The Tigrayan tribe, also known as the Tigrinya, is a tribe composed of people living in both Ethiopia and Eritrea that speak the language of Tigrinya, regardless of the area they live in. The Tigrayan control the majority of the Ethiopian government and, through the pursuit of their interests, are the catalyst for the majority of the tension between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Their pursuit of alleged tribal lands constantly promotes hostility between the two countries and, if left unchecked, could potentially degrade the rickety stability in the Horn of Africa as well as jeopardize elements of world-wide trade.
The manifesto of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) defined a Tigrayan as: “…anybody that speaks the language of Tigrinya including those who live outside Tigray, the Kunamas, the Sahos, the Afar and the Taltal, the Agew, and the Welkait” (TPLF, 1976). Based on that statement, the peoples that are considered to be Tigrayan make up roughly 50% and 6% of Eritrea’s and Ethiopia’s populations respectively. The Tigrayan tribe is an ancient tribe that traces its roots all the way back to King Solomon and Queen Sheba. The tribe has been in their current location, the border region between Ethiopia and Eritrea, since before the birth of Christ and converted to Christianity around 400 A.D. The tribe is primarily Christian, with less that 5% being Muslim, though many of the Muslim Tigrayans do not consider themselves to actually be Tigrayan. White clothing is considered to be traditional Tigrayan garb as they consider it to be “Christian”. Most Tigrayans have a simplistic style of living wherein the man of the house, along with the older male children, works in the field to bring in food while the mother, along with the older female children, maintains the home. However, when larger chores arise, such as harvest or major home issues, the men and women will aid the other. There are approximately 4.9 million Tigrayans in the Ethiopian state of Tigray and Eritrea. The region where most Tigrayans live is a high plateau separated from the Red Sea by a long ridge and arid desert. On the surface, the Ethiopian and Eritrean Tigrayans consider themselves as separate entities but much of the evidence points toward an elaborate plan of subversion, initiated by the TPLF in 1975 and further proclaimed by the TPLF’s 1976 manifesto.
In 1975, members of the Tigrayan tribe banded together in order to form a political entity dedicated to the interests of all the Tigrayan. The group was called the Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front and it proclaimed its mission with the publication of the Manifesto of the TPLF in 1976. Through the manifesto, the TPLF provided a definition of what they considered to be a Tigrayan, a claim to what lands they considered to their ancestral land of Tigray, and announced the group’s ultimate goal.
The TPLF asserted that anyone who spoke Tigrinya was to be considered a Tigrayan, regardless of whether they lived in the land of...