The Yejju Oromoo in the Politics of the Christian Kingdom of Ethiopia (1786-1853)

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Dechasa Abebe


The Oromoo had been playing a significant role in the power politics of Ethiopian history. The period of the Yejju Dynasty (1786-1853) was peculiar in this regard. However, this historical fact was abused and was written as if the country was in a state of disorder and political anarchy during that period. This was done mainly to praise and justify the political measures of the “Great kings” of Gonder in the 17th and early 18th centuries and the emperors who were recognized as “unifiers” of Ethiopia in the second half of the 19th century. Hence, this is an attempt to disclose the role of the Oromoo in the political history of the country during the period under discussion. This role is explained by taking some issues into consideration: struggle for political power, the nature of political administration, economic activities mainly agriculture and trade, foreign relations and socio-cultural systems. Known sources were consulted thoroughly to bring to light to the ideas overlooked intentionally or unknowingly by professional and public historians. Thus, works of earlier traditional historians, European travellers and missionaries’ accounts, Ethiopian chronicles and the works of few professional historians were used for this purpose. Accordingly, the sources indicate that the Oromoo became the actual governors of the country designing a limited monarchy-type of government system by enthroning ceremonial kings as head of state. Unlike what is common in the literature of Ethiopian history, it was a period of continuity of the previous unifying factors with relative peace than the prevalence of only divisive factors. Moreover, it was also a period of wider economic activities when agriculture and trade, both local and cross border, were extensively carried out.

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How to Cite
Abebe, D. (2021). The Yejju Oromoo in the Politics of the Christian Kingdom of Ethiopia (1786-1853). Gadaa Journal, 4(1), 1-25. Retrieved from
Author Biography

Dechasa Abebe, Addis Ababa University

Center for African and Asian Studies, College of Social Sciences, Addis Ababa University