Battle of Wofla

Battle of Wofla
Part of the Abyssinian–Adal war and Ottoman–Portuguese conflicts (1538–57)
DateAugust 28, 1542
Locationmodern Wofla, Ethiopia
Result Decisive Adal Sultanate victory
Adal Sultanate

Portuguese Empire

Ethiopian Empire
Commanders and leaders
Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi Cristóvão da Gama 
600–900 Adal musketeers
20 Adal horsemen
several thousand foot
About 290 Portuguese musketeers
23 Ethiopian men
Casualties and losses
unknown 160 Portuguese killed
8 Ethiopians killed

The Battle of Wofla was fought on August 28, 1542 near Lake Ashenge in Wofla (or Ofla) in the modern Ethiopian Region of Tigray (previously part of Wollo; between the Portuguese under Cristóvão da Gama and the forces of Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi. Reinforced with a superiority not only in numbers but in firearms, Imam Ahmad was victorious and forced the Portuguese, along with Queen Sabla Wengel and her retinue, to flee their fortified encampment and leave their weapons behind.

While fleeing the battlefield with 14 soldiers, Gama, with his arm broken from a bullet, was captured that night by followers of Imam Ahmad, who had been led into the brush they had taken refuge in by an old woman.[1] He was then brought into the presence of the Imam Ahmad, who tortured his captured opponent, then in the end the Imam drew his sword and beheaded Gama.[2]


  1. R.S. Whiteway, editor and translator, The Portuguese Expedition to Abyssinia in 1441-1543, 1902. (Nendeln, Liechtenstein: Kraus Reprint, 1967), pp. 66f
  2. Whiteway, The Portuguese Expedition, p. 68

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