East Africa

A vast and complex region, out of which humanity as a species has emerged. This, the oldest occupied tegion on the planet, is a blend of lush tropics and semi-arid desert, of prairie and mountain, of seacoast and inland districts.

Presently this covers: Adal (Ifat), Arkiko, Assaw, Axum, Buganda, Bunyoro, Burundi, BusogaDauro, Eritrea, Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Patriarchate, Gojam, Harar, Jima, Juba, Kaffa, Karagwe, Kilwa, Konta, Majertin, Massawa, Mogadishu, Mombasa, Nkore, Nugal, Pate, Punt, Rwanda, Rwenzururu, Shewa, SomaliaSomaliland, Tigre, Tooro, Warasangali, Zanzibar, Zeng, and Zion.

An Afar Sultanate in eastern Ethiopia. The Afar are for the most part pastoral nomads, practicing a lax form of Islam. Assaw was one of the few permanent polities established by this fierce people. It is in this region, at Hadar, that the oldest (3.5 million yrs) pre-hominid remains (Australopithecus afarensis) have been found, including the famous nearly complete skeleton called Lucy.

BUGANDA A powerful Kingdom located in what is now Uganda.

BUNYORO A Kingdom in the interior, in what is now northwestern Uganda. The chief power in the region until the early 19th century, when it began to lose territory and influence to Buganda.

BURUNDI In the interior, along the Great Rift Valley, between Congo and Tanzania. The region has been inhabited for centuries by two distinct tribal groups, the Tutsi (sometimes called Watusi), a Nilotic people who had formed an aristocratic warrior-caste in the region, and the Hutu, a Bantu people who were primarily agrarian peasantry. Se also, Rwanda.

Busoga is Bantu kingdom within modern Uganda. Busoga, literally translated to Land of the Soga,  comprises eleven principalities of the Soga people, united under the nominal rule of a paramount chief. Its capital is located in Bugembe, roughly 60 miles (100 km.) east of Kampala - the province of Busoga lies between the northern shore of Lake Victoria and the southeastern shore of Lake Kyoga.

DAURO A state in northern Ethiopia.

ERITREA The southwestern littoral of the Red Sea, opposite Yemen.

ETHIOPIA The land of Ethiopia is a vast and mountainous region in northeastern Africa, with the arid plains of the Sudan to the west and the equally difficult terrain of the Harar to the east. Humans have dwelt here longer than almost any other place on Earth - remains of proto-hominids have been discovered in southern Ethiopia that date back millions of years. The history of this region is long, complex, and poorly understood.

THE ETHIOPIAN (Abyssinian) CHURCH The Ethiopian Church is arguably one of the oldest continuously existing churches in the world. It was founded around the year 330 by Frumentius, a Syrian shipwrecked in Ethiopia and later ordained a bishop by St. Athanasius of Alexandria and returned to Ethiopia to help with the continued evangelization of the country. In the late 400's the "Nine Saints", a group of exiled Coptic theologians, brought Coptic beliefs to Ethiopia and brought the country in communion with the Copts of Egypt and the Jacobites of Syria. Ethiopian Christianity retains several pagan and Jewish traditions, including circumcision. Liturgy is in the Ge'ez language, though increasingly Amharic is used. Most of the bishops of Ethiopia were Egyptians appointed by the Coptic Pope in Alexandria. In the early 20th century the Ethiopian church pressed for greater autonomy. In 1948 the Abyssinian Orthodox (Ethiopian Coptic) Church was made autocephalus under its Metropolitan; in 1959 the Metropolitan was raised in status to Patriarch, answering only in theory to the Pope in Alexandria. Bear in mind while examining this list that there tended to be significant gaps between administrations, because of the exceedingly lengthy and dangerous journey required by representatives of the Ethiopoan Church to Alexandria in order to report the vacancy, followed by an equally difficult return to the distant southern mountains with the new candidate. Eritrean Church Autocephaly granted by Coptic Church in 1993; see elevated to a Patriarchate by the Coptic Pope in 1998.

GOJAM A district in northwestern Ethiopia; the region around the Choke Mountains south of Lake Tana, and frontiering with the Sudan to the northwest. The Blue Nile forms the border on the east and south.

HARAR Eastern Ethiopia, the deserts and mountains below the Amhara Plateau sweeping eastward into the Somali angle.

JIMA An Islamic sultanate in Ethiopia, located in the mountains of Kaffa Province, about 140 miles (225 km.) southwest of Addis Ababa.

JUBA A breakaway province in southern Somalia, adjacent to the Kenyan frontier.

KAFFA  A district in southwestern Ethiopia, the original source of the coffee bean and the basis for the name of the beverage. The region had been an independent Kingdom from 1390, and was constituted a local Empire in 1700. By the 1850's, rulers were claiming semi-divine status, but the region was annexed to Ethiopia a generation or so later.

KARAGWE A tribal Kingdom on the west shore of Lake Victoria, in that section of Tanzania nestled between the lake on one side and Rwanda on the other, with Uganda immediately to the north. The chief town was Bukoba.

KILWA An island off the coast of modern Tanzania, long an Arab Sultanate.

KONTA A state in western Ethiopia.

MOGADISHU One of the oldest Arab settlements on the East African coast, established as a trading port in the 10th century. In modern times, it was the capital of Somalia, and remains the most important city in that region.

MOMBASA The chief port of Kenya, an old Arab commercial post founded in the 11th century.

NKORE A tribal Kingdom in southwestern Uganda, between Lake Edward to the west and Lake Victoria to the east, close to the Tanzanian frontier to the south.

PATE An island off the coast of Kenya, long an Arab base.

PUNT The northeast corner of Somalia, comprising the tip of the great peninsula that juts out from Africa to turn the Red Sea. Since the fragmentation of Somalia, it has retained a separate government. See also Warasangali.

RWANDA In the interior, along the Great Rift Valley between Congo and Tanzania, just southwest of Uganda. The region has been inhabited for centuries by two distinct tribal groups, the Tutsi (sometimes called Watusi), a Nilotic people who had formed an aristocratic warrior-caste in the region, and the Hutu, a Bantu people who were primarily agrarian peasantry. See also, Burundi.

A mountainous district in extreme southwestern Uganda which strays into Congo at some points - roughly speaking, the region between Lake Edward in the north and Lake Kivu in the south, with it's base at Kasese in Uganda. It is recent in origin, comprising for the most part a highland people - the Bakonzo (Bayira) - who had long been raided by the Bunyoro and others. 

SHEWA A region in central Ethiopia - the province within which the modern capital of Addis Ababa sits, in fact. A province governed by members of the Imperial dynasty in the time when the capital of Ethiopia was located at Gondar, in the north, Shewa became a semi-autonomous Kingdom in the 19th century. The Kingdom was mediatized in 1850's when the capital was transferred to Addis Ababa, but still retained a degree of separation until the end of the chronic internal conflicts within Ethiopia settled in the 1890's.

The region around the Horn of Africa. 

SOMALILAND Northern Somalia, the region along the north shore of the Horn of Africa between Puntland to the east and Djibouti to the west. It is now a breakaway state created out of the disintegration of the older republic. See also Warasangali.

TIGRE Northern Ethiopia, bordering Eritrea to it's north. A broken land, the western portion is very mountainous, but descends abruptly to the east into the Kobar Sink. In the western highlands is the ancient city of Axum, making Tigre the effective heartland of Abyssinia.

TOORO A tribal kingdom in northwestern Uganda.

A sultanate founded at the end of the thirteenth century. It was located on the Maakhir Coast of northeastern Somaliland, and at times ruled most of the country's present territory. Its capital was the town of Las Khorey in the Sanaag region, located about 220 miles (354 km.) east of Berbera, the present capital of Somaliland. Its rulers, the Gerad Dhidhin, were a branch of the Darod clan.

ZANZIBAR An island off the coast of Tanzania, a trading center and a notorious slave-trade depot for the Moslem world until British suppression in 1888/1890. A British Protectorate 1890-1963.An ephemeral Kingdom

ZION An ephemeral Kingdom carved out of northern Ethiopia (the provinces of Tigre, Begemdir, Gojam, and Simen).