ethnic minorities in Somalia has historically been in village enclaves in the south; particularly between the Jubba and Shebelle river valleys as well as the Bakool and Bay regions, though a few subsisting as fishermen could also be found in areas further north. Beginning in the 1970s, more Bantus began moving to urban centers such as Mogadishu and Kismayo. By the late 1980s, over 40 percent of Mogadishu's population consisted of individuals from ethnic minority groups. The displacement caused by the onset of the civil war in the 1990s further increased the number of rural Bantu migrating to urban areas. As a consequence of these movements, Mogadishu's traditional demographic makeup has changed significantly over the years.