Inter-Ethnic Relations on a Frontier: Mätakkäl (Ethiopia), 1898-1991
Mätäkkäl is a large region in Northwest Ethiopia along the Sudanese border. In former times it comprised nearly half of Goggam, although not counting more than 250.000 Inhabitants, who belonged to different ethnical groups. Members from all four Ethiopian language families (Semitic, Kushitic, Omotic, and Nilo-Saharian) inhabit the area. Mätäkkäl represents thus from ethno-linguistic view a pattern of Ethiopia. The special ethnical variety of this region goes back to demographic and political changes in the Horn of Africa in the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the 16th century large subpopulations came into the region and led to an ethnical enriching. While Oromo, Sinasa and Agäw assimilated in most areas of Goggam to the dominant Amharic speaking population, in Mätäkkäl the same subpopulations retained their ethnical identity to a large extent. The investigation is based on interviews with informants and fi eld research, as well as on documents and archives. The study is an interdisciplinary work, which combines history, anthropology and peace research. It deals with cultures and history of the peoples in the border area between Ethiopia and the Sudan from the last decade of the 19th century up to the end of the Ethiopian Revolution in 1991.