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THE DOBA'A GROUP: AN INTERETHNIC GROUP - COMPARISON BETWEEN FIELD RESEARCH DATA AND OCCURRENCES ON OLD MAPS [Abstract ID: 0514-12]
The Doba'a are interesting in ethnohistorical studies because in older Ethiopian and foreign sources they regularly appear as an important group in the northeastern fringes of traditional Ethiopia, especially around the wider area of the southeastern Tigray, but from some time in the 19th century they totally disappear from sources. Recent field research could show that they have by no means disappeared, but continue to exist in the form of several interconnected lineages especially in their historical centre in southeastern Tigray, but under other ethnic identities. This poses interesting questions on group organisation and identity. We can observe that these Doba'a lineages are emerged within a larger Rayyaa Oromo identity in Tigray, but in the same time also assume a Tigrayan identity, while field research shows that there are related Doba'a lineages in Awsa, where they now assume a larger Afar identity. Therefore they seem to be an interesting case also for interethnic relations - we can define them as an interethnic group, which played a role in connecting different regions along traditional trade routes. Another area called "Doba" is found in Shewa. There is also a 'Doba woreda' or district in western Harergie. When we compare what is known from field research with older maps until the 19th century, we can also find these groups at the different places where they appear as lineages or sub-groups today. In this paper the maps are used as a basis for reconstructing the territorial diversity of the Doba'a, linking it with recent field research which helps to understand better which Doba'a are those appearing on these maps.