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The Historical Trajectories Of Local Ethnic Polities: The Sidama And The Wolayta

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Chapter Summary

This chapter looks at the historical background of two of these peripheral peoples, the Sidama and the Wolayta. The chapter deals with the social and political organisation of the traditional polities of Sidama and Wolayta before their incorporation into the Ethiopian empire at the end of the nineteenth century. It discusses the impact on the traditional polities of three key historical events: the northern invasion by Emperor Menelik's forces, the Italian occupation, and the return of the Amhara rulers after the Italians departed. The chapter looks at what can be described as the 'modernisation' period in the two communities, when emerging Protestantism, economic change, and the socialist revolution all contributed to weakening traditional structures. The concluding part analyses how these historical events and cultural influences are interpreted and expressed in contemporary society by the actors in Sidama and Wolayta.

Keywords: ethnic polities; historical trajectories; Sidama; Wolayta



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