Shoa, one of the great political divisions of Abyssinia, in the S. E. corner of that country, sometimes under the same sovereignty and at others an independent state, situated between lat. 8° 30' and 11° N., and Ion. 38° and 40° 30' E. Its boundaries are ill defined, but it is bordered N. W. by Amhara, N. E. by Adal, E. by the Galla desert country, S. by the river Hawash, and terminates on the W. in the valley of the Abai; pop. estimated at 2,500,000, of whom 1,000,000 are Coptic Christians and the remainder Mohammedans and pagans. Shoa consists of a series of plateaus, varying from 3,000 to 10,000 ft. in height above the level of the sea. A mountain range traverses the country from S. W. to N. E., forming an eastern watershed down which flow the affluents of the Hawash, while the western slope gives rise to the Jamma, one of the principal tributaries of the Abai. The valley of this river occupies the central and western part of Shoa, at an elevation of about 3,000 ft. A broad plain lies between the mountains and the Hawash river on the south, and from the highlands the descent is rapid through the eastern part of the country, called Efat, to the desert. Shoa is watered by numerous streams; the soil is fertile, and large crops of grain are raised.
The higher lands are used chiefly for pasturage. The valleys are very beautiful and well wooded, but in summer they are hot and unhealthy, and particularly subject to fever. They produce coffee, cotton, drugs, and different sorts of dye woods. Ancient volcanic rocks predominate in the geology of Shoa. Iron and sulphur are the chief mineral products, and coal is said to exist. It has but little external trade, and its foreign commerce is carried on principally through ports on the gulf of Aden. There is a caravan route from Ankobar to Tajurrah, on the gulf of that name, but the difficulty of transporting goods across the desert is very great. Gold dust, spices, gums, ostrich feathers, and ivory are the chief exports, but some of these articles merely pass through the country from the surrounding territories. Cotton cloth is manufactured, and the natives work in iron. Ankobar, the capital, is situated on the eastern highlands, near the mountain range already mentioned, in lat. 9° 35' N., Ion. 39° 54' E., 8,198 ft. above the sea, and enjoys a climate of perpetual spring; pop. about 10,-000. - Shoa has frequently been a province of the Abyssinian monarchy, but is now an independent kingdom.
The British government established friendly relations with the country in 1841, through a diplomatic mission under Major Harris. The government is. an absolute despotism, and the name of the present king (1875) is Menelek.