Ethiopian aristocratic and court titles
Until the end of the Ethiopian monarchy in 1974, there were two categories of nobility in Ethiopia. The Mesafint, the hereditary nobility, formed the upper echelon of the ruling class; the Mekwanint were the appointed nobles of humble birth, who formed the bulk of the aristocracy. Until the 20th century, the most powerful people at court were members of the Mekwanint appointed by the monarch, while regionally, the Mesafint enjoyed greater influence and power. Emperor Haile Selassie curtailed the power of the Mesafint to the benefit of the Mekwanint, who by were coterminous with the Ethiopian government; the Mekwanint were officials, granted specific offices in the Abyssinian government or court. Higher ranks from the title of Ras through to Balambaras were bestowed upon members of the Mekwanint. A member of the Mesafint, would traditionally be given precedence over a member of the Mekwanint of the same rank. For example, Ras Mengesha Yohannes, son of Emperor Yohannes IV and thus a member of the Mesafint, would have outranked Ras Alula Engida, of humble birth and therefore a member of the Mekwanint though their ranks were equal.
There were parallel rules of precedence seniority based on age, on offices held, on when they each obtained their titles, which made the rules for precedence rather complex. Combined with the ambiguous position of titled heirs of members of the Mekwanint, Emperor Haile Selassie, as part of his program of modernising reforms, in line with his aims of centralising power away from the Mesafint, replaced the traditional system of precedence with a simplified, Western-inspired system that gave precedence by rank, by seniority based when the title had been assumed – irrespective of how the title was acquired; the Negusa Nagast was the Emperor of Ethiopia. Although several kings of Aksum used this style, until the restoration of the Solomonic dynasty under Yekuno Amlak, rulers of Ethiopia used the style of Negus, although "King of Kings" was used as far back as Ezana; the full title of the Emperor of Ethiopia was Seyoume Igziabeher. The title Moa Anbessa Ze Imnegede Yehuda always preceded the titles of the Emperor.
It was not a personal title but rather referred to the title of Jesus and placed the office of Christ ahead of the Emperor's name in an act of Imperial submission. Until the reign of Yohannes IV, the Emperor was Neguse Tsion, "King of Zion"), whose seat was at Axum, which conferred hegemony over much of the north of the Empire; the Emperor was referred to by the dignities of the formal Girmawi, in common speech as Janhoy, in his own household and family as Getochu, when referred to by name in the third person with the suffix of Atse. All formal speech concerning the Emperor was in the plural. A Negus was a hereditary ruler of one of Ethiopia's larger provinces, over whom collectively the monarch ruled, thus justifying his imperial title; the title of Negus was awarded at the discretion of the Emperor to those who ruled important provinces, although it was used hereditarily during and after the Zemene Mesafint. The rulers of Begemder, Gojjam, all held the title of Negus at some point, as the "Negus of Shewa", "Negus of Gojjam", so forth.
During and after the reign of Menelik II all of the titles either lapsed into the Imperial crown or were dissolved. In 1914, after having been appointed "Negus of Zion" by his son Lij Iyasu, Mikael of Wollo, in consideration of the hostile feelings this provoked in of much of the nobility in northern Ethiopia, who were now technically made subordinate to him, instead elected to use the title of Negus of Wollo. Tafari Makonnen, who became Emperor Haile Selassie, was bestowed the title of Negus in 1928. Despite this, European sources referred to the Ethiopian monarch as the Negus well into the 20th century, switching to Emperor only after the Second World War- around the same time the name Abyssinia fell out of use in favour of Ethiopia in the west. Le'ul was a princely style used by sons and grandson of the Emperor, it conferred upon its holder the title of Imperial Highness. The style first came into use in 1916, following the enthronement of Empress Zewditu Abetohun or Abeto -- Prince. Title reserved for males of Imperial ancestry in the male line.
Title fell into disuse by the late 19th century. Lij Iyasu attempted to revive the title as Abeto-hoy, this form is still used by the current Iyasuist claimant Girma Yohannes Iyasu. Ras -- One of the powerful non-imperial; the combined title of Leul Ras was given to the heads of the cadet b
Amharas known as Abyssinians, are an ethnic group traditionally inhabiting the northern and central highlands of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa and the Amhara Region. According to the 2007 national census, Amharas numbered 19,867,817 individuals, comprising 26.9% of Ethiopia's population and they are Orthodox Christians members of Ethiopian Orthodox church. They are found within the Ethiopian expatriate community in North America, they speak Amharic, an Afro-Asiatic language of the Semitic branch, a member of the Ethiosemitic group, which serves as the official language of Ethiopia. The present name for the Amharic language and its speakers comes from the medieval province of Amhara; the latter enclave was located around Lake Tana at the headwaters of the Blue Nile, included a larger area than Ethiopia's present-day Amhara Region. The further derivation of the name is debated; some trace it to mehare. The Ethiopian historian Getachew Mekonnen Hasen traces it to an ethnic name related to the Himyarites of ancient Yemen.
Still others say that it derives from Ge'ez ዓም and ሓራ in Hebrew עם הר. The Amharas have inhabited the north and western parts of Ethiopia, have been the politically dominant ethnic group of this region, their origins are thought to have been located near modern day Sayint, Wollo, a place, known as Bete Amhara in the past. The Amhara are one of the two largest ethnic groups in Ethiopia, along with the Oromo, they are sometimes referred to as "Abyssinians" by Western sources. The province of "Amhara" was located in the modern province of Wollo, in the modern sense however the region now known as Amhara in the feudal era was composed of several provinces with greater or less autonomy, which included Gondar, Wollo, Shewa, Semien and Fetegar; the traditional homeland of the Amharas is the central highland plateau of Ethiopia. For over two thousand years they have inhabited this region. Walled by high mountains and cleaved by great gorges, the ancient realm of Abyssinia has been isolated from the influences of the rest of the world.
Christian Axumite presence in the Amhara region dates back to at least the 8th century, with the establishment of the Istifanos monastery in Lake Hayq. Several other sites and monuments indicate similar Axumite presences in area such as the Geta Lion statues, located 10 km south of Kombolcha is thought to date as old the 3rd century or further to pre-Axumite times. In 1998, pieces of pottery were found around tombs in Atatiya in Southern Wollo in Habru to the south-east of Hayq and to the north-east of Ancharo; the decorations and symbols on the pottery are reliable archaeological evidence that Aksumite civilization had extended to Southern Amhara beyond Angot. Many more ancient sites had been plentiful but were almost all destroyed by the vengeful reign of Gudit and the Muslim invasions led by Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi, where Amhara and Angot were ravaged; the first specific mention of the Amhara dates to the early 12th century in the middle of the Zagwe Dynasty, when the Amhara were recorded of being in conflict with the Werjih in 1129.
The Werjih are located to have inhabited the eastern lowlands of Shewa as pastorlists. This indicates that the Amhara not only were existent as a distinct ethnic group, but had made a presence as far as the southern plateau since at least the 12th century, disproving a common proposition put forward by scholars like Mesfin Woldemariam and Takele Tadesse who suggested that the Amhara did not exist as an ethnic group. Following the end of the ruling Agaw Zagwe dynasty, the Solomonic dynasty governed the Ethiopian Empire for many centuries from the 1270 AD onwards with the ascension of Yekuno Amlak, whose political and support base heiled from Shewa and Amhara. From up until the deposing of Haile Selassie in 1974, the Amhara continuously ruled and formed the political core of the Ethiopian Empire expanding its borders and international prestige as well as establishing several medieval royal sites and capitals such as Tegulet, Debre Berhan, Barara and Magdela, the former three of which were located in Shewa In the early 15th century, the Emperors sought to make diplomatic contact with European kingdoms for the first time since Aksumite times.
A letter from King Henry IV of England to the Emperor of Abyssinia survives. In 1428, the Emperor Yeshaq sent two emissaries to Alfonso V of Aragon, who sent return emissaries who failed to complete the return trip; the first continuous relations with a European country began in 1508 with Portugal under Emperor Lebna Dengel, who had just inherited the throne from his father. This proved to be an important development, for when the Empire was subjected to the attacks of the Adal Sultanate General and Imam, Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi, Portugal assisted the Ethiopian emperor by sending weapons and four hundred men, who helped his son Gelawdewos defeat Ahmad and re-establish his rule; this Ethiopian–Adal War was one of the first proxy wars in the region as the Ottoman Empire and Portugal took sides in the conflict. The Amhara have contributed many rulers including Haile Selassie. Haile Selassie's mother was paternally of Oromo descent and maternall
The Oromo people are an ethnic group inhabiting Ethiopia. They represent 34.5 % of Ethiopia's population. Oromos speak the Oromo language as a mother tongue, part of the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family; the word Oromo appeared in European literature for the first time in 1893 and became common in the second half of the 20th century. The Oromo people used the gadaa system of governance. A leader elected by the gadaa system remains in power only for 8 years, with an election taking place at the end of those 8 years. From the 18th century to the 19th century, Oromos were the dominant influence in northern Ethiopia during the Zemene Mesafint period, they have been one of the parties to historic migrations, wars with northern Christians and with southern and eastern Muslims, in the Horn of Africa. The origins and prehistory of the Oromo people is unclear, in part because the Oromo people did not have a written history and instead passed on stories orally prior to the 16th century.
Older and subsequent colonial era documents mention the Oromo people as Galla, but these documents were written by members of ethnic groups who were hostile towards them. Anthropologists and historians such as Herbert S. Lewis consider these sources to be fraught with biases and misunderstandings. Historical linguistics and comparative ethnology studies suggest that the Oromo people originated around the lakes Shamo and Stephanie, they are a Cushitic people who have inhabited the East and Northeast Africa since at least the early 1st millennium. The aftermath of the sixteenth century Abyssinian–Adal war led to Oromos being able to occupy lands of the Ethiopian Empire and Adal Sultanate; the Harla were assimilated by the Oromo in Ethiopia. The first verifiable record mentioning the Oromo people by a European cartographer is in the map made by the Italian Fra Mauro in 1460, which uses the term "Galla"; the map was drawn after consultations with Tigriyan monks who visited Italy in 1441. Galla was a term for a river and a forest, as well as for the pastoral people established in the highlands of southern Ethiopia.
This historical information, according to Mohammed Hassen, is consistent with the written and oral traditions of the Somalis. The historical evidence therefore suggests that the Oromo people were established in the southern highlands in or before the 15th century, that at least some Oromo people were interacting with other Ethiopian ethnic groups. After Fra Mauro's mention, there is a profusion of literature about the peoples of this region including the Oromo mentioning their wars and resistance to religious conversion by European sea explorers, Christian missionaries as well as regional writers. Fra Mauro's term Galla is the most used term, until the early 20th century; the earliest primary account of Oromo ethnography is the 16th-century "History of Galla" by Christian monk Bahrey who comes from the Sidama country of Gammo, written in the Ge'ez language. He begins his treatise on the Oromo by introducing them in racist terms. According to an 1861 book by D'Abbadie, a French explorer who traveled up to Kaffa in 1843, he was told that the word Galla was derived from a "war cry" and used by the Gallas themselves.
A journal published by International African Institute suggests it is an Oromo word for there is a word galla "wandering" in their language. The first known use of the word Oromo to refer to this ethnic group is traceable to 1893; the historic term for them has been Galla. This term, stated Juxon Barton in 1924, was in use for these people by Arabs; the word Galla has been variously interpreted, such as it means "to go home", or it refers to a river named Galla in early Abyssinian tradition. Scholarship that followed Barton, states that the label Galla for them, in historic documents, is a stereotype and has been translated by other ethnic groups as "pagan, inferior, enemy", "heathen, non-Muslim". In Afar language, states Morin, Galli means "crowd", "foreigners" and carries derogatory connotation "ordinary, commoner" as opposed to moddai or "high descent". Other societies such as the Anuak people refer to all the migrant highlanders consisting of Amharas as Galla people while the Tigreans, in the past, refer to Amharas as "half Galla".
The term Galla was used by Europeans before the 1974 revolution without any derogatory connotations. The Oromo never called themselves Galla, resist its use, they traditionally identified themselves by one of their clans, in contemporary times have used the common umbrella term of Oromo which connotes "free born people". While Oromo people have lived in this region for a long time, the ethnic mixture of peoples who have lived here is unclear. According to Alessandro Triulzi, the interactions and encounters between Oromo people and Nilo-Saharan groups began early. Different groups have attempted to reconstruct a speculative origin theories, wherein either Oromo are presumed "heathen and expansionists who displaced another ethnic group", or the Oromo are presumed to be original people who were "displaced by others". However, persuasive evidence to support various speculations has been missing; the original Oromos increased their numbers through Oromization of conquered people from other ethnic groups, in turn others conquered people from them and converted them to their side.
The native ancient names of the territories were replaced by the name of th
Iyasu II or Joshua II was nəgusä nägäst of Ethiopia, a member of the Gondar branch of the Solomonic dynasty. He was the son of Empress Mentewab; the Empress Mentewab played a major role in Iyasu's reign against her will. Shortly after he was proclaimed Emperor, a rival claimant assaulted the Royal Enclosure for eight days, only leaving the capital Gondar when an army of 30,000 from Gojjam appeared. Although the rebels failed to penetrate its walls, nonetheless much of Gondar was left in ruins. Instead of taking the title of regent upon the succession of her underage son, Empress Mentewab had herself crowned as co-ruler, becoming the first woman to be crowned in this manner in Ethiopian history. Empress Mentewab wielded significant authority throughout the reign of her son, well into the reign of her grandson as well. During Iyasu II's reign, a Czech Franciscan named Remedius Prutky visited his kingdom, engaged Iyasu in talks about religion and European politics. Although he and his two companions were popular because of their medical skills and his Catholic companion were asked to leave because of complaints from the local clergy after a year.
Despite Mentewab's counsel, Iyasu proved to be an ineffectual monarch. According to Paul Henze, Iyasu "came under criticism for devoting too much time to pleasure and for spending too many resources on embellishing the capital, paying foreign workmen, importing luxury goods and mirrors from Europe." Prutky, on the other hand blamed Iyasu's constrained revenues to the actions of his mother Mentewab: "Since the youthful emperor Jasu had only reached the age of eight when he ascended the throne, his mother the Queen divided out the provinces among the chief ministers in such a way that, at the time of my sojourn there, the Emperor, now over thirty years of age, saw his treasury diminished and scarcely enough for his ordinary expenses." Prutky adds that during the year Prutky was in Ethiopia, the emperor was engaged in a struggle with his own sister over the revenues from Gojjam. In a bid to gain the respect of his subjects, the Emperor Iyasu engaged in a campaign against the Kingdom of Sennar, which ended in defeat at the Battle of the Dindar River in 1738.
This defeat decisively ended any hope by Iyasu to prove himself competent in military affairs. When Abuna Krestodolos died, the treasury lacked money to pay for procurement of a new abuna. According to Edward Ullendorff, his authority "scarcely extended beyond Gojjam; as insignias of this appointment Habtes received a negarit and other gifts. Emperor Iyasu resented the romantic liaison his mother entered into with a young member of the Imperial family. Empress Mentewab became involved with Iyasu, the son of her former sister-in-law Romanework, herself the sister of the late Emperor Bakaffa, on her father's side descended in male line from another cadet line of the Solomonic dynasty. Mentewab's relationship with the much younger nephew of her late husband was considered a great scandal, the young Prince was derisively referred to as "Melmal Iyasu", or "Iyasu the Kept"; the Empress had three daughters by this Melmal Iyasu, one of whom was the beautiful Woizero Aster Iyasu who took Ras Mikael Sehul in 1769 as her third husband.
Emperor Iyasu became attached to his half-sisters, but was resentful of their father. It is said that it was the Emperor himself that ordered the murder of his mother's lover by having him pushed from a cliff top near Lake Tana in 1742. Iyasu fell ill in May, 1755, died the next month, it was believed that he had been poisoned by the sister of Melmal Iyasu, in revenge for her brother's death. When the Empress Mentewab sought funds from the treasury for his funeral, only a few dinars could be found. Saddened by this situation, she threatened to retire to her palace convent at Qusquam, but a group of nobles persuaded her to instead become regent for her grandson Iyoas I
Emperor of Ethiopia
The Emperor of Ethiopia was the hereditary ruler of the Ethiopian Empire, until the abolition of the monarchy in 1975. The Emperor was the head of state and head of government, with ultimate executive and legislative power in that country. A National Geographic Magazine article called imperial Ethiopia "nominally a constitutional monarchy; the title of "King of Kings" rendered imprecisely in English as "Emperor", dates back to ancient Mesopotamia, but was used in Axum by King Sembrouthes. However, Yuri Kobishchanov dates this usage to the period following the Persian victory over the Romans in 296–297, its use, from at least the reign of Yekuno Amlak onward, meant that both subordinate officials and tributary rulers, notably the gubernatorial vassals of Gojjam, the seaward provinces and Shewa, received the honorific title of nəgus, a word for "king." The consort of the Emperor was referred to as the ətege. Empress Zauditu used the feminized form nəgəstä nägäst to show that she reigned in her own right, did not use the title of ətege.
At the death of a monarch any male or female blood relative of the Emperor could claim succession to the throne: sons, uncles or cousins. Practice did not always enforce it; the system developed two approaches to controlling the succession: the first, employed on occasion before the 20th century, involved interning all of the Emperor's possible rivals in a secure location, which drastically limited their ability to disrupt the Empire with revolts or to dispute the succession of an heir apparent. Ethiopian traditions do not all agree as to when the custom started of imprisoning rivals to the throne on a Mountain of the Princes. One tradition credits this practice to the Zagwe king Yemrehana Krestos, who received the idea in a dream. Another tradition, recorded by historian Thomas Pakenham, states that this practice predates the Zagwe dynasty, was first practiced on Debre Damo, captured by the 10th-century queen Gudit, who isolated 200 princes there to death. Taddesse Tamrat argues that this practice began in the reign of Wedem Arad, following the struggle for succession that he believes lies behind the series of brief reigns of the sons of Yagbe'u Seyon.
A constructivist approach states that the tradition was used on occasion, weakened or lapsed sometimes, was sometimes revived to full effect after some unfortunate disputes – and that the custom started in time immemorial as Ethiopian common inheritance patterns allowed all agnates to succeed to the lands of the monarchy – which however is contrary to keeping the country undivided. The potential royal rivals were incarcerated at Amba Geshen until Ahmed Gragn captured that site in 1540 and destroyed it. Rumors of these royal mountain residences were part of the inspiration for Samuel Johnson's short story, Rasselas. Although the Emperor of Ethiopia had theoretically unlimited power over his subjects, his councillors came to play an increasing role in governing Ethiopia, because many Emperors were succeeded either by a child, or one of the incarcerated princes, who could only leave their prisons with help from the outside; as a result, by the mid-18th century the power of the Emperor had been transferred to his deputies, like Ras Mikael Sehul of Tigray, who held actual power in the Empire and elevated or deposed Emperors at will.
The Emperors of Ethiopia derived their right to rule based on two dynastic claims: their descent from the kings of Axum, their descent from Menelik I, the son of Solomon and Makeda, Queen of Sheba. The claim to their relationship to the Kings of Axum derives from Yakuno Amlak's claim that he was the descendant of Dil Na'od, through his father, although he defeated and killed the last Zagwe king in battle, his claim to the throne was helped by his marriage to that king's daughter though Ethiopians do not acknowledge claims from the distaff side. The claim of descent from Menelik I is based on the assertion that the kings of Axum were the descendants of Menelik I. While the surviving records of these kings fail to shed light on their origins, this genealogical claim is first documented in the 10th century by an Arab historian. Interpretations of this claim vary widely; some accept it as evident fact. At the other extreme, others understand this as an expression of propaganda, attempting to connect the legitimacy of the state to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Some scholars take an approach in the middle, attempting to either find a connection between Axum and the South Arabian kingdom of Saba, or between Axum and the pre-exilic Kingdom of Judah. Due to lack of primary materials, it is not possible as of 2006 to determine which theory is the more plausible; the restored Solomonic dynasty, which claimed descent from the old Aksumite rulers, ruled Ethiopia from the 13th century until 1974, with on
Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi
Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi "the Conqueror" was a Somali Imam and General of the Adal Sultanate who fought against the Abyssinian empire and defeated several Abysinian Emperors. With the help of an army composed of Somalis, the Harla people, Hararis and a small number of Arabs and Ottoman Turks, Imam Ahmad, embarked on a conquest which brought three-quarters of Abyssinia under the power of the Muslim Sultanate of Adal during the Abyssinian-Adal War from 1529-43. Imam Ahmad is regarded by most scholars as an ethnic Somali. However, few historians have disputed his ethnicity, with Ahmad sometimes interpreted as being a Harari. Many Somali clans played a strong role in Gurey's conquest of Abyssinia, however these clans went to war not so much as Somalis but as Muslims." I. M. Lewis discusses the existence of another leader named Ahmad Gurey, suggests that the two leaders have been conflated into one historical figure:The text refers to two Ahmad's with the nickname'Left-handed'. One is presented as'Ahmad Guray, the Somali' identified as Ahmad Guray Xuseyn, chief of the Habar Magadle.
Another reference, appears to link the Habar Magadle with the Marrehan. The other Ahmad is referred to as'Imam Ahmad' or the'Imam'; this Ahmad is not qualified by the adjective Somali The two Ahmad's have been conflated into one figure, the heroic Ahmed Guray Imam Ahmad was born in 1506 at Zeila, Adal Sultanate Due to the unislamic rule during the reign of Sultan Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad, Ahmad would leave Harar for Hubat. He married the daughter of Mahfuz, the Governor of Zeila. In 1531, Bati would give birth to their first child named Muhammad; when Mahfuz was killed returning from a campaign against the Abyssinian emperor Lebna Dengel in 1517, the Adal sultanate lapsed into anarchy for several years, until Imam Ahmad killed the last of the contenders for power and took control of Harar. Ethiopian historians such as Azazh T'ino and Bahrey have written that during the period of his rise to power, Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi had converted many Oromo pastoral people to Islam. In retaliation for an attack on Adal the previous year by the Abyssinian general Degalhan, Imam Ahmad invaded Abyssinia in 1529, supplementing his force with considerable numbers of muskets purchased from the Ottomans, which would panic the Abyssinian troops.
Imam Ahmad maintained the discipline of most of his men, defeating Emperor Lebna Dengel at Shimbra Kure that March. The chronicle of Imam Ahmad's invasion of Abyssinia is depicted in various Somali and other foreign sources. Imam Ahmad campaigned in Abyssinia in 1531, breaking Emperor Lebna Dengel's ability to resist in the Battle of Amba Sel on October 28; the Muslim army of Imam Ahmad marched northward to loot the island monastery of Lake Hayq and the stone churches of Lalibela. When the Imam entered the province of Tigray, he defeated an Abyssinian army that confronted him there. On reaching Axum, he destroyed the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion, in which the Abyssinian emperors had for centuries been crowned; the Abyssinians were forced to ask for help from the Portuguese, who landed at the port of Massawa on February 10, 1541, during the reign of the emperor Gelawdewos. The force was led by Cristóvão da Gama and included 400 musketeers as well as a number of artisans and other non-combatants.
Da Gama and Imam Ahmad met on April 1, 1542 at Jarte, which Trimingham has identified with Anasa, between Amba Alagi and Lake Ashenge. Here the Portuguese had their first glimpse of Ahmad, as recorded by Castanhoso: While his camp was being pitched, the king of Zeila ascended a hill with several horse and some foot to examine us: he halted on the top with three hundred horse and three large banners, two white with red moons, one red with a white moon, which always accompanied him, which he was recognized. On April 4, after the two unfamiliar armies had exchanged messages and stared at each other for a few days, da Gama formed his troops into an infantry square and marched against the Imam's lines, repelling successive waves of Muslim attacks with musket and cannon; this battle ended. Over the next several days, Imam Ahmad's forces were reinforced by arrivals of fresh troops. Understanding the need to act swiftly, da Gama on April 16 again formed a square which he led against Imam Ahmad's camp.
Although the Muslims fought with more determination than two weeks earlier—their horse broke the Portuguese square—an opportune explosion of some gunpowder traumatized the horses on the Imam's side, his army fled in disorder. Castanhoso laments that "the victory would have been complete this day had we only one hundred horses to finish it: for the King was carried on men's shoulders in a bed, accompanied by horsemen, they fled in no order."Reinforced by the arrival of the Bahr negus Yeshaq, da Gama marched southward after Imam Ahmad's force, coming within sight of him ten days later. However, the onset of the rainy season prevented da Gama from engaging Ahmad a third time. On the advice of Queen Sabla Wengel, da Gama made winter camp at Wofla near Lake Ashenge, still within sight of his opponent, while the Imam made his winter camp on Mount Zobil. Knowing that victory lay in the number of firearms an army had, the Imam sent to his fellow Muslims for help. According to Abbé João Bermudes, Imam Ahmad rec
Johann Ludwig Krapf
Johann Ludwig Krapf was a German missionary in East Africa, as well as an explorer and traveler. Krapf played an important role in exploring East Africa with Johannes Rebmann, they were the first Europeans to see Mount Kenya with the help of Kikuyus who dwelled at its slopes and Kilimanjaro. Krapf played a key role in exploring the East African coastline. Krapf was born into a Lutheran family of farmers in southwest Germany. From his school days onward, he studied Latin, Greek and Italian. More languages were to follow throughout his life. After finishing school he joined the Basel Mission Seminary at age 17 but discontinued his studies as he had doubts about his missionary vocation, he read theology at Tübingen University and graduated in 1834. While working as an assistant village pastor, he met a Basel missionary who encouraged him to resume his missionary vocation. In 1836 he was invited by the Anglican Church Missionary Society to join their work in Ethiopia. Basel Mission seconded him to the Anglicans and from 1837-1842 he worked in this ancient Christian land.
He prepared himself by learning the Amharic language of the highlands. Landing at Tadjura, Krapf followed the trade route to Shewa where he presented himself to its ruler, Meridazmach Sahle Selassie, accompanied the Meridazmach on a military campaign in southern Shewa. Krapf's pietist background did not help him much to understand and appreciate traditional Ethiopian Christianity their emphasis on saints and use of Ge'ez, a language no longer spoken; when he departed Shewa in 1842, he found his way to Gondar blocked by the aftermath of the Battle of Debre Tabor, retraced his steps to the court of Adara Bille, a chieftain of the Wollo Oromo who robbed him. Krapf managed to effect his escape with his servants, made his way to Massawa supported by the reluctant charity of the local inhabitants, thus he centered his interest on the Oromo people of southern Ethiopia, in his time known as the Galla, who were believers in a traditional religion. He started translating parts of the New Testament into it.
While 1842 saw Krapf receive a doctorate from Tübingen University for his research into the Ethiopian languages, it witnessed the expulsion of all Western missionaries from Ethiopia, which ended his work there. In association with his colleague, Carl Wilhelm Isenberg, he published a memoir of his time in Ethiopia, Journals of Isenberg and Krapf in 1843, he revised Abu Rumi's Bible translations into Amharic for BFBS. Krapf spent some time in Alexandria, where he married. From there he set off for East Africa hoping to reach the Oromo from. Most of the East African coastline was part of the Zanzibar sultanate. Sultan Sayyid Said gave him a permit to start a missionary station at the coastal city of Mombasa. Krapf started again by learning the languages of the local Mijikenda people and Swahili, an East African lingua franca language of communication. Soon after arrival in Mombasa his wife and young daughter died from malaria. Krapf started his station New Rabai. Here he wrote the first grammar of the Swahili language.
He started studying other African languages, drafting dictionaries and translating sections of the Bible. Working with a Muslim judge named Ali bin Modehin, he translated Genesis, he went on to translate the New Testament, as well as the Book of Common Prayer. However, most of this was unpublished, though it was used in revising a translation in a more southern version of Swahili. In 1846 he was joined by Johannes Rebmann, another southwest German Lutheran, in the service of the CMS. Krapf and Rebmann set off to explore the interior of East Africa and they were the first Europeans to see the snowcapped mountains of Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, they sent reports about them to Europe. Krapf's deteriorating health forced him to return to Germany in 1853, he brought with him several old Swahili manuscripts, including copies of the Book of the Battle of Tambuka, the earliest Swahili manuscript. In Korntal he continued advisory work for the Christian missions; the Anglican Church of Kenya counts him as its founding father.
Linguists have been drawing on his works as he studied languages as diverse as Ge'ez, Oromo, Kamba and Massai. His house at New Rabai is now part of one of the National Museums of Kenya; the building of the German Embassy at Nairobi is called "Ludwig-Krapf-House". In his home town of Tübingen-Derendingen there is an elementary school. Eber, Jochen: Johann Ludwig Krapf: ein schwäbischer Pionier in Ostafrika. 2006 Gütl, Clemens. Johann Ludwig Krapf - "Do' Missionar vo' Deradenga" zwischen pietistischem Ideal und afrikanischer Realität. Hamburg 2001. Gütl, Clemens. Johann Ludwig Krapf's "Memoir on the East African Slave Trade" - Ein unveröffentlichtes Dokument aus dem Jahr 1853. Mit Einleitung herausgegeben von Clemens Gütl, Wien 2002. Kretzmann, Paul E. John Ludwig Krapf: The Explorer-Missionary of Northeastern Africa. Columbus, Ohio: The Book Concern. Raupp, Werner: Gelebter Glaube. Metzingen/Württemberg 1993, pp. 278 – 287: "Johann Ludwig Krapf - Bahnbrecher der ostafrikanischen Mission". Raupp, Werner: Johann Ludwig Krapf.
Missionar, Forschungsreisender und Sprachforscher. In: Lebensbilder aus Baden-Württemberg, vol. 22. Ed. by Gerhard Taddey and Rainer Brüning, Stuttgart 2007