Integration and Peace in East Africa: A History of the Oromo by Tsega Etefa (auth.)

By Tsega Etefa (auth.)

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Additional resources for Integration and Peace in East Africa: A History of the Oromo Nation

Sample text

It is apparent that, just as they did for Emperor Za-Dengel (1603 to 1604) before him, these Oromo pressures weighed heavily on Susenyos; he began requesting military assistance from Europe. In 1610, he wrote to the pope of Rome (Pope Paul V, 1605 to 1621) and the king of Portugal, complaining, just as Za-Dengel did, about the disorderly state of his empire and requesting that the Portuguese provide troop assistance to save the country, as they had done during Ahmad Grañ’s invasion. (During the Muslim–Christian Empire conflict of 1527 to 1543 about 400 Portuguese troops arrived and helped defeat Ahmad Grañ’s Muslim army).

In 1604, he wrote a letter to the Pope of Rome (Pope Clement VIII, 1592 to 1605) disclosing his desperate struggle with the Oromo as follows: “[W]e have in our country certain heathen enemies [the Oromo]. ”33 In the meantime, emperor Za-Dengel grew increasingly unpopular among his own people, according to some, because of the depredations that occurred during the general mobilizations he had decreed and, even more so, due to his reported conversion to Catholicism. 34 Important personalities of the court led by Ras Za-Sellase of Dambya subsequently decided to recall Yaqob from Enarya and raise him to the throne again.

Thus, the Emperor Bakafa (1721 to 1730) had to appoint Dajjazmach Waraña over New Damot to appease the situation. Waraña was a famous general from the Jaawwii Oromo group. He encouraged the settlement of the Jaawwii and other Oromo groups in New Damot and Agaw Meder, thus pacifying his kinsmen south of the Abbay River and allowing them to settle in his domains. When Waraña died, the Gondarine emperors appointed a certain Eshete to succeed him as governor of New Damot, but the people revolted against him and declared Fasil, the son of Waraña, in his place as their governor.

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