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

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Zerihun Girma


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.


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How to Cite
Girma, Z. (2019). A Historical Analysis of Magaalaa Guddoo (Gidir Magaalaa) Market Centre in Harar City (1938-1991). East African Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 3(1), 63–86. https://doi.org/10.20372/eajssh.v3i1.471
Author Biography

Zerihun Girma

Haramaya University, CHAMPS Ethiopia