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AN ANALYSIS OF ORAL HISTORIOGRAPHIES ON A DOWNFALL OF ISLAMIC TRADERS IN THE MEDIEVAL NORTH-EASTERN ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 0510-02]
In this paper, I will discuss the possible reasons for the spread of the Black Death in Medieval North-Eastern Ethiopia through an analysis of three oral historiographies narrated by Baarentuu-Oromo informants. Similar oral historiographies came from the Rayyaa in Tigray, the Karayyuu in Wollo and the Rayyituu in Baale. They all speak of a similar event which affected the Doba`a in Tigray, the Issa in Wollo and the Harla who hail from between Awash and Northern Baale. These people were Muslim traders in Medieval times. According to the stories, these people sinned against Islam and as a result brought about a disaster that caused huge loss of life – a punishment from Allah. There are other accounts concerning the Afar on the Red Sea coast and others from Tigray, which also report a disaster in Medieval times. My hypothesis is that the disaster was the spread of the Black Death through Islamic trading routes. There are further reports of the Black Death affecting Egypt and North Sudan, resulting in huge loss of life and even the downfall of the kingdom. After the mid-14th century, it is thought that the Black Death reached the Red Sea coast and the long-distance Muslim trading routes.