'Abd Allah II ibn 'Ali 'Abd ash-Shakur

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Emir 'Abd Allah II

Abd Allah II ibn 'Ali 'Abd ash-Shakur, also known as Amir Hajji 'Abdu'llahi II ibn 'Ali 'Abdu's Shakur, was the last Emir of Harar from 1884 (or 1885, various sources carry various dates) to January 26, 1887, when the state was terminated, following the defeat of the Harari troops at the Battle of Chelenqo (January 6).

According to R.A. Caulk, Emir 'Abd Allah was the son of Muhammad ibn `Ali `Abd ash-Shakur by Kadija, the daughter of Emir `Abd al-Karim ibn Muhammad.[1] To secure his hold on the emirate of Harar, his father had married 'Abd Allah to the daughter of Ahmad III ibn Abu Bakr, his predecessor. When the Egyptians evacuated Harar, 'Abd Allah became the logical choice to rule Harar, and was given "a few hundred soldiers trained by one of the British officers, 300 to 400 rifles, some cannon, and munitions, a force hardly sufficient to garrison Harar and Jaldessa, let alone police the traderoutes and ensure the security of the state."[2]

Emir 'Abd Allah grew paranoid of the growing Ethiopian threat to his domain, and accused the resident Europeans of co-operating with Negus Menelik II. His situation deteriorated by July 1885, according to Harold Marcus: "the population grew uncontrollable, European traders became virtual prisoners in their homes and shops, and the adjacent Galla raided the town."[3] In response, the Emir introduced a new currency which impoverished the local population; the neighboring Oromo and Somali deserted Harar's markets and the town's economy collapsed.

Emir 'Abd Allah responded to the first Ethiopian military probe with a night attack on their camp at Hirna which included fireworks; the unmotivated troops panicked at the pyrotechnics and fled toward the Asabot and Awash Rivers. When the Negus Menelik personally led a second attack a few months later, the Emir misjudged the quality of these troops and attempted to repeat his earlier success of a second night attack. "Had he allowed the enemy to attack the walled city, where his few Krupp cannon might have been effective, the Shoans might have suffered a defeat with serious political consequences," Marcus notes. However, the battle at Chelenqo destroyed his army in fifteen minutes, and with his wives and children the Emir fled into the empty country east of Harar, leaving his uncle Ali Abu Barka to submit to Menelik and ask clemency for Harar.[4]

The former Emir 'Abd Allah later returned to the town to live as a Sufi or religious scholar, where he died in 1930.[5]

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Notes[edit]

  1. ^ R. A. Caulk, "Harar Town and Its Neighbours in the Nineteenth Century", Journal of African History, 18 (1977), p. 384
  2. ^ Marcus, Harold G. (1995). The Life and Times of Menelik II: Ethiopia 1844-1913. Lawrenceville: Red Sea Press. pp. 89f. ISBN 1-56902-010-8. 
  3. ^ Marcus, Menelik II, p. 90
  4. ^ Marcus, Menelik II, p. 91f
  5. ^ S. Waldron, "The political economy of Harari-Oromo relationships (1554-1975)", p. 23f (Forced migration Online website, accessed 3 July 2009)