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Battle of Shimbra Kure
Part of the Ethiopian–Adal war
DateMarch, 1529
LocationShimbra Kure, Ethiopia, 80 miles southeast of Addis Ababa
Result Decisive Adal victory
Flag of Adal.png Adal Sultanate Ethiopian Pennants.svg Ethiopian Empire
Commanders and leaders
Imam Ahmad Gragn Dawit II
200 men with matchlocks, several thousand infantry, cavalry 200 man of infantry and cavalry

The Battle of Shimbra Kure ("chickpea swamp") was fought in March of 1529 between the forces of Adal led by Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi, and the Ethiopian army, under Dawit II (Lebna Dengel). The army of Imam Ahmad prevailed, and were in control of the field at the end of the battle. Both sides suffered heavy casualties.[1] Despite this success, and his desire to capture and hold the Emperor's palace at Badeqe, Imam Ahmad, in part to appease his restive men, withdrew from the highlands and did not return to directly engage the Ethiopian army for two years.[2]

Some authorities, such as Richard Pankhurst, attribute Imam Ahmad's success to the presence amongst his followers of an elite company of matchlockmen. If this is the case, then this battle was the first time Ethiopian forces had to fight against a force armed with firearms.[3]


  1. Richard Pankhurst, The Ethiopian Borderlands (Lawrenceville: Red Sea Press, 1997), p. 172
  2. Sihab ad-Din Ahmad bin 'Abd al-Qader, Futuh al-Habasa: The conquest of Ethiopia, translated by Paul Lester Stenhouse with annotations by Richard Pankhurst (Hollywood: Tsehai, 2003),p. 86
  3. Pankhurst, Borderlands, p. 168

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