Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ethiopia (Continued)

Bete Giyorgis from above, one of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.
The Ethiopian Dark Ages followed by a peaceful period by Zagwe dynasty.
The line of rulers descended from the Aksumite kings was broken several times, first by the Jewish Queen Gudit around 950 (or possibly aroun 850, as in Ethiopian histories). About 1000, a non-christian princes , Yodit (Gudit, a play on Yudit meaning evil), conspired to murder all the members of the royal family and establish herself as monarch, excepting one child who escaped with the help of a faithful adherents. Yodit reigned for forty years and at one point Yodit's successors were overthown by an Agaw lord named Mara Takla Haymont ,who founded the Zagwe dynasty and married a female descendedof the Axumite monarchs (son in law)of previous ruler.One highlights of this dynasty was the reign of Gebre Mesqel Lalibela, in whose reign the stone churches of Lalibela were carved under king lalibela, allowed by a long period of peace and stability.
Ethiopian Empire
Around 1270,a new dynasty was established in the Abysinian highlands underYekuno Amlak who deposed the last of teh Zagbe kings and married one of their daughters, now recognised as the continuing Solomonic Dynasty but their success was due more to the force of their arms than to their purity of their lineage.
Conact with Europe

King Fasilies Castle
In the early fifteenth century Ethiopia sought to make diplomatic relation with European kingdoms for the first time since Aksumite times.A letter from King IV of England to the Emperor of Abyssinia survives. The first continuous relations with a European country began in 1508 with Portugal under emperor Lebna Dengel, who had just inherited the throne from his father . The emperor Fasilides declared the state religion again to be Orthodox Catholic instead of Roman Catholic.

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