IV. The Early Modern Period, 1500–1800 > G. Africa, 1500–1800 > 2. Regions > c. Northeast Africa (Horn)
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1434–68)
c. Northeast Africa (Horn)
Christian empire in Ethiopia reached its peak, having no significant rivals in the region. Emperor granted land or tributary or service rights to deserving individuals in feudal system based on grants of territory in exchange for loyalty, but feudal aristocratic class did not develop at this stage. Galla peoples, Cushitic-speaking pastoralists, began migration into Ethiopia from the south.  1
Growth in trade in Horn of Africa.  2
Funj, cattle-keeping nomads moving north along the Blue Nile, established sultanate after defeating Nubians. Abdallabi emerged as ruling clan and Sennar became their seat of government around 1616. The Funj-Abdallabi sultanate encouraged spread of Islam by scholars who introduced Sufi mysticism.  3
Portuguese mission under Rodrigo de Lima to Ethiopia. Francesco Alvares acted as chaplain, with objectives to establish Christian alliance with Ethiopia (following earlier mission in 1487). Alvares provided first detailed reports on the strength of the Ethiopian empire and church.  4
Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi led jihad in Ethiopia growing out of wars between Ethiopia and the neighboring Islamic trading states. Ethiopia came to the brink of defeat, but the jihad lost momentum after the death of Ahmad in 1543.  5
Soldiers from the Portuguese fleet in Massawa fought with Ethiopian army against Muslim forces. Muslim forces were decisively defeated and Ethiopia began to regain some lost territory, but empire remained weak until Restoration.  6
Portuguese Jesuit missions to Ethiopia. Conversion of two successive rulers. Remarkable influence and work of Pedro Paez (d. 1622). Conversion, however, led to repeated intrigues and wars against the Portuguese.  7
Portuguese expelled from Ethiopia and Catholic missions prohibited.  8
Galla, adopting horses, made renewed push toward Ethiopian plateau in wake of Muslim invasion.  9
Ethiopian emperor Serse-Dingil (d. 1597) took over feudal armies under direct royal control and defeated Ottoman attempt to conquer Ethiopia.  10
Emperor Susenyos of Ethiopia incorporated Galla into Ethiopian army and settled loyal Galla in strategic provinces. In 1622 he sided with the pro-Jesuit factions at the court and proclaimed himself Catholic, but he was unable to carry the court or country against the tradition of the Ethiopian church.  11
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.