African Journal of
History and Culture

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Hist. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6672
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJHC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 185

Article in Press

The Imperial Land Reform Policies and the Conditions of Peasants in Highland Gimbi, Western Wallaga, Ethiopia (1941-974): Historical Perspectives

Bijiga Gerba

  •  Received: 03 June 2020
  •  Accepted: 10 August 2020
Land has been an economic and political phenomenon in the history of Ethiopia. The feudal governments since the time of Menelik II issued out, confiscated and redistributed land to those politically connected individuals. The objective of this study is to assess the imperial policies in land reform and the conditions of peasants in highland Gimbi, Western Wallaga from 1941 to 1974. This study has used both primary and secondary sources to examine the imperial government land reform policies and the conditions of peasants in highland Gimbi from 1941 to 1974. Archival sources from Wolde-Mesqal Archival center at the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa University, and oral sources collected through in-depth interview are extremely important in this regard. In the post Italian occupation, land reform and its grants to officials further continued and consequently it concentrated land in few hands whereas the number of the landless peasants highly increased. Even though, the 1952 Imperial Order theoretically enabled the landless farmers to get half gasha of land, in Gimbi no grant was made to the landless peasants. Land privatization was aggravated under the restored government. With the intensification of coffee cultivation, in highland Gimbi the price of land was exacerbated to the extent that only the well-to-do were able to buy land at the expense of the majority of the peasants. Overall, the study of the imperial land reform policies and their impacts on the population at the grass root level provides a better historical perspective towards land tenure system and the peasants whose livelihood was directly tied to it.

Keywords: Land tenure, land reform, land measurement, landless peasants, Gimbi