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Fitawrari Gebeyehu

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Fitawrari Gebeyehu
Nickname(s)Aba Goraw
Angolalla, Shewa, Ethiopian Empire
Adwa, Tigray, Ethiopian Empire
Allegiance Ethiopian Empire
RankLord Protector of the Crown
Battles/warsFirst Italo-Ethiopian War

Fitawrari Gebeyehu popularly referred to by his horse-name "Aba Goraw", was an accomplished Ethiopian military commander and lord protector of the crown. He played a leading role in several important battles of Ethiopian history.

Early life[edit]

Born and raised in Angolalla, North Shewa. Fitawrari Gebeyehu rose to prominence in Emperor Menelik II's army while the latter was still Negus of Shewa. A warrior of great renown, he was said to be a prideful warrior, one who mows down his enemies as he performs fukera (war chants) so much so that his soldiers chanted: "He sings war chants as he draws his sword and runs into battle".[1]

Military career[edit]

Gebeyehu was Fitawrari (army commander, a military and aristocratic title). He played a leading role in several important battles of Ethiopian history. He made his reputation at the Battle of Amba Alagi and later at the Battle of Adwa. In the Battle of Adwa, he commanded 5,000 riflemen, 15,000 spearmen, and 3,000 cavalry.[1]


Gebeyehu was killed in action in the Battle of Adwa. He played a crucial role in the battle of Adwa. During the battle, he was the front cavalry assault leader for Menelik's army. While leading the assault He witnessed a large number of Italian soldiers preparing an ambush for the large Ethiopian army headed by Emperor Menelik II. He realized unless he acted to the ambush in time the large army would be easily destroyed by the ambush. Then he drives his cavalry army direct into the fully fortified Italian army and began the attack and gave the Emperor's army to escape the ambush and arrive at the battlefield. He was killed at this battle fighting fearlessly.[1]


A street in Addis Ababa is named after Gebeyehu.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Zewde, Bahru. A History of Modern Ethiopia. Search this book on

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