- Restored–Solomonic Dynasty of Shewa: 1270-1529 [18]

18) An emphasis on Christian religion by the Zagwe Dynasty had resulted in the de-emphasis of political work on distant regions from Adefa. The western region was left to lords of the Jewish faith. The south central area was governed by a pagan king of Damot (northern Welega), Motalemi, who run over Shewa. A strong Moslem family from Yefat controlled most of eastern and southeastern Ethiopia . The Restored Solomonic Dynasty, governing from different parts of Shewa, re-incorporated western, southern, and eastern regions, and drove away squatters from the maritime territories and coastal regions of Ethiopia . Emperor Amde Tseyon (1314-1342), his great grandson Emperor Dawit (1374-1413), and two of Dawit’s children Yeshaq (1414-1427) and Zera Ya’Iqib (1433-1468) had to march to the newly re-incorporated regions to subdue rebels, and reluctant Moslem kingdoms that refused to pay tribute to the Christian Kingdom. Emperor Amde Tseyon’s march toward Zeyla in the name of Christ was to stop slave trading by some of the strong Moslem families. Yesehaq, drove away a rebel Moslem family Haq ad-Din away from Zeyla. His soldiers marched clear to the Indian Ocean . The name Somalia was given to the coastal territory of Ethiopia by the Gulf of Zeyla (now Gulf of Aden ) and the Indian Ocean at that time.

Monastic traditions were re-invigorated during the Restored Solomonic Dynasty. Abuna Tekla Haymanot, born in 1207, who converted King Motalemi of Damot to Christianity, built the Debre Libanos monastery (formerly Debre Atsbo) in western Shewa. His contemporary in Mereb Melash, Aba Daniel had a student, Abba Ewostatios, who campaigned to make Saturday a Sabbath, and whose campaign took him to Egypt , Cyprus and Armenia . Emperor Zera Ya’iqob in the 1450 Debre Mitmaq Council made Saturday a Christian holiday in addition to Sunday. Ewostatios’ remains from Armenia were returned much laterto Emperor Iyasu 1 at Gondar (1682-1706).

Emperor Zera Ya’iqob’s General, Ras Bitweded Amde Mikael was governor of Fatagar during the reign of subsequent young emperors, and subdued skirmishes by Moslem strong families and kingdoms. His assassination by the Christian royal court was detrimental to the power of the kingdom as his territory was divided up into smaller regions and more governors of lesser abilities and power were assigned as governors. Moslem Amirs from Harar (in a territory previously called Dawro, and later Adal) and Zeyla took to skirmishes against the Christian central kingdom principally through Fatagar.

Emperor Zera Ya’iqobs, youngest wife, Eleni, a lady from Hadiya, was an empress that nurtured young stepson, and step-grandson emperors till the beginning of the reign of Emperor Lebna Dengel. After a Portuguese emissary seeking the home of Prester John arrived in Ethiopia in 1520, she sent an Armenian to Portugal as her emissary seeking a Christian military alliance against the pressure on Ethiopia by the Moslem Ottoman Empire. Unfortunately emperor Lebna Dengel did not sign on that wise diplomacy by the Queen mother.

Meanwhile though the Amir of Harar, Mahfuz, was captured during one of his skirmishes against the emperor in Fatagar, he was released and became the governor of Zeyla. From there he started his skirmishes against Lebna Dengel. For that, Mahfuz was slain and one of the palaces of Sultan Muhammad burned down before the Portuguse embassy was allowed to depart Ethiopia in 1526. Several Sultanates governed Zeyla in succession, until Sultan Abu Bakar moved the Sultanate to Harar in 1520. Imam Ahmad Ibn Ibrahim al-Gazi (also known as Gragn), a resident of Zeyla, who had Married Bati Del Wambera, the daughter of the late Mahfuz, started troubles in Harar and a Jihad (holy war) against Christian Ethiopia supported by the Ottoman Empire. Firstly he killed Sultan Abubakar of Harar and replaced him by a puppet Sultan, who refused to pay tribute to Emperor Lebna Dengel. The Governor of Bali, Degalhan, arrived in Harar to extract tribute. Degalhan looted the people and was crossing River Awash with the booty when Gragn suddenly appeared and took them away. That act emboldened Gragn.





Gene Sharp for nonviolent movement

Rubicon is crossed


Joint UEDF-CUD press release of July 2005