|Zone||Debub Misraqawi (Southeastern)|
|Elevation||2,050 m (6,730 ft)|
|Time zone||EAT (UTC+3)|
Hintalo, formerly known as Antalo, is a town in northern Ethiopia. Located in the Debub Misraqawi (Southeastern) Zone of the Tigray Region, it lies on a plateau with an elevation variously reported as 2050 or 2102 meters above sea level. It is one of three towns in Hintalo Wajirat woreda.
Hintalo lies on a plateau in the Ethiopian Highlands near its eastern escarpment. It is just south of a steep hill formerly used for defense and just north of a wide fertile plain, along the road from Shoa to Massawa, the former Ethiopian port which now lies within Eritrea. Geologically, it is surrounded by fossil-bearing limestone.
Historically, Hintalo was the capital city of Enderta Province. Located on a high plateau beneath the south face of Amba Aradam, which made the town a natural fortress. It was first mentioned in 1648 by the Yemeni ambassador Hasan ibn Ahmad al-Haymat, who described it as a "fortified town". In 1678 Hintalo was the location of a battle; some of the prominent men of Lasta intended to join a rebellion in southern Tigray, but they were defeated, and some of those from Hintalo were driven over the precipices to their deaths.
Ras Wolde Selassie, one of the most powerful overlords of the Zemene Mesafint, made Hintalo his capital. It was here that Henry Salt met the Ras in September, 1805. By March 1810, it was described as the capital of Enderta Province. A later meeting at Hintalo between Dejazmach Kassai Mercha (the future Yohannes IV) and Sir Robert Napier on 25–26 February 1868, led to the Dejazmach agreeing to deliver 15,000 kilograms of grain per week to each of the British camps at Hintalo and Adigrat used to support their 1868 Expedition to Abyssinia; for this, Dejazmach Kassai was later rewarded with a formidable quantity of supplies and material worth approximately £500,000.
By 1880, most of the town was in ruins but the weekly market remained important for the area. During the 1890s, it was a notable source of ivory and some 16,000 oxen, 8,000 cows, 8,000 goats, and 17,000 sheep were sold annually. On 9 October 1895, the Italian Major Ameglio with six companies and two pieces of artillery attacked Ethiopian warriors under Ras Mengesha Yohannes. The Italians caught about 200 prisoners, a thousand head of cattle, and many rifles. The Italian askari lost 11 dead and 30 wounded, while 16 dead Tigrayans were counted on the battle site and 60 wounded were said to have been carried from there.
Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, Hintalo has an estimated total population of 1,179 of whom 593 are men and 586 are women. The 1994 census reported it had a total population of 676 of whom 316 were men and 360 were women.
The hereditary chiefs of Enderta had their birthplace in Hintalo. These included the 18th and 19th century aristocrats Dejazmach Weldo, Dejazmach Kifla Iyasus and Ras Wolde Selassie. In his "Life in Abysinia", the 19th century British traveller Mansfield Parkyns writes that the family of Dejazmach Kifla Iyasus and Ras Wolde Selassie were of distinguished origin and came from Hintalo in Enderta, where they were chiefs.
Hintalo is also the birthplace of Ras Bitweded Gebre Kidan, the son of Bilatengeta Zemu of Hintalo Enderta. Ras Bitweded Gebre Kidan was the Enderassie of Emperor Yohaness IV, and served as the Ethiopia's prime minister from 1872–1889. He married Emperor Yohanes's sister Empress Dinkinsh, with whom he had 3 children, who included Dejazmach Seyoum Gebre Kidan.
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- EB (1878).
- EB (1911), §7.
- EB (1911), §4.
- Richard P.K. Pankhurst, History of Ethiopian Towns (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1982), p. 201
- "Local History in Ethiopia" The Nordic Africa Institute website (accessed 16 February 2008)
- John J. Halls, The Life and Correspondence of Henry Salt, 1834 (New York: Elibron, 2005), pp. 113, 205
- CSA 2005 National Statistics, Table B.4
- Richard M. Trivelli, Afrika spectrum, 33 (1998) 3: p. 259.
- Mansfield Parkyns, Life in Abyssinia, vol. 2 p. 93.