Origin of the Eritrean villagers in Hamasen, Akele-Guzay, and Seraye

Myth of Origin: Hamasien, Akele-Guzay, and Seraye

Rural, highland Eritreans claim descent from the Amhara regions of Gonder and Wello during the fourteenth century

From the book Mai Weini, A Highland Village in Eritrea by Kjetil Tronvoll (1998)


"It is commonly believed among the villagers of Mai Weini that they - that is the Tigrinya speaking people in Akele-Guzai and Hamasien - trace their descent to a common mythical ancestor called King Meroni. The myth claims that he was originally from Dembea in Gonder, the region of Amhara, before he settled down in Hamasien. Longrigg, who believes that Meroni may in part be historical, notes that this event might have taken place about the year 1350."

"Meroni had three sons - Chaluk, Maluk, and Faluk - to whom most of the present kebessa population trace their origin. Faluk is the ancestor of Hamasien, and Maluk's descendants are to be found in the district of Mereta Sebene in Segeneiti sub-province. The majority of the Tigrinya-speaking population in Seraye, on the other hand, claims descent from the two brother-ancestors of Adkeme and Melega, and the rest from a third ancestor called Tesfa. They all originate from the ancient Ethiopian kingdom of Lasta." (note: Lasta is located in Wello province and inhabited by Amharic-speakers)

"The myth of origin in Akele-Guzai names two descendants of Chaluk, Akele and Guzai, as the ancestors of the greater part of the population in the land now bearing their name. Some claim they were brothers, others believe that they were uncle and nephew. The firm opinion of the shimagles in Mai Weini today is that Guzai was the son of Saile, Akele's brother. His descendants occupy the Maisera area in the southern part of the province, whereas the descendants of Akele live in the central part."

"It is believed that Akele had three sons: Tsenai, Digna, and Hadgai. Tesenai is the founding father of Tsenadegle district (woreda), Digna of Dekki Digna, and Hadgai is the ancestor of the people belonging to Hadegti district."



Back to Newsletter

1