|Battle of Debre Abbay|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Dejazmach Sabagadis||Ras Marye of Yejju (KIA)|
The Battle of Debre Abbay was a conflict between Ras Marye of Yejju, Regent of the Emperor of Ethiopia, and his rival from Tigray, Dejazmach Sabagadis of Agame. Although Ras Marye lost his life in this battle, Dejazmach Sabagadis was defeated, and after surrendering was executed by Ras Marye's Oromo followers.
Ras, is a royal title in the Ethiopian Semitic languages. It is one of the powerful non-imperial titles.
Marye of Yejju was a Ras of Begemder and Enderase (regent) of the Emperor of Ethiopia. He was the brother of his predecessor Ras Yimam.
The Emperor of Ethiopia was the hereditary ruler of the Ethiopian Empire, until the abolition of the monarchy in 1975. The Emperor was the head of state and head of government, with ultimate executive, judicial and legislative power in that country. A National Geographic article called imperial Ethiopia "nominally a constitutional monarchy; in fact [it was] a benevolent autocracy".
Ras Marye had inherited the mantle of Regent of the Emperor of Ethiopia, and while admittedly a Christian, his Oromo ancestry caused much resentment from the other Christian aristocrats and nobles of Ethiopia. Dejazmach Sabagadis attempted to exploit this antipathy, and succeeded in forming a coalition with his fellow Christian lords of Gojjam, Lasta and Semien against Ras Marye.
Gojjam is in the northwestern part of Ethiopia with its capital city at Debre Marqos. Lake Tana is the source of the Blue Nile and is the largest lake in Ethiopia.
Lasta is a historic district in north-central Ethiopia. It is the district in which Lalibela is situated, the former capital of Ethiopia during the Zagwe dynasty and home to 11 medieval rock-hewn churches.
Forewarned of this plot, Ras Marye struck first and defeated the members of this coalition individually. After defeating Dejazmach Goshu in Gojjam, Ras Marye turned north and marched into Semien and attacked Dejazmach Wube Haile Maryam; Sabagadis failed to come to the help of his ally, and Wube decided to submit to the Ras than face him alone. Having isolated Sebagadis, Ras Marye now crossed the Tekezé River against his rival, supported not only by Oromo contingents from Wollo, Yejju, Begemder and Amhara but also by the armies of Dejazmaches Wube and Goshu.
Wube Haile Maryam, also called Wube Haile Mariam or Dejazmach Wube, (1800–1867) was a regional ruler and dejazmach in Tigray, Simien, and other coastal territories, in an area that is now part of northern Ethiopia and central Eritrea. Wube is remembered in Eritrea for barbarous military raids. He was defeated and imprisoned in 1855 by Kassa Hailu. Some sources date Wube's defeat as the end of Ethiopia's Zemene Mesafint era.
The Tekezé or Täkkäze River, also spelled Takkaze, is a major river of Ethiopia. For part of its course it forms a section the westernmost border of Ethiopia and Eritrea. The river is also known as the Setit in Eritrea, western Ethiopia, and eastern Sudan. According to materials published by the Ethiopian Central Statistical Agency, the Tekezé River is 608 kilometers (378 mi) long. The canyon which it has created is the deepest in Africa and one of the deepest in the world, at some points having a depth of over 2000 meters.
Begemder was a province in the northwestern part of Ethiopia.
The opposing armies met on 14 February 1831 at Mai Islami near Debre Abbay (which is why this battle is also sometimes called the Battle of Mai Islami). Although Sabagadis had the superiority of a far larger number of firearms, his matchlockmen were poorly employed and failed to overcome the vaunted Oromo cavalry. The battle resulted in immense casualties, one of whom was Ras Marye. Defeated, the Dejazmach sought to escape the vengeance of Ras Marye's kinsmen by surrendering to his former ally Wube; Wube handed the Dejazmach over to his victorious allies, and the Oromo executed Sebagadis.
Debre Abbay is a monastery of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church located at the edge of the canyon of the Tekezé River in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia. The monastery dates from the 14th century, and has important connections with Ethiopian history: the Emperor Zara Yaqob was educated there until his 14th year, the Battle of Debre Abbay was fought nearby 14 February 1831, and notable Ethiopian scholars, such as Gedamu Woldegiorgis, continued to be educated there well into the early to mid-1900s.
The matchlock was the first mechanism invented to facilitate the firing of a hand-held firearm. Before this, firearms had to be fired by applying a lit match to the priming powder in the flash pan by hand; this had to be done carefully, taking most of the soldier's concentration at the moment of firing, or in some cases required a second soldier to fire the weapon while the first held the weapon steady. Adding a matchlock made the firing action simple and reliable by a single soldier, allowing them to keep both hands steadying the gun and eyes on the target while firing.
The Oromo people are a Cushitic ethnic group inhabiting Ethiopia. They are the largest ethnic groups in Ethiopia and represent 34.5% of Ethiopia's population. Oromos speak the Oromo language as a mother tongue, which is part of the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. The word Oromo appeared in European literature for the first time in 1893 and slowly became common in the second half of the 20th century.
The Oromo ravaged Tigray under their new leader, Ras Dori of Yejju, but withdrew to Begemder due to his increasing illness before his death.In the chaos that followed Sabagadis' death, Wube emerged as the primary warlord of Tigray.
Dori of Yejju was a Ras of Begemder and Inderase (regent) of the Emperor of Ethiopia. He was the brother of his predecessor Marye of Yejju.
Menelik II GGCB, GCMG was Emperor of Ethiopia from 1889 to his death in 1913 and Negus (King) of Shewa (1866–89). At the height of his internal power and external prestige, the process of territorial expansion and creation of the modern empire-state was completed by 1898, which expanded the Ethiopian Empire to the extent of the historic Aksumite Empire. Menelik was also remembered for leading Ethiopian troops against the Kingdom of Italy in the First Italo-Ethiopian War, where Menelik scored a decisive victory at the Battle of Adwa.
Tekle Giyorgis I was Emperor of Ethiopia intermittently between 20 July 1779 and June 1800, and a member of the Solomonic dynasty. He was the youngest son of Yohannes II and Woizoro Sancheviyer, and the brother of Tekle Haymanot II.
Salomon II was nəgusä nägäst of Ethiopia. He was the son of Abeto Adigo. He may be identical with the Emperor Solomon whom the traveler Henry Salt lists as one of the Emperors still alive at the time of his visit in 1809/1810.
AtseBaeda Maryam was proclaimed Emperor of Ethiopia in Tigray and Gojjam by Dejazmach Wolde Gabriel, the son of Ras Mikael Sehul, who was opposed to Ras Ali of Begemder.
Yonas or Jonah was nəgusä nägäst of Ethiopia. He was the son of Letezum, and the grandson of the Emperor Fasilides.
Gigar, was nəgusä nägäst of Ethiopia, and purportedly a member of the Solomonic dynasty.
Yimam of Yejju was a Ras of Begemder and Enderase (regent) of the Emperor of Ethiopia. He was the son of Gugsa of Yejju.
Ali I of Yejju was a Ras of Begemder, and following the death of Ras Mikael Sehul, Regent of the Emperor of Ethiopia. He was the son of Abba Seru Gwangul, chieftain of the Yejju, and Woizero Gelebu Faris, daughter of Ras Faris of Lasta.
Ali II of Yejju was a Ras of Begemder and Enderase (Regent) of the Emperor of Ethiopia. He was the son of Alula of Yejju and Menen Liben Amede and nephew of Gugsa of Yejju.
Wolde Selassie was Regent of the Ethiopian Empire. He was the son of Dejazmach Kefla Iyasus, governor of Enderta province, and his wives included Mentewab, the sister of Emperor Egwale Seyon; and Sahin, the daughter of Emperor Tekle Giyorgis I. His brothers included Dejazmach Bilaten-Geta Mennase and Dejazmach Debbab, the great grand father of Emperor Yohannes IV.
Sabagadis Woldu was a Dejazmach (governor) of Tigray from 1822 to 1831. Sabagadis' name is derived from Saho suba (victory) and gaadis. Sabagadis gained some notoriety in the first decade of the 19th century for rebelling a number of times against his overlord, Ras Wolde Selassie. But just before the death of Wolde Selassie it seems that he made up with his master and became one of his loyal lieutenants. Following Wolde Selassie's death in 1816, he defied the authority of Wolde Selassie's son, and became the most powerful warlord in Tigray. Making Adigrat his capital, he ruled Tigray, Semien, and a small strip of the coastal plains of Eritrea by 1818. His rule also extended to the Eritrean highlands.
The Battle of Debre Tabor was a conflict during the Zemene Mesafint in 1842 initiated by Dejazmach Wube Haile Maryam to overthrow Ras Ali II as Regent of the Emperor of Ethiopia and gain control of Ethiopia. This confused battle was won by Ras Ali, but at a steep price, and this victory failed to cement his position as the most powerful nobleman of his time.
The Zemene Mesafint was a period in Ethiopian history between the mid-18th and mid-19th centuries when the country was de facto divided within itself into several regions with no effective central authority. It was a period in which the Emperors from the Solomonic dynasty were reduced to little more than figureheads confined to the capital city of Gondar.
Ras Gobena Dache was an ethnic Oromo member of the Shewan aristocrats of central Ethiopia in the mid-19th century. He is known for coordinating his Shewa Oromo? army with the central army of Menelik II, who later became Ethiopian Emperor, to incorporate more lands into the Ethiopian Empire in the late 19th century.
The Battle of Anchem was a battle fought between two factions of the Royal family in the Ethiopian Empire. The battle was fought to determine who would rule the empire, Empress Zewditu or King (Negus) Tafari Makonnen.
Tekle Haymanot Tessemma, also Adal Tessemma, Tekle Haymanot of Gojjam, and Tekle Haimanot of Gojjam, was King of Gojjam, a member of the Solomonic dynasty of the Ethiopian Empire. He later was an army commander and a member of the nobility of the Ethiopian Empire.
DejazmachBirru Aligaz was a warlord of 19th century Ethiopia during the Zemene Mesafint. As Dejazmach, he held the governorships of different districts such as Lasta and Dembiya and was made governor of Dawint, Wollo in 1842 by Ras Ali II of Yejju. He was the son of Ras Aligaz Abba Seru Gwangul, and had a son called Dejazmach Zegeye.