Field and river

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

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

ICES20 logo

Use the "back" button of your browser to return to the list of abstracts.


MULUWORK Kidanemariam, Mekelle University, Ethiopia

Before the 1974 uprising in Ethiopia, Hamushte Zufan was a woreda of the former Adwa Awraja. During the period of military rule, the name Hamushte Zufan was changed to Endaba Tsahma since the meaning of the word was directly related to the monarchical idea which the leaders of the Derg were distasteful. Later, after military rule has come to an end however, Endaba Tsahima was joined with adjacent Embasneyti and Endafelasi woredas to form the present Werie Lekhe wereda of the Central Zone of Tigray with its capital in Edaga Arbi. Hamushte Zufan literally means five thrones (crowns).It is derived from a designation given to the five prominent brothers and sisters in connection to their lineage to the then imperial dynasty. Their father, Azmach Teklegiorgis of Gelebeda (Tembien) is one of the heroes of the battle of Feres Mai that was waged against the Ottoman Turks and their local collaborator Bahri Negasi Yishak by Emperor Sertse Dingel in around 1569. His father Azmach Sibhat Le'ab was also one of the heroes of the war against Ahmed Gran. The five children of these important gentries crossed the Werie River from Gelebeda in Tembien towards the North West and settled around the Aba Tsahma monastery. The name of the three men and two women brothers and sisters is Aboli, Illos, Sutafe, Amete sellassie and Wolletesellassie respectively. Due to their descent from the leading houses of Tigray, Gojjam and Shoa, they wield an important social position in their new area which was later called as Hamushte Zufan. Owing to their family roots and the locational favor of their new settlement at the heart of Tigray, they built an important power center that continued to be influential for a number of years later. This power house thus, threw its weight on the unity, strength and cohesion of the Tigrean polity for longer period after. The descendants of the Hamushte Zufan were intermarried the rulers of distant and nearby ruling elites in Tigray. They claim to have descent from Emperor Seife Arad. This includes the lineage from the power centers of Gojjam through Awlanya, who is an offspring of the royal houses of Shoa and Tigray. Moreover, Azmach Teklegiorgis as a husband of Hibresemai was the son-in-law of Gebru Gembela of Enderta i.e., son of Emperor Seife Arad and the brother of Emperor Dawit. By virtue of this royal lineage, the latter rulers of Tigray such as Ras Woldesellassie(through his father Dej. Kifleyesus), Ras Mengesha Yohannes(through his mother W/ro Tekhle) etc. belong to the Haushe Zufan families. Thus, the purpose of this study would be to dig out how this genealogical line has in the first place established itself in the area by looking at the justification of the time. Moreover, the study will make an effort to understand how this genealogical establishment spread out to the nearby and distant power centers or houses of Tigray in accordance with the then maintained social and political traditions.