Sunday, October 03, 2004

Ethiopian History 500bc - 1996

Ethiopian History 500bc - 1996 - Introductory topics of Ethiopian history including Aksum, Zagwe Dynasty, Solomonic Dynasty, contacts with Europeans, Gondar, Tewodros, Menelik II, Haile Selassie, and modern history.

From the site:

Where to start if you want to write about Ethiopian history ?.

Near Lake Turkana and the Awashriver fossils of bones were found dating back 4 million years. With the many findings slowly but certain a line becomes clear about men's evolution. 'Lucy' the oldest complete skeleton; Ethiopians prefer to call her Dinquinesh (Thou art Wonderfull), can be seen in the National Museum in Addis Ababa.

In Tigray, Northern Ethiopia, near Yeha a temple is located which shows great resembles with comparable buildings in Yemen. They estimate this building being from the 5th century BC.
In the 14th century Ethiopian history became written down for the first time in the 'Kebra Naghast' (The Glory of the Kings). It's about the Solomonic dynasty that starts with the birth of Melenik 1st, child of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Sheba travelled to Palestine to meet Solomon , famous for his wisdom, and out of there short affair the first King of Ethiopia, Menelik 1st was born. According to this legend the last Emperor Haile Selassie was a straight descendant from Menelik 1st.

Or shall we start with the 19th century founding fathers of the modern Ethiopia, the Emperors Tewrodos, Yohannes and Menelik 2th, who strove to unity of the by violent conflicts torn country.

The founding of the Empire of Axum in the 5th century BC is often taken as the starting point of the Ethiopian civilisation. The Kingdom maintained trading relations both with the Greec-Roman world and with India and China during it's most prosperous times. During the Axumite times the old Ge-ez became the official language and it is still used in the Ethiopian church. The origin of this language can be found with the South-Arabic that groups of people spoke, who came from Yemen long before Axumite times. Axum had a rich architecture as appears from the big obelisks, still to be seen, and still a inspiration for modern builders. Axum continued to be the crowning place for the Royals up until Ras Tafari, Emperor Haile Selassie. The church St Mary of Zion is the place where, according to tradition, and later researched by the journalist Graham Hancock in the book 'The Sign and the Seal', the Ark of the Covenant resides. The decline of the Axum started with the rising of Islam in Arabia and the growth of it in Africa and Asia. Axum got shut off from her trading partners and populations in the region revolted against a weakening centre.

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