Tadjoura

Infobox Settlement
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Tadjoura (Afar: "Tagórri"; _ar. تجورة, "tağūrrah", "tuğūrrah") is the oldest town in Djibouti, and is the capital of the Tadjourah Region. Lying on the Gulf of Tadjoura, it is home to a population of around 25,000 people.

Tadjoura is home to an airstrip and is linked by ferry with Djibouti City. It is also known for its whitewashed buildings and nearby beaches.

Etymology

The Afar name "Tagórri" derives from the noun "tágor" or "tógor", (pl. "tágar" meaning "outre à puiser" ("goatskin flask for drawing water"). The name "Tagórri" is specifically derived from *"tagór-li", which means "qui a des outre à puiser" ("that which has goatskin flasks to draw water"), in effect meaning "abondante en eau" ("abundant with water"). [Didier Morin, "Tadjoura," in "Dictionnaire historique afar (1288-1982)". France: 2004, p. 250.]

History

Tadjoura originally was the seat of the Afar Ad-Ali Abli Sultanate as well as a port. This ruler, known as the "Dardar" according to Mordechai Abir, "claimed authority over all of the northern Adoimara Afar to the borders of Showa. However, although it was true that some sub-clans of the Ad-Ali and Abli Adoimara roamed as far as the borders of Yifat, even the staunchest supporters of the Sultan agreed that his actual authority did not stretch beyond Lake Assal, a short distance from Tajura." [Ref Ethiopia|Abir-1968|pages= p. 20] Pankhurst notes that it differed from neighboring ports by handling almost entirely the trade of Shewa and Aussa, "rather than that of Harar or the Ogaden." He quotes William Cornwallis Harris' description of an annual bazaar that started each September, when "for two months the beach is piled with merchandise, and the suburbs are crowded with camels, mules and donkeys." Pankhurst also cites C.T. Beke that the trade with the inhabitants of the Afar Depression was handled entirely by women, "who loaded the camels, bought and sold while the men kept away altogether 'to avoid bloodshed, this country being the scene of constant feuds among the different tribes.'" [Richard K.P. Pankhurst, "Economic History of Ethiopia" (Addis Ababa: Haile Selassie University Press, 1968), pp. 429.]

While Abir observes that the port is not mentioned in all of the material about the Red Sea in the eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries, by the mid-19th century Tadjoura was thriving, "while all the other so-called Afar sultanates along the coast were described ... as small decaying villages of no political or commercial importance." [Abir, "Era of the Princes", pp. 20f] Tajoura owed this success to possessing a major slave market; Pankhurst suggests that a rough estimate of 6,000 people a year left Ethiopia through Tadjoura and Zeila. [Pankhurst, p. 83.] The other important commodity sold in Tadjoura in the 19th century was ivory, brought by caravan from Aliyu Amba. [Pankhurst, p. 249.] Other goods exported included wheat, durra, honey, gold, ostrich feathers, senna, madder, and civetone. The value of trade in 1880-1 was estimated at the time as 29,656 rupees in exports and 18,513 rupees in imports. [Pankhurst, pp. 429.]

Once Tadjoura came under French control, the slave trade was abolished by decree on 26 October 1889; [Pankhurst, p. 103.] however, Noel-Buxton reported that Tajoura still remained a center of the slave trade, but "limited to small though frequent shipments." [Pankhurst, p. 123.] While during the 1880s the port served as a distribution point for rifles and ammunition to Shewa and Ethiopia (during this period, Arthur Rimbaud lived in the city), Tajoura's importance inevitably declined with the construction of the Franco-Ethiopian railway, which began service on 22 July 1901, extended to Dire Dawa 17 months later, and finally to Addis Ababa on 3 December, 1929. [Pankhurst, pp. 304-334.]

Notes

External links

* [http://www.world-gazetteer.com/wg.php?x=1153974253&men=gpro&lng=en&dat=32&geo=347097831&srt=npan&col=aohdq&geo=366466289 World Gazetteer entry on Tajurah]


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