About Tigray, short introductory history

Tigray is located in north Ethiopia. It is one of the first place in the world where all major religions (Jewish, christianity and Islam etc) were introduced and practised. In Tigray there are tangible evidences why to call it the credile of civilization in tha horn of Africa. collects reliable reference documents, articles and makes links to trustworthy publications about Tigray everywhere in media.

The goal is to provide the right information to the Dutch speaking people in particular and English and Tigrigna speaking in general.

As of November 2020, the Ethiopian government started war against Tigray. As a consequence of the war and the hate of many Ethiopians against Tigray people, the independence of Tigray has become imminent.

In this website, we focus on issues that may be raised during the process of becoming independent. Thus, we collect reference documents, articles and make links to publications about Tigray.

In this page, we first explain how Tigray, Abyssenia and Ethiopia are related to each other. Then we make short historical account about Tigray and its recent (since 1855) situation.

For recent Articles and documentations about Tigray click on Articles on the header of this page or click Here

Relation of Tigray, Abyssenia and Ethiopia

Tigray is part and parcel of the country that used to be called Abyssenia, now called Ethiopia. The name Abyssenia was used as a collective name of several regions in northern Ethiopia. Before 1855, the regions Tigray, Agew midir, Gojam, Shewa and Wollo made the country Abyssenia. These regions of Abyssenia existed for centuries and were geographically, ethinicaly or religiously bounded.

Until the early 1930's, the name Abyssenia remained synonimous to Ethiopia. It was only during the Haileselasee rule name Abyssenia was abolished.

In history books, Tigray is sometimes mentioned as the credile of civilization of old Ethiopia. The 3000 years old history that Ethiopia claims is actually the history of Axumites, particularly that of Tigray Abyssenians. The old history of Ethiopia is inherited from Tigray/Abyssenia. When emperor Haileselasse changed the name Abyssenia to Ethiopia he also changed the history of Abyssenia to Ethiopia. The country Ethiopia we know todate ha no history older than 130 years. Ethiopia is the result of the expantion of Abyssenia that started in 1889 by emperor Minilik.

If Tigray becomes independent Ethiopia has no background to claim the old history. The independence of Tigray may lead to the disintegration of Ethiopia, as most sothern states don't consider themselves as Abyssnians.

One issue that comes in mind when thinking of independence is the boundary. In the links below, and also the sidebar, take you to maps of the changing boundaries of both Tigray and Ethiopia during the last 150 years. There you will find also short history of why the boundary changes took place. Click following ling the varying boundary of Tigray/Abyssenia during the last 150 years.

Changing boundary of Tigray

Click the following link to see the changing boundary of Ethiopia/Abyssenia during the last 150 years.

Changing boundary of Ethiopia

Tigray its background, and recent situation, historical perspective

The name Ethiopia was not known to Ethiopians during the Zemene Mesafint, that ended in 1855. The norther part of the present Ethiopia, namely Abyssenia or present Tigray where Axum, on the other hand were known to them. The northern part of Ethiopia is where the ancient civilization was based.

The huge monelithic obliskes found in Axum are proofs the ancient civilization of Tigray.

You may watch the video clip of the obelisks in Youtube HERE or HERE .

Abyssenia was collective name of several regions in northern Ethiopia. These regions were Tigray, Agew midir, Gojam, Shewa, Begemder and Wello. The people living in this region called themselves Habesha. The name Abyssenia comes from this word Habesha.

These regions had known selfrule for centuries. It was Atse Tewodros from Kimant (ruled 1855-1867) who forcefully succeeded to rule several regions under the name Abyssenia. His capital city was Debre Tabor.

Emperor Yohannes (ruled 1867-1889) is the last emperor from Tigray that ruled Abyssenia. His capital city was Mekelle. He had acquired the title of 'niguse negest' (king of kings) of Abyssenia, since he had several kings under his Administration. Yohannes fought and defended Abyseenia from foreign invaders (Egypt, Turkey, Italy, the Mahadists etc). He had secured the northern boundary, the Red Sea, of Abyssenia. To the south his administration didn't go beyond Shewa (in the visinity of Addis Abeba). Addis Abeba didin't exit then.

The power of Abyssenia shifted to Shewa (Amhara) after the death of emperor Yohannes. Emperor Minilik (1889-1913) from Shewa came to pwer. In his reign Minilik had commited genocide against Tigrians. In order to subjugate Tigray, he also made deal with Italy and gave northern part of Tigray (now Eritrea) to Italy.

On the other hand, he expanded Abyssenia territory to the south and created the country we know as Ethiopia now.

However, the southern peoples and nationalities never considered themselves as Abyssenians. Therefore, when Atse Haileselasee (ruled 1931-1974) came to power in the early 1930's, he had to change the name Abyssenia to Ethiopia. He also divided Ethiopia into 13 provinces inclusve Tigray.

Tigray had protested against Haileselasse and uprising (1st Woyan) took palce in 30's. Unfortunately, Tigray lost the war. The British stood with haileselasse and British Airforce bombareded Tigray and killed hundreds of thousnds of Tigriyans. Tigray caputulated.

In the early 1960's Hailesselasse made Eritrea the 14th province of Ethiopia. He could have made it part of Tigray. But that would mean the rise of powerful Tigray. Therefore, he chose to make it 14th province.

When Haileselasse was overthrouwen, Tigray rebels rose again (2nd Woyane) and fought for 17 years and overthrouw Mengistu, (Derg- military junta 1974-1991. Mr. Meles Zenawi from Tigray came to power ruled froms 1991-2012. He abolished the old provinces and established 9 regions, based on language and Ethnicity. He also facilitated the independence of Eritrea in 1991 (officially 1993). The coming of a Tigryan to power was not welcome by the Amhara, (particularly Shewa) who had been in power since 1989.

The sudden death of Meles (2012) created power vacuum. The Amhara unionists got a chance and made Mr. Hailemariam (from south who succeeded Meles) it difficult to remain in power. Thus, he resigned in 2018. He handed the power over to Mr. Abiy Ahmed peacefully.

Abiy Ahmed (2018 - now), unfortunately, is a unionist and aims to bring the country back to the old system, the type of Minilik rule. He know the Tigrayans would never accept that, thus he decided to single out Tigryans and and prohibited them to exercise selfrule, the very thing they fought and made succrefies for 17 years. He made alliance with foreign countries and Amhara regional government and invaded Tigray in november 2020. More than 600,000 armed invading soldiers were fighting in Tigray until June 2021. From June the Tigray people have the upper hand in the war and the invading soldiers are driven out of most tigray except the western part of Tigray.

However, the damage and the atrocities made by the invading soldiers Tigray are beyond the conscience of any human being. After all these attrocities and damage (genocide, ethic cleansing, use of rape and hunger as weapon of war etc) in Tigray, the indipendence of Tigray has become imminent. There is no single Tigraway at this moment who wants to remain Ethiopian.

Subsequently, if Tigray becomes independent, other regions will follow. The disintegration of Ethiopia will be the final result. Within a forseable periode Ethiopia will become history, just like Yugoslavia in the the early 1990.

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