Ethiopian Gibe States History

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10 Questions

Which Gibe state emerged in the 1st decade of the 19th century and grew in political importance under Oncho Jilcha?


Who was the earliest Gibe state to accept Islam?


Which ruler made Gera well-known during the 1835 period, known for being a popular warrior king and good administrator?

Tullu Gunji

Which were the two main centers of monarchical power in Wallaga in the early 19th century besides the Gibe states?

Leqa Naqamte and Leqa Qellem

What was a distinctive feature of the Gibe states during the 1st half of the 19th century?

Conversion from indigenous religions to Islam

Which of the following is NOT a characteristic of the Gumuz people's natural resource management system?

They cultivated a single plot of land continuously without allowing it to lie fallow for forest regeneration.

What was the likely reason for the practice of 'Silent Commerce' in the gold-producing region associated with the Gumuz people?

There were language barriers between the merchants and the local population.

What was the primary criterion used by the Gumuz farmers to determine soil fertility?

The color of the soil and its drainage capacity.

Which of the following statements about the Shinasha people is NOT true based on the information provided?

They were the northern group of the Gonga people after the kingdom's division.

According to the passage, which of the following economic activities were NOT shared by the Shinasha, Gumuz, and Benishangul people?

Large-scale commercial agriculture.

Study Notes

Beni-Shangul Gumuz

  • The Beni-Shangul Gumuz people inhabited a narrow lowland strip along the Ethio-Sudanese border.
  • They belong to the Nilo-Saharan language family.
  • The region was a gold-producing area since the time of Punt, also known as the Silent Commerce, likely due to language barriers between merchants.

Agriculture and Natural Resource Management

  • The Gumuz people practiced shifting cultivation on a small scale in the pre-19th century.
  • They used slash-and-burn agriculture, not only as a farming system but also as a natural resource management system.
  • This method has a long history, dating back to the Neolithic period, and expanded into different parts of the world.
  • Gumuz farmers identified soil fertility by observing soil color and drainage capacity.

Environment and Beliefs

  • The Gumuz people had a positive attitude towards the forests in their surroundings.
  • Their natural resource management was tied to their belief system, where natural resources are considered gifts of Yama, the supreme deity.
  • They used fire as an essential tool for hunting, providing new vegetation growth for their herds, and diminishing the ravages of the tsetse fly.

Economy and Agriculture

  • The economy was based on sorghum, millet, and cotton, with a cycle of cultivation and fallow periods.
  • The Gumuz did not cultivate a single plot more than three times, allowing the forest to regenerate after the third round of cultivation.

Shinasha and Gonga People

  • The Shinasha were one of the groups of Gonga people who established a powerful kingdom in southwestern Ethiopia before the 16th century.
  • Demographic and political pressures, including the 16th-century Oromo expansion, weakened and divided the Gonga kingdom into different groups.

Gibe States

  • The Gibe states, including Gumma, Gomma, and Gera, emerged in the 19th century.
  • Gumma became an important state in 1820 under the strong ruler, Oncho Jilcha.
  • Gomma was the earliest Gibe state to accept Islam.
  • Gera became well-known during the strongest ruler, Tullu Gunji, who was a popular warrior king and good administrator.

Leqa States

  • Besides the Gibe states, there were two main centers of monarchical power in Wallaga in the early 19th century: the states of Leqa Naqamte and Leqa Qellem.
  • Leqa Naqamte was established by Bakare Godana and grew more powerful under Moroda and Kumsa Moroda.
  • Leqa Qellem was founded by one of the Qellem chiefs, Tullu, and consolidated by his son and successor, Jote, in the 2nd half of the 19th century.
  • The economy of Leqa States was based on agriculture and Ethio-Sudanese frontier trade.

Explore the history of Ethiopian Gibe states including III.Gumma, Gomma, and Gera. Learn about their emergence, important rulers, acceptance of Islam, conflicts, and distinctive features.

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