Kidane Kale

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Kidane Kale (reigned c. 1718 - c. 1744; literal meaning: "Beginning, Word"), better known as Abuye, was a Meridazmach of Shewa, an important Amhara noble of Ethiopia. He was the son of Sebestyanos.[1] Abir states that he ruled for 25 years, although noting that Harris claims he ruled for 15 years, Coulbeaux for 25 (from 1725 to 1750), and d'Hericourt for 60,[2] his wife was Woizero Tagunestiya, daughter of Mama Rufa'el, Governor of Mamameder.

Abuye succeeded on the death of his father, and made his capital at Har Amba. Sebestyanos had died "by a curious accident", according to Levine. Abuye had been rebuilding some of the churches destroyed by Ahmad Gragn, one of which was in Doqaqit dedicated to St. Michael. Part of the ceremony required the tabot in the church in 'Ayne, where his father was living, and it was secretly removed to Doqaqit. Sebestyanos saw this as an act of rebellion, and set forth to capture and discipline his son; however, in the ensuing battle one of Qedami Qal's servants accidentally killed the Meridazmach.[3]

Because his father Sebestyanos refused to give homage to the Emperor of Ethiopia, shortly after Abuye came to power he was confronted with an attack by the army of Emperor Iyasus II. Although Abuye survived this threat unharmed, sources differ on the details. Abir reports one version, that intermediaries arranged an agreement where in exchange for tribute Abuye was officially invested with the title of Meridazmach;[4] Marcus elaborates on this version, adding that Emperor Iyasu was more concerned about suppressing the Wollo Oromo "closer to his center of power.[1] Levine notes that a second version claims that Abuye met the Imperial army and defeated it.[3]

Abuye continued the military consolidation of the Christian principalities around him, and battling the Oromo invaders. According to Johann Ludwig Krapf, Abuye defeated the ruler of Menz, Gole, and annexed that district to Shewa,[5] he died fighting the Karayu Oromo south of Yifat, and was buried in his capital Doqaqit.[4]


  1. ^ a b Harold Marcus is less definite on this, calling him Sebestyanos' "brother or his son". Harold G. Marcus, The Life and Times of Menelik II: Ethiopia 1844-1913 (Lawrenceville: Red Sea Press, 1995), p. 8
  2. ^ Mordechai Abir Ethiopia: The Era of the Princes; The Challenge of Islam and the Re-unification of the Christian Empire (1769-1855) (London: Longmans, 1968), p. 147 n.4
  3. ^ a b Donald N. Levine, Wax and Gold: Tradition and Innovation in Ethiopia Culture (Chicago: University Press, 1972), p. 33
  4. ^ a b Abir, p. 147.
  5. ^ Journals of the Rev. Messrs. Isenberg and Krapf, Missionaries of the Church Missionary Society, Detailing their proceedings in the kingdom of Shoa, and journeys in other parts of Abyssinia, in the years 1839, 1840, 1841 and 1842, (London, 1843), p. 299
Preceded by
Rulers of Shewa Succeeded by
Amha Iyasus