User:Cluckbang/Habesha people

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The term Habesha (Ge'ez ሐበሻ ḥabaśā, Amh. hābešā, Tgn. ḥābešā; sometimes Amh. Abesha, አበሻ `ābešā)refers more specifically to the Semitic-speaking peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is sometimes used to refer to just the two politically dominant Semitic-speaking Amhara and Tigray-Tigrinya ethnic groups of Ethiopia and Eritrea. The Amhara and Tigray tribes combined make up about 36% of Ethiopia's population (ca. 23 million Amhara, 4.5 million Tigray) while Tigrinyas make up about half of Eritrea's population (ca. 2.25 of 4.5 million).


The term "Habesha" is thought by some [1] to be of Arabic descent (who used the word Habash, also the name of an Ottoman province comprising parts of modern-day Eritrea), because the English name Abyssinia comes from the Arabic form.[2] South Arabian expert Eduard Glaser claimed that the hieroglyphic ḫbstjw, used in reference to "a foreign people from the incense-producing regions" (i.e. Punt, probably located around southern Eritrea, northern Ethiopia, and the Sudanese border) used by Queen Hatshepsut ca. 1460 BC, was the first usage of the term or somehow connected, a claim repeated by others; however, this etymology is not at all certain, given the large time difference in the usage of the terms.[1]

The modern term derives from the vocalized Ge'ez ሐበሣ (ḥabaśā), first written unvocalized as ሐበሠ (ḥbśt, but probably pronounced ḥbst) or the "pseudo-Sabaic ḥbštm".[1] The earliest known use of the term dates to the second or third century AD South Arabian inscription, recounting to the defeat of the Aksumite king (nəgus) GDRT (vocalized Gadarat or Gedara) of Aksum and HBSHT.[3] The term "Habashat" seems to refer to a group of peoples, however, rather than a specific tribe, as evidenced by an inscription by the Himyarite king Shamir Yuhahmid, an ally of Aksum under `DBH in the first quarter of the 3rd century AD:

Shamir of Dhu-Raydan and Himyar had called in the help of the clans of Habashat for war against the kings of Saba; but Ilmuqah granted . . . the submission of Shamir of Dhu-Raydan and the clans of Habashat.[4]


Historically, the province of Tigray (in its larger sense and including areas now in Eritrea) was where Ethiopian and Eritrean (Habesha) civilization had its origins. The first kingdom to arise was that of D`mt in the 8th century BC. The Aksumite Kingdom, one of the powerful civilizations of the ancient world, was centered there from at least 400BC to the 10th century AD. Spreading far beyond modern Tigray, it molded the earliest culture of Ethiopia and left many historical treasures: towering finely carved stelae, the remains of extensive palaces, and the ancient places of worship still vibrant with culture and pageantry.

Ancient Period[edit]

As early as 4500 BCE, wheat and barley could have entered northern Ethiopia from the northern Sudan/southern Egypt region. Some other seeds such as Teff (Eragrostis tef) and Enset (Ensete edulis, Ensete ventricosum), which are today still very important today in Ethiopia, originated in Ethiopia. The Pre-Aksumites probably started herding cattle "around the beginning of the second millennium BCE." Horses entered Ethiopia from the Nile Valley, camels from the Middle East, and sheep and goats entered Ethiopia from the Nile and the Middle East. (Henze 11-14)

The earliest black inhabitants of the Ethiopian region have very few of their descendants living in Ethiopia today. These indigenous people were joined by immigrants from Egypt and the later from south Arabia (Doresse 20). However, the arrival of the immigrants does not mark the beginning of civilization. For much time before, 'peoples had been interacting through population movement, warfare, trade, and intermarriage in the Ethiopian region, resulting in a predominance of peoples speaking languages of the Afro-Asiatic family. The main branches represented were the Cushitic and the Semitic.' (Munro-Hay 62) As early as the third millennium BCE, the pre-Aksumites had begun trading along the Red Sea. They mainly traded with Egypt. Earlier trade expeditions were taken by foot along the Nile Valley. The Egyptians main object in the trade from the Ethiopian region (which they may have called Punt) was the acquire myrrh, which the Ethiopian region had much of. Aksum’s foundation is suggested to be as early as 300 BCE. Very little is known of the time period between the mid-first millennium BCE to the beginning of Aksum’s flourish, thought to be around the first century CE. There is little in common between the Aksumites and the earlier pre-Aksumite civilizations (Munro-Hay 1991, 4).

The Aksumite kingdom was located in the northern province of Tigray and there it remained the capital of Ethiopia until the seventh century CE. Aksum owes its prosperity to its location. The Blue Nile basin and the Afar depression are both within a close proximity of Aksum. The former is rich of gold and the latter of salt: both materials having a highly important use to the Aksumites. Aksum was also within an accessible distance to the port of Adulis, on the coast of the Red Sea, hence maintaining trade relations with other nations, such as Egypt, India, and Arabia. Aksum’s ‘fertile’ and ‘well-watered’ location produced enough food for its population as well as its exotic animals, such as elephants and rhinoceros (Pankhurst 1998, 22-3).

Aksum inherited a culture highly influenced by South Arabia. The Aksumites' language, Ge'ez, was a modified version of the South Arabian rudiments, with admixtures of Greek and Cushitic tongues already present in the region. Their architectural art was inherited from their South Arabian counters. Some Aksumite artwork contained combinations of Middle Eastern deities.

From its capital on the Tigray Plateau, Aksum was in command of the trade of ivory with Sudan. It also dominated the trade route leading south and the port of Adulis on the Gulf of Zola. Its success depended on resourceful techniques, production of coins, steady migrations of Greco-Roman merchants and ships landing on the port of Adulis. In exchange for Aksum’s goods, traders bid many kinds of cloth, jewelry, metals and steel for weapons.

At its peak, Aksum controlled territories as far as southern Egypt, east to the Gulf of Aden, south to the Omo River, and west to the Cushite Kingdom of Meroe. The South Arabian kingdom of the Himyarites was also under the power of Aksum. At this point in time the majority of the citizens of Aksum were ancestors of the present day Amhara and Tigray.

Medieval Period[edit]

Some time in the late middle ages, the Amharic and Tigrinya languages began to be differentiated, and Ge'ez eventually became extinct. Amhara warlords often competed for dominance of the realm with Tigrayan warlords. While many branches of the Imperial dynasty were from the Amharic speaking area, a substantial amount were from Tigray. The Amharas seemed to gain the upper hand with the accession of the so-called Gondar line of the Imperial dynasty in the beginning of the 17th century. However, it soon lapsed into the semi-anarchic era of Zemene Mesafint ("Era of the Princes"), in which rivalling warlords fought for power and the Yejju Oromo inderases (or regents) had effective control, while emperors were just as figureheads. The Tigrayans only made a brief return to the throne in the person of Yohannes IV, whose death in 1889 allowed the base to return to the Amharic speaking province of Shewa.

Historians generally consider the Amhara to have been Ethiopia's ruling elite for centuries, represented by the line of Emperors ending in Haile Selassie. Many commentators, including Marcos Lemma, however, dispute the accuracy of such a statement, arguing that other ethnic groups have always been active in the country's politics.

One possible source of confusion for this stems from the mislabeling of all Amharic-speakers as "Amhara", and the fact that many people from other ethnic groups have Amharic names. Another is the fact that most Ethiopians can trace their ancestry to multiple ethnic groups. In fact, the last Emperor, Haile Selassie I, often counted himself a member of the Gurage tribe on account of his ancestry, and his Empress, Itege Menen Asfaw of Ambassel, was in large part of Oromo descent. The expanded use of Amharic language results mostly from its being the language of the court, and was gradually adopted out of usefulness by many unrelated groups, who then became known as "Amhara" no matter what their ethnic origin.

Modern Period[edit]

The Tigrinya of Eritrea mounted a revolt against the status of Eritrea as a province in 1962, which culminated in the defeat of the Derg in 1991 and independence by referendum in 1993. During the time of the Derg in the 1970s, various movements arose in Tigray and throughout Ethiopia against its persecution. One of these, the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front, formed in the mid 1970s, grew disgruntled with the Derg and advocated the secession of Tigray. By 1991, however, when the group defeated the Derg, its views had changed, and it became the helm of the EPRDF, created under its guidance (and dominated by the TPLF), the current dominant party. As a result a new nation was born Eritrea, separating itself from Ethiopia. However, despite being separated by a border, the tigray people in Eritrea are the same ethnically and linguistically as the tigray in Ethiopia. Some Ethiopians complain that the new TPLF-controlled government favors Tigray at the expense of other regions.


The Imperial family of Ethiopia claims its origin directly from the offspring of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba (Ge`ez: ንግሥተ ሣብአ nigiśta Śab'a , who is named Makeda (Ge`ez: ማክዳ) in the Ethiopian account. The Ethiopian epic 'Glory of Kings', the Kebra Negast, is supposed to record the history of Makeda and her descendants. King Solomon is said in this account to have seduced the Queen, and sired a son by her, who would eventually become Menelik I, the first Emperor of Ethiopia.

It was long held that the ancient communities that evolved into the modern Ethiopian state were formed by a migration across the Red Sea of Semitic-speaking South Arabians who intermarried with local non-Semitic-speaking peoples. Indeed, the ancient Ethiopian kingdom of Aksum ruled much of Southern Arabia including Yemen until the rise of Islam in the 7th century, and both the indigenous languages of Southern Arabia and the Amharic and Tigrinya languages of Ethiopia are South Semitic languages. There is also evidence of ancient Southern Arabian communities in modern day Ethiopia and Eritrea in certain localities, attested by archaeological artifacts and ancient Sabaean inscriptions in the old South Arabian alphabet.

Sabean theory[edit]

Nigist (Queen) Makeda of Sheba

The state of Sheba mentioned in the Old Testament is sometimes believed to have been in Ethiopia and Eritrea, but more often is placed in Yemen. Others believe it covered parts of both the Yemen and present-day Ethiopia. According to the Ethiopian legend, best represented in the Kebra Negest, the Queen of Sheba was tricked by King Solomon into sleeping with him, resulting in a child, named Ebn Melek (later Emperor Menelik I. When he was of age, Menelik returned to Israel to see his father, who sent with him the son of Zadok to accompany him with a replica of the Ark of the Covenant (Ethiosemitic: tabot). On his return with some of the Israelite priests, however, he found that Zadok's son had stolen the real Ark of the Covenant. Some believe the Ark is still being preserved today at the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Axum, Ethiopia.

The Sabean theory which has existed for many centuries, even within the Ethiopian monarchy states that at an early epoch South Arabian tribes emigrated to the opposite African coast, where Sabaean trade colonies had probably existed for a long time. As early as the first century A.D. we find in the north of the Abyssinian mountain — lands the Semitic realm of Aksum. The conquerors brought with them South Arabian letters and language, which in their new home gradually attained an individual character. From this language, the Ge'ez, wrongly called Ethiopian, two daughter-languages are descended, Tigré and Tigriña. The confusion of this kingdom with Ethiopia probably owes its origin to the fact that the Semite emigrants adopted this name from the Graeco-Egyptian sailors, at a time when the Kingdom of Meroë was still in some repute. And so they called their kingdom Yteyopeya. From Aksum as a base they gradually extended their dominion over all Abyssinia, the northern population of which today shows a purer Semitic type, while the southern is strongly mixed with Hamitic elements. At an early date the south must have been settled by Semites, who spoke a language related to Ge'ez, which was afterwards to a great extent influenced by the languages of the native population, particularly by the Agau dialects. A descendant of this language is the Amharic, the present language of intercourse in Abyssinia itself and far beyond its boundaries.

By mid first millennium BCE, clear evidence of close contact between the Ethiopians and the south Arabians has been found. The immigrants, though probably not entirely, mostly came from a region of western Yemen associated with Sabean culture. It has become a rather difficult task in assessing why the Arabians originally left their homes to an entirely new culture, which had very little connection to their own. Perhaps, conditions were extremely harsh in their homelands such that the only means of escape is a direct route across the Red Sea into Eritrea. Over time, as their social and perhaps economical connections in the Ethiopian region became vast, it was safe to assume that migrating from the harsh desert would only be in their best interest. When the Sabeans crossed the Red Sea, they founded the tribes of the Beja, Agaw, and Sidama, to name a few of the major groups (Tamrat 5-6). The south Arabians brought with them a writing system, from which Ge’ez takes its origin.

The Sabean theory also states that the Ge'ez language originated from Sabean migrants that brought the South Arabian language and modified it.

Indigenous Theory[edit]

Early nineteenth century warriors in Abyssinia

There is no archaeological evidence to verify the story of the Queen of Sheba — and the longstanding presumption that Sabaean migrants had played a direct role in Ethiopian civilization has recently come under attack.[5] Sabaean influence is speculated by more recent authors to have been minor, limited to a few localities, and disappearing after a few decades or a century, perhaps representing a trading or military colony in some sort of symbiosis or military alliance with the Ethiopian civilization of D`mt or some proto-Aksumite state.[6]

On the other hand, the Indigenous Theory, which is becoming more common today states that although the Abyssinian civilization was heavily influenced by the Sabeans, they were only influenced culturally, and not linguistically.

Later, in the reign of King Ezana (ca. early 4th c. AD, the term is listed as one of the nine regions under his domain, translated in the Greek version of his inscription as Αἰθιοπία, the first known use of this term to specifically describe the region known today as Ethiopia (and not Kush or the entire black African and Indian region).[1] The 6th c. author Stephanus of Byzantium later used the term "Αβασηγοί" (i.e. Abasēnoi) in reference to:

an Arabian people living next to the Sabaeans together with the Ḥaḍramites. The region of the Abasēnoi produce[d] myrrh, incense and cotton and they cultivate[d] a plant qhich yields a purple dye (probably wars, i.e. Fleminga Grahamiana). It lies on a route which leads from Zabīd on the coastal plain to the Ḥimyarite capital Ẓafār.[1]

The Abasēnoi spoken of by Stephanus was located by Hermann von Wissman as a region in the Jabal Hubaysh (perhaps related in etymology with the ḥbš root). Other places names in Yemen contain the ḥbš root, such as the Jabal Habashi (Ḥabaši), whose residents are still called al-Ahbuš (pl. of Ḥabaš). [7] Traditional scholarship has assumed that the Habashat were a tribe from modern-day Yemen that migrated to Ethiopia. However, the Sabaic inscriptions only use the term ḥbšt to the refer to the Kingdom of Aksum and its inhabitants, especially during the 3rd c., when the ḥbšt (Aksumites) were often at war with the Sabaeans and Himyraites.[7] The location of the Abasēnoi in Yemen may perhaps be explained by remnant Aksumite populations from the 520s conquest by King Kaleb; King Ezana's claims to Sahlen (Saba) and Dhu-Raydan (Himyar) during a time when such control was unlikely may indicate an Aksumite presence or coastal foothold.[8]


Map of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in the 19th century.

"Another lineage common in the ancestral Arab-Jewish gene pool is found among today's Ethiopians and may have reached the Middle East by men who traveled down the Nile. Though Ethiopians and Eritreans are generally considered black in pigmentation and hair type, their Caucasoid (Mediterranean) accretions are evident in their cranial and facial morphology, which distinguishes them from pure West African Negroids."

This statement is too generalized, since the population of Beta Yisrael and/or Falasha would show the genetic link to the Jewish community. The overall population genetics of Ethiopia is not Jewish or Arab. Historically, recent events can still account for genetic diversity

"The ethnonym “Ethiopians”—the people with the “burnt face”—was coined by the Greeks, although it may originally have been applied to the Nubians, who were part of the Cushite kingdom. The Arab slave trade in the Indian Ocean was less intense and more sporadic than the slave trade on the Atlantic coast of Africa. However, during the 8th, 9th, and 19th centuries, it is estimated that millions of East Africans were deported, the majority to the Arabian Peninsula, Near Eastern countries, and India. The main source regions for slaves in East Africa extended from the interior of present-day Mozambique to Ethiopia (Harris 1971).

West Africans - With respect to Cavalli-Sforza et al. 1994, please note the following update, excerpt, in response to the :

"Then, are black Africans highly diverse physically? Well, that depends upon who you are lumping together. There are indeed some highly unusual peoples in Africa, but almost none of them were brought to America as slaves. The most genetically distinct people in sub-Saharan Africa are the Khoisan. These are the yellowish-brown, tongue-clicking Bushmen and Hottentots of the Southern African wastelands, the remnants of a great race that once dominated most of Africa before the blacks ethnically cleansed them from the more desirable lands. The most striking contrast in Africa is between the tiny Pygmies and the ultra-tall herding tribes of East Africa. But except for the 7'7", 190-pound basketball novelty Manute Bol, few of either group made it to America. In contrast, the West African tribes that did provide the vast majority of American slaves are relatively homogenous. Cavalli-Sforza sums up the situation on the ground like this, "… differences between most sub-Saharan Africans other than Khoisan and Pygmies seem rather small."

The phenotypes of the East African are closer to the Khoisan who are far from the pygmies. The West African compared to the Khoisan and East African is different but not out of range. Using Ethiopia to make it mean all of the ethnic groups, does not take the nine different matrilineal lineages of Eritrea into account, which show that the Habesha look different than the Cush, and the Cush look different than the Rashida, all of whom look slightly different than the Beja and the Omoro, etc. but still all within range of the phenotypical African. Hamito was confered upon the Tutsi of Ruwanda by early Christian Missionaries. The racial preference stuck and after 100 years or so, genetics has proven that there are slight phenotype differences between the Hutu and Tutsi, but their genetics shows they are as Nilo-Saharan as any so-called Bantu nations of Sub-Saharan-Africa or West Africa.

Hamito-Semitic is not synonymous with Caucasian:

" ancient tongue spoken in this region fissured into the modern languages of the Afro-Asiatic (formerly Hamito-Semitic) family. This family includes the Cushitic and Semitic languages now spoken in Ethiopia.... During the 2nd millennium BC...a people speaking Ge'ez (a Semitic language) came to dominate the rich northern highlands of Tigray. There, in the 7th century BC, they established the kingdom of Da'amat.... Aksum's culture comprised Ge'ez, written in a modified South Arabian alphabet, sculpture and architecture based on South Arabian prototypes, and an amalgam of local and Middle Eastern deities. Thus, evidence exists of a close cultural exchange between Aksum and the Arabian peninsula...." ("History of Ethiopia," Encyclopaedia Britannica)

While this is true, the important point is that being Arab-speaking does not make one an ethnic-Semitic-Arab (i.e., not-African). The people of Saba were Africans who spoke Arabic, just as today's Sudanese are Africans who speak Arabic. The issue is not the language, per se, but the actual self-identification of the person. If there are people of Ethiopia who self-identify with being Caucasian then so be it.

Phenotype Diversity And Ancient YAP PN2 / African Origins of Human YAP 51:

"The markers, PCR protocols and haplogroup frequency data used to evaluate the global and Asian patterns of Y-chromosome binary haplotype diversity have been previously described (Underhill et al. 2000). An additional C to T transition, called PN2, (Hammer et al. 1997) has been included since it further resolves the haplotype relationships within the predominantly African YAP+ haplogroup. DNA from 1062 men belonging to 21 populations was analyzed. Details concerning the geographic affiliations of these samples are given in Underhill et al.2000. The ten haplogroups of the parsimonious Y-chromosome phylogeny are identified with Roman numerals and defined as previously described (Underhill et al.2000). With the exception of the YAP that was analyzed according to published protocols (Hammer and Horai 1995), all other Y markers were genotyped by denaturing high performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) methodology (Underhill et a1.1997, Oefner and Underhill 1998)."

"The M145 G to A transition is a sequence variant that is phylogenetically paired to the YAP+ mutation. While Ml45A allele mimics YAP+ it is currently impossible to determine which mutation arose first. The YAP+/Ml45A lineages within Group HI are specifically defmed by the presence of the phylogenetically equivalent dual transition mutations M40 (=SRY4064) and M96. Group III lineages are the most frequent in Africa. The PN2 mutation defines most of the haplotypes within Group III. Two major subclades characterize the PN2 lineages that track different microevolutionary events. One is an A to G transition (Seielstad et al 1994) localized within the DYS271 STS and referred to as M2. This mutation is common throughout sub-Saharan Africa with a distribution consistent with the Bantu expansion (Passarino et al. 1998). The other PN2 related subclade is defined by the M35 transversion which occurs in populations from Eastern and Northeast Africa, as well as the Middle East, Europe and Central Asia indicating that M35 lineages participated in demographic events distinctive from the Bantu expansion. Interestedly, some YAP+/Ml45A lineages do not carry the PN2 mutation (Figure 2) which is suggestive of the persistence of African specific YAP+/Ml45A lineages that are themselves derived from lineages that are distinctive from the more common and widespread PN2 related lineage. (page 10 - )

Compare Semino (2004) with Cruciani (2007) :

"Based on genetic STR variance data, Cruciani et al. (2007) suggests that this subclade originated in "Northeastern Africa", which in the study refers specifically to Egypt and Libya.[Note 9 of]][Note 10] about 18,600 years ago (17,300 - 20,000 years ago).[Note 11 of]] Battaglia et al. (2008) describe Egypt as "a hub for the distribution of the various geographically localized M78-related sub-clades" and, based on archaeological data, they propose that the point of origin of E-M78 (as opposed to later dispersals from Egypt) may have been in a refugium which "existed on the border of present-day Sudan and Egypt, near Lake Nubia, until the onset of a humid phase around 8500 BC. The northward-moving rainfall belts during this period could have also spurred a rapid migration of Mesolithic foragers northwards in Africa, the Levant and ultimately onwards to Asia Minor and Europe, where they each eventually differentiated into their regionally distinctive branches". Towards the south, Hassan et al. (2008) also explain evidence that some subclades of E-M78, specifically E-V12 and E-22, "might have been brought to Sudan from North Africa after the progressive desertification of the Sahara around 6,000-8,000 years ago".

M78: Prior to Cruciani et al. (2007), Semino et al. (2004) had proposed the Horn of Africa as a possible place of origin of E-M78. This was because of the high frequency and diversity of E-M78 lineages in the region. For example, Sanchez et al. (2005) found that 77.6% of 201 male Somalis tested in Denmark were members of this clade. However, Cruciani et al. (2007) were able to study more data, including populations from North Africa who were not represented in the Semino et al. (2004) study, and found evidence that the E-M78 lineages amongst Somalis are dominated by a relatively recent branching of the E-V32 sub-clade of E-V12, an ancient sub-clade of E-M78 which appears to have originated in Egypt or Libya. They note this as evidence for "a corridor for bidirectional migrations" (conceivably the Nile River Valley) between Egypt and Libya on the one hand and the Horn of Africa on the other. The authors believe there were "at least 2 episodes between 23,900 – 17, 300 Years Ago... and 18,000 - 5,900 Years Ago." (Note I am not sure if this should be BP = Before Present, where the date is fixed at AD/CE 1950).

I find it so easy to cut and paste from Wikipedia when on line but sometimes the formatting is prohibitive. This page has been formatted for such purposes, but feel free to make corrections and/or add to the information where it seems vague or lacking a verifiable source. I came to the conclusion that many databases results skewed European, but never thought anyone would admit that in writing. At any rate, here is one example of such corrected skews to be aware of in your research regarding STR Modals, as shown below. The upshot is E-M78 (Africa) = E-V13 (Europe).

"Many databases available, including our own E-M35 Phylogeny database, have a European bias, which means that they give modal results close to E-V13, the dominant type of E-M78 in Europe. The best collection of STR so far for avoiding this is that of Cruciani et al (2007). However the disadvantage of this list is the small number of markers used, and the fact that these are not comparable to many other databases. Look especially to the "modal of modals" which is a less biased estimate of the ancestral haplotype than any European database:-

Click here for STR Modals Chart


"All major sub-branches of E1b1b1 are thought to have originated in the same general area as the parent clade: in North Africa, East Africa, or nearby areas of the Near East. While this means that E1b1b may have a more longer history in Africa than many other Y haplogroups, some of the major branches found outside of Africa are thought to have been out of Africa for perhaps well over ten thousand of years." [Note 10 of]

"The present composition of the Ethiopian population is the result of a complex and extensive intermixing of different peoples of North African, Near and Middle Eastern, and south-Saharan origin. The main groups inhabiting the country are the Amhara and the Tigray-Tigrinya people, descended from Arabian conquerors. The genetic distance analysis showed the separation between African and non-African populations, with the Amhara located in an intermediate position." (De Stefano et al., Ann Hum Biol, 2002)


"E1b1b1a (E-M78), formerly E3b1a, is a commonly occurring subclade, widely distributed in North Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Asia, i.e. The Middle East and Near East "up to Southern Asia",[Cruciani et al. (2007):E-M78 shows "a wide geographic distribution" and is "relatively common not only in northeastern and eastern Africa but also found in Europe and western Asia, up to Southern Asia".] and all of Europe. [Cruciani et al. (2006): "The human Y chromosome haplogroup E-M78 (E3b1a) occurs commonly and is distributed in northern and eastern Africa, western Asia, and all of Europe.] The European distribution has a frequency peak centered in parts of the Balkans (up to almost 50%[Semino et al. (2004)"This inference is further supported by the presence of additional Hg E lineal diversification and by the highest frequency of E-P2* and E-M35* in the same region. The distribution of E-P2* appears limited to eastern African peoples. The E-M35* lineage shows its highest frequency (19.2%) in the Ethiopian Oromo but with a wider distribution range than E-P2*."][Wikipedia note 22 of]) and Italy and declining frequencies evident toward western, central, and northeastern Europe.

Ethiopian Phenotype Similar to that of the Mediterranean basin (Turkey):

Mediterranean basin : "The Mediterranean Basin is characterized by its climate, where cool wet winters alternate with long hot dry summers. In some parts of the region (coasts of Libya and Egypt) annual rainfall can be as low as 50 millimeters (mm) per year, whereas in the well-watered regions, such as the Adriatic coast of the Balkan countries, rainfall is over 1,000 mm. While much scientific work has been done to characterize the nature and extent of the Mediterranean ecosystem, this publication takes a pragmatic and relatively loose definition of the Mediterranean Basin, combining a geographic focus on states (as recognized by the UN) with a pragmatic cut off point to the north and west in Europe and Turkey, and in the Sahara Desert to the south."

"Libya and Egypt are part of the north part the region of the Mediterranean basin: Therefore..."Non sub-Saharan African samples are all grouped together...with...the Ethiopian Amharic sample [on the Y-chromosome]. Ethiopians are not statistically differentiated from the Egyptian and Tunisian samples, in agreement with their linguistic affiliation with the Afro-Asiatic family." (Poloni et al., Am J Hum Genet, 1997)

Y-Chromosome of Ethiopians appear distinct from West Africans:

"The occurrence of E*5 212 and E*5 204 alleles in two populations of the Mediterranean basin (Turkey and Italy) but not in West Africans can be explained by taking into account that the Ethiopian gene pool was estimated to be >40% of Caucasoid derivation (Cavalli-Sforza et al. 1994). In addition, more recent phylogenetic analysis based on classical protein polymorphism (Tartaglia et al. 1996) and Y-chromosome sequence variation (Underhill et al. 2000) showed that Ethiopians appear to be distinct from Africans and more closely associated with populations of the Mediterranean basin." Scacchi et al., Hum Biol, 2003)

"The distribution of the haplogroups J2*(xJ2f2) (0.5%) and J*(xJ2) (2.5%) in Somalis support the recent gene flow hypothesis. Haplogroup J*(xJ2) was probably spread by the Arab people. [Note 40] The ratio between the haplogroups J2/J*(xJ2) may be an indicator of the genetic components from populations like (1) Balkans, Turks, Georgians and Muslim Kurds and (2) Bedouin and Palestinian Arabs, respectively. [Notes 40, 52]. The ratio was 0.26 in the Oman population. [Note 9] The J2/J*(xJ2) ratio of 0.2 in the present Somali sample suggest a predominant gene flow of Arab Y chromosomes."

Updated from Cavalli-Sforza et all 1994, and Tartagia et all 1996, as quoted by the original contributor) Recent Non-African total Geneflow ratio of 3.53 with Arab Y Chromosomes suggested as dominant:

Update Y-Chromosome Percentages. Read complete study results here:

"In conclusion, the data suggest that the male Somali population is a branch of the East African population – closely related to the Oromos in Ethiopia and North Kenya (Boranas) – with predominant E3b1 cluster italic gamma DYS392-12 lineages that probably were introduced into the Somali population 4000–5000 years ago, approximately 15% Y chromosomes from Eurasia and approximately 5% from sub-Saharan Africa. Work is in progress in order to study closely related populations with new informative markers to obtain a better understanding of the E3b1 lineages settlement process in East Africa."

Arab Y = 3.53%, Sub-Saharan Y = 5%, Eurasian Y = 15%. Total East African E3b1 = 76.47%, approximate. In other words, even when adding all of what looks like Y percentages of Balkans, Turks, Georgians, Muslim Kurds, Bedouin and Palestinian Arab the Sub-Saharan Y is greater at 5%. Obviously, Using Ethiopia as an aggregate of all ethnic nations is a mistake. In addition to using E*5 212 and E*5 204 alleles approach this from a position of relevance:

"A previous investigation on apolipoprotein E polymorphism in the Ethiopian population highlighted the presence of a further variant allele named E*5 in addition to the three common alleles. The variant is considered rare elsewhere but has a frequency of more than 1% in this population. Now characterized by gene sequencing and restriction isotyping in many members of the families of the original carriers, the variant isoform has actually been found to be determined by two different gene mutations. Effectively rare in Ethiopians, one of the two, E5 (Gln204Lys, Cys112Arg), has never been described before. The other, E5 (Glu212Lys), previously described in a subject of Turkish origin, is present at the polymorphic level only in the Ethiopian population. No subjects bearing these variants had anomalous lipid or apolipoprotein patterns. In the course of the present investigation both have been found to occur as rare variants in the southern Italian population as well. The occurrence of the two variants in the populations of Ethiopia and of the Mediterranean basin could be explained by taking into account the relevant Caucasoid contribution to the Ethiopian gene pool."

If this polymorphic level is relevant then have at it, if not what is its relevance to the ethnic diversity of East Africans who still show predominately over 75% of Y-Chromosome indigenous to East Africa?

Polymorphic Level ( Apparently some changes are non-functional and do not alter the original (phenotype):

"Tests of the theory using DNA sequence data consist of comparisons of the relative evolutionary rates of different kinds of sites (base pairs) within codons and take advantage of the redundancy in the genetic code. The rate of neutral evolution is estimated from levels of polymorphism or numbers of segregating sites within species or the divergence between species in silent or redundant site substitutions. Silent sites are those that do not result in an amino acid change in the protein and, hence, are non-functional in the usual sense. In contrast, the rate of selective change or selective constraint is evaluated relative to the neutral rate using replacement sites, those base pair changes that result in amino acid changes. If the rate of substitution or polymorphism is lower than neutral, it is evidence of selective constraint or purifying natural selection acting to prevent change and preserve function in the face of mutational damage. If the rate of substitution is higher than neutral, then it is evidence of adaptive substitution."

Is the following statement relevant to the Ethiopian population?

"On the basis of historical, linguistic, and genetic data, it has been suggested that the Ethiopian population has been strongly affected by Caucasoid migrations since Neolithic times. On the basis of autosomal polymorphic loci, it has been estimated that 60% of the Ethiopian gene pool has an African origin, whereas ~40% is of Caucasoid derivation.... Our Ethiopian sample also lacks the sY81-G allele, which was associated with 86% and 69% of Senegalese and mixed-African YAP+ chromosomes, respectively. This suggests that male-mediated gene flow from Niger-Congo speakers to the Ethiopian population was probably very limited ... Caucasoid gene flow into the Ethiopian gene pool occurred predominantly through males. Conversely, the Niger-Congo contribution to the Ethiopian population occurred mainly through females." (Passarino et al., Am J Hum Genet, 1998)

Is this statement relevant today and is it true?

"Notably, 62% of the Ethiopians fall in the first cluster, which encompasses the majority of the Jews, Norwegians and Armenians, indicating that placement of these individuals in a 'Black' cluster would be an inaccurate reflection of the genetic structure. Only 24% of the Ethiopians are placed in the cluster with the Bantu and most of the Afro-Caribbeans." (Wilson et al., Nat Genet, 2001)

This statement is half true. :

"The present composition of the Ethiopian population is the result of a complex and extensive intermixing of different peoples of North African, Near and Middle Eastern, and south-Saharan origin. The two main groups inhabiting the country are the Amhara, descended from Arabian conquerors, and the Oromo, the most important group among the Cushitic people. ... The genetic distance analysis showed the separation between African and non-African populations, with the Amhara and Oromo located in an intermediate position." (De Stefano et al. 2002)

The Amhara are Africans who speak Arabic although the J group 3.53 % is smaller percentage than the so called Sub-Saharan percentage of 5%, therefore, if 3.53% is considered relevant, then surely 5% is even more so, yet what is most revealing is both groups are of recent introduction into the gene pool (2000 years or so). The 15% Eurasian is at least 15 to 20 centuries ancient and has been marked as coming from North Africa into the Sudan.

Note: All hyperlinks were added by this contributor on October 6, 2010 because the original contributor did not include these for verification in context. I have included hyperlinks just in case my cut and pastes were a little sloppy, for which I apologize in advance!


Woman coffee farmer filling cups with coffee in Ethiopia

The way of life evokes images of Bible times. Camels, donkeys, and sheep are everywhere. Fields are plowed using oxen. The Orthodox Church is a large part of the culture. The church buildings are built on hills. Major celebrations during the year are held around the church, where people gather from villages all around to sing, play games and observe the unique mass of the church, which includes a procession through the church grounds and environs.

Coffee is a very important ceremonial drink. The "coffee ceremony" is common to the Tigrinya and the Amhara. Beans are roasted on the spot, ground and served thick and rich in tiny ceramic cups with no handles. When the beans are roasted to smoking, they are passed around the table, where the smoke becomes a blessing on the diners.

The country houses are built mostly from rock, dirt, and a few timber poles. The houses blend in easily with the natural surroundings. Many times the nearest water source is more than a kilometer away from their house. In addition, they must search for fuel for the fire throughout the surrounding area.

The Habesha people have a rich heritage of music and dance, using drums and stringed instruments tuned to a pentatonic scale. Arts and crafts and secular music are performed by mostly pariah artisan castes. Sacred music and iconic art is performed by monastically trained men.

Language and Literature[edit]

All Habesha people speak Semitic languages, which originate from the Ancient language of Ge'ez.The Ge'ez language is classified as a South Semitic language. It evolved from an earlier proto-Ethio-Semitic ancestor used to write royal inscriptions of the kingdom of Dʿmt in Epigraphic South Arabian. As a member of South Semitic, it is closely related to Sabaean, and the Ge'ez alphabet later replaced Epigraphic South Arabian in the Kingdom of Aksum (although Epigraphic South Arabian was used for a few inscriptions into the 8th century, though not any South Arabian language since Dʿmt). Early inscriptions in Ge'ez and Ge'ez alphabet have been dated2 to as early as the 5th century BC, and in a sort of proto-Ge'ez written in ESA since the 8th century BC. Ge'ez literature properly begins with the Christianization of Ethiopia (and the civilization of Axum) in the 4th century, during the reign of Ezana of Axum. While Ge'ez is an extinct language that is only used in churches, the two languages that have branched off from it are Amharic and tigrinya. Tigrinya is a direct descendant of Ge'ez, while Amharic has a large Cushitic influence.



The Chapel of the Tablet at the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion allegedly houses the original Ark of the Covenant.

Many people think of Christianity in Africa as a European import that arrived with colonialism, but this is not the case with the Tigray (or with the Amhara). The empire centered in Axum and Adowa was part of the Mediterranean world in which Christianity grew. The arrival of Christianity in Tigrayan lands happened about the same time that it arrived in Ireland. The Tigrayans, in fact, had been converted to Christianity hundreds of years before most of Europe. Many Tigrayan churches were cut into cliffs or from single blocks of stone, as they were in Turkey and in parts of Greece, where Christianity had existed from its earliest years. The church is a central feature of communities and of each family's daily life. Each community has a church with a patron saint.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church was founded in the fourth century by Syrian monks. Historically, the Ethiopian and Eritrean churches have had strong ties with the Egyptian Coptic church, the Egyptian Church appointing the archbishop for the Eritrean Church. They gained independence from the Coptic church in the 1950´s, although the Eritrean Orthodox Church has recently reforged the link.

Over 5 million of this people are Coptic Orthodox, with one priest for every 92 members--the highest concentration in Ethiopia. The remainder are Muslims. There are many Muslims in Tigray Province, but they generally belong to other people groups. The Tigray are reported to have fewer than 500 evangelical believers. There are more believers among the Tigrinya in Eritrea.

The faith of the Coptic Church is very intimately woven into the culture of the Tigrinya people and is central to their way of life. It is loosely defined as a Christian church, but a major icon in the church is the Ark of the Covenant. The people accept the Bible as true, but the Orthodox canon includes some books unique to their tradition. With 24% literacy and only 12% functional literacy, most can´t read the Bible. Furthermore, the Church discourages reading the Bible.

This leather painting depicts Ethiopian Orthodox priests playing sistra and a drum.

Church services are conducted in Ge´ez, the ancient language of Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is considered the holy church language, just as Latin once was in the Roman Catholic Church. Unlike Latin, however, Ge´ez is taught to only a few educated scholars. Even the average priest only memorizes his part of the service.

Much has been added to Christianity. The Church grounds, like the Biblical temple, are filled with beggars and people selling religious paraphernalia such as candles and pictures of Mary and the Saints. Orthodox beliefs are law-oriented with emphasis on the rigid observance of worship rituals such as church attendance, fasting, prescribed prayers, and devotion to saints and angels. A child is never left alone until baptism and cleansing rituals are performed. Boys are baptized forty days after birth. Girls wait until eighty days, an indication of their lesser value.

Defrocked priests and deacons commonly function as diviners, who are the main healers. Spirit possession is common, affecting primarily women. Women are also the normal spirit mediums.


Judaism in Ethiopia undoubtedly goes back into very ancient times.[citation needed] Precisely what its early history was, however, remains obscure. The now dominant Coptic Ethiopian Church claims it originated from the visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon back in the Tenth Century B.C.E. This visit is mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures (I Kings 10:1), but Sheba probably was a kingdom in the south of the Yemen. Moreover, the details of the queen's visit, including the alleged theft of the Holy Ark as well as Solomon getting her pregnant with a child who established the "Solomonic" lineage in Ethiopia, as given in Christian Ethiopian tradition, are not in the Bible. They instead developed in the middle ages, first written down in full in the 13th century Kebra Nagast, inspired partly to legitimize the Solomonic dynasty as compared to the previous Zagwe dynasty of Agew descent (Cushitic, not Semitic-speaking, though passionately Christian).

What we call the Jewish Pre-settlement Theory essentially states that starting around the 8th century BCE until about the 5th century BCE, there was an influx of Jewish settlers both from Egypt & Sudan in the north, and southern Arabia in the east. Whether these settlers arrived in great numbers is yet a matter of debate. What is certain, however, is that these settlers must have preceded the arrival of Christianity. Evidence for their presence exists not only in historical books, but also material artifacts quite depicting ancient Jewish ceremony. For instance the Temple at Yeha (in Tigray province), which is said to have been erected in the 6th century BCE, is believed to an architectural copy of other Jewish temples found in Israel and Egypt during the pre-Babylonian era (before 606 BCE). Another example is found on the monastery islands of Lake Tana (northern Gojjam), where several archaic stone altars, fashioned in the manner of Jewish sacrificial alters of pre-8th century BCE Israel, have been found not only preserved in good condition but also containing blood residue. The manner of the blood placed on the stone altars was found to be typical to a culture that strongly adhered to Mosaic Law.

The chief Semitic languages of Ethiopia also suggest an antiquity of Judaism in Ethiopia. "There still remains the curious circumstance that a number of Abyssinian words connected with religion -- Hell, idol, Easter, purification, alms -- are of Hebrew origin. These words must have been derived directly from a Jewish source, for the Abyssinian Church knows the scriptures only in a Ge'ez version made from the Septuagint" (From Page 40, A.H.M. Jones and Elizabeth Monroe, A History of Ethiopia (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1935).)

Beta Israel traditions claim that the Ethiopian Jews descended from the lineage of Moses himself, some of whose children and relatives are said to have separated from the other Children of Israel after the Exodus and gone southwards, or, alternatively or together with this, that they descended from the tribe of Dan, which fled southwards down the Arabian coastal lands from Judaea at the time of the breakup of the Kingdom of Judah into two kingdoms in the 10th century B.C.E. (precipitated by the oppressive demands of Jeroboam, King Solomon's heir), or at the time of the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel in the 8th century. Certainly there was trade as early as King Solomon down along the Red Sea to the Yemen and even as far as India, according to the Bible, and there would therefore have been Jewish settlements at various points along the trade routes. There is definite archaeological evidence of Jewish settlement and of their cultural influence on both sides of the Red Sea well at least 2,500 years ago, both along the Arabian coast and in the Yemen, on the eastern side, and along the southern Egyptian and Sudanese coastal regions.

Not all beta esrael are Jews. Some are just taking advantage of the So called Falashas , who might and might not be Jews. The Amhara , Gurage and the Tigre tribes of Eritrea and Ethiopia ( Habesha people) are more Jews than the flash of Ethiopia and have more blood relation as well. People tend to forget that the Habesha people celebrate Judaism. Habesha people still believe in the Old Testament. Technically there belief system is Judaism/Christian all in one. The Habesha people regardless of there pigmentation today are nothing more than a tribe of Arabs. The Axumite of antiquity are still here as habeshas and as Muslim Arabs. The evidence to this can be found not only in the language and culture that they share but also in there genetic markers. Habesha people have received from there fathers a language that don't identify with Africa , a language that segregates the general African population from it - for example -both in Amharic , Tigrinya , Arabs , only discribe the races with two colors "keye" ( red) "seliem" (tikur) black and then the Habesha always claim that there race was red not white but a red color. U decide what red would mean in the world of black and red. Also Arabs and Habeshas have always associated there dragatory terms with blacks. They have no words or works of any kind that glorify its self because it recognizes its self as black but words or sentences when spoken or terms when aplied in to action they sound as words that would come from an entrity that recognizes its self as red meaning not black. Habeshas and Arabs don't have any dragatory word or terms against "the red" but there dictionary is full of dragatory terms against the "tikur" the black. Another thing to take into consideration is the Ethiopian Orthodox Church who knew exactly where they came from before any one tried to trace there history or DNA. They have been telling the world since they reassumed contact with the world. Finding Amhara and Tigre people who might not be related to Arabs is a big possibility but that don't mean you won't find Habeshas who are related to Arabs. They are an Arab civilization through and through weather they are excepted or not is another matter. In the Koran it says that Muhammad sent his followers to the land of Habesha including his own doughter. The profit would not do that if there was no relation , who would send his daughter to a strange land. Before the rise of Islam there used to be a civil war in Ethiopia over the image of god. The north revolted saying there is only one god. Sound familier , and also the axumite empire with its 30 to 40,000 army stationed in Yemen Egypt or the Middle East was growing frustrated from unemployment or what the ancients called lack of qonquest , because they have become christian were to give there wealth every time the church asked for it. It's also a well known fact that Muhammad's army was made up of Habesha or axumite army 80 to 90 %. Why would they follow someone who they don't consider there own specially some one who at that time or in the beginning could not afford to pay you. Arabs & habeshas are axumite's and Islam is there justification for qonquest you need that ideology especially to reactivate an army that has been brain washed with Christianity. The Koran also instructs the Muslims to never attack Habesha , this seems to me a selfish order considering the fact that Muhamud wanted the world to except Islam. Only someone who looked at the Habesha or the land of Habesha as his own would instruct his followers to never attack Ethiopia and to let it believe in what ever ethiopia wants to believe. This could come from people who looked at habeshas as his own people and told another's not to touch them. Mani said only Rome , Persia , china and Axum were the super powers even in the days of Muhamud Axum was still standing. He might have rose up from the bedwins but he was no bedwin he was an axumite and so is the whole Arab race. One last thing to take into consideration is that almost all the Portuguese travelers who made it to erhiopia in the 1400's described the people as having Carmel color and distinct from there African counter part but when they discribed the upper classes of the habeshas specially of the king prince or princes that were residing on the Amba/church (mountain top fortresses ) they said they were whiter than Arabs and Spanish , it fits perfectly when specially you look at images of there kings, specially king Tewodros and king Yohanis any one before them. Most Habeshas will tell you they don't look like there fathers mothers and there mothers and fathers don't look like there parents. Habeshas are people who are becoming blacker and blacker by the each generation not a one that was black became light then black speaking a language that don't belong to him. =See Also==


  1. ^ a b c d e Herausgegeben von Uhlig, Siegbert, Encyclopaedia Aethiopica: D-Ha. Wiesbaden:Harrassowitz Verlag, 2005. pp. 948.
  2. ^ Stuart Munro-Hay. Aksum: A Civilization of Late Antiquity. Edinburgh: University Press. 1991. pp. 19.
  3. ^ Stuart Munro-Hay. Aksum: A Civilization of Late Antiquity. Edinburgh: University Press. 1991. pp. 39.
  4. ^ Stuart Munro-Hay. Aksum: A Civilization of Late Antiquity. Edinburgh: University Press. 1991. pp. 66.
  5. ^ Pankhurst, Richard K.P. Addis Tribune, "Let's Look Across the Red Sea I", January 17, 2003.
  6. ^ Stuart Munro-Hay, Aksum: An African Civilization of Late Antiquity. Edinburgh: University Press, 1991, pp.57.
  7. ^ a b Herausgegeben von Uhlig, Siegbert, Encyclopaedia Aethiopica: D-Ha. Wiesbaden:Harrassowitz Verlag, 2005. pp. 949.
  8. ^ Stuart Munro-Hay. Aksum: A Civilization of Late Antiquity. Edinburgh: University Press. 1991. pp. 72.

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