Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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AYENEW Fenta, PhD Candidate at AAU

This paper investigates socio-economic institutions in Metekel that bound different ethnic groups together over nearly a century, from 1898 to 1991. It tries to show how ethnic interaction and integration between institutions like Mijim or Shimya, Wodaj, Michu, and Harma Hodha took place during this period. Metekel is one of the Ethiopian regions where multi-ethnic societies coexisted for centuries. Of these ethnic groups, Gumuz and Agaws were the earliest inhabitants of the region. The other ethnic groups that settled in the 13 regions, include the Shinasha from the 15th century, the Oromo from the 18th century, and the Amhara from the1880s. The first Amhara settlers were a military elite, whose numbers grew following Nigus Tekle Haimanot’s military conquest of the region in 1898. Settlement programs that took place in the region in the 1960s and 1985/6 brought more ethnic groups into the Metekel region. Some that came to the region because of the 1985/6 Pawe settlement program included Kambatta and Hadya, from the Southern Shoa region. To organize the paper, the researcher collected and critically analysed data from the available primary and secondary sources. The research demonstrated that Oromo, Shinasha, Agaw, and Gumuz had strong social ties that bound them together over the course of history in the region. Generally, this paper will increase our knowledge of ethnic diversity and interaction in Ethiopia, particularly North-West Ethiopia, Metekel region or the western part of former Gojjam province. It will also provide a stepping-stone for other researchers to undertake further investigations in the region.