Hadiya Sultanate

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Hadiya Sultanate
13th century–15th century
Common languagesHadiyya
Allah-green.svg Islam
King, Garaad 
• 14th century
• 15th century
• Established
13th century
• Disestablished
15th century

The Hadiya Sultanate (r. 13th century-15th century) was an ancient kingdom located in southwestern Ethiopia, south of the Abbay River and west of Shewa. It was ruled by the Hadiya people, who spoke the Cushitic Hadiyya language; the historical Hadiya area was situated between Kambaat, Gamo and Waj, southwest of Shewa. By 1850, Hadiya is placed north-west of lakes Zway and Langano but still between these areas.[1]

The Hadiya Kingdom was described in the mid-fourteenth century by the Arab historian Chihab Al-Umari as measuring eight days' journey by nine, which Richard Pankhurst estimates was 160 by 180 kilometers. Although small, Hadiya was fertile with fruit and cereals, rich with horses, and its inhabitants used pieces of iron as currency, it could raise an army of 40,000 cavalry and at least twice as many foot soldiers.[2]

The current Hadiya Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region is located in approximately the same area as this former kingdom.


The earliest surviving mention of Hadiya is in the Kebra Nagast (ch. 94), indicating that the kingdom was in existence by the 13th century.[3] Another early mention is in a manuscript written on the island monastery of Lake Hayq, which states that after conquering Damot, Emperor Amda Seyon I proceeded to Hadiya and brought it under his control.[4] Later during Amda Seyon's reign, the King of Hadiya, Amano, refused to submit to the Emperor of Ethiopia. Amano was encouraged in this by a Muslim "prophet of darkness" named Bel'am. Amda Seyon subsequently set forth for Hadiya, where he "slew the inhabitants of the country with the point of the sword", killing many of the inhabitants while enslaving others.[5] Despite such punitive measures, many of the Hadiya people served in the military units of Amda Seyon.[2]

During the reign of Zara Yaqob, the Garaad or Sultan of Hadiya Mahiko, the son of Garaad Mehmad, repeated his predecessor's actions and refused to submit to the Abyssinian Emperor. However, with the help of one of Mahiko's followers, the Garaad was deposed in favor of his uncle Bamo. Garaad Mahiko then sought sanctuary at the court of the Adal Sultanate, he was later slain by the military contingent Adal Mabrak, who had been in pursuit. The chronicles record that the Adal Mabrak sent Mahiko's head and limbs to Zara Yaqob as proof of his death.[6]

Many kings of the Ethiopian central government were married to women from Hadiya; the powerful Queen Eleni of Hadiya is one example.

Famous members[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Local History in Ethiopia" Archived 2008-02-27 at the Wayback Machine (pdf) The Nordic Africa Institute website (accessed 25 January 2008)
  2. ^ a b Richard Pankhurst, The Ethiopian Borderlands (Lawrenceville: Red Sea Press, 1977) p. 79
  3. ^ First identified by Enrico Cerulli, according to David Allen Hubbard, "The Literary Sources of the Kebra Nagast" (St. Andrews, 1954), p. 397 n. 71.
  4. ^ Pankhurst, Ethiopian Borderlands, p. 77
  5. ^ Pankhurst, Ethiopian Borderlands, p. 78
  6. ^ Pankhurst, Ethiopian Borderlands, pp. 143f


  • Braukämper, Ulrich. (1980), Geschichte der Hadiya Süd-Äthiopiens: von den Anfängen bis zur Revolution 1974, Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag (Studien zur Kulturkunde 50).
  • Braukämper, Ulrich. (2005), "Hadiyya Ethnography", in: Siegbert Uhlig (ed.): Encyclopaedia Aethiopica, vol. 2: D-Ha, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 961–963.
  • Braukämper, Ulrich. (2005), "Hadiyya Sultanate", in: Siegbert Uhlig (ed.): Encyclopaedia Aethiopica, vol. 2: D-Ha, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 963–965.