Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Gurage are an ethnic group in Ethiopia who are uniquely known for their work ethic and skill as traders. They live in a fertile mountainous area about 150 miles southwest of Addis Ababa. The Gurage ethnic group is made up of three distinct groups: Northern, Eastern and Western.
According to the historian Paul B. Henze, their origins are explained by traditions of a military expedition to the south during the last years of the Axumite Kingdom which left military colonies that eventually became isolated from both northern Ethiopia and each other.
The Gurage language , or Guragigna, is a South Ethiopian Semitic language, part of the same linguistic family as Amharic. The different Gurage groups speak different dialects which are not necessarily mutually intelligible. The Gurage people live among many Cushitic language speakers, which has influenced the language -- it has 10 vowels instead of the usual 7 found in Amharic.
It is estimated that the Gurage comprise about 2% of Ethiopia's population, or about 1,877,000 million people.
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