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|Title: ||Political History of Tigray:Rivalry for Power (1910-1935)|
|Authors: ||Hagos, G/Yohannes|
|Advisors: ||Tecle-Haimanot G/Selassie (Ph.D.)|
|Copyright: ||2003 |
|Date Added: ||15-May-2008 |
|Publisher: ||Addis Ababa university|
Following the unexpected death of Emperor Yohannes IV, Negus Menelik was crowned
Emperor and the political ambition of some of the Tigrean chiefs to crown Ras Mängäša as
Yohannes IV’s heir was barred, and Tigray entered into a political turmoil. The continuous
efforts to regain the throne and the rivalries among the Tigrean chiefs were, therefore, the major
factors affecting the course of events after the death of Emperor Yohannes IV.
After Ras Mängäša’s death, the principal antagonists in Tigray- Däjjac Gäbrä-Sellassé,
Ras Sebhat, Ras Gugsa Araya, Däjjac (later Ras) Seyum were involved in constant power
struggle and engaged in rivalry to influence the central government to gain favour and to obtain
the overlordship of the whole province of Tigray.
During the last reshuffles in the administrative posts of the country made by Emperor
Menelik, on 22 April 1902, Däjjazmac Abatä Bwayaläw was appointed Wagšum and governor
general of Tigray in the presence of Däjjac Seyum, Däjjac Abreha and Däjjac Gäbrä-Sellassé.
Däjjac Abreha rebelled opposing the appointment of Däjjac Abatä as an overlord of Tigray and
was, however, defeated at the Battle of Koräm, in October 1909.
The power struggle among the Tigrean nobility continued after the Battle of Koräm,
which led to the Battle of Akhora, on 25 February 1914, in which Ras Sebhat and his two sons
were killed. The causes and the consequences of the battle are discussed in the thesis.
The relation between the Tigrean chiefs (mainly Ras Seyum and Ras Gugsa) due to the
deposition, escape and arrest of Lej Iyasu was also attempted to be identified in the thesis.In Tigray the son of Ras Seyum, Däjjac Kassa Abba Yelaq, rebelled against his father
and against the central government in 1918 and he achieved initial victories. The thesis,
therefore, attempts to give a highlight on the causes and results of the rebellion of Däjjac Kassa
Ras Seyum and Ras Gugsa, who were both the grandsons of Emperor Yohannes IV,
remained rivals to gain the title of Negus of Tigray until the death of Ras Gugsa in 1933. They
attempted to gain popularity and influence in the central government and to win the favour and
support of the central government at the expense of one another. Emperor Haylä-Sellassé unable
to impose an effective control over Tigray, however, attempted to achieve an internal balance of
power, and finally succeeded in preventing any one of Yohannes IV’s descendants from
becoming Negus, through diplomacy and marriage ties. Emperor Haylä-Sellassé, aware of the
potential trouble and danger from Tigray by Ras Seyum and Ras Gugsa for being deprived of
their legitimate patrimony, attempted to placate them by marriage ties to the Shewan royal
family, by bonds of matrimony. As a result marriage ties were arranged between the children of
the Emperor with the children of the two grand-sons of Emperor Yohannes IV, although it had
little effect on the loyalty, especially, of Däjjac Haylä-Sellassé Gugsa.
At the time when the Tigrean chiefs were conducting their rivalries, the Italians, who
never forgot the ignominy of their defeat at the Battle of Adwa, worked hard to woo the Tigrean
chiefs to their interests. Thus, they finally succeeded to gain Däjjac Haylä-Sellassé Gugsa’s
defection to their side, which facilitated their penetration in to the Ethiopian interior.|
|Description: ||A Thesis Presented to
The School of Graduate Studies
Addis Ababa University
In Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree
Master of Arts in History|
|Appears in:||Thesis - History |
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