Fitawrari Gebeyehu

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Fitawrari Gebeyehu Tekle
NicknameAba Goraw
Shewa, Ethiopia
Adwa, Ethiopia
Allegiance Ethiopian Empire
Years of service1868–1896
RankLord Protector of the Crown
Battles/warsFirst Italo-Ethiopian War

Fitawrari Gebeyehu popularly referred to by his "horse-name" አባ ጎራው, was an accomplished Ethiopian military commander and lord protector of the crown. He played a leading role in several important battles of Ethiopian history.

Early life[change | change source]

Gebeyehu was born in Angolela, in Shewa, Ethiopia. He was born in the same village as Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia.

Military career[change | change source]

Gebeyehu was Fitawrari (Army Commander, a military and aristocratic title). He played a leading role in several important battles of Ethiopian history. He made his reputation at the Battle of Amba Alaje (also known as Amba Alage or Amba Alagi) and later at the Battle of Adwa. In the Battle of Adwa, he commanded 5,000 riflemen, 15,000 spearmen, and 3,000 cavalry.

Death[change | change source]

Gebeyehu was killed in action in the Battle of Adwa. He played a crucial role in the winning of the battle of Adwa. During the battle, he was the front cavalry assault leader for the king's army. While leading the assault He witnessed a large number of Italian military preparing an ambush and slaughter for the large Ethiopian army headed by emperor Menelik II. He realized unless he acted to the ambush in time the large army would be easily destroyed by the ambush. Then he drives his cavalry army direct into the fully fortified Italian army and began the attack and gave the king's army to escape the ambush and arrive at the battle filed. He was killed at this battle fighting fearlessly.

Legacy[change | change source]

A street in Addis Ababa is named after Gebeyehu. He is still known for his military skills.

References[change | change source]

  • pp. 7f; Bahru Zewde, A History of Modern Ethiopia, second edition (London: James Currey, 2001), pp. 132f