Kingdoms that shaped today’s Eritrea: Kush; Axum and Zagwe

Many families who live in today’s Eritrea are from Bet Agaw, and their last kingdom was in Lasta – Lalibela founded by King Mirara Teklehaimanot from Hamasien – today’s Eritrea. After the fall of Axumite Kingdom, the newly re-located kingdom lasted after four centuries reign(910 – 1270) AD.

Zagwe Dynasty was over taken by Solomonic Kingdom of Showa who revolted against the Agaws under the leadership of Yikuno Amlak.

After the fall of Zagwe Dynasty – the Agaws of Eritrea re-organized themselves and established three different polities. One of the most powerful polity was the Kingdom of Bahre Negassi ze – Debarwa

Map of Bahre Negassi Debarwa

Bahre Negassi Debarwa – the Kingdom of the Land of the Sea is one of the largest polities which is now part of modern Eritrean Nation.

The other two polities which joined the Kingdom of Bahre Negassi are The Adal Sultanate of Rahayta(Assab) and the Beni Amir Sultanate of Barka (Kassala).

These three polities were united by Italians to form the Colony of Italy in the horn of Afrika.

Although these three polities were united, the union is not yet fully stable.

If we go back to ancient history, today’s Eritrea was basically part of the ancient Hamitic and Kushitic kingdom. It was only divided into three different polities after the fall of Zagwe Dynasty.

The three most significant civilizations that have a great impact in today’s Eritrean social fabric are:

1. Kush Kingdom of Nubia

2. Axumite kingdom of Axum

3. Zagwe kingdoms of Lalibela

After the fall of Zagwe Dynast,n Christianity and Islam have played a great role in shaping Eritrean social fabric and evolution of new identities.

In-depth understanding of these socio-dynamics is crucial to understand the complex nature of Eritrean Anthropology, Sociology, History, Politics and Economics.

Zagwe kingdom is the last powerful center all Agaws of the horn of Africa uses as a reference to develop their family tree. However, there is some confusion to understand how these genealogies are developing. Because many scholars(The Amharas) and kings tried to corrupt as if the Agaws of Eritrea are immigrants from Lasta in order to claim Eritrea’s territory ownership. The truth is the inverse.

Family Tree of Agaw Eritreans who were part of the last Agaw Kingdom, Zagwe Dynasty

I hope intellectuals will come together and enlighten our people to be free from all kinds of oppression.

3 thoughts on “Kingdoms that shaped today’s Eritrea: Kush; Axum and Zagwe”

  1. I’m so proud of you for your education and the more I try to educate myself to the high level our Eritrean history and you really inject it with the good resources.
    I’m sincere by you knowledge and thank you for all.


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