A comparison of two eighteenth-century land grants to churches in Gondär town are the point of departure for reflections on the creation of the documents themselves. Both grants are recorded in multiple copies—5 in one case; 9 in the other. A close reading of the documents reveals that the copies represent different stages in the development of the grant. This is particularly the case with the grant to the Church of Qwesqwam Däbrä Ṣäḥay, which, made in the 1730s and 1740s, unfolded over a period of more than ten years. The evidence concerning the Church of Bä’ata Däbrä Ṭebäb is less striking, but still suggestive. After an indication of the wealth of social and geographic information, which the grants contain, the paper explores similanties and differences between contemporary practices of granting of land in Ethiopia and in the riverine Sudan.

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