Woven into the Tapestry: How Five Women Shaped Ethiopian History offers a rich combination of history and art celebrating the contributions of five extraordinary women: Queen Ahyewa, Makeda (the Queen of Sheba), Queen Eleni, Queen Taytu, and the British activist Sylvia Pankhurst. Each of these determined leaders lived through crucial moments in Ethiopian history as they intersected with larger world events, from the spread of Christianity to the Second World War, and each was instrumental in shaping Ethiopia’s historical trajectory in ways previously neglected by historians. This book demonstrates the lasting impacts of policies adopted, implemented, and orchestrated by these powerful women who dedicated themselves to the cause of a nation when they were needed most.
Joining the words of emeritus professor in history Tekeste Negash, author of several books on Ethiopian culture and history, with the lush tapestries of art historian and tapestry artist Berit Sahlström, this book brings to life Five Women and takes readers on a journey through the long history of Ethiopia, a nation that has forged and maintained its independence in the face of often staggering adversity.
Beginning with Ahyewa’s fateful decision to adopt Christianity as the faith of her people, through the rise of a nation under the legendary Queen of Sheba, the building of an empire through Eleni and Taytu’s fight for survival against the onslaught of European colonialism during the Scramble for Africa, to Pankhurst’s tireless advocacy for postwar independence, this book spans centuries while remaining focused on the immense contributions of five truly remarkable women.
QUEEN AHYEWA and the Introduction of Christianity to Ethiopia
Who was Queen Ahyewa? / Reliability of the sources / Who were the Aksumites? / Queen Ahyewa, patriarchy and Christianity / Did Ahyewa mint her own coins? / Conclusion / Appendix I / Ethiopia and South Arabia / The last offi cial list of Ethiopian kings / Selected reading
MAKEDA (QUEEN OF SHEBA) and the Construction of the Ethiopian Nation-state
The legend of Makeda (Queen of Sheba) /Aksumite intervention in South Arabia / God’s chosen people / Appendix II / When was the Kebra Nagast written? / Selected reading
QUEEN ELENI and the Continued Domination of Christianity
The decline of Aksum and the introduction of Islam / Who was Queen Eleni? / Queen Eleni and the Portuguese / Rivalry between Portugal and Turkey over Ethiopia / Libne Dingil / Recognition of Queen Eleni’s wisdom / Appendix III / Ethiopian Islam / Selected reading
QUEEN TAYTU and the Survival of Ethiopian Independence
Empress Taytu and Italy / “We too must maintain our dignity” / Taytu and the First Italo-Ethiopian War, 1894–96 / The Battle of Amba Alage, January 1896 / The Battle of Mekelle, January 26, 1896 / The Battle of Adwa, March 1, 1896 / Conclusion: Taytu, Menelik, Adwa and Ethiopian independence / Appendix IV / From Eleni to Taytu: A brief outline / The Oromo and the survival of Christian rule / The Vatican interlude / The Century of the Oromo, 1782–1855 / Selected reading
SYLVIA PANKHURST Fascism and Ethiopian Independence
Who was Sylvia Pankhurst? / From Adwa to Fascist invasion in 1935 / Sylvia Pankhurst’s campaign against Fascism and Fascist occupation / Sylvia Pankhurst and Emperor Haile Selassie / Keeping the issue of resistance alive: May 1936–June 1940 / Against British plans to dismantle Ethiopia / Recognition of Haile Selassie as legitimate ruler / Sylvia and the reunification of Eritrea and Somalia / Sylvia Pankhurst’s role in Ethiopian history / Appendix V / Ethiopian resistance and its limitations / Selected reading / Bibliography