History of Oromia Region

Oromia Cultural Center Addis Ababa

The Oromia Region is a state in Ethiopia and the homeland of the Oromo tribes. Currently, the state consists of 21 administrative sections. Towns in the area include Ambo, Adama, Badessa, Asella, Bedele, Bale Robe, Bishoftu, Begi Burayu, Bule Hora, Dembidolo, Chiro, Gimbi, Fiche, Haramaya, Goba, Jimma, Holeta, Negele Arsi, Metu, Sebeta, Nekemte, Waliso, and Shashamane among others.

History – Oromia Region

The Oromo stayed free from any major kingdom rule until the last decade of the 19th century CE and early 20th century CE where century Oromos lost their independence and were colonized during the last quarter of the 19th century CE. Abyssinia has led to the Ethiopian civil war and Oromo conflict. Persecution was terrible under the brutal imperial rule of Haile Selassie, of the Amhara ethnic group. He banned the Oromo language, and speakers were publically and privately mocked. (Oromo is written with Latin characters known as Qubee.) This was done to spread the Amhara culture and language that the colonial masters wanted the Oromo people to adapt.

Under Haile Selassie Regime, Oromo was banned from education and use in administration. The Amhara culture ruled throughout the eras of monarchic and military rule. Both the Derg government and the Haile Selassie relocated many Amharas into southern Ethiopia, including the present-day Oromia region, where they served in courts, government administration, church, and even in colleges Oromo texts were eliminated and replaced by Amharic.

The Abyssinian elites saw the Oromo languages and identity as opposing the development of Ethiopian national identity. In 2019 CE, the Irreecha festival was honored in Addis Ababa after 150 years of being banned.

The Arsi Oromo showed aggressive resistance against the Abyssinian conquest of 1881-1886 CE when Menelik II carried several unsuccessful invasion operations against their territory.

They put up a strong opposition against an enemy furnished with modern European firearms until they were ultimately defeated in 1886 CE. In the 1940 CE, the Arsi Oromo with the tribes of Bale province joined the Harari Kulub movement, an affiliate of the Somali Youth League that calmly opposed the Amhara Christian domination of Hararghe. The Ethiopian government ruthlessly suppressed the ethnoreligious movement using violence.

During the 1970 CE, the Arsi faced abuse by the Ethiopian government, thus formed alliances with Somalia.

In 1967 CE, the royal regime of Haile Selassie I banished the Mecha and Tulama Self-Help Association (MTSHA), a peaceful Oromo social movement, and carried on mass arrests and killings of its members. The group’s leader, Colonel General Tadesse Birru, a notable military officer, was among those tortured and arrested. The actions by the administration sparked widespread outrage among the Oromo community, eventually leading to the creation of the Oromo Liberation Front in 1973 CE.

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