Oromo

Oromo ōrō´mō [key] or Galla găl´ə [key], traditionally pastoral tribes who live in W and S Ethiopia and N Kenya. They number more than 25 million. About half are Muslim, about a third Ethiopian Orthodox, and about a sixth Protestant. Most live in Ethiopia, mainly in the ethnically based state of Oromia they constitute roughly a third of all Ethiopians.

Originally from N Somalia, they later migrated to the region of Lake Turkana (Lake Rudolf). In the mid-16th cent. they began to move into the Ethiopian highlands. Never a united group, they were not a serious threat to the Ethiopian state. Their raids, however, were a considerable nuisance, and they were able to establish small states in many areas nominally controlled by the Ethiopian emperor. They were used as mercenary soldiers by the Ethiopians.

Oromo separatist guerrillas have campaigned against Ethiopian rule since the 1990s without any significant results they have also mounted occassional raids into Kenya. The Ethiopian government has typically responded by repressing its opponents, occasionally prompting antigovernment demonstrations. In 2014–15, plans to transfer areas of Oromia neighboring Addis Ababa to the latter's administration led to protests the plan was abandoned in 2016.

See G. W. B. Huntingford, The Galla of Ethiopia (1955, repr. 1969) H. S. Lewis, A Galla Monarchy (1965).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.