Origin of Blin People

ORIGINS OF THE ERITREAN ( Blin) PEOPLE

It has been established in history that the Eritrean people hail from the following three major branches of the human race:

1. The Nilotic Race

The original inhabitants of the entire surrounding region were the Nilotic (from the Nile River) peoples, who are today represented in Eritrea by the Baria (Nara) and Kunama in the western lowlands of the country.

2. The Hamitic Race

The Hamitic or Kushitic (Biblical Cush) peoples left their habitat in lower Egypt in about 5,000-3000 B.C. and invaded the Nilotic peoples in Eritrea and the rest of the Horn of Africa. The Hamitic/Kushitic people are today represented in Eritrea by the AfarBlinHadareb and the Saho. Other peoples in the Horn of Africa speaking languages of Kushitic origin include the AgawsOromos, Sidamas and the Somalis.

3. The Semitic Race

The Semitic (Biblical Sem) peoples started their early migrations from the Arabian Peninsula to Africa in about 1,000 B.C. The Semitic or, rather, the semitized Kushitic peoples in today’s Eritrea are represented by the Tigrigna and Tigre speakers. In actual fact, it was estimated that Eritreans are, origin wise, 80 per cent Kushitic and 20 per cent Semitic. But, culturally, it is the other way round today.

Besides, there are few recently immigrated Semitic race from the Arab Peninsula to Western Red Sea coastal areas represented by Rashayida in Eritrea. 

They brought with them advanced culture, social organization and better modes of production in agriculture and animal breeding. Variously known as the Sabaeans, the Habashat and the Agazian, the Semitic peoples from the mountains of today’s Yemen resettled in the plateau country west of the Red Sea and imposed their culture and mode of life over the large Kushitic population in the region. Their historical relics arc found at Keskese, Kohaito and Metera in Eritrea, and at places like Yeha and Axum in Ethiopia

THE ORIGIN OF THE BLIN. 

There are two ways of surmising the origin of the Blin: oral tradition, and an analytic approach based on historical premises.

  1. The Traditional Approach

As it was well covered in the text, oral history recounts of migration of a section of the Blin, the Bet Tarqe, in about 1,000 A.D. from Lasta in central Ethiopia to the Keren area, better known as Halhal-Bogos during the last century. It is also claimed that the Bet Tarqe seized by force the land from its original occupants, the Baria or Nara people, and that the Bet Tawqe in about 1270 A.O. settled in the Halhal highlands after subduing an originally Blin speaking people called the Bet Mussi. Pockets of the Bet Mussi are still to be found among the Bet Tarqe (i.e. the Senhit) and the Bet Tawqe. (Bet means ‘the House or the tribe of). 

  • The Historical Approach

This is based on historical premises which take into account the movement of peoples and the concomitant major demographic changes that took place in the region. The area between lower Egypt and western Eritrea up to Bogos was occupied by Beja peoples while the entire stretch between Bogos and Lasta was inhabited by Agaw peoples who were gradually supplanting their language and culture by that of the few Semites from the Arabian Peninsula. Thus, Geez and later Tigrigna became dominant. The Amharic language was born as a mixture of Agaw and Tigrigna. 

In the long historical process, the Kushitic Agaw peoples inhabiting Hamassien, Seraye and Akkele-Guzai adopted Tigrigna as their language while people in the northern parts of Eritrea became Tigre speakers. The Blin could, therefore, very well be a people who remained as an island in the mountain fastness of Keren after all the surrounding area was overwhelmed by a Semitic-ocean. Perhaps, similar description could fit the Kushitic: Saho people in Akkele-Guzai and the Agaw of Ethiopia.

References:

Ghaber, Michael (1993 ). The Blin of Bogos. Bagdad, Iraq

Haile, Fitsum  ( 2006 ). The Origin of Blin. Stockholm, Sweden