Ethiopia Tribe

Ethiopia Tribe header image 2

History of the Amhara people

74 Comments · Amhara

According to their traditions they mark out their roots to Menelik I* (the child born of the queen of Sheba and King Solomon).  It is believed that the Sabaean (Sheban) people began to settle on the west coast of the Red Sea, from their home in southern Arabia, about 1000 BC. 

By about 1500 BC their civilization became the Axum Empire, based on an assortment of the Sabaean culture and the Cushitic culture.

Certain Semitic-speaking tribes, particularly the Agazyan, established the Kingdom of Aksum around two 2000 years ago, and this extended to include what is now:

• Eritrea
• Northern Ethiopia
• Portions of Yemen and
• Portions of Sudan

It is believed that the Amhara inherit their religion and tradition from Axum. The region now known as “Amhara” in the feudal period was comprised of several provinces with greater or less autonomy, covering:

• Begemder
• Gojjam
• Qwara and
• Lasta.

Amhara warlords repeatedly struggled for power of the realm with Tigrayan warlords. Though many branches of the Imperial dynasty were from the Amharic speaking area, a considerable amount was from Tigray.

The Amharas appeared to gain the upper hand with the accession of the so-called Gondar line of the Imperial dynasty in the starting of the 17th century.

Nevertheless, it soon failed into the semi-anarchic era of Zemene Mesafint (meaning “Era of the Princes”), in which adversary warlords fought for power and the Yejju Oromo had effective control.

The Tigrayans only made a short return to the throne in the person of Yohannes IV, whose death in 1889 allowed the capital to go back to the Amharic speaking province of Shewa.

Historians usually believe the Amhara to have been Ethiopia’s ruling elite for centuries, represented by the line of Emperors ending in Haile Selassie.

Many commentators, including Marcos Lemma, nevertheless, dispute the truth of such a statement, arguing that other ethnic groups have always been active in the country’s politics.

One likely source of confusion for this stems from the mislabeling of all Amharic-speakers as “Amhara”, and the fact that many people from other ethnic groups have Amharic names.

Another is the fact that most Ethiopians can trace their descent to multiple ethnic groups. In fact, the last Emperor, Haile Selassie I, often counted himself a member of the Gurage tribe on account of his ancestry, and his Empress, Itege Menen Asfaw of Ambassel, was in large part of Oromo ancestry.

The extended use of Amharic language results mostly from its being the language of the court, and was progressively adopted out of usefulness by many unrelated groups, who then became known as “Amhara” no matter what their ethnic origin.
Feel free to have your say on the debate associated with this topic and we’re glad to publish it in this blog.
* Menelik I was the first of the Solomonic line of rulers of Ethiopia that ended only with the overthrowing of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974.

Keywords: Amhara, Menelik I, Sabaean culture, Cushitic culture, Agazyan, Amharic, Tigrinya, Zemene Mesafint, Yejju Oromo, Yohannes IV, Shewa, Gurage tribe, Itege Menen Asfaw, Emperor Haile Selassie I,

Tags:

74 Comments so far ↓

  • Hero

    I think Adwa is a place in Tigray and a home town of Meles. But it will always remembered by ” Minilik”. You know why? Because he is the one who did the mighties thing in that place for Africans

  • Bambe

    You are right. Minilik ferenjin whua whua yasegne Jegna new. All Ethiopans and Even Africans have to be proud of him. Offcource all Ethiopians deserve the praise. But we need a leader like him t olead us.

  • number one

    amhara is a collection of tribes or clans not exactly an or historically an ethnicity. The misinterpretation of our history makes the idea of Ethiopia hard to exist for us in the western world but most people back home just call them self ethiopian regardless of there “ethnicity” we had common ancestors were probably all related. I am Gondare but I am a man first african second and Ethiopian third. I love my people from asmara to Mogadishu and everywhere in between. You people speaking of our common history in such a negative way like we dont have a level or respect (sinasirat) to maintain are a joke and a burden to our community. So please make ur exits cus were trying to have peace and yall aint ready for it.

  • Getachew

    Hey hey Guys
    Look at the end of the day you will find Tigray to be the center of Ethiopian history. I tried to look if Amharas are at the helm of the nations politics and deep ancient history but that is not the case, proudly/sadly Tigray is the core and secrete of Ethiopian civilization.

    Tigreans have managed to defend the Gondar fighting with the mahadist insurgency and liberated Ethiopia from Egyptian and Turkish agression where non of the Amhars have done this is the shining Ethiopian history which was hidden for decades, after years of bloody strugle still Tigreans have managed to overtake the leadership of course they do deserve it!
    Well done Tigrean brothers and sisters be proud of your struggle and success.

  • Getachew

    Gojjams are Amharas but are not considered to be real Amharas because the real Amharas are the Shewa Amharas that is the fact! the rest are just rudimentary Amhara like the Wollo who are just people living around Amhara.
    Gojjam, Gondar and Wollo are fake Amharas the real Amharas are NORTH SHEWA/ Menz, Debrebirhan mahil meida, etc

  • shebela

    I am rally very sorry about the some of the idea shared here. Some idea comes from ignorant and some emanates from hatter. I am sorry agian. I would like to leave the place saying, No one expect honey from fly……….

  • shebela

    please read many articles before commentting once idea. By the way do you belive that a human being can be turining night to Hayana ? this thinking is really emanates from enfants.

  • yibeltal A.yismaw

    human beings are on the moon ,you just sleep and count the type of blood and bone .Ediot .

  • Gratia

    sagali fi saga meeqa? namni kana deebisee
    huddu harree dhungata kye@ferow tempora %100 yes man that is dudeand gurltake**((..;;{}% give no commo habla
    geeeew”"”"%6ABCDEFG…..AT the end of ze yesterday
    my computer is important
    dsh tv(“://///>>,<?<:;"'"}{]{[_-+=*
    ^^^@!~`^$-=

  • I'go

    I am Ethiopian of multi-ethnic descent. I dare say that there are few Ethiopians, if any at all, who can claim to be purely of any one ethnicity. Instead of trying to parse ourselves into useless ethnic identities, we should strive to come together as one people – The Ethiopian People – and build our nation and bring our people, ALL of our people, out of poverty and warfare. To continue this ethnic division serves only one purpose: to further the current regime’s agenda of divide and conquer. Oromo, Tigre, Amara, Gurage, Kunama, Agew, Omo…we are ALL Ethiopians. Divided we shall fall, so lets unite like our ancestors did so we can make a common enemy out of Meles and his cohorts and reclaim our country from the clutches of his dictatorship.

  • Amhara

    Dempsey Haupt ,

    you are what we in Ethiopia call ferenji and you resent that the great Amharas did not allow Europeans to colonize their country and spread their culture, religion and languages. Read what a nazi and ethnic german Austrian Baron Roman Prochazka wrote in 1934:

    http://www.tecolahagos.com/origin_tribal.htm
    quote
    “The numerous peoples and tribes who inhabit the territory of the Ethiopian state, and which differ in race, language, culture and religion from the ruling minority of the Abyssinians proper, would long ago have thrown off the Abyssinian yoke if they had been given the right of self-determination. Instead, they are being forcibly kept cut off from European influences and from the advantages that progressive colonization could confer upon the country. The final aim of (Abyssinian) policy of antagonism to the white race, in co-operation with Japan, is nothing less than to act as the champions of all the colored peoples of Africa… It is incumbent on the legations of the civilized nations in Abyssinia to warn their governments to take a definite stand before the Abyssinians attack and destroy western culture and civilization in its entirety. There is no such thing as a united Abyssinian people. The greater part of the non-Christian tribes in Abyssinia has no more burning desire than to be freed from the tyranny of the Amharas… If they would vote freely they would certainly prefer a European protectorate to universally hated extortionists and slave drivers. This country is cracking at all its joints and has only been kept together up to the present by methods of ruthless coercion.”

    Indeed for hundreds of years,since the 16th century, first the catholics then later in the 19th century the german and north/west European protestants tried unsuccessfully to convert Ethiopia from orthodox to catholic or protestant.
    Some of them were killed.
    That is something to be proud of when you see how corrupted the catholic and protestant churches are today,just look at the sex scandals,loss of members etc. In comparison the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is free from those ills and unfortunately since 1991 those same catholics and protestants are trying to corrupt that ancient Ethiopian church again and convert Ethiopians into catholics and protestants.
    I have to disagree with a lot of what F. D. Letta said, i guess he is Tigrayan. It is premature to say that Amharas or the creators of the Aksum civilization originated from Southern Arabia, nor it is true that the origin of the semitic languages is not Africa. According to recent findings semitic languages indeed originated in Ethiopia or the Horn of Africa. To the Amhara bashers i can only say how dare they ? They should know that Amharas or their ancestors the Agaziyans and Agews are the founders of Ethiopia,the only independent country in Africa. And according to Ethiopians who live abroad Ethiopians are the only free people, not affected or corrupted by western or European brainwashing. Of course the Tigrayans, the Oromos and others also contributed to that achievement, but Amharas were the founders of Ethiopia. Those who insult this or that tribe in Ethiopia only show that they are childish, unable to debate with reason and they are a shame to their parents and the education system in Ethiopia.

  • Liben

    Amhara and Tigre are currently the most politically influential tribes in Ethiopia, do your research.

  • Tesfkib

    PLEASE DONT RAISE THE AMHARAN PEOPLE JUST TALKS ABOUT YOUR OWN NATION I TELL YOU ATRUTHE ABOUT AMHARAN PEOPLE WHY DONT YOU HEAT THE BELOVED AMHARIAN PEOPLE ? GAYS PLEASE READ IT THE AMHARAN HISTORY TEWODROS IS NOT BELONGS TO YOU BUT FOR NATIVE AMHARAN PEOPLE OK MINILIK IS NOT BELONGS TO YOU BUT FOR AMHARAN THE SAME IS TRUE FOR HAILESELASSIE SO GO BACK AND READ IT THE HISTORY OF AMHARAN PEOPLE ITS ORGINATION AND SO ON DON RUN TO COMMENT THE TRUE NATIVE AMHARAN PEOPLE AGAIN OK!

  • Tesfkib

    JUST TALKS ABOUT YOUR OWN NATION I TELL YOU ATRUTHE ABOUT AMHARAN PEOPLE WHY DONT YOU HEAT THE BELOVED AMHARIAN PEOPLE ? GAYS PLEASE READ IT THE AMHARAN HISTORY TEWODROS IS NOT BELONGS TO YOU BUT FOR NATIVE AMHARAN PEOPLE OK MINILIK IS NOT BELONGS TO YOU BUT FOR AMHARAN THE SAME IS TRUE FOR HAILESELASSIE SO GO BACK AND READ IT THE HISTORY OF AMHARAN PEOPLE ITS ORGINATION AND SO ON DON RUN TO COMMENT THE TRUE NATIVE AMHARAN PEOPLE AGAIN OK!

  • Tesfkib

    Please dont run to cmment the native amharan people. i tell you the truth . please read the history books as well as wikipidia about the orgination of amharan people . tewdros is not belongs to you but for native amharan people ,menilik is not belongs to you but for amharans the same is true for haileselassie.why dont you talks the truth? you know amharan people but you talks the unreal and irrlivant information.

  • TESFAYE kibret arbaminch university

    Dear friends HADUSH AND SKIPPER do you know what amharan people ? without knowing the beloved people dont speak and write it ok ! dont write such adisliked word . i think you are educated humans or literate peoples so you must know deeply before you speak and write about amharan peple .

  • Bob Lake

    Friends, please try to deliver your messages without stating silly ideas. No human being can be changed into were-hyneas.
    Hope to see you coming up with interesting ideas.
    Thank you,

  • candeeusa

    I am a beautiful and PROUD product of
    Tigray/Gurage & Amharic/OROMO ancestry. Being called “African American” was always a smoke screen & never enough! In America we hate being a people with a country, but No Home… If ‘home’ is where the heart is, then Ethiopia has my soul.

  • Gudataa

    Dear editor,
    Thank you for bringing in such discussion on Ahmara identity crisis thanks to their elities who should take the blame. The ahmara elities used to deny and even today attempting to do the same for their greedy personal interest over national interest. 20 years ago Ethiopia=Ahmara supermacy over others from cultural to eco-political interest and hence they used “Ethiopia as a trade mark by the expenses of other suffering nations and nationalities of the empire. Today at 21st century,Infulenced by such nostalgia, they are dreaming to restore the old trade mark where the ahmara supermacy seen as a more meaningful than the ahmara identity which brought in ahmara identity crisis in truth.
    See the so-called ESAT as if standing as a neutral media when the truth is crying for the ahmara supermacy is a madness at all. But the ahmara elities along with their medias are facing a fierce counterattack from every direction:Oromos, Ogadeans, Tigreans, Sidamas, Afars and others as a response for their provocation. ONE thing is true by any cost the Neftegnas never ever come back to Finfinnee palace OR to Mekele. The true enemy of the Empire is not the liberation movements, but the ahmara elities as much as respossible for the ahmara identity crisis.

  • yohanis4

    why don’t you go back to your back…?do you mean it is shame?
    you have a lot of things you should now in tigray
    the sculptures,the monuments,obelisks,rock howen churches,GEEZ writings…..
    proof..yetana ena yehaik tabotoch…..don’t feel shame…you are human being OK!!b/c you are on the way to hate tigray and its people by saying tigray arid land,derek,diha….but you are human being and you are our decent…

  • THEO-B

    TRUE, AMAHRA ARE THE FATHER AND THE MOTHER OF ETHIOPIA.
    ETHIOPIA WAS FOUNDED BY AMAHRAS WHO MADE ETHIOPIA FOR A BETTER FUTURE. ALL OF YOU USELESS TRASH SO IGNORANTE GO BACK TO THE HISTROY REALIZE HOW ETHIOPIA WAS FORM !! AMHARA SACRIFICE FOR ETHIOPIA IN MANY WAYS SINCE DAY ONE BUT ALWAYS OUT OF 82 TRIBES GREEEDY TRYING TO FIGHT FOR POWER WHICH GOD DIDNT WANNA GIVE TO THEM. AMHARA IS RESPECTED NATION IN THE WORLD WITHOUT FALLING ANY POLITICS STILL STANDING EVEN SECOND POPULATED TRIBES IN ETHIOPIA.. AMAHRA ALWAYS FIGHT FOR THE COUNTRY AND GOD MULITIPLY THEM ALWAYS . WHY THEN TIGRAYIAN FAIL ALL THE TIMES THEY DONT EVEN LAST LONG ON POWR THAN AMAHRAS??? OROMO FROM THE SOUTH NEVER DID BUT SLEEP AND FUCK HIS WOMEN TO BE POPULATED IN THE COUNTRY? TIGRAY ALWAYS FIGHT WITHOUT KNOWLEGE AMHARA STILL IN STANDING BESIDE GOD BY BEEN HONEST TO THE COUNTRY……DID MELES CHANGE ANYTHING IN ETHIOPIA THAN SELLING OUR LAND TO FOREIGNERS? HAVE EVER HEARD WOYANE WANNA BE BEHIND ETHIOPIA TO FIGHT AND STAND AS ONE? NOPE BUT AMAHRA ALWAYS DID THE BEST JOB.

  • Meshesha E. Msgana

    Bravo ‘number one’!

  • Ayu

    Realy, Amhara is the one and the only to sacrifice for Ethiopia and its name. But know the Amhara people is Psycologicaly, Edicationaly, Econolicaly Influenced By the TPLF. One day we secure our GREATNESS. ” TILIK BEBER TILIKIM ENHONALEN”.

Leave a Comment