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Semien Province

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Map of the provinces of Ethiopia before 1935. (Derived from Perham, Margery (1969):The Government of Ethiopia)
Map of the provinces of Ethiopia before 1935. (Derived from Perham, Margery (1969):The Government of Ethiopia)

Semien Province (Amharic: ሰሜን, “North”) was a historical province of northwest Ethiopia, often called Gondar. It was located south and west of the Tekezé River, and north of Lake Tsana. It was south of Tigray Province, west of Tembien Province, and east of the Sudan. To some extent it covered the northern parts of the former Begemder and Wolkait now known as the Semien Gondar Zone. While its borders varied considerably over time.

Its 18th and 19th century capital was Inchetkaub,[1] other towns were Adi Arkay, Adi Remets, Dabat, Derasghie, Mesfinto, Segonet and Sekota del Semien.

The highest point was Ras Dashen in the Semien Mountains.[2]

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Amharic

Amharic

Amharic is an Ethiopian Semitic language, which is a subgrouping within the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages. It is spoken as a first language by the Amharas, and also serves as a lingua franca for all other populations residing in major cities and towns of Ethiopia.

Provinces of Ethiopia

Provinces of Ethiopia

Historically, Ethiopia was divided into provinces, further subdivided into awrajjas or districts, until they were replaced by ethnically-based regions (kililoch) and chartered cities in 1995.

Ethiopia

Ethiopia

Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea to the north, Djibouti to the northeast, Somalia to the east and northeast, Kenya to the south, South Sudan to the west, and Sudan to the northwest. Ethiopia has a total area of 1,100,000 square kilometres. As of 2022, it is home to around 113.5 million inhabitants, making it the 12th-most populous country in the world and the 2nd-most populous in Africa after Nigeria. The national capital and largest city, Addis Ababa, lies several kilometres west of the East African Rift that splits the country into the African and Somali tectonic plates.

Tekezé River

Tekezé River

The Tekezé or Täkkäze River, also spelled Takkaze, is a major river of Ethiopia. For part of its course it forms a section of the westernmost border of Ethiopia and Eritrea. The river is also known as the Setit in Eritrea, western Ethiopia, and eastern Sudan. According to materials published by the Ethiopian Central Statistical Agency, the Tekezé River is 608 kilometers (378 mi) long. The canyon which it has created is the deepest in Africa and one of the deepest in the world, at some points having a depth of over 2000 meters.

Lake Tana

Lake Tana

Lake Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia and the source of the Blue Nile. Located in Amhara Region in the north-western Ethiopian Highlands, the lake is approximately 84 kilometres long and 66 kilometres wide, with a maximum depth of 15 metres, and an elevation of 1,788 metres. Lake Tana is fed by the Gilgel Abay, Reb and Gumara rivers. Its surface area ranges from 3,000 to 3,500 square kilometres, depending on season and rainfall. The lake level has been regulated since the construction of the control weir where the lake discharges into the Blue Nile. This controls the flow to the Blue Nile Falls and hydro-power station.

Sudan

Sudan

Sudan, officially the Republic of the Sudan, is a country in Northeast Africa. It shares borders with the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west, Egypt to the north, Eritrea to the northeast, Ethiopia to the southeast, Libya to the northwest, South Sudan to the south and the Red Sea. It has a population of 45.70 million people as of 2022 and occupies 1,886,068 square kilometres, making it Africa's third-largest country by area, and the third-largest by area in the Arab League. It was the largest country by area in Africa and the Arab League until the secession of South Sudan in 2011, since which both titles have been held by Algeria. Its capital is Khartoum and its most populated city is Omdurman.

Begemder

Begemder

Begemder was a province in northwest Ethiopia.

Addi Arkay (woreda)

Addi Arkay (woreda)

Dashen is one of the woredas in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia. Located at the northeastern point of the Semien Gondar Zone, dashen is bordered on the south by Jan Amora, on

Addi Remets

Addi Remets

Adi Remet or Adi Ramet, is a town in the amhara Region of Ethiopia. Located in the West amhara of amhara region, this town has a latitude and longitude of 13°45′N 37°19′E with an elevation of 1870 meters above sea level. It is the administrative center of the Welkait woreda.

Dabat

Dabat

Dabat is a town in northern Ethiopia, located about 50 kilometers north of Gondar in the Semien Mountains along the Gondar-Debarq highway Dabat it is in the Semien Gondar Zone of the Amhara Region, and is one of two towns in Dabat woreda.

Soqota

Soqota

Sekota, also spelled Sokota, Sakota, Soqota is a town and separate woreda in northern Ethiopia. The name is likely from the Agaw word sekut, "fortified village." Located in the Wag Hemra Zone of the Amhara Region, Sekota has a latitude and longitude of 12°37′31″N 39°02′06″E and an elevation of 2266 meters above sea level. It is surrounded by woreda of Soqota.

Ras Dashen

Ras Dashen

Ras Dashen, also known as Ras Dejen, is the highest mountain in Ethiopia and fourteenth highest peak in Africa. Located in the Simien Mountains National Park in the North Gondar Zone of the Amhara Region, it reaches an elevation of 4,550 metres (14,930 ft).

History

A semi-legendary Jewish kingdom, the Kingdom of Semien, is said to have been centered in the region. Historically this province is associated with the Amhara people.

17th century

Semien was governed by members of the Amhara nobility. Yostos, the eldest son and presumptive heir of Emperor Yohannes I governed Semien before his untimely death in June 1676. His brother, Iyasu the Great, then a prince, succeeded him. Iyasu I later became the Emperor in 1682, and moved to Gondar.[3]

18th century

Dejazmach Tasfa of Semien governed the region in the 18th century. His son, Ras Gebre (1771-1815) governed Semien since the early years of the Zemene Mesafint period, for more than four decades. On Amba Hay was their fortress stronghold and the main residence of the family.[1][4][5]

19th century

Succeeding his father Gebre, Dejazmach Haile Maryam Gebre reigned for over a decade before making the way for his son dejazmach Wube Haile Maryam, who significantly expanded the territory of Semien by conquering the provinces of Tsegede, Welkait and eventually went east of the Tekeze to rule Tigray Province and modern day Eritrea.[4]

Taytu Betul, empress consort to Menelik II and niece of Wube, hailed from Semien province.

Economic history

In his early 19th century writings, traveller Henry Salt noted that coarse carpets were made in Semien, from the wool and hair of sheeps and goats. Semien was one of the major provinces for sheepherding. Semien itself was the object of insulting jokes by other provincials. Semenites were even ridiculed as soldiers whose shields were made of sheepskin.[6][7]

According to Wallis Budge 1928 publication, Semien was known for its semi-precious stones such as turquoise, carnelian, jaspers of various colors and agates.[8]

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Amhara people

Amhara people

Amharas are a Semitic-speaking ethnic group which is indigenous to Ethiopia, traditionally inhabiting parts of the northwest Highlands of Ethiopia, particularly inhabiting 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 mostly Oriental Orthodox Christian.

Yohannes I

Yohannes I

Yohannes I, also known as Yohannes the Righteous, throne name A'ilaf Sagad was Emperor of Ethiopia from 1667 to 1682, and a member of the Solomonic dynasty. He was the fourth son of Fasilides.

Iyasu I

Iyasu I

Iyasu I, throne name Adyam Sagad, also known as Iyasu the Great, was Emperor of Ethiopia from 19 July 1682 until his death in 1706, and a member of the Solomonic dynasty.

Gondar

Gondar

Gondar, also spelled Gonder, is a city and woreda in Ethiopia. Located in the North Gondar Zone of the Amhara Region, Gondar is north of Lake Tana on the Lesser Angereb River and southwest of the Simien Mountains. As of 2021, Gondar has an estimated population of 443,156.

Zemene Mesafint

Zemene Mesafint

The Zemene Mesafint was a period in Ethiopian history between the mid-18th and mid-19th centuries when the country was ruled by a class of regional noblemen and the emperor was merely a figurehead. For the most part, the regional lords were tightly related by marriage and constituted a stable ruling elite that prevailed until the mid 20th century. In short, during the Zamana Masafint, the Emperors from the Solomonic dynasty were reduced to little more than figureheads confined to the capital city of Gondar.

Mount Hay (Ethiopia)

Mount Hay (Ethiopia)

Mount Hay, or Amba Hay, is a mountain in the northwestern Amhara Region of Ethiopia. It is located in the Simien Mountains National Park, close to the nation's highest peak of Ras Dashen. Mount Hay has an elevation of 4173 metres above sea level.

Haile Maryam Gebre

Haile Maryam Gebre

Haile Maryam Gebre of Semien, Horse name: Abba Dammana was an early 19th century governor of Semien, Welkait and Wogera. Haile Maryam tried to hold his hereditary possessions in the face of continuous pressure from rival lords during Ethiopia's Zemene Mesafint era. He is remembered as the guardian of Waldeba monastery.

Wube Haile Maryam

Wube Haile Maryam

Wube Haile Maryam of Semien, (1799-1867), also called by his title Dejazmach Wube, Webé; his name is also given in European sources as ‘‘Ubie’’. Wube was one of the major figures of 19th century Ethiopia, during the closing decades of the Zemene Mesafint a period of regional lords vying for power, prestige and territory amid a weakened authority of the emperors.

Tsegede

Tsegede

Tsegede is a woreda in Tigray Region, Ethiopia. It is named after the historic province of Tsegede. Located in the Western Zone of Tigray, Tsegede is bordered on the south and west by the Amhara Region, on the northwest by Kafta Humera, and on the north by Welkait. The administrative center of this woreda is Ketema Nigus. Other towns in Tsegede include Dansha and Idaga Hamus.

Welkait

Welkait

Welkait (also spelled Wolkait or Wolqayt; is a woreda which was historically part of the northern Amhara region of Gonder in Ethiopia. Following the fall of the communist Derg regime and ascension to power of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front, the region was unilaterally annexed into the Tigray Region in Ethiopia by the TPLF. It is believed this annexation was for geopolitical purposes with the primary goal of obtaining a direct border with Sudan. The TPLF also annexed areas from the other regions in the country for similar purposes. Efforts to integrate Welkait into Tigray were widespread and systematic, including the expulsion and intimidation of the majority Amhara population and the re-naming of cities, rivers, lakes, mountains, springs, etc from their original Amharic to Tigrigna. Over the past two years of conflict in Northern Ethiopia, Welkait was reintegrated back into its historic borders and is currently administered as part of the Amhara Region. This woreda is bordered to the north by Humera and to the south by Tsegede. It is bordered on the east by the North West Zone; the woredas of Tahtay Adiyabo and Asgede Tsimbla lie to the north-east, on the other side of the Tekezé River, and Tselemti to the east. The administrative center of Welkait is Addi Remets; other towns in the woreda include Mai'gaba and Awura.

Tigray Province

Tigray Province

Tigray Province, also known as Tigre, was a historical province of northern Ethiopia that overlayed the present day Afar and Tigray regions. Akele Guzai borders with the Tigray province It was one It encompassed most of the territories of Tigrinya-speakers in Ethiopia. Tigray was separated from the northern Tigrinya speaking territories by the Mareb River, now serving as the state border to Eritrea, with the Tekezé River separating it from the Amhara dominated south.

Eritrea

Eritrea

Eritrea, officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa region of Eastern Africa, with its capital and largest city at Asmara. It is bordered by Ethiopia in the south, Sudan in the west, and Djibouti in the southeast. The northeastern and eastern parts of Eritrea have an extensive coastline along the Red Sea. The nation has a total area of approximately 117,600 km2 (45,406 sq mi), and includes the Dahlak Archipelago and several of the Hanish Islands.

Source: "Semien Province", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semien_Province.

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References
  1. ^ a b Pearce, Nathaniel (2014). "II". The Life and Adventures of Nathaniel Pearce: Written by Himself, during a Residence in Abyssinia from the Years 1810–1819; Together with Mr Coffin's Account of his First Visit to Gondar. Vol. 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 111. ISBN 9781107450516.
  2. ^ Budge, Ernest Alfred Thompson Wallis (1966). A history of Ethiopia, Nubia & Abyssinia. According to the hieroglyphic inscriptions of Egypt and Nubia, and the Ethiopian chronicles. London, Oosterhout: Methuen (1928), N.B. Anthropological Publications (1966). p. 126. OCLC 874381390.
  3. ^ Uhlig, Siegbert; Bausi, Alessandro, eds. (2003). Encyclopaedia Aethiopica: He-N. Wiesbaden. pp. 249–250. ISBN 9783447056076. OCLC 921905105.
  4. ^ a b Akyeampong, Emmanuel Kwaku; Gates, Henry Louis (2012). Dictionary of African biography vol 1-6. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 180–181. ISBN 9780195382075.
  5. ^ Uhlig, Siegbert; Bausi, Alessandro; Yimam, Baye (2010). Encyclopaedia Aethiopica: O-X. Sarbakusa. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 978-3-447-06246-6.
  6. ^ Salt, Henry (1809). Voyages and travels to India, Ceylon, the Red Sea, Abyssinia, and Egypt, in the years 1802, 1803, 1804, 1805, and 1806. Vol. 3. London: Printed for William Miller, Albemarle-Street, by W. Bulmer and Co., Cleveland-Row, St. James's. p. 162. OCLC 15027465.
  7. ^ Rosenfeld, Chris Prouty (1986). "The background of Taytu Betul Hayle Maryam". Empress Taytu and Menilek II Ethiopia 1883-1910. Ravens Educational & Development Services. p. 28. ISBN 9780932415103.
  8. ^ Budge, Ernest Alfred Thompson Wallis (1966). A history of Ethiopia, Nubia & Abyssinia. According to the hieroglyphic inscriptions of Egypt and Nubia, and the Ethiopian chronicles. London, Oosterhout: Methuen (1928), N.B. Anthropological Publications (1966). p. 126. OCLC 874381390.


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