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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Pan-Oromo confederations in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
Author:Etefa, TsegaISNI
Periodical:The journal of Oromo studies
Geographic term:Ethiopia
military operations
Abstract:Before the Oromo of present-day Ethiopia began to move in large numbers into the central and northwestern highlands of the country during the first half of the 16th century, they had lived in the plains and southeastern highlands for centuries. During and after the population movement, the Oromo split into several groups, but this segmentation did not diminish the shared belief of common descent from one founding father. The different branches then lived in federations and confederations in several autonomous but contiguous territories. After paying attention to Oromo autonomous 'gadaa' governments - a politico-military and ritual system based on an egalitarian ethos and well-organized institutions -, which the Oromo also formed in the territories they had come to occupy, this paper examines the formation of Oromo confederations. It seems the Oromo formed these confederations to defend their respective territories. The paper also describes the struggles between the Oromo and the various Abyssinian emperors. The Oromo confederations and alliances, in addition to helping them to defend themselves and consolidate their positions, allowed them to develop a unique military organization and techniques. Thus, they became an influential force in Abyssinian politics. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]