History of Oromo Nation

The Oromos are the single most dominant national group in Ethiopia and in the Horn of Africa, who share the same social and psychological makeup, speak the same language, and practiced the same culture and religion.  Before the arrival of Abyssinians, their mode of life was guided by the Gadaa principle of administering themselves – a system of governance where leaders are elected into public office every eight years irrespective of wealth, status, or affiliation, but only on the basis of merit and leadership qualities. According to the 1996/97 Population and Housing Census, the projected population of the Oromia region is estimated at 25,098,000 in 2004, accounting for over 35 percent of the Ethiopian population. Their homeland Oromia (Biyya Oromo) borders Abyssinia in the north, Ogaden and Somalia in the East & south-East, Sudan to the West and Kenya in the South.

Geography

Oromia or biyya oromo is approximately located between 2 degree and 12 degree N and between 34 degree and 44 degree E. The land area is about 600 000 square kilometres. The physical geography of Oromia is quite varied. It varies from rugged mountain ranges in the centre and north to flat grassland in most of the lowlands of the west, east and south

Language

The Oromo’s speak and share one common language known as Oromiffa or Afaan Oromo. Their language (Afaan Oromo) is categorized as a Cushitic language, similar to that of the ancient Nubians, and it shares a common vocabulary and grammar with Afar, Sidama, Somali and other Cushitic languages. According to Gadaa (1988) it is the third most widely spoken language in Africa, after Arabic and Hausa. It is also a lingua Franca in the whole of Ethiopian empire except the northern part.

Religion

The Oromos practice three major religions, namely Christianity, Islam, and Waaqaa or God – a traditional Oromo religion, which was once the dominant religion before Islam and Christianity were introduced into the area. Gadaa (1988) defines the traditional Oromo religion as follows: “The Oromo Waaqaa (God) is one and the same for all men. He is the creator of everything, source of all life, omnipresent, infinite, and incomprehensible, he can do and undo anything, he is pure, intolerant of injustice, crime, sin, and falsehood.”

The Land

The country of the Oromo is called Biyya-Oromo (Oromo country) or Oromia (Oromiya). Oromia is a name given by the Oromo Liberation Front to Oromoland, now part of the Ethiopian Empire. Krapf (1860) proposed the term Ormania to designate the nationality or the country of the Oromo people. This, most probably, originated from his reference to the people as Orma or Oroma. Oromia was one of the free nations in the Horn of Africa until its colonization and occupation by Abyssinia at the end of the nineteenth century. It is approximately located between 2 degree and 12 degree N and between 34 degree and 44 degree E. It is bordered in the East by Somali and Afar lands and Djibouti, in the West by the Sudan, in the South by Somalia, Kenya and others and in the North by Amhara and Tigre land or Abyssinia proper. The land area is about 600 000 square kilometres. Out of the 50 or so African countries it is exceeded in size by only 17 countries. It is larger than France, and if Cuba, Bulgaria and Britain were put together, they would be approximately equal to Oromia in size.
The physical geography of Oromia is quite varied. It varies from rugged mountain ranges in the centre and north to flat grassland in most of the lowlands of the west, east and south. Among the many mountain ranges are the Karra in Arsi (4340 m), Baatu in Baaie (4307 m), Enkelo in Arsi (4300 m), Mui’ataa in Hararge (3392m) and Baddaa Roggee in Shawa (3350 m). Similarly, there are many rivers and lakes in Oromia. Many of the rivers flow westwards into either the Blue Nile or the White Nile, and others flow eastwards to Somalia and Afar land. Among the large rivers are the Abbaya (the Nile), Hawas (Awash), Gannaaiee, Waabee, Dhidheessa, Gibe and Baaroo.

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