Bonga

Bonga

:"See also Bonga (musician) for the Angolan pop musician.":"See also Bonga Field for the oil field"

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Bonga
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pushpin_label_position = right
pushpin_map_caption = Location within Ethiopia
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subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = Ethiopia
subdivision_type1 = Region
subdivision_name1 = Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples
subdivision_type2 = Zone
subdivision_name2 = Keficho Shekicho
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population_as_of = 2005
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population_total = 19,664
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timezone = EAT
utc_offset = +3
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latd=7 |latm=16 |latNS=N
longd=36 |longm=14 |longEW=E
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elevation_m = 1714
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Bonga is a town in southwestern Ethiopia. Located southwest of Jimma in the Keficho Shekicho Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region upon a hill in the upper Barta valley, this town has a latitude and longitude of coord|7|16|N|36|14|E|region:ET-SN_type:city(19664)|display=inline,title with an elevation of 1714 meters above sea level. Bonga is the administrative center of the Keficho Shekicho Zone, with a major market on Saturday and lesser ones on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The high school draws students from a broad area.

The neighboring area is known for hot springs, caves and waterfalls. Fourteenth century ruins associated with the former Kingdom of Kaffa. [Matt Philips and Jean-Bernard Carillet, "Ethiopia and Eritrea", third edition (n.p.: Lonely Planet, 2006), p. 243] The all weather road from Jimma south to Bonga was completed around 1962. The road to Mizan Teferi and Tippi was improved in 1966 by the Highway Authority. The Apostolic Prefecture of Jimma Bonga has its headquarters in this town. [http://130.238.24.99/library/resources/dossiers/local_history_of_ethiopia/B/ORTBON.pdf "Local History in Ethiopia"] (pdf) The Nordic Africa Institute website (accessed 30 December 2007)] The city is a center for the buying of honey and cardamom.

Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, Bonga has an estimated total population of 19,664 of whom 9088 were males and 10,576 were females. [ [http://www.csa.gov.et/text_files/2005_national_statistics.htm CSA 2005 National Statistics] , Table B.4] The 1994 census reported it had a total population of 10,851 of whom 5,032 were males and 5,819 were females.

History

The first European recorded to have visited the capital of the former Kingdom of Kaffa was Antoine Thomson d'Abbadie, who resided for 11 days in the marketplace reserved for Christian traders in 1843. The royal residence at Bonga was not as elegants as those in Gomma, Gera, and Limmu-Ennarea. Capuchin monks founded a mission there in 1845 and discovered some medieval churches which remained as evidence of the early infiltration of Christian influence before the invasion of the Oromo. [http://130.238.24.99/library/resources/dossiers/local_history_of_ethiopia/B/ORTBON.pdf "Local History in Ethiopia"] (pdf) The Nordic Africa Institute website (accessed 30 December 2007)]

When Paul Soleillet visited Bonga in the 1880s, he described its trade as primarily slaves, coffee, civet cat oil, coriander and ivory, the turnover amounting between 200,000 and 300,000 dollars a year. [Richard Pankhurst, "Economic History of Ethiopia" (Addis Ababa: Haile Selassie I University, 1968), p. 448] Following the conquest of Kaffa by the generals of Menelik II in 1897, Bonga was deserted; governor Ras Wolde Giyorgis made neighboring Anderaccha his capital.

Bonga was occupied 13 December 1936 by the Italians under General Malta, who died there the next year on 30 May. He and his successor Colonel Corrado refounded Bonga as a local administrative and commercial center for the production of coffee, hides, wax, maize, tea, etc. By 1938, there were about 3000 inhabitants in the town, of whom about 200 were Italians, and it was equipped with a post office, telegraph, hospital, pharmacy, and "spacci". There were few remains of early constructions, but the new settlement was well built from brick and tufa, covered by clay tiles or corrugated iron. Generals Bortello and Tosti, commanders of the Italian forces south of the Didessa River acknowledged their weak position and along with 2,850 troops on 28 June 1941 surrendered to Lt. Col. McNab of the King's African Rifles.

Telephone service reached Bonga between 1954 and 1967.Around 1970, there lived in Bonga one Idebe Godo who was the chief priest of a spirit possession cult. The high priesthood was hereditary to the family of the former high priests to the King of Kaffa. In 1993, the United Nations Emergency Unit for Ethiopia set up a refugee camp for the Uduk and Nuer who had fled from Sudan. By July, 1995 the population of the camp had reached 15,469.

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