Gaki Sherocho

Last updated
Tato Gaki Sherocho, king of Kaffa, in chains after his defeat against Ras Wolde Giyorgis in 1897 Tato Gaki Sherocho in chains - 1897.jpg
Tato Gaki Sherocho, king of Kaffa, in chains after his defeat against Ras Wolde Giyorgis in 1897

Gaki Sherocho (died 1919) was the last king of the Kingdom of Kaffa (6 April 1890 – 10 September 1897) in what is now Ethiopia. He is usually called by the Kaffa "Chinito", the diminutive of Taten Chini ("King Chini"). [1]

According to Amnon Orent's informants, Gaki Sherocho had many more fields cleared from forests during his reign than any of his predecessors, and that he organized the districts of Kaffa to kill the wildlife that harmed the crops and livestock. The tradition also reports that he ruled with an iron hand, and traveled widely in the countryside to enforce his laws. [1]

In January 1897, Emperor Menelik II sent out three armies under the leadership of Ras Walda Giyorgis (who was appointed beforehand as governor of Kaffa), Dejazmach Demissew Nassibu, and Dejazmach Tessema Nadew to conquer Kaffa. King Abba Jifar II of Jimma supported the Ethiopian forces with his own troops. Ras Walda Giyorgis attacked Gaki Sherocho's kingdom from Konto to the southeast, which was not as strongly fortified as the Jimma-Kaffa boundary along the Gojeb River. [2]

Against an army of 31,000 men, 20,000 armed with rifles, king Gaki Sherocho could marshal about 300 obsolete firearms. Despite this, according to historian Harold Marcus, he called up all men between the ages of eight and 80 "for what was to become a guerilla struggle against overwhelming outside forces." He took the precaution of burying his crown on Mount Butto, trusting in the legend that the kingdom would not fall as long as this royal symbol remained in Kaffa. [3] A more pragmatic tactic is recorded by Alexander Bulatovich, who visited Kaffa and met with some of the Ethiopian participants: destroying the grain supplies. "Knowing very well that the Abyssinians during campaigns supplied themselves exclusively with the provisions of the region under attack," wrote Bulatovich, "Tato Chenito [Gake Sherocho] issued an edict which prohibited producing any crops, even planting. He hoped that the lack of provisions would force the Abyssinians to retreat, and that only the Kaffa, who were used to it, could nourish themselves." [4]

Upon the fall of his capital Anderaccha, Gaki Sherocho fled into the hinterlands of his kingdom, where he was able to elude capture for nine months. Chris Proutky claims that he was able to do this because he was "loved by his people"; Bahru Zewde, on the other hand, describes him as despotic and states that this quality led to his downfall. [5]

Captured 11 September, Gaki Sherocho was brought in silver chains (forged out of silver looted from his own treasury) to Addis Ababa, where he lived in captivity for the rest of his life. [6] Ras Walda Giyorgis had forced informants to reveal the location of the crown. [7] Werner Lange writes that the former king died at Ankober, perhaps from poisoning. [8] Athill relates that "so much prestige was attached to the royal crown that Menelik had it sent to Switzerland for fear that its presence in Abyssinia should encourage the descendants of Galito [Gaki Sherocho] to rise in rebellion for its recovery." The king was survived by a son, Bazabi, who accompanied Athill for two days as he traveled through the kingdom in 1920. [9]


  1. 1 2 Amnon Orent, " Refocusing on the History of Kafa prior to 1897: A Discussion of Political Processes", African Historical Studies, 3 (1970), p. 282
  2. Bahru Zewde (2001). A History of Modern Ethiopia (second ed.). Oxford: James Currey. pp. 65f. ISBN   0-85255-786-8.
  3. Marcus, Harold G. (1995). The Life and Times of Menelik II: Ethiopia 1844-1913. Lawrenceville: Red Sea Press. p. 185. ISBN   1-56902-010-8.
  4. "With the Armies of Menelik II, emperor of Ethiopia" Archived 14 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine , translated by Richard Seltzer
  5. Proutky, Empress Taytu and Menilek II: Ethiopia 1883-1910 (Trenton: The Red Sea Press, 1986), p. 204. ISBN   0-932415-11-3; Bahru Zewde, p. 66.
  6. Bahru Zewdu, p. 66.
  7. Marcus, Menelik II, p. 186.
  8. Lange, History of the Southern Gonga (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 1982), p. 215.
  9. L. F. I. Athill, "Through South-Western Abyssinia to the Nile", Geographical Journal, 56 (November 1920), p. 356

Related Research Articles

Menelik II Emperor of Ethiopia

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; the war most Oromos classify as genocides. 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.

Lij Iyasu of Ethiopia Emperor-designate of Ethiopia

Lij Iyasu, sometimes incorrectly styled Iyasu V, was the designated but uncrowned Emperor of Ethiopia (1913–16). His baptismal name was Kifle Yaqob. Ethiopian emperors traditionally chose their regnal name on the day they were crowned, and since he was never crowned, he is usually referred to as Lij Iyasu, "Lij" meaning child, especially one born of royal blood.

Makonnen Endelkachew Ethiopian Prime Minister

Ras BetwodedMekonnen Endelkachew was an Ethiopian aristocrat and Prime Minister under Emperor Haile Selassie. Mekonnen was born in Addisge, the nephew of the noted Shewan general and politician Ras Betwoded Tessema Nadew, who introduced him to Emperor Menilek II. He was a member of the alpha class of the Menelik II School in Addis Ababa when it opened in 1908.

This is a list of monarchies of Ethiopia that existed throughout the nation's history. It is divided into kingdoms that were subdivisions of Ethiopia, and kingdoms that were later conquered by Ethiopia. Ancient kingdoms fall into neither category.

Tekle Giyorgis II was nəgusä nägäst (Emperor) of Ethiopia from 1868 to 1871.

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.

MotiAbba Jifar II was King of the Gibe Kingdom of Jimma.

The Kingdom of Kaffa was an early modern state located in what is now Ethiopia, with its first capital at Bonga. The Gojeb River formed its northern border, beyond which lay the Gibe kingdoms; to the east the territory of the Konta and Kullo peoples lay between Kaffa and the Omo River; to the south numerous subgroups of the Gimira people, and to the west lay the Majangir people. The native language, also known as Kaffa, is one of the Omotic group of languages.

Gugsa of Yejju was a Ras of Begemder, and Inderase (regent) of the Emperor of Ethiopia. According to Nathaniel Pearce, he took the Christian name of Wolde Mikael. He was the son of Mersu Barentu and Kefey, the sister of Ras Aligaz. Both Bahru Zewde and Paul B. Henze consider his reign as Ras and Enderase as the peak of the Yejju Dynasty during the Zemene Mesafint.

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.

Afevork Ghevre Jesus writer

Afäwarq Gäbrä Iyäsus was an Ethiopian writer, who wrote the first novel in Amharic, Ləbb Wälläd Tarik, . Bahru Zewde writes, "Few people before or after him have demonstrated such superb mastery of the Amharic language. Few have ventured with such ingenuity into the hidden recesses of that language to come out with a wealth of vocabulary and idiom one scarcely thought the language possessed. Afäwarq is nonetheless a controversial figure for having supported the Italians during both the First and Second Italo-Abyssinian Wars.

Desta Damtew Ethiopian noble and army commander

RasDesta Damtew was an Ethiopian noble, an army commander, and a son-in-law of Emperor Haile Selassie I.

Kassa Haile Darge Shewan nobleman and President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia

Leul RasKassa Hailu KS, GCVO, GBE, was a Shewan nobleman, the son of Dejazmach Haile Wolde Kiros of Lasta, the ruling heir of Lasta's throne and younger brother of Emperor Tekle Giyorgis II on his mother's side, and Tisseme Darge, the daughter of Ras Darge Sahle Selassie, brother of Menelik II's father.

Balcha Safo Ethiopian general

DejazmachBalcha Safo, popularly referred to by his "horse-name" of Balcha Aba Nefso, was an accomplished Ethiopian military commander and lord protector of the crown, who served in both the First and Second Italo-Ethiopian Wars.

The Ministry of National Defense of Ethiopia is a cabinet-level office in charge of defense related matters of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. It oversees the Ethiopian National Defense Force and Ethiopian Defense Industry. The current minister is Lemma Megersa.

Getachew Abate (1895–1952) was an army commander and a member of the nobility of the Ethiopian Empire.

Tekle Haymanot of Gojjam King of Gojjam

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.

Nasibu Zeamanuel, also Nasibu Zamanuael or Nasibu Emmanual in some texts, was an army commander of the Ethiopian Empire. Along with his brother Wasane, historian Bahru Zewde groups Nasibu "among the most colourful of the first-generation intellectuals" of Twentieth-century Ethiopia. His maternal grandfather, Azaz Emmanual Wolde Malakot, whose name both brothers came to adopt, was a notable courtier of Emperor.

HakimWorkneh Eshete was the first Ethiopian educated as a medical doctor, and an Ethiopian intellectual. He led the Ethiopian diplomatic mission to the United States in 1927, which negotiated a contract to build a dam on the upper Abay River; and, beginning in 1934, he served as Ethiopia's Minister to the United Kingdom.

Tessema Nadew Ethiopian military commander and Regent to Lij Iyasu

Ras BitwodedTessema Nadew was an Ethiopian military commander and official who on 28 October 1909 was proclaimed as Ethiopia's future Balemulu Enderase to Lij Iyasu, upon the latter's appointment as heir to the throne by Emperor Menelik II. He died in 1911, predeceasing Menelik and thus never assuming that office. He previously served as governor of Illubabor Province, the campaign of re-conquest for which he had led, and fought in the Battle of Adwa.