Introduction / History
The Amhara people are related to the Tigray and Tigre people of Ethiopia and Eritrea who together make up the Habeshans. These people can trace their origins back to Shem, eldest son of Noah. They left present day Yemen and settled on the African side of the Red Sea inhabiting the Nile Delta and all land East of the valley down to the Ethiopian Highlands. These people are known in antiquity as the Ancient Egyptians who retreated back to Ethiopia and Eritrea after countless takeovers of Egypt. here they established other great kingdoms such as Sheba/Saba and Axum. After the Middle Ages they soon split into 3 tribes: Amhara, Tigre and Tigray with their own languages that all derived from Ge'ez, their ancient language.
Where Are they Located?
After the countless times Egypt has been subdued by foreign power, the majority of the Egyptians retreated to the safe haven of Eritrea and Ethiopia. Today the Amhara live mainly in Central and East/North Eastern Ethiopia.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Amhara life has been mostly the same for thousands of years. Some live as farmers who reside in the Ethiopian Highlands while tending cattle and sheep. The father of the household usually does most of the farming while the wife works in the house making food and caring for the children. The eldest son sometimes helps his dad with the farming or is put in charge of the sheep if he is an only son. Though mostly given up now, other Amharas would adopt nomadic life and work as merchants. They road camels and ran caravan routes from the Nubian and Danakil deserts into the major cities like Axum, Adulis and Kumbar.
What Are Their Beliefs?
From early encounters with the Hebrew people, many Habeshans adopted the early form of proto-Judasim. Though the high and ruling class continued to to practice the Egyptian pagan religion until Queen Makda of Sheba was converted by King Solomon to Judaism. Christianity came to the Amhara through Coptic missionaries. The Amhara and other Habeshans were the first African converts to Islam after sheltering Muhammed's followers from their enemies in Mecca. Because of the Islamic expansion, Aksum was cut from other Christian kingdoms which created their own unique form of Coptic Christianity by incorporating Judaistic rituals and laws and putting a large focus on monasticism. today the majority of Amhara people are Ethiopian Orthodox and the minority are Sunni Muslim.
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