Some of these are of very large extent: the kingdoms of Tigre, Bagameder, and Goiama are as big as Portugal, or bigger; Amhara and Damote are something less.
The inhabitants of the kingdom of Amhara are the most civilised and polite; and next to them the natives of Tigre, or the true Abyssins.
"There is a lot of anger and frustration for Amharas at this moment at the response from the federal government and army, because they feel under siege," says Tewodrose Tirfe, chair of the Amhara Association of America, a US-based advocacy group.
"Our organisation had a face-to-face meeting with Ambachew Mekonnen [and] Migbaru Kebede when they came to the US in December to meet with the Amharas in the diaspora," Tewodros says.
Last month, Ethiopia's military chief and two senior regional political figures, all of them ethnic Amharas, were assassinated by a squad allegedly led by an Amhara general who had been released from jail in Ahmed's reform sweep.
The prime minister is an ethnic Oromo and was propelled into office last year as the result of a tacit alliance between the Oromo and Amhara parties in the EPRDF.
AMMA further reported 11 of the dead were ethnic Amharas while the rest were ethnic Gumuz, with both sides using blunt weapons and modern firearms during the clashes.
ADDIS ABABA, At least 17 people have been killed in ethnic clash in Ethiopia's Benishangul Gumuz regional state, located in the western part of the country, state media outlet Amhara Mass Media Agency (AMMA) reported on Monday.
Two ethnic groups in the region, the Oromos and the Amharas
, comprise the majority of the Ethiopian population.
"Eight ethnic Oromos and three Amharas
were killed in the Buno Bedele zone of the Oromia region in violence perpetrated by bodies that are trying to sabotage the peace building process that we are embarking on," Addis Arega, spokesman of the Oromia region, said in a Facebook post.
Over the last two decades, the Welkait community has been fighting to become part of Amhara
saying it identifies more with the Amharas
But a party based in the northern region - the National Movement of Amhara
(NAMA) - earlier said 56 of its members had been detained in Addis Ababa on Wednesday.