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The Concept of Empire: What Makes Ethiopia an Empire?

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Chapter Summary

Based on elaborated definitions and analysis of the concept of empire, this chapter demonstrates that the Ethiopian polity is an empire due to the fact that it was founded on military conquest and force and, it has clearly identifiable core/dominant group which imposed its will or hegemony on the periphery or newly conquered regions through well-organized structures of domination. It examines the process of conquest, the nature of center-periphery relations resulting from the Ethiopian conquest and the functioning of the socio-economic system called "feudal colonialism", due to the absence of an adequate expression. The chapter demonstrates imperial success in territorial conquest, incorporation and domination led to a belief that the empire state created by force and maintained by force would transform itself into a coherent and homogeneous nation-state revolving around a "core" of symbols and cultural codes chosen and imposed by the ruling classes.

Keywords: cultural codes; Ethiopian polity; European empire; feudal colonialism; imperialism



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