Mota, Ethiopia


Mota, Ethiopia
Mota
Mota is located in Ethiopia
Mota
Location in Ethiopia
Coordinates: 11°5′N 37°52′E / 11.083°N 37.867°E / 11.083; 37.867Coordinates: 11°5′N 37°52′E / 11.083°N 37.867°E / 11.083; 37.867
Country Ethiopia
Region Amhara Region
Zone Misraq Gojjam Zone
Elevation 2,487 m (8,159 ft)
Population (2005)
 – Total 31,483 (est)
Time zone EAT (UTC+3)

Mota is a town in south west Ethiopia. Located in the Misraq Gojjam Zone of the Amhara Region, and on the secondary road that links Dejen with Bahir Dar overlooking the Abay River, this town has a latitude and longitude of 11°5′N 37°52′E / 11.083°N 37.867°E / 11.083; 37.867 with an elevation of 2,487 meters above sea level.

One local landmark is Sebara Deldiy or "the Broken Bridge", a stone footbridge built by foreign stoneworkers during the reign of Emperor Fasilides. C.T. Beke was told that the central arch of this bridge was removed at the orders of Ras Fasil as a defensive measure. Despite the damage, Beke reports that it was still used by native merchants, who "by means of ropes stretched across the open space, they manage to pass with their merchandize from the one side to the other, without entering, the stream."[1] Another landmark is the church of Weyzazirt Kidhane Mihret, which was constructed by Woizero Seble Wengel, the daughter of Emperor Fasilides. She and her husband are buried there.[2]

History

Due to the presence of Sebara Deldel, one of only two bridges across the Abay River until the late 19th century, Mota became a major commercial center, which was described by at least one group of European travellers as "the most considerable market" in Gojjam; it attracted merchants from as far away as Begemder, Gondar and Tigray. To reinstate the commerce prior to the bridge being broken, Bridges to Prosperity is building a 100-meter suspended pedestrian bridge to provide safe access [3] Those crossing the river are able to obtain cotton cloth, cattle, and horses.[4] Likewise, Mota was the seat of an important royal fiefdom during the Gondarine period,[2] and a notable place for asylum in the early 19th century.[5]

The artist Aleqa Elyas Hailu, believed to be Ethiopia's first foreign-trained artist, was born in Mota around 1861. He worked mostly in Shewa where he decorated manuscripts and many churches, although he also decorated one in his native town. His son Aleqa Gebre Ezgziabher Elyas was a man of literature, writing the Royal Chronicle of Lij Iyasu and the Empress Zewditu.[6]

During the 1930s, its market day was on Thursday. During the East African Campaign, units of Gideon Force managed to bluff the Italian garrison into surrendering 24 April 1941.[5] After the war, Mota was the administrative center of the Mota awraja or district, which was one of the hotspots of the Gojjam peasant revolt in 1968.[7]

In October 2009, zonal officials announced that construction of 47-km road connecting Mota and Digua Tsion had begun, with a budget of over 147 million Birr and completion expected by September 2010.[8]

Demographics

Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, this town has an estimated total population of 31,483, of whom 15,619 are men and 15,864 are women.[9] The 1994 census reported this town had a total population of 18,160 of whom 8,218 were men and 9,942 were women. It is the largest of three settlements in Hulet Ej Enese woreda.

Notes

  1. ^ Charles T. Beke, "Abyssinia: Being a Continuation of Routes in That Country", Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, 14 (1844), p. 29
  2. ^ a b Philip Briggs, Ethiopia: The Bradt Travel Guide, 3rd edition (Chalfont St Peters: Bradt, 2002), p. 176
  3. ^ www.bridgestoprosperity.org
  4. ^ Pankhurst, Richard K. P. (1982). History of Ethiopian Towns. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag. 
  5. ^ a b "Local History in Ethiopia" The Nordic Africa Institute website (accessed 9 May 2008)
  6. ^ Prowess, Piety, and Politics: The Chronicle of Abeto Iyasu and Empress Zewditu of Ethiopia (1909-1930), trans. Reidulf K. Molvaer (Köln: Rüdiger Köppe, 1994)
  7. ^ Gebru Tareke, Ethiopia: Power and Protest: Peasant Revolts in the Twentieth Century (Lawrenceville: Red Sea, 1996), pages 177-184 passim
  8. ^ "Woreda constructing 47-km road", Ethiopian News Agency, 5 October 2009 (accessed 2 November 2009)
  9. ^ CSA 2005 National Statistics, Table B.4

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