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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A Reappraisal of the Impact of Firearms in the History of Warfare in Ethiopia (ca. 1500-1800)
Author:Aregay, Merid W.
Periodical:Journal of Ethiopian Studies
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:military history
small arms
Military, Defense and Arms
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/41965889
Abstract:The common and traditional arms of Ethiopian soldiers at the beginning of the sixteenth century were spears, bows and arrows and daggers. Shields and spears were used by both horsemen and infantry. Firearms, matchlocks and guns made their first real impact on the military history of Ethiopia in 1542 and 1543. However, in battles in the open field the possession of matchlocks and artillery offered relatively little advantage over the traditional weapons carried by cavaltry and infantry and the prevailing method of warfare greatly limited the usefulness of firearms. Thus despite their early appearance in north-east Africa, for nearly three centuries after the defeat of Ahmäd-Gran in 1543, firearms were decidely an auxiliary weapon. They were desired by rulers and rebels, but had little influence over the course of political and military events. The assertion of earlier writer notwithstanding, firearms in Ethiopia until the nineteenth century must be seen as an ornament of warfare rather than an important ingredient in the balance of power. Notes.