|Motto: Motto::Tokuummaa Oromo (Oromos Unite)|
|-||Government||Democratic Monarchy (with influence from the traditional Gadaa democracy hierarchy)|
|-||Religion||No official religion. Majority of population practices Christianity.|
|-||Land||25000 sq. km.|
The Democratic Kingdom of Oromia (also known as Oromia) is a nation located in East Africa. It gained its independence from Ethiopia after a 40 year rebellion led by Lord Waqor Gobenna, a member of the Royal Family of Leqa. It has an area of 375,000 square miles, larger than than France, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium & the Netherlands combined. Oromia has over 40 million people. After the 40 year War of Liberation, the country adopted a form of democratic monarchy where noble families acted as political parties. The economy of Oromia grew exponentially after the discovery of a resource rich valley which contained large amounts of uranium, platinum, pil, coal and natural gas. Oromia opted to become a neutral nation after the Oromo-Somali War which saw 300,000 civilans and soldeirs dead.It has become the capital of fashion, technology, science and education in Africa. It is a member of the Galt's Gulch Alliance.
The earliest records of the Oromo are found in the scripts of the Arab scribe Menuz Al-Hatiff. Al-Hatiff stated that they were an ancient race that covered the lands of modern day Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan. His records state that the Oromo were organized into different clans which were each ruled by a Gadaa (a democratic council) of elders. Each of these councils had different ministers in charge of the various aspects of the clan (defence, economy, judiciary etc.).
In the 1500s, a large-scale war erupted between the Oromo and the Sudanese kingdoms. The war caused the Oromo clans to form a coalition and unite their armies against the Sudanese invasion. The war lasted over 50 years and it greatly weakened both civilizations. Eventually, during the dying stages of the war, the generals of the Oromo, whose powers had greatly increased, each claimed their own expanse of land and established monarchies. The Sudanese kingdoms ended their invasion of Oromo lands to deal with internal difficulties.
These monarchies, known as the Gibe kingdoms, conquered and waged war against each other until there were only 8 kingdoms left; the Kingdom of Wellega, the Harerghe Kingdom, the Shewan Kingdom, the Kingdom of Illubabor, the Jimma Kingdom, the Arsi Kingdom,the Borana Empire and the Bale Empire. The monarchs of these kingdoms were very powerful and often had huge armies of horse men armed with spears and hippo-hide shields.
In the 1800s, another war erupted, this time it was against the Abyssinian Empire which was located north of Oromia. Initially, the Oromo kingdoms fought off the invasion from the Abyssinian armies but ,in the late 1800s, the Abyssinian Empire had allied itself with Europeans who had equipped its armies with thousands of guns. Eventually, battles between the Oromo and the Abyssinians turned into massacres of Oromo horsemen. To save their positions and their people, the monarchs of all but one of the Oromo kingdoms surrendered. The only Oromo king to hold out was the young Chala Letta of the Harerghe kingdom. For almost 10 years he waged a guerrilla war against the Abyssinians until he was eventually captured and executed.
By 1895, all Oromo kingdoms had been occupied and incorporated into the Abyssinian Empire under the leadership of the ruthless Emperor Menelik II. Even though the Oromo monarchs had been promised the safety of their people and their right to keep thier positions, Menelik sponsored wide spread raiding of Oromo villages by his generals. In 1910, a collective uprising by Oromo royal families was met with a swift and merciless response when Menelik sent huge parties of gunmen to raze their palaces to the ground. After this uprising, the monarchs were executed and ,even though their children were allowed to succeed them, their titles were greatly reduced.
Menelik's death in 1913 did not end the suffering of the Oromo people. His successor, Emperor Haile Selassie , proved to have been a much sterner ruler than his predecessor. He instigate segregation between Oromos and Habeshas (Abyssinians), keeping Oromos out of cities and confined to rural areas. This ,in effect, meant that many Oromos had no access to education. The Oromo language and culture was suppressed and shunned. Due to this, many uprisings occurred, especially in the former Bale Empire (which was made into the Bale Province), by Oromo peasants. These uprisings were quite successful and were able to reduce government influence in Bale and so many aspects of Oromo culture was able to survive. Nonetheless, in may areas of Oromia, there was genocide against the Oromo people, who were treated as slaves. The taboo of being Oromo caused many people to pretend to be a Habesha by giving themselves Amharic names (Amharic is the language of the Habesha). One of the most notable of these was Abebe Aregai, who managed to secure the position of Chief of Police by pretending to be an Amhara.
In 1935, the Italy invaded the Ethiopian Empire (Abysinnia was changed into Ethiopia in 1920). Italy thought they would be able to get the Oromo to revolt and cause internal difficulties for Emperor Haile Selassie. The Oromo people, however, looked upon the Italians as another colonizer and stubbornly fought against the Italian advance. The Italian occupation of Ethiopia allowed the Oromo to be treated fairly for the first time. the creation of Oromo written language began during this period and many Oromo radio stations sprung up. These two advancements were quickly shut down when Emperor Haile Selassie retook his throne with help from Britain.
After five years of relative freedom, the Oromos were angered to find themselves back where they started. This was the time when Oromo nationalism began to develop spearheaded by the Macha-Tulama Self-Help Association (MTHA). The MTHA was led by Tadesa Birru, a celebrated general of the Imperial Army who had surprised the country by announcing that he was an Oromo.The organization helped millions of Oromo by providing them with healthcare and education. It also supported the reemergence of Oromo music and culture. By 1960, it had two million registered members and the Habesha ruing elite began to feel threatened by it. In 1963, the group was banned and accused of supporting uprisings in the Bale Province. Much of it's leadership was rounded up and executed including Tadesa Birru.. THe rest of its leadership escaped into Somalia. The banning and outlawing of the organization caused widespread demonstrations which were eventually put down by the Army.
1974 was a turbulent year in the history of the Oromo. The government of Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown by a military committee called the Derg. The Derg organized the Empire into a Socialist state and allied itself with Soviet Russia. In Somalia, the exiled ex-members of the MTHA had organized themselves into the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) under the leadership of Lord Waqor Gobenna. The objective of the OLF was to liberate Oromia from Ethiopia and establish a Oromo republic by any means necessary. The OLF even developed a military wing compromised of young Oromo refugees who were trained by the Somali government. The military wing ,called the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), crossed the border into Ethiopia and mounted its first attacks in the Bale Province. The emergence of the Derg had given many Oromos hope of equality and so initially, with hopes of reconciling and remain united with Ethiopia, the majority of Oromos, save the older generation, rejected the OLF as an extremist organization. Nevertheless, the OLA was successful in the Bale province and grew in size with many farmers joining the cause.
By 1980, the Derg, under the leadership of Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam, proved to have been a bloodthirsty government. Due to the emergence of several rebel groups ,such as the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF), the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF), the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party (EPRP) and ,of course, the Oromo Liberation Front, the government had imposed the Red Terror by arming local neighbourhood committees and authorizing them to use as much force as necessary to eradicate any supporters of the rebel movements. This caused thousands of deaths across the country. Aside from this, Ethiopia was being invaded by Somalia which had the largest army in Africa at the time.
All of this plus economic difficulties made people support the rebel movements. All of the Oromo eventually turned towards the Oromo Liberation Front as a source of hope. At the time, the dominant rebel army was that of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party which opposed the OLF's secessionist agenda. Due to this, the OLA was also attacked by EPRP units as well as government soldiers.In 1979, the EPRP sent 2000 soldiers to the Bale Province to oppose the OLA advance. This delayed the OLA's plans to enter the Borana Province but the OLA was finally successful at not only eradicating the EPRP in Bale but it also used its guerrilla units to destroy the EPRP's homebase in northern Ethiopia. In 1981, the OLA had enough recruits to open new fronts in the east, west and central parts of the country. Later in that year, the Somali advance had reached Dire Dawa, a key city, the Derg eventually requested aid from the rest of the communist world and was responded with an overwhelming amount of support; 20,000 Cuban and West German troops and tanks as well hundreds of Russian advisors. Aside from using these reinforcements to fight back against the Somali army, Colonel Mengistu also used them to eradicate several major and minor rebel groups including the EPRP. The OLA was also forced to give up many of the cities it had occupied due to superior firepower from Cuban tanks.
With Somalia and the EPRP destroyed, the Ethiopian government turned it's attention towards the OLF and the northern rebellion by the TPLF and the EPLF. The Ethiopian people, who were left with out any hope after the EPRP was destroyed, began supporting the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a coalition of rebel groups led by the TPLF who had dropped their agenda for an independent Tigray state and had turned their attention to a democratic Ethiopia. The Ethiopian people, apart from the Oromos, rejected the OLF and EPLF because they believed that they would cause Ethiopia to be disunited. With support from the Ethiopian people, apart from the Oromo, the EPRDF filled the void created by the destruction of the EPRP as the dominant rebel group. Due to the EPLF's advantage of having superior firepower and having access tot he sea, the EPRDF allied itself with it. This, in effect, isolated the OLA from any allies. Nevertheless, the OLA grew in ranks and support and managed to defeat the Southern Territorial Army by taking its base of Arba Minch.
Between 1985 and 1987, the OLA captured all of the major cities in south Ethiopia and had liberated the provinces of Illubabor, Bale, Wellega, Borana and Harerghe.With over 100,000 soldiers, it had become the most powerful rebel group. In light of this, the EPLF switched allies from the EPRDF to the OLF.The EPRDF responded by signing a treaty with the government to create a joint government together. By joining their forces, the ERPDF-government troops united against the EPLF-OLF alliance. This caused many TPLF members of the EPRDF to leave and create a new TPLF with the old secessionist agenda. The EPRDF-government army was no match for the combined might of the OLF, EPLF and the new TPLF. By 1991, OLA troops had taken control of the capital and arrested all senior government and EPRDF members. The leaders of the three victorious rebel groups plus other minor rebel groups all met in a conference in London. Each rebel group was granted the right to form governments for each of their respective nationalities. Ethiopia was then split up into four different countries with the Ogaden province being incorporated into Somalia.
21st Century and Oromo-Somali WarEdit
Oromia adopted a democratic monarchy with influences from the Gadaa democracy system. Lord Waqor Gobenna was elected to be the first King/Aba Gadaa/President. The country was split up into 11 regions each administered by a governor. The young nation then skyrocketed economically after the discovery of a large resource rich valley. Oromia faced another conflict after Somalia demanded that the valley was in Somali territory. After being refused by the UN, the Somali governments began waging a proxy war against Oromia by organizing a militia to terrorize the Oromo people. The militants mounted several attacks on several rural villages, slaughtering its civilians. In 2001, the militant group raided the south of the Oromo capital after simultaneously bombing 300 shops, hotels, cinemas and other places of high population densities. The bombs left 210 people dead and the raids saw the slaughter of 1300 people.
This attack opted King Waqor to invade Somalia.The invasion saw the start of the ORomo-Somali War which caused the deaths of 300,000 people. Most of the battles took place in the city of Immi where both armies used trenches. The initial advance of the Oromo Defence Force was successful and it pushed the Somali Army back as as Immi where they stood their ground for 3 years of the 4 years during which the war took place. After not being able to break through the Somali lines in the south, King Waqor created another front in the poorly defended but mountainous terrain of the north. The northern front proved to be more successful and the Oromo advance captured the key city of Jijiga, the base of the Somali Western Territorial Army. After capturing Jijiga, the Oromo army proceeded to take the cities of Hargesia and Borama. By taking these two cities, the Oromo Defence Force eradicated Somali army presence in northern Somalia. The Somali Army made many attempts to reatke the cities but ultimately failed, the Oromo Defence Force continued its offensive and captured the port of Berebera and the city of Bruco. Before the war ended, the Oromo Defence Force broke the southern Somali lines and captured the cities of Baidoa and Bardere. The Somali government quickly accepted a peace treaty from the Oromo government which gave Oromia the city of Hargeisa and the port of Berebera.
The war had both positive and negative impacts on Oromia; it had caused the deaths of over 300,000 soldiers and civilians but it had also established Oromo sovereignty, given Oromia access to a sea and also opted the government to run the country into a neutral country.
The country of the Oromo is called Biyya-Oromo (Oromo country) or Oromia (Oromiya). Oromia is a name given by the Oromo Liberation Front to Oromoland. Krapf (1860) proposed the term Ormania to designate the nationality or the country of the Oromo people. This, most probably, originated from his reference to the people as Orma or Oroma. Oromia was one of the free nations in the Horn of Africa until its colonization and occupation by Abyssinia at the end of the nineteenth century. It is approximately located between 2 degree and 12 degree N and between 34 degree and 44 degree E. It is bordered in the East by Somali and Afar lands and Djibouti, in the West by the Sudan, in the South by Somalia, Kenya and others and in the North by Amhara and Tigre land or Abyssinia proper. The land area is about 600 000 square kilometres. Out of the 50 or so African countries it is exceeded in size by only 17 countries. It is larger than France, and if Cuba, Bulgaria and Britain were put together, they would be approximately equal to Oromia in size. The physical geography of Oromia is quite varied. It varies from rugged mountain ranges in the centre and north to flat grassland in most of the lowlands of the west, east and south. Among the many mountain ranges are the Karra in Arsi (4340 m), Baatu in Baaie (4307 m), Enkelo in Arsi (4300 m), Mui'ataa in Hararge (3392m) and Baddaa Roggee in Shawa (3350 m).
Similarly, there are many rivers and lakes in Oromia. Many of the rivers flow westwards into either the Blue Nile or the White Nile, and others flow eastwards to Somalia and Afar land. Among the large rivers are the Abbaya (the Nile), Hawas (Awash), Gannaaiee, Waabee, Dhidheessa, Gibe and Baaroo.
For the peoples of Egypt, the Sudan and Somalia, life would be impossible without these rivers. They carry millions of tons of rich soil to Egypt, the Sudan and Somalia every year. Somalia depends heavily on the Gannaaiee (Juba) and Waabee (Shaballe) rivers which come from Oromia. In fact Oromia supplies almost 100 per cent of the fresh water for Somalia, Djibouti and Afars. At present the Ethiopian government depends heavily on Hawas (Awash) water as a source of electric power for its industries and irrigation water to grow sugar cane, cotton and fruits. The Wanji and Matahara sugar estates are good examples. There is a great potential in all these rivers for the production of electric power and for irrigation. Qoqaa, Fincha, Malkaa Waakkenne, Gibee Tiqqaa dams are examples of where hydro-electric power is already being produced or in the process of being harnessed.
Among the Oromo lakes are Abbaya, Hora, Bishofitu, Qoqaa, Langanno and Shaalaa. Many of these lakes possess a great variety of fish and birds on their islands and shores.
The climate is as varied as the physical geography, although close to the equator (to the north of it), because of the mountain ranges, high altitudes and vegetation, the climate is very mild and favourable for habitation. Snow can be found on the mountains such as Baatu and Karra. In the medium altitudes (1800-2500 m) the climate is very mild throughout the year and one of the best. Up to 80 per cent of the population lives at this altitude and agriculture flourishes.
The low altitude areas (below 1500 m) in west, south and central part are relatively warm and humid with lush tropical vegetation, and although few live there permanently most graze their cattle and tend their beehives there. Although there is little agriculture at this altitude at present, it has great potential for the future. As the highland areas are already eroded and over populated, people are gradually moving to the lowlands. The low altitude areas in the east and south-east are mostly semi-arid and used by pastoralists seasonally.
The vegetation of Oromia ranges from savanna grassland and tropical forest to alpine vegetation on the mountaintops. The forests contain a variety of excellent and valuable timbers. Oromia is known for its unique native vegetation as well as for being, the centre of diversity for many different species. For instance, crops like coffee, anchote (root crop), okra, etc. are indigenous to this area.