A Historical Analysis of Magaalaa Guddoo (Gidir Magaalaa) Market Centre in Harar City (1938-1991)

  • Zerihun Girma Gudeta
Keywords: Illegal trade; Items of trade; Magaalaa Guddoo; Market centre; Merchandises; Merchants


This paper presents the historical developments in and around
Magaalaa Guddoo market centre in Harar city. It discusses the role of early
market centres in the early civilizations in Ethiopia by focusing on
Magaalaa Guddoo. Magaalaa Guddoo was the biggest and the oldest
market centre of Harar city which pulled together all the merchants and
merchandises coming into Jugol (the wall that surrounds the historic Harar
city) through all its gates. That was why different writers regarded it as „the
central market‟ or „the main market‟. It is estimated that this market centre
was founded in 13th or 14th century. The paper discusses the establishment
of Magaalaa Guddoo market centre; changes and developments in the
market by focusing on the Italian period, the imperial and the military
regimes. The commodities exchanged in the market, the major actors who
used the market, illegal trade, and finally the decline of the market was
discussed in detail. Journals, books, archival materials, material remains,
oral informants, and magazines were used intensively for the study. Oral
informants were identified using snowball sampling method. The findings
show that political changes, shifts in supply and demand, and illegal trades
are interrelated and have a significant impact on the development and fall
of Magaalaa Guddoo market centre. Besides, strategic location and the
availability of items of trade are the main factors in the emergence and
expansion of Magaalaa Guddoo market centre.

Author Biography

Zerihun Girma Gudeta

Haramaya University, CHAMPS Ethiopia