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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 late 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.

The rock art is in the distinctive Ethiopian-Arabian style, dated to 1000 to 3000 BCE.

Additionally, between the towns of Las Khorey and El Ayo in northern Somalia lies Karinhegane, the site of numerous cave paintings of real and mythical animals.

In the classical era, the Macrobians, who were Proto-Somali, established a powerful tribal kingdom that ruled large parts of modern Somalia.

They were reputed for their longevity and wealth, and were said to be the "tallest and handsomest of all men". According to Herodotus' account, the Persian Emperor Cambyses II, upon his conquest of Egypt (525 BC), sent ambassadors to Macrobia, bringing luxury gifts for the Macrobian king to entice his submission.

The Romans and Greeks believed the source of cinnamon to have been the Somali peninsula, but in reality, the highly valued product was brought to Somalia by way of Indian ships.