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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



THE



HIGHLANDS OF ^ETHIOPIA



DESCRIBED,



DURING EIGHTEEN MONTHS' RESIDENCE



THE CHRISTIAN COURT OF SHOA.



Excitet Dominus Optimus Maximus Principum nostrorura animus, ut per-
vetustse huic Christianae nationi opera ferant, Christianismo in tarn remotis
mundi partibus proferendo utilem, sibique omni aevo gloriosam futuram.

LUDOLFI, Hist. Mthwp.



LONDON :

GILBERT AND RIVINGTON, PRINTERS,
ST. JOHN'S SQUARE.



THK



HIGHLANDS OF ETHIOPIA.



MAJOR W. CORNWALLIS HARRIS,

OF THE HON. E. I. COMPANY'S ENGINEERS J

AUTHOR OF " WILD SPORTS IN SOUTHERN AFRICA," " PORTRAITS OF
AFRICAN GAME ANIMALS," ETC.




IN THREE VOLUMES.
VOL. III.



SECOND EDITION.



LONDON:
LONGMAN, BROWN, GREEN, AND LONGMANS,



PATERNOSTER ROW.



1844.



Df



377



. 3



CONTENTS



THE THIRD VOLUME.



CHAPTER I.

PAGE

The House of Solomon The Queen of Sheba Menilek Ibn
Hakim Usurpation of the Throne Ancient Dynasty Restored
The Era of Partition . . 1



CHAPTER II.

The Lineage of Shoa First King of Efat Extension of the
Realm Shadow Emperor of Gondar 7



CHAPTER III.

The Monarch and the Court Assassination of Woosen Suggud
Inauguration of the King The Royal Captives The Heir-
Presumptive Queen Besabesh The Royal Harem The

lia Faded Glories 11



CHAPTER IV.

The Reigning Despot Administration The Banquet Chief of
the Eunuchs The Royal Library Influence of the Church
Thirst for Conquest Prominent Attributes 20

VOL. in. a



VI CONTENTS.

CHAPTER V.

PAGE

The Government and the Royal Household The Queen-Dowager
" Guardians of the Frontier" Governors of Provinces Tax-
ation of the Subject Despotic Restrictions Bond of the
Ancient Empire Independence of Shoa . . 28

CHAPTER VI.

Galla Dependencies in the South Shoa-Meda Annual Forays
Blood Feuds Abogaz Maretch Tribes on the Hawash
Queen of Moolo Falada " Veni, Vidi, Vici " 36

CHAPTER VII.

The Galla Nation The lima Oroma Pagan Invaders Savage
Propensities Idolatrous Rites The Woda Nuwee Ogli and
Ateti The Wato Soothsayers Ancient Prophecy 44

CHAPTER VIII.

Unexplored Countries to the South Kingdom of Enarea Coffee
and Civet Sacrifices to " Wak" The Conquest of Zingero
Human Sacrifices Mohammadan Galla The River of Blood
Cataracts of Dumbaro Caffa The Coffee Tree The Doko
Negroes Annual Slave Hunts Troglodytes Opinions of the
Ancients The Quimos 53

CHAPTER IX.

The River Gochob Susa Maketch The Indian Ocean King-
dom of Koocha Demand for Slaves " The Great Water "
Traffic in Christians 69

CHAPTER X.

Existing Christian Remnants The Twelve Churches Kingdom
of Susa Christianity Revived Breath of the Holy Ghost
Festival of the Cross Mohammadan Rovers Raw Flesh Diet
Native Information Consistent Evidence " The Further
Countries" .. 76



CONTENTS. Vii

CHAPTER XL

PAGE

The Conversion of ^Ethiopia Frumentius the First Overthrow
of the Old Serpent Reign of the Ascetics Spread of Chris-
tianity The False Prophet Roman Catholic Faith Church
of the Monophysite ............ .... .................. 87



CHAPTER XII.

The Court of Prester John Matthew the Merchant John
Bermudez Ignatius Loyola Gonsalvez Rodrigues Andre
Oviedo Public Controversy Errors of the Alexandrian Faith
Death of Claudius The Gold of India Discomfiture of the
Fathers .............................................. 95



CHAPTER XIII.

The Religious War The Vicar of St. Anne Peter Pays
The Emperor Susneus Ras Sela Christos The Royal Mani-
festo The Empress Hamilmala Defeat of ^Elius Murder of
the Abuna ............... ............................ 106



CHAPTER XIV.

Temporary Submission to the Pope of Rome Fall of Joanel
The Devoted Monks Alphonso Mendez Confession of the
Emperor The Paschal Feast Tekla Georgis and his Sister
A Non-conforming Ecclesiastic Mountaineers of Begemeder
The Year of Jubilee ................ ................ 115



CHAPTER XV.

Expulsion of the Jesuits from Ethiopia The Ancient Liturgy
The Peasants of Lasta Petition to the Throne Rejection of
Catholicism The Ancient Religion Restored The Doctrine
of St. Mark ............................................ 125

a 2



Vlll CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XVI.

PAGE

The Church, Second Great Power in Shoa The Primate of
^Ethiopia Grand Prior of the Monks The Priesthood Re-
venues of the Church Sacred Edifices The Ark of Zion
The " Tabot" Divine Service The Spiritual Court The
Clerical Power The Holy Sacrament The Christian Belief
Task of the Missionary Moral Resurrection 132

CHAPTER XVII.

Abyssinian Rites and Practices which would appear to have been
borrowed from the Hebrews The Falashas Jewish Influence
Unclean Meats Observance of Fasts Purification of Vessels
Annual Atonement Inferior Deities Lamentation for the
Dead Souls of the Departed The Funeral Feast 147

CHAPTER XVIII.

The People Origin Aspect Arms Costume Scarification of
the Cheeks The Badge of Christianity Habitations Farm-
houses Ravages of Epidemic 158

CHAPTER XIX.

Social and Moral Condition Domestic Life Occupation Reti-
nue of the Great Intercourse Civilities Raw Beef Steaks
Hydromel Native Beer Nocturnal Hours Prohibitions
Waste of Time . .168



CHAPTER XX.

Language and Literature The Amharic Tongue .<Ethiopic Cha-
ractersThe Abyssinian Scribe Painting Manuscripts Edu-
cation Mental Culture . 180



CONTENTS. IX

CHAPTER XXI.

PAGE

Theological Controversies The Three Natures of Christ Know-
ledge of the Human Soul The Monks of Debra Libanos
Adoration of the Holy Virgin Despotic Proclamation 188

CHAPTER XXII.

Christmas Festivities Abba Salama Return of the Court Se-
clusion of Females Billets from the Queen Royal Munificence
Anniversary of the Nativity Christmas Eve The Saturnalia 194

CHAPTER XXIII.

Feast of the Epiphany Annual Baptism The Holy Supper
Lustration Excommunication The Bell, Book, and Candle
The King's " Strong Monk" Ecclesiastical Sentiments 203

CHAPTER XXIV.

Excursion to Berhut, on the South-eastern Frontier of Shoa
Ravages of the Locust Church of St. Aboo The River
Airara Change of Climate Cotton Cultivation Fortified
Hamlet .... 211

CHAPTER XXV.

The Royal Granary at Dummakoo The River Umptoo
Royal Sulphur Mines A Roving Dervish District of
Berhut Tributary Labour Market of Abdool Kadur A
Service of Danger 218

CHAPTER XXVI.

Aden on the Casam River, the Territory of the Adel Sub-tribe
Gareemra Damoosa The Dodoti Pass A Feudal Retinue
A Conference Doubtful Allies Bivouac on the Casam
Night Watch 226



X CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XXVII.

PAGE

Triumph over the Forest Bull The Hunting Trail The Quarry
retrieved The Death Trophies of the Chase The Quest
achieved Godana's Oration Thermal Springs 233

CHAPTER XXVIII.

Return to Dummakoo Amhara Venerie Equitation The
Abyssinian Horse The Mule Visit of Congratulation The
System of " Mamalacha" The Mediator 241

CHAPTER XXIX.

Visit to the Karaiyo Galla Woi'zoro Asagash Plateau of Tudla
Mariam District of Wolagur The Low Country The Am-
hara Besorn Recent Volcano The Chief of Inkoftoo 249

CHAPTER XXX.

The Wilderness of Taboo The Aroosi Galla Karaiyo Braves
Great Crater of Winzegoor The Mentshar Levy Volcanic
Well Bloody Arena Return from the Border 257

CHAPTER XXXI.

The Kingdom of Shoa System of Agriculture Fertility of the
Soil Equable. Climate The Valleys The Table-land The
Annual Rains 265



CHAPTER XXXII.

Termination of the Fast of Lent The King's Brothers Passion
Week Easter Even Saint Yareed The Royal Victories
Tables of the Law Easter Morning 272



CONTENTS. XI

CHAPTER XXXIII.

PAGE

Festivities of Easter High Festival The Banquet The Royal
Band Musical Instruments The Carousal 281

CHAPTER XXXIV.

Saint George's Day Woosen Suggud's Palace The Cave of
Woti Partridge Hunting Defeat of Oubie Influence of the
Abuna Tyrannical Edict The Proclamation annulled 287

CHAPTER XXXV.

Slavery and the Slave trade in Shoa Renunciation of Freedom
Loss of Liberty War and Violence Vicissitudes of a Slave
Slave Marts Revenues to the Crown King's Household
Establishment Slave Caravans Sale of Human Flesh Con-
dition of the Bondsman . 295



CHAPTER XXXVI.

Introduction of Slavery into Abyssinia Mohammadan Rovers
Origin of the Traffic Advantage of Slavery The Mosaic Law
The Rulers of Shoa Heathen Inroads The Gurague Re-
public Isolated Principalities 306

CHAPTER XXXVII.

Operation of Legitimate Commerce upon the Slave-trade in North-
Eastern Africa Treaty with Shoa Tacit example Articles of
Barter Anti-Slavery Conventions Position of Abyssinia
Mohammadan Monopolies Assistance of the Abuna 315

CHAPTER XXXVIII.

Commerce with the Eastern Coast of Africa Jealousy of the
Portuguese American Merchantmen Present trade with the
Interior Exports The Tea-plant Promised Harvest 323



Xll CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XXXIX.

PAGE

Navigation of the River Gochob System of Commerce Free
Labour Accessible Countries Roads in the Torrid Zone
Suppression of the Slave-trade Establishment of Factories
Water Communication 330

CHAPTER XL.

The Second Winter in Shoa Government of Alio Amba
Hurrur War- Dance State Diplomacy Festival of Felsata
The Royal Store-house burnt 338

CHAPTER XLL

The Gothic Hall Portrait of the King An Auspicious Day
Ruins of the Nile The Harnessed Elephant Royal Am-
bition A Palace fit for a Monarch 344

CHAPTER XLII.

The "Pro Rex of Efat" in Tribulation The Servants of the
Crown Underhand Plots A Plausible Enemy Detention of
Letters Breach of Friendship The Ex-Wulasma The Abys-
sinian Character The Offender Pardoned 351

CHAPTER XLIII.

The Bereavement Infallible Nostrum The Funeral Dirge of
the Mourners Visit of Condolence A Fatal Omission 360

CHAPTER XLIV.

The Great Annual Foray The Metta Galla Release of the
Captives Vindication of the Cross The Lion's Share In-
clement Season The Earthquake Sweeping Desolation The
Sorcerer's Prediction 366

CHAPTER XLV.

Liberation of the Princes of the Blood- Royal of Shoa Disposition
of the Monarch The Sick Chamber Marks of Confidence A
Successful Appeal Foreign Ascendency The Royal Captives
Their Fetters unloosed Message to Great Britain 376

Appendix 387



THE



HIGHLANDS OF .ETHIOPIA,



ETC.



CHAPTER I.

THE HOUSE OF SOLOMON.

^ETHIOPIA is the classical appellation for Abyssinia,
or Habesh, the most ancient as well as the greatest
monarchy in Africa. It is by the latter title that
the inhabitants themselves, and all their circum-
jacent neighbours, still distinguish the highlands
included between Nubia and the sources of the
blue Nile ; and the limits of the Christian empire,
governed by the sovereigns of Axum, formerly ex-
tended over wide tracts of country, now peopled by
heathen and stranger nations.

The early history of Habesh is lost in the fogs of
VOL. HI. B



2 THE QUEEN OF SHEBA.

fable. In the Chronicles styled Kebra za Negest,
" the glory of the kings," a romance which pre-
tends to be a faithful repository of the past, Ittopia
is modestly stated to have divided with Romia the
dominion of the world, received in direct inherit-
ance from Adam. " Their rulers were both de-
scended from Shem, who was nominated the lineal
descendant of Noah, whence all the globe north of
Jerusalem belonged unto the former, and all south
to the latter !"

This record is believed to have been discovered
in the church of St. Sophia, and it claims for the
present royal family descent from the queen of
Sheba, whose visit to king Solomon is stated to
have placed the sceptre in the hands of the tribe
of Judah, with whom it has remained until the
present day ; and from the peasant to the despot
this legend is firmly believed by every native of
Abyssinia.

" The queen of ^Ethiopia," saith the Chronicle,
" whose name was Maqueda, had heard from the
merchant Tamerin of the wisdom and the glory of
king Solomon; and resolving to visit him in his
own country, she proceeded to the land of Israel
with all the rich presents that her empire could
afford."

After a season the royal lady returned ; and her
son Menilek, the result of her visit to the greatest
potentate of the age, was born, and in due time
transmitted to his august sire, that he might be



MENILEK IBN HAKIM. 3

duly instructed in all the mysteries of Jewish law
and science. Having been anointed king under the
name of David, he returned to his native land, with
a large suite of the nobles of Israel, and a band of
her most learned elders under the direction of Asca-
rias, the son of Zadok the High Priest.

But previously to his setting out, the gates of
the temple of Jerusalem were left unguarded, and
the doors miraculously opened in order to afford
an opportunity, which was not neglected, of stealing
and carrying away the holy ark of Zion and the
tables of the law. To queen Maqueda also is attri-
buted the inhuman treatment since experienced by
the royal princes, for on resigning the reins of autho-
rity to her son, about nine hundred and seventy
years before the birth of Christ, she caused a solemn
obligation to be sworn by all, that henceforward no
female should hold sway in the land ; and that
those princes of the blood-royal upon whom the
crown did not devolve, should, until the succession
opened to them, or during their natural term of
existence, be kept close prisoners on a lofty moun-
tain ; a cruel and despotic enactment, which,
through a long succession of ages, was jealously
observed.

The Emperor of ^Ethiopia early adopted the title
of Negoos, or Negash ; and the coast of the Indian
ocean towards Sofala was held by his deputy with
the style of Bahr Negash, "the King of the Sea,"
a vicegerent with the same title, governing Ye-

B 2



4 USURPATION OF THE THRONE.

men, which from the earliest times down to the
Mohammadan conquest of Arabia belonged to
Abyssinia. The family of Menilek ibn Hakim are
stated in the Kebra za Negest to have worn the
crown in uninterrupted felicity until the year of
our Lord 960, when an event occurred which
nearly obliterated that dynasty, and first spread
anarchy, violence, and oppression throughout the
once happy realm.

Christianity became the national religion of
Abyssinia in the beginning of the fourth century.
The Falashas, descendants of the Jews, who are
believed to have accompanied Menilek from Jeru-
salem, had meanwhile waxed extremely powerful,
and refusing to abandon the faith of their fore-
fathers, they now declared independence. Electing
a sovereign of their own creed, they took possession
of the almost impregnable mountain fastnesses of
Simien, where their numbers were augmented by
continual accessions from the Jews who were ex-
pelled from Palestine and from Arabia. Under
the constant titles of Gideon and Judith, a succes-
sion of kings and queens held a limited sway until,
in the middle of the tenth century, the Princess
Esther, styled, by the Amhara, Issat, which signi-
fies "fire," a woman of extraordinary beauty and
talent, conceived the design of subverting the reli-
gion, and with it the existing order of succession
in the empire. A fatal epidemic had swept off
the Emperor, and spread desolation through court



ANCIENT DYNASTY RESTORED. 5

and capital. Del Naad, who had been nominated
to the crown, was of tender years ; and Esther,
deeming no opportunity more favourable, surprised
the rock Damo, on which, by virtue of the existing
statute, the other scions of the royal house were
confined, and having massacred the whole, five
hundred in number, proclaimed herself the queen
over Abyssinia.

The sole surviving prince of his race was hurried
by the Amhara nobility into the distant and loyal
province of Shoa ; and the reins of government
passed into the hands of a Christian family of
Lasta, styled Zegue, with whom they remained
until the thirteenth century. During the adminis-
tration of Naakweto Laab, the last of this dynasty,
Tekla Hami'anot the monk, a native of Abyssinia,
was created Abuna', or Primate of ^Ethiopia. He
had previously founded in Shoa the celebrated
monastery of Debra Libanos, and was a man
celebrated alike for the purity of his life, the sound-
ness of his understanding, and his devotion to his
country. Obtaining extraordinary influence over
the mind of the king, he prevailed upon him, for
conscience-sake, to resign a crown which could
never be purified from the stain of usurpation.
The banished line of Solomon, content with the
dominion of Shoa, had made no effort towards
the recovery of their ancient boundaries ; but by
a treaty now concluded, Yekweno Amlak was re-

1 Abuna, or more properly Aboon, signifies " our father."



6 THE ERA OF PARTITION.

stored to the throne of his ancestors. Naakweto
Laab was to retain Lasta in perpetual indepen-
dence, with the golden stool, the silver kettle-drums,
and other insignia of royalty, whilst one third of the
realm was permanently ceded to the Primate for the
maintenance of his ecclesiastical dignity, and for the
support of the clergy, convents, and churches.
This was styled the " Era of Partition ; " and it
formed a stipulation, that the functions of Arch-
bishop should in future be vested in none save
a Copt, appointed from Cairo by the chair of St.
Mark.



CHAPTER II.

THE LINEAGE OF SHOA.

THUS affairs continued until the sixteenth cen-
tury, when the invasion of Mohammad Graan led
to the total dismemberment of the ^Ethiopic em-
pire ; and Shoa, amongst other of the richer pro-
vinces, was overrun and colonized by the Galla
hordes. Nebla Dengel, the emperor of Gondar,
fell by the hand of the Moslem conqueror. Faris,
the son of Dilbonach, by a daughter of the house
of Solomon, held a Ras-ship under the crown, in
the strong-hold of Dair, and from his son Sum-
bellete sprang Nagasi, the first monarch of Efat,
who was born at Amad Washa, the capital of
Agamcha, and a century and a half ago held his
capital in Mans. Prior to the conquest of that
province, which was followed by the gradual sub-
jugation of Shoa and its present dependencies, this
prince occupied a lofty fortress in the Yedjow coun-
try, where some of his descendants still remain.
From it are visible the high and impregnable mounts
Ambasel and Geshama ; the latter of which fast-
nesses, in the more remote periods of ^Ethiopic
splendour, had served as a place of confinement



8 FIRST KING OF SHOA.



for the younger brothers of the reigning emperor ;
whilst the former is in the hands of an independent
ruler, whose ancestress becoming the mistress of
the Christian governor, the father of the Delilah
contrived, during the celebration of her nuptials, to
surprise the garrison, and put every man to the
sword.

Nagasi repaired in due time to Gondar, to be
formally invested by the Emperor ; but after re-
ceiving at the royal hands twelve " nugareet,"
he died suddenly. To one of his four sons he
bequeathed on his death-bed a shield, to a second a
spear, to a third a ring, and to Sabastiye, his
favourite child, a war-steed which he had always
ridden to the combat. The youths were summoned
to court in order that they might receive their lega-
cies ; and on opening an amulet attached to the
horse's neck, it was found to contain the will and
testament of the deceased, nominating Sabastiye
the successor to his possessions.

This prince reigned twenty-five years, and was
succeeded by Abiye, his eldest son, who after fifteen
years was gathered to his fathers at Aramba, which
he had wrested from the Areeo Galla. Emmaha
Yasoos, who succeeded next, and reigned thirty-two
years, introduced several matchlocks from Gondar,
conquered Ankober, and removed his capital thither
from Dokaket. At the period of his accession, the
sorcerers predicted that if one Arkaradis should be
appointed minister, the empire would be doubled.



EXTENSION OF THE REALM. 9

Diligent search was made throughout the realm,
but a mendicant was the sole individual of that
name who could be found. He was duly inducted
into office ; and his first step was to revive among
the circumjacent Galla an ancient prophecy, that
when fires should be seen on the summits of the
three loftiest peaks of the great barrier range, their
possessions would be overrun by the Christians.
After the lapse of a few months, Arkaradis caused
beacon-fires to be kindled during the night on the
crests of Kondie, Ankober, and Mamrat ; upon
beholding which many of the heathen fled, and
without a blow being struck, sundry districts were
appended to Shoa.

Asfa Woosen, grandsire to the reigning monarch,
succeeded to his father Emmaha Yasoos, and
reigned thirty- three and a half years. Of forty-
eight male children he was the bravest. He was a
great Nimrod, and an unparalleled warrior, slaying
three hundred Pagans with his own spear from the
back of his favourite war steed Amadoo. Amongst
many other despotic laws enacted during his reign,
was one prohibiting the manufacture of hydromel
by the subject. Three great rebellions threatened
the stability of his empire, which had now shaken
off all allegiance to Gondar, but each in turn was
quelled by his personal valour. The last insurrec-
tion was headed by Woosen Suggud, the heir-
apparent. In a pitched battle the youth was
wounded by the hand of his father, taken prisoner,



10 SHADOW EMPEROR OF GONDAR.

and immured throughout the term of the monarch's
life. During the last fifteen years of his reign, Asfa
Woosen was totally blind. It is fully believed that
the sight of one eye was destroyed by Thavanan, as
already narrated in the legend of " the tormentor,"
and that one of the royal concubines, whom that
sorcerer had spirited away, destroyed the other
shortly afterwards, by means of a powerful spell
imparted by her paramour.

Since the commencement of the present century,
the custom of consigning to a dungeon the brothers
and kindred of the reigning monarch has fallen into
desuetude in Northern Abyssinia. The princes of
the blood-royal now wander over the country un-
molested and unheeded, attaching themselves to
any chief who may be willing to extend countenance
and support, and holding themselves at his disposal
in the event of his gaining ascendancy over his
rivals, and requiring a titular emperor to perform
the indispensable ceremony of nominating a Ras.
But the form is still retained, of placing the crown
upon the brows of a descendant of the ancient line
of Solomon, who is content to be a mere puppet in
the hands of the temporary minister ; and enjoying
a stipend of three hundred dollars per annum, with
the paltry revenues accruing from the tolls of the
hebdomadal market in the capital, he remains a pri-
soner upon parole in his palace at Gondar.



11



CHAPTER III.

THE MONARCH AND THE COURT.

SAHELA SELASSIE, " the clemency of the Trinity,"
seventh king of Shoa, whose surname is Menilek,
was twelve years of age when the assassination of
Woosen Suggud called him from a monastery to the
throne, and placed in his hands the reins of despotic
government over a wild Christian nation. His sire
had enjoyed a brief, but exceedingly active reign of
four and a half years, during which he extended his
empire far beyond the limits bequeathed to him by
Asfa Woosen made conquests in the south to the
mountains of Garra Gorphoo, and in the west to the
Nile. The most despotic measures marked his
transient but iron rule ; and had he survived, the
expectations formed of him would in all probability
have been realized, and he would have become
monarch of all Abyssinia. But the nation groaned
under his oppression ; and after a series of the
harshest acts, induced by visits in disguise, like
those of Haroun Alraschid, the great Kaliph of
Bagdad, to the houses of his subjects, and to places
of public resort, a Shankela slave, whom he had pro-
voked by ill usage, turned upon his royal master, and
having slain him with a sword, set fire to the palace



12 ASSASSINATION OF WOOSEN SUGGUD.

at Kondie, which was burned to the ground ; and
the wealth amassed in many earthen jars melted,
according to the tradition, into a liquid stream of
mingled silver and gold, which flowed over the
mountain side.

In Shoa, as in other savage countries, the tidings
of the dissolution of the monarch, unless timely
concealed, spread like lightning to the furthest
extremities of the kingdom, and become a signal
for rapine, anarchy, and murder, which rage unre-
strained during the continuance of the interregnum.
Every individual throughout the realm deems him-
self at full liberty to act according to the bent of
his own vicious inclinations to perpetrate every
atrocity, and to indulge in the gratification of every



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