Ethiopia Population and Urban Centers

Statistical data both on the population. – Regarding the population of the Ethiopian Empire, only very uncertain data and largely approximate evaluations are possessed, which make it vary between 6 and 12 million. Of these, about a third would be more or less pure Abyssinians; 4 million would be Galla and one million Somalis; the rest would consist of various elements: Arabs, Negroes, Jews, etc. But even more strongly, all these distinctive data must be understood as simple indications, moreover subject to considerable discrepancies. No data, not even largely approximate, is possessed about the movement of the population by births, deaths, emigrations and not even about the increase that the population itself could undergo in modern times. For Ethiopia 1998, please check

Referring to what will be said later on the origins and anthropological, ethnic and linguistic characteristics and on religion, we will add only that with regard to religion, although the Monophysite Christian religion is the one practiced by the vast majority of pure Abyssinians, Muslim infiltration in the center of the Empire and especially in the Harar region and in the southern territories of recent annexation, it was very large, without however having any data on the subject, as there is no data regarding the number of populations who practice pagan cults. It is estimated at 50,000 the number of indigenous people of Jewish religion, called Falascià (Falāšā), living in small groups between Lake Tana and Semien. Little is known of their historical origin, around which disparate conjectures were formulated.falascià). The number of Catholics is smaller, the result of the missions that after 1840 exercised their apostolate in Ethiopia.

Density population and population centers. – The uncertainty that remains about the number of residents and their different territorial distribution makes it very difficult to determine the regional density, especially since the extreme ease of movement brings about continuous alterations. The population of Ethiopia, which derives mainly from agriculture and livestock the means of subsistence, usually lives grouped in small villages, made of stone huts, mud, wood or branches, of varying importance in number. of residents, but all – except sometimes the churches – equally devoid of buildings that have any monumental character and that can therefore in some way recall the image of a city of civilized villages. For Ethiopia we cannot speak of real cities, because even those, such as Aksum and Gondar, which already had a considerable importance as ancient capitals and which still retain some vestiges of their past prosperity, appear today only as mean villages. In Aksum, where some of its ancient obelisks remain standing, a reminder of the famous Aksumite kingdom, today a population of no more than 3000 inhabited is assigned. In Gondar, of more recent origin and development, erected or in any case increased by King Fasiladas (Fāsiladas) in the century. XVI, the grandiose remains of its ancient castles and imperial palaces – constructions, by Portuguese and perhaps also Italian craftsmen, already boasted for their splendor – are no more than ruins and the population of the city of a few tens of thousands of residents, how many counted in the period in which it was the capital of the empire, today it has perhaps 5000, food, as in all of Ethiopia, in miserable huts. Only the Harar retains within the enclosure of its ancient walls, almost unchanged despite the rise of some European construction and tucul Abyssinian, its original character, with narrow and winding alleys flanked by brick houses, and therefore stands out from all other Ethiopian centers. As for the capital Addis Ababa, built at the behest of Menelik in the last years of the nineteenth century, it can be considered as a set of various buildings, some of which of a European type separated by areas covered by eucalyptus woods, by flower gardens, by groups of huts. According to more recent data, its population, which is very fluctuating, would rise to 150,000 residents, of which 1,500 Europeans. Gore is assuming growing importance, which has become the most important center of western Ethiopia due to its relations with Gambela and therefore with Sudan. But the transformation that, especially in recent times, it is taking place more and more in Ethiopia, tending towards European civilization will certainly also influence the transformation of the inhabited centers. Thus Dire Daua, which for some time was the head of the line of the Djibouti railway, 50 km away. to NO. of Harar with 15,000 residents has a European neighborhood. There are also numerous places sacred to worship throughout Ethiopia and where the development of convents and the influx of pilgrimages has determined the development of real urban centers. Of these, the most notable is Dabra Libānos in the Scioa at 90 km. north of Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia Urban Centers


About the author