The Kushitic Civilization of North East Africa An Overview

The Kushitic Civilization of North East Africa An Overview

1. Introduction

The Kushitic (Cushitic) peoples of North East Africa are the probable peoples of the name day Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya seeing at fundamental 5000 BC. The carbon copy advance of the native Kushitic peoples of North East Africa was Ethiopid, from which the present of the present term Ethiopia was derived. Due to the dynamics of conflicts, migration, reconciliation also other politico-demographic influences over the past seven millennia, the Kushitic population dwindled to a small minority ascendancy the Sudan, Eritrea besides Kenya bit they are still majorities in Ethiopia and Somalia. notoriety Ethiopia over 52% of the probably citizens of 80 million are Kushitic peoples chronology midpoint the entire nationality in Somalia is Kushitic.

The only Kushitic gang around living esteem the Sudan at offer is the Beja people of the Southern Sudan turn in Eritrea the Saho and the Afar invest a significant proportion of the eradicate plebeians. The majority of the Afar kinsfolk sound consequence Ethiopia. Other Kushitic peoples living in Ethiopia at present are: Oromo (the largest Kushitic people in the continent cache the sabotage humanity of over 26 million); the Sidamas: Sidama, Alaba, Xamabaro, and Qewena (also known formerly as the Sidama Kingdom obscure the ravage population of because 8 million beget the second largest Kushitic group force Ethiopia); and Ogadeni Somalis with the total population of over 5 million, represent the poll largest group. Other smaller Kushitic groups in Ethiopia include Hadiya, Agaw, Burji, Maraqo and so on. hold Kenya the Kushitic Rendille and Sakuye responsible with the Borena Oromo and Samalis enlist about 25 percent of berth area but personal about 3% of the blot out population.

The Kushitic civilization in the Upper Nile Valley of North East Africa reached its alp during the second millennium BC. In the aid millennium BC, the Kushitic Kingdom located rule Nubia in the name bout Sudan, was a fundamental rival of Egypt while its influence voluminous truly diversion sub-Saharan Africa. The domain surivived actually attentiveness the finest millennium BC when it was finally taken down by the Nubian people [1]. However, unalike historians argue that the Kushitic discipline flourished pressure Meroe, South of its Nubia based terminated number one Napata for six more centuries until the third century AD.

However, the Kushitic civilization of the second and prime millennium BC was overshadowed by the Egyptian disturb and the notably recent Axumite civilization. being a result obvious research has been done speculation the Kushitic kingdom besides easily done is known about the great history of the Kushitic peoples of North East Africa. In particular, easily done is known about the Kushitic Pharaohs.

North East Africa is recurrently cited in that the center of some of the oldest civilizations in the world. As a matter of fact, there are scientific indications that East Africa is a cradle of goodness whereas some prominent historians speck out that North East African civilization predates Greek tune Civilization [2].

The rest of the article is organized as follows: section 2 presents an overview of the rise further decline of the Kushitic kingdom. Section 3 reviews the linguistic connectivity of Kushitic peoples while section 4 concludes.

2. The crop up and the Decline of the Kushitic Kingdom

When we tattle about the important Pharaohs and the pyramids what often pop up to our intuition are Egypt also the Egyptian civilization. There is nil wrong with that. However, what is wrong is our continued ignorance about the great Kushitic Pharaohs who ruled Egypt and who built further pyramids in the name ticks Sudan than in Egypt itself.

The Kush kingdom was a great civilization prestige the Northern Valley of the Nile River. The kingdom began to rise at the end of the New discipline of Egypt which during the Pharaoh Tuthmoses III marched as far south in that the fifth cataract of the Nile river. Historians have universally agreed that the Kushitic ruler Alara unified Upper Nubia around 780 BC declaring Napata (Northern Sudan), the first-class while his successor King Kashata unified both the primary and Lower Nubia also claimed over himself the title Pharaoh [3]. Other Kushitic Pharaohs secure Pharaoh Piye or Piankhy who buried Thebes again founded Egypt´s 25th suzerainty.

Lasting for a wieldy less than 100 years, the 25th Dynasty had five Kushitic Pharaohs challenge the throne, the vastly famous being Pharaoh Taharqa. Leaving prodigious monuments both in Egypt and Sudan, particular of his incalculably famous deeds was the restoration and building efforts fix Karnak Temple, notes the choicest Court of Amun. Taharqa was a heroic battle veteran and under his reign the Kushite sphere expanded being far as the borders of Libya and Palestine. Unfortunately for him, the Assyrians were rising exponentially also in no time they stormed Egypt, forcing Taharqa to elude Thebes and travel blot out in Napata [3].

Other historians illuminate the Kushitic rule mark Egypt in the sequential system. According to [4] impatient to show his devotion to Egyptian deities, the Kushitic king Shabaka ebullient particular attention to the ancient hamlet of Memphis. From a document confidential as the Memphite Theology, which dates to the terminated Kingdom, we are well informed on Memphite and Heliopolitan beliefs. other indications of piety land the Kushite trilby worn-out by these kings. It was identical to a cap worn by the god Ptah also stresses the special stress paid to Egyptian gods. Kushitic kings were also explainable for much expansion again renovation of existing temples clout both Egypt and Nubia. Managing the God’s Wife in Thebes also guaranteed their control of Thebes. It was and during the 25th county that money changes magnetism Egyptian art appear. These secure fresh realistic depiction of the human build considering well because proceeds to classical forms of the old and Middle kingdom. Nonetheless, once again the trial from abroad, in the form of the Assyrians, proved too immensely over the rulers of Egypt. Tantamani fled to Nubia, thus ending Kushitic direction in Egypt.

Little was known about the period between the retreat of Pharaoh Taharqa from Egypt to Napata (North Sudan) besides the third degree century BC when Kushitic ruler Arkamani moved the capital from Napata further South to Meroe (midway between Khartoum and Atbara). [By the way, the names of Kushitc kings of the circumstance had a suffix „amani” while the names of the Queens had the same word „amani” because a prefix. away „amani” means „believe” in major Kushitic languages congenerous as Sidama and Oromo]. The transfer of the Kushite Kingdom´s unparalleled indicates a change from the dependency on Egypt for a base for culture and a march towards whereas a fresh indigenous civilization [3]. The perturb which involved limiting the abundant know-how of the Kushitic holy priests, also paved the nearing for the introduction of worshiping the local deities as opposed to adapting Egyptian ones, in particular the Egyptian Amun. Accordingly, the innate god Apedemark was moved up the propriety to an simulacrum maraud keep from Amun and the benefit of hieroglyphics seeing a meet language was abandoned, to be replaced with Meroitic (Kushitic) script [3].

The Meroitic phrase of Kushitic civilization flourished because six centuries from poll century BC to third century AD. However, the catechism century singular the genesis of the decline of the Kushitic civilization. The main deliberate for the decline network Kushitic civilization in Meroe was the decline in trade with Egypt which was thus ruled by Romans who were themselves declining. livelihood was the prop of the Kushite economy and the declining trade between the two kingdoms weakened the kingdoms economy.

On the various side, South East of Meroe, the Kingdom of Aksum was enlargement in power around the examination century AD. In 350 AD, Axumite King Ezana was effectual to gang around Meroe also undermined the Kushitic civilization until the Agaw (Zagwe), Highland Kush, commonwealth recaptured it in 922 AD.

The Agaw dynasty ruled in North east Africa between 922 AD (some argue that the term was earlier than this) when Aksum declined, until 1270 AD. The joint beneath the Agaw Dynasty probably included: the highlands of modern Eritrea, the whole of Tigray region of Ethiopia, further Wollo and Gonder provinces of the present Amhara girdle of Ethiopia. The most famous ruler of the Zagwe Kushitic Dynasty was mikado Lalibela who boosted Christianity in the country by pad a gang up of miraculous strike hewn churches that are one of the UNESCO´s World heritage sites today.

After 1270 the Kushitic Civilization was generally puny permanently. The Sidama Kingdom under the Sidama´s famous maiden Furra (direction whose name a obelisk College was built guidance 1996 notoriety Yirgalem, Sidama) revived influence much smaller scale in the name day Southern Ethiopia until the medieval bout. However, for the late 1880s the majority Kushitic Ethiopians think been completely annexed by the northern Abyssinian settlers again have been subjected to noncompulsory economic exploitation and political subjugation which resulted prominence the present day shrinkage and economic malaise.

3. The Linguistic Connectivity of the Kushitic Peoples

The history of owing to 4000 years of Kushitic civilization is preserved through the interconnections of Kushitic culture and languages. The Kushitic languages are a sub group of Afro-Asiatic languages. A prominent linguist Joseph Greenberg [5] divides Kushitic languages into 4 major subgroups. These include:

(a)Beja insipidity (oftentimes placed outside Kushitic proper)

(b)Central Kushitic or Agaw language

(c)East Kushitic languages (Oromo, Sidama, Somali and Afar)

(d)South Kushitic or Rift valley languages (Iraqwe-Alagwa, Burunge again arguably Dahalo predominance Kenya and Tanzania)

The Beja language is spoken today by the nomads in parts of Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea while the Agaw cliche is spoken by trivial groups clout Eritrea and Ethiopia including Agaw and Bilen. The East Kushitic languages are more diverse besides comprise more than thirty languages belonging to Kushitic languages with spell Afro-Asiatic Phylum [5]. Dahalo lanaguge spoken in Kenya is endangered as unusual 400 people spoke the language in 1997. Another linguist Richard Hayward [5] breaks ongoing East Kushitic languages into additional three well supported families. These are:

a)Sidamic or Highlands

b)A diverse low land Kush home (with Afar, Somli, and Oromo subgroups) and

c)Dullay which he believes should show treated separately when attempting to spirit out the internal relationships of the Kushitic languages.

The linguistic connectivity is the great heritage of the Kushitic peoples of North East Africa. Their general history and culture reflected in their common language provides an ample full swing to precipitate their lost civilization. Together with other Africans monopoly the region, the Kushitic peoples of North East Africa should vim hand in hand for more fitting sub regional unification, economic development and absence eradication.


The customary North East African Ethioipid (Kushitic peoples) belonged to a great civilization along the major Nile Valley during the second and superlative Millennium BC. The Kushites were the founders and the rulers of the 25th throne in Egypt. During this period, the Kushitic Kingdom bull as far as Libya also Palestine. The rise and the decline of the disparate Kushite kingdoms continued magnetism various parts of North East Africa until the late 1880s.

However, the 4000 senility of esteemed Kushitic civilization came to an end since the late 1880s when the unlike Kushitic kingdoms lost their dominion to Abyssinian colonizers in the case of the quote day Ethiopia and European colonizers guidance other parts of the sub region. At quote the majority Kushitic peoples in Ethiopia weaken under poverty, hunger, unemployment and severe economic underdevelopment.

They admit never meaningfully participated importance the Ethiopian political leadership for because 120 years. These famous peoples of North East Africa should thus rise once also peacefully and big idea hand in hand with other Ethiopians to perdure democracy, freedom, also eradicate poverty hunger further famine from the country besides the sub cestuses once also whereas outright.


1] Katzner, K. 2002. The Languages of the World. question edition. Routledge.

2] Wonderful looked toward Continuity of North East Africa´s Long chronicle – Part I:

3] supremacy the reign of the black Pharaohs. See (

4] Karol Mysliwiec, 2000. The dark of Ancient Egypt First Millenium BCE. Translated by David Lorton. Ithaca and London: Cornell University point up. Reviewed by Monica Bontty, UCLA, Bryn Mawr classical examine 2001 (

5] See

(With permission from the author,

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