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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Kifu-qen: The Great Famine of 1888-1892 and the Beta Israel (Falasha)
Author:Kaplan, Steven
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
History and Exploration
Drought and Desertification
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/40732661
Abstract:'Kifu-qen', the great famine of 1888-1892, devastated vast areas of Ethiopia and left in its wake an impoverished, starving and mourning population. This article examines the history of one Ethiopian people, the Beta Israel, generally referred to as Falasha, in order to demonstrate the enormous impact of this famine on the demography, settlement patterns, and religious structure of this people. The causes of the famine are to be found in a combination of natural calamities which affected an economy already in ruins through a number of foreign invasions. The spread of the famine engendered vast population movements with a subsequent dramatic breakdown in traditional village life, including customs which separated Beta Israel from Christians. The breakdown of social barriers which took place resulted in the conversion of significant numbers of Jewish Beta Israel to Christianity. The famine also had an impact on patterns of leadership among both the Beta Israel and the mission converts and led to a decline in the role of monasticism, and a reduction in the frequency of sacrificial ritual. Bibliogr., notes, ref.