The Kingdom of Da’amat (D’mt)

D’mt was a kingdom located in Eritrea and Northern Ethiopia (Tigray Region) that existed during the 10th to 5th centuries BC. As a result, it is not known whether D’mt ended as a civilization before the kingdom of Aksum’s early stages, evolved into the Aksumite State, or was one of the smaller states United in the kingdom of Aksumites possibly around the beginning of the 1st century.

Due to the similarity of the name of D’mt and Damot when transcribed into Latin characters, these two kingdoms are often confused or conflated with one another, but there is no evidence of any relationship to Damot, a kingdom far to the South.

Da’amat in Arabic translates as ‘Supported’ or ‘columned’ and may refer to the columns and obelisks (or Hawulti) of Matara or Qohaito.

The kingdom developed irrigation schemes, used ploughs, grew millet, and made iron tools and weapons.

Many historians consider this civilization to be indigenous, although different opinions came around who claimed that D’mt is influenced due to the latter’s dominance of the Red sea.

Some sources consider the Sabaean influence to be minor, limited to a few localities and disappeared after a few decades or a century, perhaps representing a trading or military colony in some sort of symbiosis or military alliance with the civilization of D’mt or some other proto-Aksumite state.

However, other sources hold that D’mt, though having indigenous roots, was under the strong south Arabian economic and cultural influence.

A 2013 study proposed a migration model involving “first, a large-scale movement of people from West Eurasia into Eastern Africa around 3,000 years ago resulted in the dispersal of west Eurasian ancestry throughout Eastern Africa.

Given the presence of a large temple complex, the capital of D’mt may have been present-day Yeha, in Tigray Region, Ethiopia. At Yeha, the temple to the god Llmuqah is still standing.

After the fall of D’mt in the 5th century BC, the plateau came to be dominated by smaller unknown successor kingdoms. This lasted until the rise of one of these policies during the first century BC, the Aksumite kingdom. The ancestor of medieval and modern-day Ethiopia, Aksum was able to reunite the area.


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