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Tigrinya

also spelled Tigrigna is a Semitic language spoken by the Tigray-Tigrinya people in central Eritrea (there referred to as the "Tigrinya" people), where it is one of the main working languages (Eritrea does not have official languages).

The Tigray - Tigrinya are an ethnic group who live in the southern, central and northern parts of Eritrea.

Name:
There is no name generally agreed upon for the people who speak Tigrinya. All speakers of Tigrinya in Eritrea are officially referred to as Bihér-Tigrinya (or simply, Tigrinya).

History:
Historically, the province of Tigray and central Eritrea was where Ethiopian and Eritrean (Habesha) civilization had its origins. The first kingdom to arise was that of D`mt in the 8th century BC. The Aksumite Kingdom, one of the powerful civilizations of the ancient world, was centered there from at least 400 BC to the 10th century AD. Spreading far beyond modern Tigray, it molded the earliest culture of Ethiopia and left many historical treasures: towering finely carved stelae, the remains of extensive palaces, and the ancient places of worship still vibrant with culture and pageantry.

The Tigray-Tigrinya people are descendants of early Semitic-speaking peoples whose presence in the region spanning central Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, is postulated to have existed from at least 2000 BC, based on linguistic evidence (and known from the 9th c. BC from inscriptions).

[4] According to Ethiopian traditions, the Tigrayan nobility; i.e. that of the Tigray province of Ethiopia, trace their ancestry to the legendary king Menelik I, the child born of the queen of Sheba and King Solomon as do the priests of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (Ge'ez? kahin). Menelik I would become the first king of the Solomonic line of rulers of Ethiopia that ended only with the deposing of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974.

Tigrayans have long been subject to Amhara rule and the prominence of the Amharic language above theirs in the ancient kingdom of Ethiopia, also called Abyssinia (from Habashat, an ancient group of Ethiopian clans).

The Tigray-Tigrinya people share a common ancestry with them from the Ge'ez-speaking peoples of the Aksumite kingdom; as the Tigray-Tigrinya were previously undifferentiated as a specific group from Semitic speakers in the Kingdom of Aksum, their first mention didn't come until relatively late.

The first possibly mention of the group dates from around the 8th to 10th centuries, in which period manuscripts preserving the inscriptions of Cosmas Indicopleustes (fl. 6th century) contain notes on his writings include a mention of a tribe called Tigretes.

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