Riches to Rags: Ethiopia 1500–1800

Adrian Hastings

in The Church in Africa, 1450-1950

Published in print March 1996 | ISBN: 9780198263999
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600623 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of the Christian Church

 Riches to Rags: Ethiopia 1500–1800

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An account is given of the Christian history of Ethiopia from 1500 to 1800. The different sections of the chapter cover the Church of the Emperor Lebna Dengel and its relation with the Portuguese; the jihad of 1529 in which the Muslim armies of Ahmed Gran defeated the Ethiopians and embarked upon a systematic destruction of the country, its churches, and monasteries; the defeat of Gran in 1543 by Galawdewos (son of the Queen mother), supported by the Portuguese, and the subsequent Jesuit influence and the influence of the Arab Enbaqom on the Church; the influence of Pedro Paez, a Spanish Jesuit (whose Catholicism was universalist and sympathetic) on Susenyos, who ascended the Ethiopian throne in 1608; and the disastrous appointment of Alphonsus Mendes (a Spanish Jesuit of unbending Romanism) and its effect on Christianity in Ethiopia, which during the reign of Fasiladas (Susenyos's son) returned to a pre‐Jesuit state. The last part of the chapter summarizes ecclesiastical history in Ethiopia in the eighteenth century; this was dominated by attempts to unify the church and exclude Rome.

Keywords: Catholicism; Christianity; Church; Ethiopia; history; Islam; Jesuits; Portugal; Spain

Chapter.  17033 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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