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Wollo Province

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Provinces of Ethiopia in 1935
Provinces of Ethiopia in 1935
Provinces of Ethiopia from 1942 to 1995
Provinces of Ethiopia from 1942 to 1995

Wollo (Amharic: ወሎ, wellò) is a historical region and province in the northeastern part of Ethiopia, with its capital city at Dessie.

The province formerly and historically was called Lakomelza. Its name was changed to Wollo following the movement of Oromos into the region and demographic shift in seventeenth and eighteenth century. Except for its southern most part ([Oromia Zone]), most of the Oromos today in Wollo speak Amharic and Tigrigna languages.

Peasant rebellions rocked the province, which included the Woyane rebellion in 1943, and revolts of the Yejju in 1948 and 1970.[1]

At the mid of Haile Selassie's rule of Ethiopia (around 1941 and 1943), Raya (i.e. Lasta & Wag) and Welkait were taken away from the old Tigray state and they were given to Welo and to Begemder provinces. One of the reasons why Raya (Lasta and Wag) were annexed to Welo was because Haile Selassie's son Crown Prince Amha Selassie was appointed as the governor of Welo. Welkait and some other provinces were given to Begemder since there was armed rebellion in Tigray against Haile Selassie's rule (so it was part of the effort to divide and rule Tigray).[2] Therefore, until the 1995 administrative reorganization, Raya was part of Welo province. Raya was then split into two parts once ethnic federalism was established in Ethiopia (on 1995). One of the two parts with an Amhara majority (Kobo) went to the new Amhara Region, the other (Raya Azebo) which had a majority of Tigrayans was returned to Tigray Region (like it was for most of the 3000 years history of Ethiopia [3][4][5], before Haile Selassie changed it on 1941/1943).[6][7][8]

Historically, Tigray state's border has always been Alewha river (i.e. Tigrinya: አሉሃ ምላሽ), which includes Kobo province (also called Raya-Kobo) and Kobo town. However, Kobo province have not yet been returned to Tigray state, until today.

With the adoption of the 1995 constitution & the establishment of ethnic federalism system in Ethiopia, parts of the expanded Wollo province and parts of the old Tigray province, which were mostly inhabited by Afar people were given to the new Afar Region. The new Amhara Region absorbed the remainder of the province in the Ethiopian Highlands and kept the name Wollo for its two new zones (South Wollo Zone & North Wollo Zone).


  1. ^ Sarah Vaughan, "Ethnicity and Power in Ethiopia" (University of Edinburgh: Ph.D. Thesis, 2003), p. 126
  2. ^ This list of provinces is based on the map in Bahru Zewde, A History of Modern Ethiopia (London: James Currey, 1991), p. 86.
  4. ^ Shaw, Thurstan (1995), The Archaeology of Africa: Food, Metals and Towns, Routledge, p. 612, ISBN 978-0-415-11585-8
  5. ^ "The British Museum, "The wealth of Africa:- The kingdom of Aksum"" (PDF).
  6. ^ Bereket Habte Selassie, "Constitutional Development in Ethiopia", Journal of African Law, 10 (1966), p. 79.
  7. ^ "Sarah Vaughan, "Ethnicity and Power in Ethiopia", PhD dissertation, p. 123, 2003" (PDF).
  8. ^ The 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia Results for Tigray Region. 1. Addis Ababa: Central Statistical Authority. 1995. p. 70.

Coordinates: 11°30′N 40°00′E / 11.500°N 40.000°E / 11.500; 40.000