Get our exclusive Word of the Day images!
city, eastern Ethiopia, in the Ch'erch'er Mountains, at an elevation of 6,000 feet (1,800 metres). Probably founded in the 7th century AD by immigrants from Hadramawt in southern Arabia, Harer became the capital of the Muslim state of Adal. Conflict with Christian Ethiopians and the Oromo, however, forced removal of the capital in 1577 to the Aussa desert 100 miles (160 km) north. Sir Richard Burton, the first European visitor, described the city of Harer in First Footsteps in East Africa (1856), and the French poet Arthur Rimbaud lived there (1880-91) as a trader in arms and ammunition. Occupied by the Egyptians (1875-85), Harer was conquered in 1887 by Menilek II, king of Shewa and afterward emperor of Ethiopia. Ras Makonnen was then appointed governor of Harer province, and in 1910 his son, the future emperor Haile Selassie I, assumed the governorship. Ras Makonnen's Harer Palace was mostly destroyed in World War II; his mausoleum is south of the city at the foot of Mount Ghirella.