By Carol Ann Gillespie
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Additional info for Ethiopia (Modern World Nations)
As long as they paid their royal tribute and rounded up men for the emperor’s military campaigns, they were left alone and could function fairly independently. When the military had to be used, it was supported by local taxes and lived off the land. The result was that the emperor paid very little for their services, leaving the provinces to contribute the lion’s share to the campaigns. Failure to honor obligations to the throne could bring the wrath of the emperor’s forces, and possible plunder of the district and removal of the local governor.
This, in turn, makes it possible for the country to have a wealth of wildlife. The country is famous for its birds. Bird-watchers come from all over the world in the hope of seeing many of Ethiopia’s estimated 800 bird species. In fact, about 20 of the species are endemic, meaning they can be found nowhere else in the world. The wattled ibis, the Abyssinian long claw, and the black-headed siskin are only a few of the many species of birds that can be observed both in and out of Ethiopia’s national parks.
Al Ghazi was also a religious leader. He rallied the ethnically diverse Muslims in a jihad intended to end Christian power in the region. In 1525, al Ghazi led his first expedition against a Christian army. Over the next two or three years, he continued to attack Ethiopian territory, burning churches, taking prisoners, and collecting booty. At the Battle of Shimbra Kure in 1525, al Ghazi broke the Christian backbone of resistance. The Ethiopian emperor at the time, Lebna Dengel, was unable to defend his kingdom against the onslaught.