History of Addis Ababa

History Of Addis Ababa

History of Addis Ababa

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The history of Addis Ababa formally begins with the founding of the city in the 19th century by Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II and his wife Empress Taytu Betul.


Ethnic Oromo Ethiopians had lived on the land before the foundation of Addis Ababa. They lived in a small settlement known under the Oromo name Finfinne. Other parts were called Fil wiha ("hot springs") in Amharic.

Menelik, as Negus of Shewa, had found Mount Entoto a useful base for military operations in the south of his realm. In 1879, Menelik visited the reputed ruins of a medieval town and an unfinished rock church that showed proof of an Ethiopian presence in the area prior to the campaigns of Ahmad Gragn. His interest in the area grew when his wife Taytu began work on a church on Entoto. In addition, Menelik endowed a second church in the area. In 1881, Menelik moved the capital of Shewa from Ankober to Entoto.

The immediate area around Entoto did not encourage the founding of a town due to the lack of firewood and water. In 1886, the actual settlement began in the valley south of the mountain. Taytu initially built a house for herself near the Filwoha hot mineral springs, where she and members of the Shewan royal court liked to take mineral baths. Soon, other members of the Shewan nobility and their staffs and households settled the vicinity. Negus Menelik expanded his wife's house to become the Imperial Palace, which remains the seat of...
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