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
Admiral Sir William Cornwallis, was a Royal Navy officer. He was the brother of Charles Cornwallis, the 1st Marquess Cornwallis, British commander at the siege of Yorktown. Cornwallis took part in a number of decisive battles including the Siege of Louisbourg in 1758 and the Battle of the Saintes but is best known as a friend of Lord Nelson and as the commander-in-chief of the Channel Fleet during the Napoleonic Wars, he is depicted in the Horatio Hornblower novel and the Hotspur. His affectionate contemporary nickname from the ranks was Billy Blue and a sea shanty was written during his period of service, reflecting the admiration his men had for him. William Cornwallis was born 10 February 1744, his father was Charles the fifth baron and first earl Cornwallis and his mother was Elizabeth, daughter of Viscount Charles Townshend. William was the younger brother of General Charles Cornwallis; the young William entered the navy in 1755 aboard the 80-gun HMS Newark bound for North America in the fleet of Admiral Edward Boscawen.
Cornwallis was shortly after exchanged into HMS Kingston and was present in her at the Siege of Louisbourg in 1758. The siege was one of the pivotal battles of the war. Louisbourg was the only deep water harbour that the French controlled in North America, its capture enabled the British to launch an attack on Quebec City. General James Wolfe's attack on Quebec and victory at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham saw the beginning of the end of French colonisation in North America; when the Kingston returned to England in 1759, Cornwallis was taken aboard the 60-gun Dunkirk by Captain Robert Digby. During the planned French invasion of Britain in 1759 the Dunkirk was with Admiral Edward Hawke's squadron and took part in the Battle of Quiberon Bay against the French fleet under Admiral Conflans; the victory was part of what became known as Annus Mirabilis of 1759 and in concert with the other victories of that year gave the Royal Navy complete dominance over the oceans for over a century. The succession of victories led Horace Walpole to remark "our bells are worn threadbare ringing for victories".
Cornwallis remained in the Dunkirk when she was assigned to the Mediterranean fleet commanded by Admiral Charles Saunders. Dunkirk was detached on blockade duty, ensuring the French fleet remained in the city of Heraklion, Crete. Cornwallis moved to Saunders' flagship HMS Neptune. On 5 April 1761 Cornwallis passed his examination for lieutenant and was promoted into the newly commissioned third-rate HMS Thunderer. In July 1761 Cornwallis was with two other line-of-battle ships blockading Cadiz. Two French ships escaped the British squadron set off in pursuit. Thunderer caught up with the 64-gun Achille and captured her in a single-ship action that lasted about half an hour; the British lost one hundred and thirteen wounded. In July 1762 Cornwallis received his first command in the 8-gun sloop-of-war HMS Wasp. In 1763 he was given command of the newly launched 14-gun HMS Swift, he continued in her into the peace with France after the Treaty of Paris had ended the war in 1763. During the peace in 1765 he was promoted post-captain and given command of the 44-gun HMS Prince Edward.
He commanded her until she was paid off and the ship was sold in 1766. In September of the same year he was given command of HMS Guadeloupe and was variously employed throughout the peace between the Seven Years' War and the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War; when the French lent their official support to the American cause in 1778 with the Treaty of Alliance and the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, the war between Britain and the United States became a global war. Captain Cornwallis was in command of the newly commissioned HMS Lion; the Lion was sent, to the West Indies. When war was declared, the Comte d'Estaing, the French naval commander in North America swiftly captured the islands of Saint Vincent and Grenada. Byron on hearing the news that Saint Vincent had been captured assembled his forces but on his way to recapture the island he received intelligence that d'Estaing and his fleet were in the process of capturing Grenada. Byron took his fleet to Grenada in the hopes of engaging them and preventing the capture of Grenada.
The island however had only held out for two days and was in French hands. The Battle of Grenada took place on 6 July 1779 d'Estaing saw the British fleet of 21 ships of the line approaching and weighed anchor. Byron gave chase and attempted to form line of battle as per the Sailing and Fighting Instructions set down by Admiral Blake in 1653. D'Estaing, realising that his force although superior in guns was not so in numbers, had ordered his captains not to engage directly but to bear away when British ships approached and to bear down on any individual ship that might through wind or poor seamanship become separated from the line; this tactic proved successful and d'Estaing's ships managed to escape the superior force causing considerable damage to three of the British ships. Cornwallis' Lion was one of those ships and when he became separated from the British fleet she was forced to break away and make a run for Jamaica rather than risk capture. Lion suffered 30 wounded. During his time in the West Indies, Cornwallis came to own later free the "doctoress" Cubah Cornwallis.
Cubah became Cornwallis' housekeeper in Port Royal, Jamaica. She treated Cornwallis' friend, Captain Horatio Nelson on his return from the disastrous mission to Nicaragua, she treated Prince William Henry William IV, when he was stationed in the West Indies. Lion remained on the Jamaica station under the orders o
Shewa romanized as Shua, is a historical region of Ethiopia an autonomous kingdom within the Ethiopian Empire. The modern Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa is located at its center; the nucleus of Shewa is part of the mountainous plateau in what is the central area of Ethiopia, but prior to the Zemene Mesafint and after the loss of Bale with the invasion of Ahmed Al-Ghazi, Shewa was part of Ethiopia's southeasternmost frontier. Shewa was as defensible as any highland, its government traced an administrative continuity with this earlier period despite the loss of neighboring lands to the Ethiopian Empire. At times, it was a haven; the towns of Debre Berhan, Ankober, Entoto and, after Shewa became a province of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa have all served as the capital of Shewa at various times. Most of northern Shewa, made up of the districts of Menz, Yifat and Bulga, is populated by Christian Amharas, while southern is inhabited by the Gurages and eastern Shewa have large Oromo and Arggoba Muslim populations.
The monastery of Debre Libanos, founded by Saint Tekle Haymanot, is located in the district of Selale known in Amharic as Grarya, a former province of Abyssinia. Eastern Shewa first appears in the historical record as a Muslim state, which G. W. B. Huntingford believed was founded in 896, had its capital at Walalah, it is believed to have been part of the Kingdom of Aksum for over a millennium that became the site of Muslim kingdoms. This state was absorbed by the Sultanate of Ifat around 1285. Three urban centers thought to be part of the Muslim kingdom of Eastern Shewa were discovered by a group of French archaeologists. Yekuno Amlak based his uprising against the Zagwe dynasty from an enclave in Shewa, settled by Amhara Christians, he claimed Solomonic forebears, direct descendants of the pre-Zagwe Axumite emperors, who had used Shewa as their safe haven when their survival was threatened by Gudit and other enemies. This is the reason why the region got the name "Shewa" which means'rescue' or'save'.
This claim is supported by the Kebra Nagast, a book written under one of the descendants of Yekuno Amlak, which mentions Shewa as part of the realm of Menelik I. Aksum and its predecessor Dʿmt were limited to Northern Ethiopia and Eritrea during the 1st millennium BCE. However, Shewa became a part of the Amhara-Abyssinian empire upon the rise of the Amhara Solomonic dynasty as well as the Adal empire. In the 16th century, still an Islamic moiety, the rest of Christian Abyssinia were conquered by the forces of Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi of the Adal Sultanate, Shewa came under Muslim Adal rule; the region came under pressure from the Oromo expansion,who succeeded during the first decades of the next century in settling the areas around Shewa. Presently, the Oromos of Wollo and Arsi in particular are predominantly Muslim. Little is known about the details of the history of Shewa until 1800; the Amhara Shewan ruling family was founded in the late 17th century by Negasi Krestos, who consolidated his control around Yifat.
Traditions recorded about his ancestry vary: one tradition, recorded in 1840, claims his mother was the daughter of Ras Faris, a follower of Emperor Susenyos I who had escaped into Menz. Thus the ruling family of Shewa were considered the junior branch of the Solomonic dynasty after the senior Gondar branch. Negassie's son, Sebestyanos assumed the title of Meridazmach, unique to Shewa, his descendants continued to bear this title until Sahle Selassie of Shewa was declared king of Shewa in the 1830s. His grandson, Sahle Maryam would succeed as Emperor of all Ethiopia at the end of the century under name Menelik II; the title of "King of Shewa" was subsumed into the imperial title of "Emperor of Ethiopia" when Menelik became Emperor. Shewan kings spread their control towards the south and east, through lowland and desert, succeeded in invading and subjecting some regions under their rule; the emperors of Ethiopia had long claimed these southern regions, various direct and tributary relations had existed prior to the invasion of Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi though these regions such as the Hadiya kingdom and Bale kingdom were independent entities.
The Oromo migrations following the Imam's defeat had cut off these old relationships and had drastically changed the demographics of the area by rolling back the Amhara expansion and migration, creating new relationships. The kingdom of Shewa that Menelik II brought into the Ethiopian realm had been somewhat expanded, thus added to the total area of the empire; the northern migration of Oromos into Shewa since the 1500s changed its demography and strengthened Shewa's position against its rival Gondar in the empire. Having influenced Gondar in the 1700s, Oromos in Shewa gained power in the 1800s the Tulama. Ras Gobana was notable for forming alliances and militarily extending Shoan domain to the south. Ethiopia reached further frontiers through expansion to the east and south, resulting in the Shewan region as the physical center of the modern country. In recent times, Shewa was a Governorate-General under the monarchy, was an Administrative Region of Ethiopia under t
Yifat is a kibbutz in Galilee, northern Israel. Located adjacent to the town Migdal HaEmek and short distances from the cities of Afula and Nazareth, it falls under the jurisdiction of Jezreel Valley Regional Council. In 2017 it had a population of 1,164; the kibbutz was established in 1954 by members of Kvutzat HaSharon who lived in Ramat David, as well as former residents of Gevat, including Haim Gvati a government minister. It was named Ihud HaSharon - Gevat, but was renamed after the biblical town of Yefia, as does the name of the Arab town of Yafa an-Naseriyye; the economy of Yifat is based on light industry, greenhouses, plant nurseries, cattle and chickens, as well as the hospitality industry. The sixth-grade school “Western Valley” and a performing arts complex are located within the kibbutz, as is the Pioneer Settlement Museum. Yifat houses a Hebrew ulpan for would-be immigrants. Furthermore and Gentile “volunteers” from many countries have served on the kibbutz. In earlier days, Yifat welcomed non-Jews from Germany among its visitors when some kibbutzim discriminated against those born after World War II.
Shlomo Shriki Official website
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
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
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