Ethiopia Journals

Ethiopian History and Culture

A January 2003 trip to Ethiopia by Madrid

Quote: This journal sketches out the varied threads of legend and history that have made Ethiopia such a land of mystery and fable. The country traces its origins back to King Solomon, over 3000 years ago.

Intro and Founding Saga

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Background on Ethiopia’s History and Culture: What first comes to mind when we speak the word, Ethiopia? The Queen of Sheba, ancient Christianity, the Ark of the Covenant, Haile Selassie, famine? Geography and trade routes are important to consider when speaking of Ethiopia. With the Rift Valley to the south, Ethiopia is the home of "Lucy," the 3.5-million-year-old hominid (chimpanzee-like pre-human). The trade routes from Egypt and Sudan to the north and the Saudi Arabian peninsula to the east brought the country into world history earlier than most other African countries. The country’s mountainous geography has both contributed to its isolation and has helped it remain a poli...Read More

Semetic Culture

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The Black Jews Adapted from The Black Jews of Ethiopia: The Last Exodus by Durrenda Nash Onolemhemhen and Kebede Gessesse This story of the Ark has also been bolstered by the presence of the Black Jews of Ethiopia. For more than 2000 years the Black Jews lived in Ethiopia. One unique feature of Ethiopian Judaism is that it is based entirely on the Torah and does not include rabbinical law, which never reached them. Many Ethiopian Jews are said to trace their origin from the Jews who accompanied Menelik, son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Other Ethiopian Jews claim that when the Hebrews left Egypt in Moses’s time, some migrated south to Ethiopia; still ...Read More

Christianity and Prester John

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Early Recorded History and the Arrival of Christianity Ethiopians have a record of their rulers that stretches back 5000 years. The only civilization we know of in Ethiopia from most ancient times is that which was borrowed from Egypt. The earliest records extant do not take us beyond the founding of the priestly dynasty of Thebes. At Napata (in Ethiopia) Amun-Ra, King of the Gods, ruled supreme with Maut and Khonsu. The temple there was built on the model of the Karnak sanctuaries; the ceremonies performed there were those of the Theban cult. The priest-kings, above all, as formerly in their native land, were the heads of a purely sacerdotal polity. It was only later in history that the ...Read More

Islam

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Ethiopia and Islam Islam was expanding which had the effect of cutting off Ethiopia from its former Mediterranean trading partners and allies. Muslims replaced the Egyptians in the Red Sea ports. Ethiopians were allowed to consecrate their Bishops in Cairo and pilgrims were allowed to travel to Jerusalem; such concessions were willingly given since it was an Ethiopian emperor who protected Muhammad during his time of persecution in the 7th century. (Islam was founded in 622.) In the 12th century Ethiopia emerged from its dark ages under the leadership of a new Zagwe (Zague) dynasty. The Zagwes were from central Ethiopia and of dubious background. Later ecclesiastical texts accus...Read More