Argobba people

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Total population
140,134 (2007 census)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Argobba, Oromo, Amharic, Harari, Arabic, and Saho-Afar
Sunni Islam
Related ethnic groups
Amhara, Harari, Gurage, Oromo, Somali, Tigray, Tigre and other Cushitic peoples.

The Argobba are an ethnic group inhabiting Ethiopia. A Muslim community, they are spread out through isolated village networks and towns in the northeastern and eastern parts of the country. Group members have typically been astute traders and merchants, and have adjusted to the economic trends in their area. These factors have led to a decline in usage of the Argobba language.[2][3]


Argobba communities can be found in the Afar, Harari, Amhara, and Oromia Regions, in and along the Great Rift Valley. They include Yimlawo, Gusa, Shonke, Berehet, Khayr Amba, Melka Jilo, Aliyu Amba, Metehara, Shewa Robit, and the surrounding rural villages.[4]


The Argobba traditionally speak the Argobba language, an Afro-Asiatic language of the Semitic branch. In some places, Argobba has homogenized with Oromo. In other areas, the people have shifted to neighboring languages for economic reasons. At this time there are only a few areas left where the Argobba are not at least bilingual in Amharic, Oromiffa or Afar. All of these languages have a literature that can be used to serve the Argobba, even though their current literacy rate in any language is low; the Argobba reportedly do not like to send their children to school and do not go to court.[3][dead link]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Census 2007" Archived March 5, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, first draft, Table 5.
  2. ^ "Argobba of Ethiopia". Ethnic people profile. Joshua Project. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  3. ^ a b Leyew, Zelealem and Ralph Siebert. (2001) "Sociolinguistic survey report of the Argobba language of Ethiopia", SIL International (accessed 25 May 2009)
  4. ^ "Argobba: A language of Ethiopia", Ethnologue website (accessed 25 May 2009)

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Abebe Kifleyesus, Tradition and Transformation: The Argobba of Ethiopia. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2006. ISBN 978-3-447-05341-9