A timeline of Saho history

A time line of significant importance



1070 BCE The Kush kingdom began to thrive (about 3000 years ago).
1500 BCE The Egyptian conquered Kushites Kingdom
 1000 BCE A second Kushites’ kingdom arose. The town of Napata was its major city. This Kushite kingdom grew strong enough to conquer Egypt, and it lasted nearly twelve centuries. The Kushites of Napata built pyramids, the ruins of which still stand today.(Note:Ancient Saho speaking people are descendants of ancient Kushites).
760 BCE The start of the twenty-fifth dynasty of Kushites, known as the Kushite Empire with capital city Napata.
700 BCE The Kushites  kings ruled Egypt
671 BCE The Assyrians invaded Egypt, and with their iron tools, drove the Kush out of Egypt
593 BCE The Kushites established a new capital at Meroe, which soon became the center of Kushite culture and a vital trade location. The great Kushite city, Meroë  was famous for making and selling iron weapons. Kushitesin Meroë developed a language of their own. They wrote inscriptions on temples.
356 BCE Adulis (or Adola, in ancient geographywas built . Adola was the main port in the Red Sea, and was a place of considerable trade, in gold, lead, ivory …etc.
350 BCE The golden age of Kush ended. In 350 AD, Axum occupied Meroe, and brought about the total collapse of Kush as a civilization. When Kush collapsed, several provinces/states of Kush, immediately emerged as discrete empires. The Nubian Federation was one, but there were several others.
 300 BCE  Axum attained its greatest power from the fourth to the sixth centuries. There are still remains of some temples and towns, which may still be seen dispersed along the route between Axum and Zula,
50 CE Axum rules what is now known as Eritrea
 300 CE  Axum conquers southern Arabia
 320 CE  The Syrian monk Frumentius converts King of Axum, Ezana to Christianity.
330 CE The harbour Adulis on the Red Sea became important during the fourth century because of contact with Egypt, Cush, Arabia, Persia, India and Malacca. The shift in the centre of the Roman Empire in 330 AD strengthened the trade relations between Adulisand Byzantium and probably contributed towards the conversion to Christianity of the king of Axum.
520 CE Cosmas Indicopleustes, a Byzantine Greek, who traded with India in the early part of the sixth century of our era, called at the port of Adulis (near Masawa) in 520 ADHe discovered at this place a monument which contained two separate inscriptions. The monument was apparently one erected at the orders of Ptolemy III. (Philadelphus), who reigned in Egypt from 285 to 247 BCE.
525 CE Far more detailed story is told by Cosmas Indicopleustes in his Christian Topography;4 when he visited the kingdom of Aksum about the year AD 525, he found Adulis a flourishing port and in close commercial relations with Arabia and beyond.
547 CE Abyssinian general Abreha proclaims himself king of southern Arabia, tries to capture Macca but his army was defeated by plague.
615 CE The first migration of Muslims, known as the first Hijarat to Alhabasha (Abyssinia ) happened when Al-Sahaba (Companions’ of the Prophet )arrived in the shores of the Red Sea in what is known now as Massawa and surrounding areas .The inhabitants of this region had accepted  Islam prior to its establishment in important centres in the Islamic heartlands such as Mecca, Damascus, Baghdad or Cairo.


640 CE Adulis fell to ruin sometime in the 7th century. While the date of the city’s demise is not known, its decline may have gegun in AD 640and died sometime thereafter as the trade that was its lifeblood vanished.
710 CE After the fall of the Axumite kingdom a number of Beja kingdoms started appearing in the country and the Baqlin, Basin and Jarin kingdoms were some of the well-organized kingdoms. The Kingdom of Jarin: – extended from the port Massawa to the Barka river in the west and to Zayla (present day Somali) in the South.
982 Menelik I, becomes Ethiopia’s first emperor
1000 Queen Yodit defeats the last Axumite king Del Na’od
 1137  The Zagwe Dynasty is founded in Ethiopia and the capital is moved from Axum to Lalibela
1270 Yekuno Amlak ends the Zagwe dynasty and founds the Solomonic dynasty in Ethiopia.
1300 AD The end of the Byzantine empire occurred. when Mongols invaded in the 13th century (the 1300  AD:  The rise of the Ottoman (Muslim) Turks to power in the 14th century (the 1300s), who replaced the Byzantium empire with their own. The Ottoman empire then lasted over 600 years, from 1299 to 1923,[3]when it was divided by the victors in World War I. At the height of its power in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Ottoman empire included Anatolia, the Middle East, portions of North Africa, and much of southeastern Europe.
1523 Sayyid Hummad (The son of Amir Qunnu ) founded a dynasty in Hirgigo with the help of Sheikh Mahmud. Both Naib Musa and Beit Sheikh Mahmud belong to Saho Speaking families in Hirgigo (in Saho Dakano). Oral traditions attribute the foundation of Hirgigo to the Saho Speaking  group of Idda. Hirgigo at that time had replaced the ancient port of Adulis and later Zula.
1533 Imam Ahmed Ibrahim al-Ghazi (Ahmed Grañ “the left-handed”, 29 years old at the time) marched into Tigray, leading a combined army of Saho, Afar and Somali and other Muslim groups. He captured Aksum utterly destroying Ethiopian states.
1541 With the assistance of Portuguese, Al Ghazi defeated causing the Saho and Afar to withdraw to their territories.
1557 – Because of its strategic importance, Massawa has attracted many foreigners who wanted to use or control the port. On 10 February 1541, 400 Portuguese soldiers, under the command of Christovãro da Gama (son of Vasco), arrived in Massawa to help repulse Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al Ghazi and his followers.
1557 – Ozdemir Pasha Turks captured Massawa and port of Hirgigo and made them one of the Sanjaks of the Ottoman Province of Habesh which had been established two years earlier with its centre Sawakin(Easter Sudan. The port remained under Turkish control for more than 200 years.
1557 The Ottoman authorities devolved power to a locally potent family and appointed Sayyid  Hummad as their  ‘naib’, or deputy. Naib Hummad became the first Naib (appointed by Ottoman authorities )that would carry the title of Naib up to the twentieth of century.
1632: Fasiladas founds the modern empire of Ethiopia with capital in Gondar
1693: A dispute occurred with the ruler of Massawa, Naib Musa ( the son of Umar Qunnu and the Grandson of Naib Hummad) who had seized goods belonging to the Emperor Eyasu (I) which Murad, an Armenian from Egypt, traded for him. On the Emperor’s order, all food supplies to Massawa were blockaded, so the Naib realized he must surrender. [Pankhurst, Chronicles 1967 p 111].
1769- 1855 In the area of So called Zemene Mesfint, in Abbyssinian highland, the Naibs in the Eastern part and lowland regions of Eritrea, acquired power, imposed their authority, and extended their influence over societies of the region. They provided relative security and stability in the area through political, economic, social and religious means.
1805 Mohammed Ali, an Albanian Turk, becomes the Ottoman governor of Egypt
1822: Egyptian ruler Mohammed Ali conquers Sudan and parts of Eritrea on behalf of the Ottoman empire.
1840 – Adulis was one of the first sites in the region to undergo excavation, when a French mission to the regionunder Vignaud and Petit performed an initial survey in 1840, and prepared a map which marked the location of thee structures they believed were temples
1846 : The Egyptians leased Massawa and Hirgigo from the Turks and after 25 years they declared the entire former Senhit province to be their colony.
Feb 1853 The pasha in Massawa prepared a joint land and seaborne expedition against the small port of Amphila, south of Massawa, to confirm there the Ottoman sultan’s au-thority and collect tribute. There too, the Saho-speaking groups assembled 3000 men and threatened to pillage the territory to their north.
Dec 1854 Nāib Idrīs allied himself with the Saho– speaking groups against the Ottomans and Nāib Muhammad Yahyā. Together, they attacked the villages of ” Aylet , Zaga, and Emkullo and ravaged the suburbs of Massawa in December 1854. Idrīs demanded that the Ottomans withdraw from Hergigo, but an Egyptian force of 360 soldiers coming from Taka assisted them in reestablishing a state of relative order only in 1856.
1869: Italy buys land in Eritrea
1872: the chieftain Tigrayan becomes emperor Yohannes IV of Ethiopia
1889: Italy invades Eritrea
1895: Italy invades Ethiopia but is defeated and only Eritrea becomes an Italian colony
1930: Zawditu of Ethiopia dies and is succeeded by Ras Tafari Makonnen, who becomes emperor Haile Selassie I
1936 Italy invades Ethiopia
1939 Al-Sheikh Ibrahim Mukhtar was appointed the position of the first Mufti of Eritrea. He also served as Chairman of the Islamic Eritrean Endowment Council and of the Council of Eritrean Scholars. He reformed the Sharia courts and established a formal and modern court system with formal rules and proper procedures. The Mufti passed away at the age of 59 on June 25, 1969 in a hospital after a short illness. His death sent shockwaves throughout the country.
1941 Britain liberates Ethiopia
1943 During the British colonial administration, Saho oral culture was collected, recorded and written down in 1943. It is known as the customary law of the Akele Guzai Moslems. On Friday 13/11/1943, the customary law was signed by the Signatory Committee: Shum Salih Barao’le, Shum Ali Ahmad Falul, Shum Abubakar Dawud, Owna Dawud Owna Khalil, Owna Mahmud A’li Jasser, Owna Omar Shum Ibrahim, Gerezmatch Ahmad Ibrahim, Shum Yusuf Al-Haji Mohammad, Shum Adam Ismail, Owna Ibrahim Ismail,and Fetewrari Abdalla Suleiman.(to view a full document refer  to allsaho.com )
1945: Eritrea becomes a British protectorate
1952:1958 Eritrea and Ethiopia are federated in one country under Emperor  Haile Selassie Eritrean Flag was lowered and Amharic replaced Arabic and Tigrinia.
1960: In the very late 1950s unorganized political movement seeking independence was secretly active as small cells. And in July 1960, the ELF was openly established in Cairo by Idris Muhammad Adam and other Eritrean intellectuals and students.
1961 In 1961 Hamid Idris Awate formed the armed wing of the ELF and declared the armed struggle for independence.  The ELF came into violent conflict with the Ethiopian government on 1st September 1961.
1962: Ethiopian emperor Haile Sellassie dissolves the Eritrean parliament and annexes the country, while Eritreans begin an independence war
1974: 200,000 people die of famine in Ethiopia
September 1974: Haile Selassie of Ethiopia is deposed in coup while Mengistu Haile Mariam seize power and turns the country into a communist state (end of the empire of Ethiopia)
1976 Ahmed Nasser became the chairman of ELF from 1976 to 1981
August 1977: Mengitsu of Ethiopia declares “total war” against the Eritrean freedom fighters.
1978: The Soviet Union and Cuba send troops to Eritrea to support Mengitsu’s regime
1982 Ahmad Nasser became Head of Eritrean Liberation Front-Revolutionary Council (ELF-RC) from 1982-2002.
Feb 1990 – February 1990 –  Eritrean People’s Liberation Front forces liberated Massawa through Operation called Fenkil.
May 1991: the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, led by Meles Zenawi, removes Mengitsu from power
1991: Eritrean fighters conquer Ethiopia
1992 In early 1992 Muslims were physically prevented from building a mosque in Aksum, even after acquiring the necessary permits from the civil authorities.
1993: Eritreans vote to become independent
1998: Ethiopia and Eritrean fight a border war
May 2000 The Ethiopians occupied the Senafe sub-zone for a year. About 50000 people from a population of 80000 fled the area and were scattered in various camps for internally displaced people (IDP). “The remaining 30000 people had a very difficult time as Senafe was completely isolated and there were no services – no water, no healthcare, no food,”
2000: Peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea signed
February 2001: The Ethiopian army withdrew from Senafe and Soyra fronts.