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By Harold G. Marcus

Surveying the evolution of the oldest African state from prehistoric to fashionable instances, this examine demonstrates that there's extra to Ethiopia's lifestyles than colonial common sense. It exhibits how geography, economics and tradition have served to unite Ethiopians opposed to fractionalization.

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In the early sixteenth century, differences between the two groups led to humiliating defeats by Lebna Dengel's armies and consequent civil strife in Adal. The religious fervor of the Muslim state eroded, and Hater, so tradition claims, became a center of debauchery and anarchy. When trade declined, the people called out for new leadership. Adal's savior was to be Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi (1506-1543), known to the Ethiopians as Ahmad "Gran" (the "left-handed"). He soldiered for Sultan Jared Abun of Adal (r.

In line with such thinking, Baeda Mariam ignored the mechanisms of central government established during Zara Yakob's reign. In the provinces, he replaced his father's carefully chosen partisans with scions of locally important families, clans, and dynasties; and at court, he transferred authority over the government's daily business to the bitwodeds (literally, the "beloved" ones). Debre Birhan was permitted to run down, while Baeda Mariam took to the road in search of sustenance, instead of insisting that tribute and taxes be delivered to a central location.

Indeed, the emperors may have regarded a dalliance with Roman Catholicism as a tactic to secure sufficient modern weaponry and training to win back the Solomonic empire. With the Portuguese had come priests, who were welcomed at court, where their ideas had a stimulating effect. Emperor Galawedos (r. 15401559) responded by writing his famous Confession of Faith, an affirmation of confidence in Orthodox church teachings, which he clarified for his Portuguese friends. Fifty years and many provinces of Oromo expansion later, Emperor Za Dengel (r.

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