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Amda Seyon I's expansions

Amda Seyon I's Expansions (1314–1344) were territorial expansions during the reign of Ethiopian Emperor Amda Seyon I. Motivated by religious, commercial, and territorial factors, Amda Seyon's first conquests were Gojjam and Hadiya in 1316, and the forced seizure of the Enderta Province, where there was resistance.


The provinces of the Ethiopian Empire under Amda Seyon I

Emperor Yekuno Amlak is considered the founder of Ethiopia. The country expanded during the reign of Amda Seyon I (r. 1314–1344). Reforms of its administration ensued during his reign as well;[1] Amda Seyon's reign balanced power in Ethiopia.

Amda Seyon inherited the stable of his father, Wedem Arad, along with his relationship with the empire, which posed a threat to Wedem Arad because of its military and economic situations. One of his first actions during his reign was to bring the Tigray Province under his control by forcibly confirming the legitimacy of his Amhara-ruled dynasty, despite opposition from religious and political leaders in Axum. In Enderta, there was a movement for a resistance, particularly among the descendants of Yekuno Amlak, since the governor of the region held almost independent power and did not want to grant land to Amda Seyon in 1319. As a result, he made a punitive expedition to suppress the Ya'ebika Egzi revolt. The 14th-century national epic Kebra Nagast further elaborated on Amda Seyon's expansions, describing them as quick and successful.[1]

Amda Seyon's expansions are considered by multiple scholars to be religious, commercial, and territorial, with the territorial expansionism classified as colonization.[2] The emperor also annexed Muslim kingdoms, although his empire collected tribute from more or less autonomous regions instead of imposing direct control.[3] In 1316, he controlled the Gojjam Province and Hadiya.[4] There were reports of both monks and non-Christians being ambushed and killed by military groups.[5]

During the initial phase of the empire's conquest, the first kingdom to submit was Damot, followed by Shewa in 1285 and Ifat in 1415. This submission of other kingdoms continued after his death until it reached the Adal (1520) and Harar, which became a place for Muslims.[6][7] Ifat was soon supported by a Hadiya ruler named Amano to fight against his expansion.[8] In 1329, the Muslims controlled the area from the coast of Eritrea to Mareb and all parts of Tigray south of Axum.[9] During the period of the Ifat Sultanate resurrection, an Amir (also known as an Imam) opposed Amda Seyon's march against Zeila, and was defeated and slain in 1332. The Muslim sultanates then launched a resistance campaign; as a result, the Emperor defeated Ifat and Hadiya, but did not reach the Awash River.[10]

See also


  1. ^ a b Eisenstadt, Shmuel Noah; Abitbol, Michael; Chazan, Naomi (1988). The Early State in African Perspective: Culture, Power, and Division of Labor. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-08355-4.
  2. ^ Fargher, Brian L. (1996). The Origins of the New Churches Movement in Southern Ethiopia: 1927 - 1944. BRILL. p. 11. ISBN 978-90-04-10661-1.
  3. ^ Appiah, Anthony; Gates (Jr.), Henry Louis (2010). Encyclopedia of Africa. Oxford University Press. p. 430. ISBN 978-0-19-533770-9.
  4. ^ Ofcansky, Thomas P.; Shinn, David H. (2004-03-29). Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia. Scarecrow Press. p. 184. ISBN 978-0-8108-6566-2.
  5. ^ Firew, Gedef Abawa; Kaliff, Anders (2014-09-26). The Source of the Blue Nile: Water Rituals and Traditions in the Lake Tana Region. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 72. ISBN 978-1-4438-6791-7.
  6. ^ Martin, E.G. (1974). "Mahdism and Holy Wars in Ethiopia Before 1600". Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies. 4: 106–117. ISSN 0308-8421. JSTOR 41223140.
  7. ^ Jayyusi, Salma Khadra; Holod, Renata; Petruccioli, Antillio; Raymond, André (2008-06-30). The City in the Islamic World (2 vols.). BRILL. p. 625. ISBN 978-90-474-4265-3.
  8. ^ Zergaw, Tesfaye (2001). A Survey History of World, Africa, and Ethiopia. Mega Pub. p. 281.
  9. ^ Pateman, Roy (1998). Eritrea: Even the Stones are Burning. The Red Sea Press. p. 33. ISBN 978-1-56902-057-9.
  10. ^ Ullendorff, Edward (1966). "The Glorious Victories of 'Amda Ṣeyon, King of Ethiopia". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. 29 (3): 600–611. doi:10.1017/S0041977X00073432. ISSN 0041-977X. JSTOR 611476. S2CID 162414707.
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Amda Seyon I's expansions
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