The Last Hero Of Mereb Melash “Ras W/Mikael Selomon” – Eritrea

Important Facts about “Ra’si Wolde-Mikael Selomon” and “Eritrea”

  • 1879

Ra’si Wolde-Michael of Hazega defeated Degiyat Hailu of Tseazzega at the Battle of Woki Duba, a few miles west of Asmara, being supported by the Abyssinians. In the end, however, he was deceived into making peace with Yohannes IV by the Tigrayan Ra’si Alula aba Nega and was captured and exiled to Tigray.

  • Mahdist Revolt

Mahdist Revolt. The Mahdi (Muhammad Ahmad) was a religious leader who led the movement to liberate the Sudan from foreign control. Under the leadership of the Mahdi and his successor, the Khalifa (Abdallahi) Sudan was able to defeat the Egyptians. The Khalifa, (means successor in Arabic) was a general of the Mahdi.

  • Atse Yohannes of Tigray

Though there was no unity among the Eritrean nobilities, they still become a major threat to Yoahnnes’ advances. Among the dominant figures were Ra’si Wolde-Michael of Hamasien (he had played a significant role in the battle of Gudnet), Degiyat Bahta Hagos of Segeneyti (Akkele-Guzai), Fitewrari Kifleyesus Gofar of Kuno-Redae (Serae), and Kentiba Hamid of Habab.

  • Independent Highland of Eritrea

These Eritreans were among the dominant figures who committed to making Eritrea ungovernable by imperial Ethiopia. Highland Eritrea was not part of Abyssinia but its rulers were forced to pay taxes. Abyssinian kings and princes used to cross to Medri Bahri to collect tribute or simply take whatever wealth they could find. During these attacks, many people were massacred and lots of property was taken away.

  • Power Shifting of Highlands Eritrea from Dbarwa to Hazega / Tseazega

In the 17th century, the centre of political power shifted from Debarwa to Hazzega/Tseazzega. This was followed by rivalry between the ruling houses of Hazzega and Tseazzega. As a result of this rivalry, Abyssinian and especially Tigrean rulers got the chance to interfere in the local affairs of the Eritrean highlands. Thus in 1770 the Tigrean ruler, Ra’si Michael Suhul, deposed Bahri Negassi Bokru of Tseazzega in favor of a person from the rival house of Hazzega.

  • Hazega

A village west of Asmara that was very prominent in the administration for the area. It was a rival of Tseazega.

  • Saho

The continuous Tigrean and Amhara invasions, however, finally forced the Saho people to submit to the Italians. Before long, Saho patriots were involved in the struggle against the Italians. Similarly, the people of Mensa and Bilen also cooperated with Ras Wolde-Michael against the forces of Yohannes.

Ras Wolde-Mikael fights against Abyssinia (Former Highland of Ethiopia)

The Abyssinian attacks brought opposition from local populations. A number of resistance leaders emerged in various regions. A good example of resistance to Abyssinian rule was that of Wolde-Michael Solomon of Hazzega.

Ra’si Wolde-Michael was based in Hazzega. Hazzega was for a long time involved in a struggle for power with Tseazzega for control of the highlands. The Abyssinians and Egyptians took advantage of this rivalry in the process of expansion.

Ra’si Wolde-Michael strongly opposed foreign expansion but at times, he attempted to use these expansionists to strengthen his position in the highlands. Ra’si Wolde-Michael rebelled and fled to the lowland around Aylet. He ravaged Hamasien after Gurae. However, Yohannes IV appointed Degiyat Hailu of Tseazzega in substitute. In his side, Wolde-Michael began to cooperate with the Egyptians, and he was able to defeat Degiyat Hailu of Tseazzega (at the Battle of Woki Duba few miles west of Asmara) who was supported by the Abyssinians. In the end, however, in 1879 he was deceived into making peace with Yohannes IV by the Tigrean Ra’si Alula aba Nega and was captured and exiled in Tigray.

After defeating the Eritrean chiefs, Ra’si Alula became the governor of Mereb Milash (the name of present Eritrea in the 19th century, note that several western writers tend to translate the phrase Mereb Milash as ‘beyond the Mereb’; this is erroneous it means ‘this side of Mereb’). In early 1885, Alula established Asmara, as his new capital. After a short stay in the Eritrean highlands, that is between 1888-1889 Ra’si Alula turned Asmara into commercial, military and administrative center.

Britain had the idea of reconciling Ethiopia and Egypt at the cost of Ra’si Wolde-Michael Solomon. Britain chose Sir Admiral William Hewitt to negotiate and conclude a peace treaty with Abyssinia on behalf of Egypt. In June 1884, Hewitt concluded a treaty that formally ended the Ethio-Egyptian scramble for Eritrea.

After the Hewitt treaty (in 1885), Egypt had evacuated all territories it had occupied in the Horn of Africa. Among these were Massawa, which was then occupied by the Italians. Thus, modern history of Eritrea comes with the Italian colonialism.



Eritrean History: Ras Woldemichael Selomon was the last sovereign of Mereb Milash. He repulsed the Mahdis end of the century in Akordat. When he feared a strong against offensive of the Mahdis and the Italians, he traveled met Ras said after Tigray, there it with Alula, that in the support to, race swore as Woldemichael on the Bible faithful. Ras Alula schemed however against it and Ras Woldemichael Salomon(Solomon) attacted into an ambush, therefore was Mereb Milash leadership loose and it ignite renewed a brother war terrible between Hazega and Zehassega, for itself the Italians too would use made in that it with Ras Alula support that highland Eritreas incorporated itself.


After a multitude of fights, contracts and intrigue, at which England, Egypt, the Osmanic empire, Italy were involved and out of Ethiopia emperor Johannes 4 and the later emperor Menelik, Italy established at that 1. January 1890 the colonies Eritrea (country at the red sea, that Mare Erythraeum the antique) in the boundaries valid highly today, that is with the Mereb than a southern boundary after Tigray there. Legal basis was that 1889 with the Menelik become just now emperor closed contract by Wuchale (Italian “Uccialli “written) whereby that was rather wrong “right “in the Italian handling: while Meneliks dispatched Makonnen, that father Haile Selassies signed, at that 1. October in Rome a rider to the boundaries, in which the speech of that was “present possession state, “, the Italian troops marched to the Mereb-river and partially in addition before That the Ethiopian signer of the contract was unknown. Rubenson meant that with the clause of that “actual possession “probably the highpoint of the double dealing Italy in the negotiations had been reached with the Ethiopians. Italy Prime Minister Crispi had explained then also on other occasion, would be it totally correct to deceive “an African “.

The second fraud point in the contract of Wuchale was a clause that read in the Amharic, the Ethiopian emperor could make use of in diplomatic questions of the services of Italy, in the Italians however with Ethiopia would have become the protectorate, what Italy shortly after signature of the contract also sounds necked announced. Both together was reason for the battle of Adua(Adwa, Adwua) in Tigray, in which Menelik 1896 struck the Italian colonial army. In the contract of Addis Abeba, the contract of Wuchale was canceled yet in the same year; Italy recognized the independence of Ethiopia on and turned back accepted border on previously expressed claims to Tigray; Ethiopia accepted the border upto Mereb.


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