During the early 20th century, the British, desiring to construct a barrage at the outlet of Lake Tana, dispatched several study teams, such as those of Dupis (1902), Grabham and Black (1920-21) and Cheesman (1926-34). In 1930 the Ethiopian Government sent to Bahir Dar its own team of experts, who described Bahir Dar as a village with considerable trading activity, with a population from the interior as well as from Lake Tana ports such as Zege. At this time Bahir Dar was characterized by various traditional settlement areas, each of which was distinguished by the social position its members occupied. The kahenat (clergy) and balabbat communities were the most important. In addition, three groups of tenant-craftsman communities, tanners, Muslims weavers and the Weyto stone-mill grinders, lived on balabbat lands. Although all were economically interdependent, there was no intermarriage between the tenant communities or between them and the balabbat and kahenat.
|Bahir Dar City Administration Education Office|