Mogadishu ( /ˌmɒɡəˈdɪʃuː/; Somali: Muqdisho; Arabic: مقديشو Maqadīshū; literally "The Seat of the Shah"), 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.
After the ousting of the Siad Barre regime and the ensuing civil war, various militias fought for control of the city, later to be replaced by the Islamic Courts Union. The ICU subsequently splintered into more radical groups, notably Al Shabaab, which have since been fighting the Transitional Federal Government and its AMISOM allies. With a change in administration in late 2010, federal control of Mogadishu steadily expanded. The pace of territorial gains also greatly accelerated, as more trained government and AMISOM troops entered the city. In early August 2011, government troops and their AMISOM partners had reportedly succeeded in forcing out Al-Shabaab from the parts of the city that the group had previously controlled. Mogadishu has subsequently experienced a period of intense reconstruction.