Country of origin dating dating and physical boundaries
Despite lacking tangible evidence, this narrative has persisted among many historians and the general population.However, new discoveries by archaeologist indicate the people of the Horn adopted material culture and deities from South Arabia not as result of mixing, but because they were "within the religious and economic orbit of greater Saba and local people took up various aspects of the material culture to signify their membership in this broader community." [Side note: Dating back to 800 BCE, the Ona sites (located near Asmara's Sembel district) were the first settled civilization in the Horn of Africa. Schmidt it was this civilization and not sites in Arabia that were the vital precursors to urban developments in Southern highlands of Eritrea and northern Ethiopia later in the first millennium BCE.] In addition to being influenced by their Red Sea neighbors, their decline may have been the cause for the adoption of the word Habesha.
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co.
For over two millenniums, the word 'Habesha' and its numerous variants (Habashat, Habasa, Habesh, Habeshi, Abesha) have been used to name geographical pockets of territory and people extending from the Arabian Peninsula to the furthest limits of the Horn of Africa region.
From long before the time of the ancient Greeks, human beings were generally recognized as members of the animal world.
Much later, in the middle of the 19th century, Charles Darwin, in his brilliant book 'On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection' (1859), forced the world to face the fact that all the living creatures of the world had almost certainly descended from a common ancestor.
Although the word is of great antiquity, there is no consensus on what it actually means.
In order to understand why this is the case, we must first look back at its origins.
It was not until long after Aksumite kingdom had ended that Arab travelers and geographers began to describe the Horn region and its inhabitants as Habeshas. Opposite al-Yaman there is also a big town, which is the sea-port from which the Habasha crossed the sea to al-Yaman, and nearby is the island of `Aql." It should be noted that Habesha was frequently used as mere geographical expressions by early Arab and European travelers in much the same way as the entire eastern African littoral, including much of the Horn, was once encompassed within the term ‘Azania’.
The first among these travelers was Al-Ya'qubi, who visited the region in 872 CE. As geographical expressions, they were once convenient and representative of deep-seated ignorance of the region as a whole, although they may also have been informed by local indigenous ‘knowledge’.
With Habasha originally used to describe people who gathered incense, this term was also given to the region by early Arab merchants and travelers as a geographic expression that some of the inhabitants of the Horn adopted over time.