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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Darita, Bagemdir: An Historic Town and Its Muslim Population,1830-1889
Author:Ahmad, Abdussamad H.
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic term:Ethiopia
urban history
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/220205
Abstract:Although Ethiopian society remained feudal in the 19th century with a strong rural orientation, a process of urbanization also took place. In Bagemdir, northwest Ethiopia, numerous towns emerged, usually around marketplaces and ranging in size from 1,000 to 2,000 in population. This article argues that Darita, south of Gondar, also had the characteristics of a town. The average number of residents in Darita during the period 1830-1889 was about 4,000, 800 of whom were Muslim. The article focuses on the economic importance of Darita and on Muslim-Christian relations. It shows that, despite increasing economic tensions and frequent disturbances in northern Ethiopia during the period, a modus vivendi was established between the Christian majority and the Muslim minority of Darita. The forced conversion to Christianity, decreed by Emperor Yohannis in 1875-1876, formed a watershed in Christian-Muslim relations. By 1888 many Muslims, who had contributed largely to Darita's economic importance through their role as long-distance traders, had left the area. Another factor which contributed to the decline of Darita's economic importance was the Great Ethiopian Famine of 1888-1892. Notes, ref.