Ethiopian Tribes

There are numerous tribes and ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Just like the entire continent of Africa, the people of Ethiopia are a varied group with over eighty distinct ethnic groups within its borders. Ethiopia's population has grown from approximately nine million in the 1800's to over eighty two million people today. Ethiopia is the second largest population in Africa. There are relatively forty six ethnic groups just in the Omo Valley. Here we will overview some of the largest tribes.

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The Oromo are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia. They also have a large population in Somalia and Kenya. It is believed that the Oromo have lived in what is now Ethiopia for over a millennium. Their native language is called Oromo. Waaqeffannaa (Amantii Oromo), is the traditional faith system of Oromo people. The followers of this faith system believe in only one Supereme Being, making it a monotheistic "religion".



The Amhara, who are the second largest tribe in Ethiopia, generally live in the central highlands of the country. They dominate Ethiopia's economy and politics. Their long reigning nobles claim direct decent from King Solomon and Queen Makeda(Queen of Sheba) of the bible.  The vast majority of people are Christian (Ethiopian Orthodox).

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Most Somalis live in Somalia, however over seven million reside in Ethiopia. Clan groupings are a very important part of Somali society. Islam is the religion of the vast majority of Somalian people in Somalia and Ethiopia. 99.86% of them are Muslims.



There are over five million Tigraways living in Ethiopia. They mainly reside in the northern highlands of Ethiopia's Tigray province and in Ethiopia's former provinces of Wollo and Begemder (Gonder). 96% of the regions people are Orthodox Christian.



Almost three million Sidama live in Ethiopia which is a little over four percent of the country's population. Their homeland is in the Sidama Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia. The majority of the Sidama people are Protestant and most speak a language called Sidaamu-afoo.

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The Gurage people make up a little over two and a half percent of Ethiopia's total population. This is approximately one million nine hundred thousand people. They mainly reside in southwest Ethiopia, in a semi-mountainous area about 150 miles southwest of Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. Most of the people are Muslims, with a similiar number of Orthodox Christians. There are a small number of Catholics and Prodestants.



Approximately 1.7 million Wolayta people (2.3 percent of Ethiopia's population) live in southern Ethiopia. Wolayta is also the name given to this people’s former kingdom. They are a population of mainly Protestant Christians with sizable minority of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christians.