chapter  5
12 Pages

Resistance and Defeat

One hundred years later, having recovered their strength, the Falashas broke into open rebellion. The cause of the revolt is not clear and the Chronicles for this period are sadly deficient. At all events, the Amhara king, Yeshaq (1412-29), replied to this

challenge to his authority and the Falasha army was defeated at Kosage, north of Gondar. In memory of his victory, says Bruce, the king 'built a church on the place and called it Debra Isaac, which remains there to this day'. 1

The tradition of this campaign lived on and Faitlovitch reported2 that when he was passing through Begemeder in 1908 his guides pointed out a peak which was still called the Falashas' camp for it had been their headquarters in their fight against King Yeshaq. The Falashas maintained that the whole of Begemeder once belonged to them. These traditions support the view that their territory had once extended over a large part of the Agau-speaking country and as far south as the Bashilo tributary of the Blue Nile. This river, with its ravine nearly 4,000 feet deep, provided one of the most formidable obstacles to the opposing armies in the Abyssinian campaign of1868 as they both converged on the fortress at Magdala. At one time it probably formed the boundary between the Amharas and the Falashas.