Battle of the Hill of the Jews

The Battle of the Hill of the Jews (named by Miguel de Castanhoso for a community of Beta Israel who lived there[1]) was fought in Ethiopia in August 1542 between the Portuguese forces of Cristóvão da Gama and the Adal Sultanate. The Portuguese won the battle, capturing many horses that they could have used to exploit their victory in the previous battle of Jarte.

Battle of the Hill of the Jews
Part of the Ethiopian–Adal war and Somali-Portuguese conflicts
DateAugust, 1542
Result Portuguese victory
Portuguese Empire Adal Sultanate
Commanders and leaders
Cristóvão da Gama Unknown
Unknown Unknown
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown

The benefits of this victory were short-lived, for within the month da Gama was captured and slain in Wofla by Ahmed Ibn Ibrahim even before his soldiers escorting the captured animals could reach the Portuguese encampment at Lake Ashenge.

The location of this battle is not known. Whiteway has argued that this place is identical with Amba Geshen, located far to the south of the Portuguese camp.[2] More recently, however, C.F. Beckingham has argued that the battle took place in the eastern Semien Mountains near the left bank of the Tekezé River.[3]


  1. ^ R.S. Whiteway, editor and translator, The Portuguese Expedition to Abyssinia in 1441-1543, 1902. (Nendeln, Liechtenstein: Kraus Reprint, 1967), p. 56
  2. ^ Whiteway, Portuguese Expedition, pp. lvii-lxii
  3. ^ Beckingham, "A Note on the topography of Ahmad Gragn's campaigns in 1542", Journal of Semitic Studies, 4 (1959), pp. 362-373