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Ethiopia. Anthropology 597.01 Mike Larsson. Ethiopia: Basic facts. Diversity in Ethiopia. Over 100 “distinguishable ethnolinguistic entities” Approx. 70 different languages spoken Official language: Amharic Omoro 40\%, Amhara 30\%, Tigray 12-15\%

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anthropology 597 01 mike larsson
Ethiopia

Anthropology 597.01

Mike Larsson

diversity in ethiopia
Diversity in Ethiopia
  • Over 100 “distinguishable ethnolinguistic entities”
  • Approx. 70 different languages spoken
    • Official language: Amharic
  • Omoro 40%, Amhara 30%, Tigray 12-15%
  • Other groups include Somali, Gurage, Awi, Afar, Welamo, Sidama, Beja…

(Ofcansky 1993)

ethnic conflict in ethiopia
Ethnic Conflict in Ethiopia

Small scale:

  • Lingering resentment by minorities at forced incorporation into Ethiopian empire between 1889 and 1913
  • Under-representation in new “macro-ethnic” regions implemented in 1994
    • 9 regions, 100+ groups (Fellner 2000)
unifying factors
Unifying Factors
  • Protracted contact between various groups has led to a common cultural heritage
    • technology, medical knowledge, markets, clothing, arts, ceremonies and everyday life
  • Century of enforced unification and nation-building which is becoming more and more dedicated to equal democratic participation.
  • Religion:
    • 45% Ethiopian Orthodox Christians
    • 45% Sunnitic Muslims
    • “tradition of cohabitation and tolerance” in Ethiopia, serve to join people of different ethnic groups and social classes

(Fullner 2000:15)

ethnic conflict in ethiopia8
Ethnic Conflict in Ethiopia

Large scale: Eritrean war for independence 1961-1991

  • 1869 Italian company purchases part of the port of Aseb
  • 1882 Italian government takes over entire port and declares it its protectorate
  • 1890’s Italy has spread control to cover approximately the same area as modern-day Eritrea, advance halted
    • Italian occupation of Ethiopia 1936 to 1941
  • Post-WWII Italian occupation of Eritrea and Ethiopia ends, Allies in charge of handling Eritrea
  • 1950 UN resolves that Eritrea will be federated with Ethiopia despite 44% of Eritrean population’s preference for unconditional union with Ethiopia
  • 1960 Eritrea fully annexed after vote in Eritrean parliament
  • 1961-1991 pro-independence Eritreans wage war
  • 1991 Eritrean war for independence ends
  • 1993 Eritrea granted independence
ethnic conflict in ethiopia9
Ethnic Conflict in Ethiopia
  • But was it an ethnic conflict?
    • Eritrean majority group the Tigrinya, related to the Ethiopian Tigrayans across the border
    • Liberation leaders argued old ethnic identities superceded by a “new and more inclusive Eritrean identity” (Negash & Tronvoll)
  • The dividing lines were political, not ethnically based
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