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Abyssinian Colonization of Oromia, Sidama and Kaffa in Bogus Ethiopia. An Early Witness from Russia II


Dabo, Guma, Goma and Gera are likewise densely populated.

Dabo, Guma, and Goma are mountainous, and partly covered with forest. But Gera, which is lower, is located on the lower course of rivers which flow from Kaffa to the Omo.

Guma and Gera produce lots of wild coffee. In Gera, in addition, many elephants are killed, a little fewer than in Handek of Dajazmatch Gebra Egziabeer. In both regions they get up to 150 pairs of tusks a year. Through Guma and Goma a large road runs to Kaffa.

The towns of Deseta and Gori each consist of a group of homes of military leaders dispersed here and there, around which huddle little shacks or, rather, huts of their soldiers. All the buildings are of wood, covered with thatch.

Abeko, Wollaga and Darima are also governed by Dajazmatch Demissew. Wollaga and Abeko are populated by the Javi clan.

This mountainous region is, in places, overgrown with forest. A large part of Wollaga is an independent state, governed by Dajazmatch Joti, who pays tribute to the emperor and is under the supervision of Dajazmatch Demissew. His region is very rich and quite densely populated. Gold and ivory are obtained there.

Through Wollaga a trade route passes to Khartoum, to the dervishes, and Joti has dealings with them. He is married to a daughter of one Arab ruler of a bordering province.

Darima is a very mountainous area, populated by the Tuma clan. Darima is rich in forest and produces lots of honey. Near it is found the large independent commercial town of Gunji and large markets, surrounded by the homesteads of the merchants of Sodo and Supe. Gunji is ruled by a nagada-ras on the same basis as Bilo and Gatama. In it are found up to 2,000 inhabitants, mainly merchant families. On Tuesdays a large market is held. From the outside, this town does not differ from Bilo. Sodo and Supe are just marketplaces with the homesteads of merchants spread out nearby. All these points are located on the large trade route from Ilu-Babur and Mocha, which abound in coffee, to Wollaga and Gojjam, where coffee is resold.

Buna and Chiro are populated by the Tuma tribe and are a wooded mountainous area. These regions are relatively sparsely populated. In the lower areas, a lot of cotton is produced. A lot of honey is also obtained. These regions are ruled by Dajazmatch Demissew. Gosho, Embo, Ayo and Orumu are populated by the Tuma tribe. Ilu-Babur, Make, Abiyu-Bure, Alga and Dida are populated by the Javi tribe. The population is very sparse.

Dajazmatch Tesemma rules these regions. The country is wooded, mountainous and abounds in coffee. In the region of Abiyu-Bure lies the significant trading center of Bure. This is a marketplace with the homesteads of merchants spread around it.

Bure is on outskirts of Galla settlements and on the border with the Negro tribes Gambi and Bako, which bring there ivory, cloth, ornaments and iron items to exchange. To Bure also come the sellers of coffee from Wollaga and Leka. The town of Gori in Ale is the residence of Dajazmatch Tesemma. This town is a large permanent military camp, with up to 4,000 inhabitants. In the domain of Dajazmatch Tesemma there are several gates built at fords acrossrivers that are not passable at other places. There are two of them on the Gaba River. In addition, there is one gate on the banks of the Didessa and one at a ford across the Baro. At these gates they collect taxes from merchants — a known percent of the goods transported. In addition, the garrisons at these gates are responsible for arresting deserters.

Each such gate consists of a high watch post surrounded by a fence, and has about ten soldiers with guns.

On the far side of the Baro, in the border region of Sale, there is a small fort that looks like an observation post. It is surrounded by a deep ditch, across which is built a small bridge with a permanent guard. The garrison consists of 500 men, armed with guns. They live in the fort on a permanent basis.

Beyond Sale to the west begin the Negro settlements of the Gambi, Bako, and Masanko tribes, and to the south the Sidamo tribes: Mocha and Kaffa; and beyond those again the Negro tribes of Gimiro, Shiro and others.

According to wealth, industry and abundance of means of development, the population is distributed in the following manner:

The richest and most industrial settlements are Leka, Jimma and Wollaga. The inhabitants of these regions are involved in agriculture, commerce, and crafts. They extract gold and grow cotton. They have many live-stock, particularly cattle. There are only a small number of horses, mules, and donkeys, which among them are very expensive. As a consequence of this, the means for development of these regions is insignificant.

The inhabitants of the steppes of the Tikur, Chobo, Chalea, Tibye and Mecha plateaux are less rich. They are primarily involved in raising live-stock and produce excellent horses, mules and donkeys in large quantities. The means for development of this region are enormous.

Even poorer are the inhabitants of the wooded and unusually fertile regions found to the west of the Didessa. They harvest coffee and also do farming. But all the cultivation is done by hand since the live-stock died partly from the conquest of the area and partly from the plague which followed it. There are almost no horses, mules or donkeys, and the means for development of the country are nonexistent.

Posted By: Kumilachew Gebremeskel Ambo


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