According to the 2007 national census, Amharas numbered 19,867,817 individuals, comprising 26.9% of Ethiopia's population and they are mostly Orthodox Christians members of Ethiopian Orthodox Church.They speak Amharic, an Afro-Asiatic language of the Semitic branch, a member of the Ethiosemitic group, which serves as the official language of Ethiopia.The latter enclave was located around Lake Tana at the headwaters of the Blue Nile, and included a slightly larger area than Ethiopia's present-day Amhara Region. Some Historically, the province of "Amhara" was historically located in the modern province of Wollo (Bete Amhara), in the modern sense however the region now known as Amhara in the feudal era was composed of several provinces with greater or less autonomy, which included Gondar, Gojjam, Wollo, Lasta, Shewa, Semien, Angot, and Fetegar.
This proved to be an important development, for when the Empire was subjected to the attacks of the Adal Sultanate General and Imam, Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi (called "Grañ", or "the Left-handed"), Portugal assisted the Ethiopian emperor by sending weapons and four hundred men, who helped his son Gelawdewos defeat Ahmad and re-establish his rule.
Haile Selassie's mother was paternal of Oromo descent and maternally of Gurage heritage, while his father was paternally Oromo and maternally Amhara.
He consequently would have been considered Oromo in a patrilineal society, and would have been viewed as Gurage in a matrilineal one.
Following the end of the ruling Agaw Zagwe dynasty, the Solomonic dynasty governed the Ethiopian Empire for many centuries from the 1270 AD onwards with the ascension of Yekuno Amlak, whose political and support base heiled from Shewa and Amhara.
From then up until the deposing of Haile Selassie in 1974, (with the exception of the Tigray Yohannes IV) the Amhara continuously ruled and formed the political core of the Ethiopian Empire, greatly expanding its borders, wealth and international prestige as well as establishing several medieval royal sites and capitals such as Tegulet, Debre Berhan, Barara (located in Entoto, in modern-day Addis Ababa, In the early 15th century, the Emperors sought to make diplomatic contact with European kingdoms for the first time since Aksumite times.