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The Land of Punt, also called Pwenet, or Pwene[1] by the people of ancient Kemet, was a trading partner known for producing and exporting gold, aromatic resins, African blackwood, ebony, ivory, and wild animals.[2] Information about Punt has been found in ancient Kemetic records of trade missions to this region.

At times Punt is referred to as Ta Neter, the "land of the god".[3]

The loading of the ships.


Early Kemetic Travels to Punt

The oldest known expedition to Punt was organized by Pharaoh Sahure of the 5th dynasty (2458-2446 BC). Also around 1950 BC, in the time of King Mentuhotep III, 11th dynasty (2004-1992 BC), an officer named Hennu and three thousand men from the south transported material for building ships through Wadi Hammamat, and to Punt acquiring a number of exotic products including incense, perfume and gum was brought to Kemet. A very famous expedition was for Queen Hatshepsut in the 18th dynasty (1473-1458 BC). It was formed of five ships, each measuring 70 feet long, and with several sails. These accommodated 210 men, including sailors and 30 rowers, and was led by the Nubian general "Nehsi". They departed at Quseir on the Red Sea for what was primarily a trading mission, seeking frankincense and myrrh, and fragrant unguents used for cosmetics and in religious ceremonies. However, they also brought back exotic animals and plants, ivory, silver and gold. A report of this voyage is left behind as temple reliefs in Deir el-Bahri, Kemet. The reliefs shows the departure of the expedition, its arrival at the mysterious land, the landing of the ships with the gifts by the Puntine leader to Hatshepsut, and the preparations for the return voyage. The temple reliefs also showed the features of the Puntine people, who were black Africans. Donkeys were depicted as the method of transporting goods, and white dogs guarding the people’s houses. Birds, monkeys, leopards and hippopotamus are also seen, as well as giraffes which are typical Afrikan animals, to live in Punt. The Nubian Nehsi is then shown in front of his tent with a banquet offered to his guests, and observing the gifts presented.

Present Day Puntland

Today Punt a part of the East Afrikan country of Somalia. The people today are just as economical as they were in older times.


As stipulated in Article 3 of the Transitional Federal Charter of the Somali Republic, Puntland consists of the following regions:

Puntland Regions Capitals Districts
Puntland map regions.png
Ayn Buuhoodle 3
Bari Bosaso 8
Karkaar Qardho 3
Haylaan Dhahar 3
Mudug Galkacyo 3
Nugaal Garowe 4
Sanaag Ceerigaabo 4
Sool Las Anod 5

The regions of Sool and Sanaag are said to be under dispute, as these territories were claimed by the secessionist northwestern Somaliland macro region of Somalia. Beginning in 2003, Puntland troops entered and occupied the eastern parts of the Sool region. Fighting between the two forces led to casualties and captured prisoners, who were later exchanged.

Both the Sool and Sanaag regions have declared themselves autonomous parts of Somalia as Northland State (2008)[4] and Maakhir State (2007), respectively, but Maakhir has rejoined Puntland after the arrival of General Abdullahi Ahmed Jama Ilkajir in 2008.[5]

Demographics and religion

As of 2006, the population of Puntland is estimated at 3.9 million inhabitants, 52% of whom are nomads.

The region's population growth rate is quite high due to in part to an influx of people from southern Somalia and from neighboring countries. Currently, 30% of Puntland's residents live in the fast growing towns of Bosaso, Gardo, Garowe and Galkacyo. Approximately 70% of the population is also below the age of 30.

The population density in Puntland is estimated at about 18 persons per km2.

As with the rest of Somalia, Islam is the main religion of the Puntland region. With few exceptions, all residents of Puntland are Muslims.


Bosaso is the fastest growing city in Puntland, having quadrupled in size in recent years.
Tuna processing factory in Laasqoray.

Puntland has 1600 km of coastline, which is abundant with fish and other natural marine resources. However, after the collapse of the Somali central government in 1991, the coast was left unguarded against foreign intruders. As a result, many ships equipped with heavy trawls and other unlawful fishing equipment have occupied in Puntland's territorial waters. These ships violate catch regulations, including some which keep their catch alive and stock them in waters where fishing has been depleted. Puntland's coastal authorities continue to receive complaints from local fishermen about the damage being done by these outsiders.

Puntland exports great quantities of seafood such as lobsters, dried fish, and tuna. Sea salt is also produced.

Other economic products and activities of Puntland include livestock, frankincense, gum arabic, manufacturing and agriculture.[6]

In Las Khorey, there is a medium size fish processing plant that produces and processes great quantities of tuna fish. The fish factory's products are of commercial quality, and its tuna is consumed throughout Puntland and also outside the region. Another fish processing plant is also being constructed in Habo, which locals hope will reduce poverty and unemployment and improve the area's economy.

Oil exploration

Oil blocks in Puntland and surrounding areas.

Puntland signed a deal with Consort Private Ltd for exclusive oil exploration rights in the territory, interpreted in the original agreement as including the Bari, Nugaal, Mudug, Sool, Sanaag and Ayn regions. Consort then sold a controlling share (50.1%) to Range Resources of Perth, Western Australia to carry out the actual exploration.[7]

Canmex Minerals (later Africa Oil) of Canada signed an agreement with Range Resources for Canmex to open oil production on 80% of any oil discovered. In return, Canmex will foot the bill for exploration, amounting to up to $70 million, plus a $5 million signing bonus for Range. On August 23, 2006, Canmex changed its name to Africa Oil Corp.[8] The company continues to be based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.[9]

In July 2006, Range Resources made a presentation to both the Puntland government, which was then headed by Mohamud Muse Hersi, and the Transitional Federal Government led by former President of Somalia Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, on its activities in relation to the development of Puntland and the proposed strategy with respect to the ground Range retained as had previously been announced. Range also met with local clan leaders and government officials and presented a cheque for $250,000 USD to the government as a contribution to the upgrade of the Garowe Airport. The upgrade was intended to assist both Range and Puntland by way of allowing a much greater variety of aircraft to land when compared to the then existing arrangements of a dirt airstrip 40 km out of town.[10]


  1. Ian Shaw & Paul Nicholson, The Dictionary of Ancient Egypt, British Museum Press, London. 1995, p.231.
  2. Shaw & Nicholson, p.231.
  3. Breasted, John Henry (1906-1907), Ancient Records of Egypt: Historical Documents from the Earliest Times to the Persian Conquest, collected, edited, and translated, with Commentary, p.433, vol.1
  4. Press Release: letter of introduction about new State in Somalia
  5. Somalia
  6. Puntland Chamber of Commerce Business Guide - Industries and Agriculture
  7. Abdillahi Yusuf’s Transitional ‎Government And Puntland Oil Deals (sic)
  8. Oil and Mineral Exploration in Puntland, Somalia
  9. CompanyMine information on African Oil Corp
  10. "Asx Announcement Letterhead" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-07-29.