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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:From geographic skirt to geographic drift: the Oromo population movement of the sixteenth century
Author:Ayana, DanielISNI
Year:2011
Periodical:The journal of Oromo studies
Volume:17
Issue:2
Pages:1-38
Language:English
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:Oromo
pastoralists
population growth
ecology
settlement patterns
history
1500-1599
Abstract:There is a lacuna in the literature on how the pastoral Oromo (Ethiopia) evolved into a viable group that came to dominate the contemporary Christian and Muslim States in the 16th century. The standard interpretation is that the wars of Imam Ahmed ibn Ibrahim (Ahmed Grań) weakened both the Christian and Muslim States and communities and precipitated the Oromo population movement. But this is only half of the story. This paper provides the other half. It argues that the frontier-type geographical location of the pastoral Oromo enjoyed a unique rainfall regime, which created a comparative advantage for livestock and population growth in the Oromo areas. Furthermore, the fact that the Oromo lived in a distant frontier location provided relative safety from regional conflicts. Finally, the Oromo habitat enjoyed a relative lack of parasitic diseases. These advantages catapulted the pastoral Oromo to demographic viability and launched their expansion from the early 16th century onwards. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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