After supporting Gragn and for that reason, Turkey placed a claim of suzerainty over what it called Habeshistan. It’s ships approached Massawa and Arqiqo in 1557, and Turkey had started transacting a fiction that it governed Habeshistan through its vassal rulers of Arqiqo and Massawa. Before the Jihad against the Christian kingdom, a Portuguese embassy had visited Ethiopia from 1520-26. Francisco Alvarez, the Chaplin of that embassy, had written that Ethiopian territory stretched up to Suakin (Sawakin). Alvarez also had described the beautifully decorated and rich churches at Lalibela and Aksum, a description which served as a reference to demonstrate the pillaging and destruction that Ahmad Gragn had brought to Christendom. The devastation (looting churches, burning them, murdering Christians) conducted by Gragn was also documented by his chronicler. After Turkey landed in the Island of Massawa it befriended bahrenegash Yeshaq that ruled over the region from Debaroa in the highland of Hamasen. Yeshaq had fought alongside his emperor, Lebna Dengel (1508-1537), against Gragn previously. Later, he became Pasha Yeshaq. Then, Turkey proclaimed Amir Nur, the nephew of Grang, the husband Grang’s widow Bati del Wombera, and the founder of the walled city of Harar, “Commander of the faithful” (Rubensen, 1978, p.182). Amir Nur killed Emperor Gelawedewos in a battle in Fatagar in 1559. The Amir later died within the walled city from pestilence during the 1567-68 famine (Munro-Hay, 2002). The Amir had tried to resist the northward migration of the Oromo (Gala) that swept over the Sultanate territory outside of the walled city. Later, Sultan Muhammad b. Nasir of Hara agitated in support of a rebellion by Pasha Yesheq in the north. Emperor Zerse Dengel captured the Sultan and executed him. Thereafter, Harar lost its independent city state military (Munro-hay, 2002). Then, Zerse Dengel marched to the north with a division of Oromo warriors among his soldiers (Getatchew Haile, 2000). Pasha Yeshaq and a few armored Turkish soldiers in his service were killed. Squatter from Arqiro were removed. Later, the founder of the walled city at Gondar, Emperor Fassilides had to march to Arqiqo to remove squatters. He also built the church of Aksum Tseyon Maryam next to the old Aksumite cathedral that Gragn had destroyed. By that time, Ethiopia was not in control of Suakin. That Ethiopia did not have a navy since the demise of the Aksumite Kingdom had come to hurt it in a big way. Also internal wars that were instigated and exploited by aliens had disabled Ethiopia from providing effective protection to all its people, and defense to all its territories.


Questions: 1. What is Habeshistan? 2. What is the basis for the Turkish claim of suzerainty over Ethiopia. 3. Though Gragn was an Ethiopian, why is his revolt called a jihad? 4.Who subdued the revolt in the north and its supporters in the south?

Critical thinking questions: 5. What was the role of Egypt in the Ottoman Empire? 5. What religion did most of the Oromo that swept around the walled city of Harar acquire? In what ways are the people inside the walled city of Harar different from those outside of it?





Gene Sharp for nonviolent movement

Rubicon is crossed


Joint UEDF-CUD press release of July 2005