Introduction / History The Amhara people are related to the Tigray and Tigre people of Ethiopia and Eritrea who together make up the Habeshans. These people can trace their origins back to Shem, eldest son of Noah. They left present day Yemen and settled on the African side of the Red Sea inhabiting the Nile Delta and all land east of the valley down to the Ethiopian Highlands. These people are known in antiquity as the Ancient Egyptians who retreated back to Ethiopia and Eritrea after countless takeovers of Egypt. here they established other great kingdoms such as Sheba/Saba and Axum. After the Middle Ages they soon split into 3 tribes: Amhara, Tigre and Tigray with their own languages that all derived from Ge'ez, their ancient language. Today most Amhara live in central and east/Northeastern Ethiopia. Some have migrated to other countries such as Italy.
Though Amhara Ethiopians do not have a large presence in Europe, they are more likely to be in Italy than other countries. This is because Ethiopia was once an Italian colony. However, most are trying to move from Italy to a northern European country with better job opportunities.
What are their lives like? At one time Ethiopians lived in Italy to be trained as priests. Now they are more likely to be there as domestic servants: house cleaners, janitors, etc.
What are their beliefs? From early encounters with the Hebrew people, many Habeshans adopted the early form of proto-Judaism. Though the high and ruling class continued to practice the Egyptian pagan religion until Queen Makda of Sheba was converted by King Solomon to Judaism. Christianity came to the Amhara through Coptic missionaries. The Amhara and other Habeshans were the first African converts to Islam after sheltering Mohammed's followers from their enemies in Mecca. Because of the Islamic expansion, Aksum was cut from other Christian kingdoms which created their own unique form of Coptic Christianity. They incorporated Jewish rituals and laws and added a focus on monasticism. Today the majority of Amhara people are Ethiopian Orthodox, and the minority are Sunni Muslim.
What are their needs? Pray for the Amhara people to have a Christ-centered faith that cannot be shaken.