Battle of Benadir

The second Ajuran–Portuguese Conflict (1542) was an armed engagement between the Ajuran Sultanate and the Portuguese Empire.

Battle of Benadir
Part of the Ajuran-Portuguese war

Portuguese fortress of Sofala
Benadir, Somalia
Result Portuguese victory
Ajuran Sultanate Portuguese Empire
Commanders and leaders
Ahmed Dheere João de Sepúlveda
Unknown 100 men, 6 small galleys[1]
Malindi auxiliaries
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown


After the Portuguese conducted a large-scale naval expedition to Suez in 1541, the Ottoman Empire dedicated greater resources into protecting the Red Sea from Portuguese intrusion. To such effect, about 25 galleys were armed and stationed at Aden. [2]

The Portuguese captain of Sofala, João de Sepúlveda, was informed of the presence of these forces by allied Swahili city-states, mainly Malindi, who also reported that the hostile Ajuran Sultanate had appealed to the Ottomans for military support, in preparation for a rebellion against Portuguese suzerainty in the region. João de Sepúlveda thus set out with 6 small galleys and 100 soldiers to conduct a preemptive strike against the coastal cities of the Ajuran Sultanate. He was joined by an unrecorded number of vessels and warriors from Malindi.[1]

The Battle

At Mogadishu, João de Sepúlveda "destroyed the city and did them great damage and injury". Moving a few leagues north, he reached a popular anchorage for tradeships coming from the Red Sea, where he learned that the Turks would not be sailing to East Africa that year. Thus he returned to what remained of Mogadishu, and made a peace deal with its rulers.[1]

Passing by Barawa, the city was sacked, in retaliation for its inhabitants having delivered a few Portuguese prisoners to the Turks. After sealing peace with Barawa, João de Sepúlveda returned to Malindi.[1]

The word benadir means coast in Somali referring to the richness of southern Somali coast.[3]

See also


  1. "Letter from João de Sepúlveda to the King, Mozambique, 1542 August 10", in Documents on the Portuguese in Mozambique and Central Africa 1497-1840 Vol. III (1540-1560). National Archives of Rhodesia, Centro de Estudos Históricos Ultramarinos. Lisbon, 1971 p.133
  2. Saturnino Monteiro (2011) Portuguese Sea Battles - Volume III - From Brazil to Japan 1539-1579 pg.63
  3. Njoku, Raphael Chijioke (2013). The History of Somalia. ABC-CLIO. p. 69. ISBN 0313378576. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
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