Ethiopia Recent History

Later Italy, which had bought Assab (‛Asab) since 1869, expanded its possessions on the Red Sea coast driven both by the political opportunity of the crisis caused by the Mahdī revolt in Sudan, and by the need not to go unpunished. the massacres of the Giulietti (1881) and Bianchi (1883) expeditions which took place in the Danakil. Thus on 5 February 1885 came the occupation of Massawa (see Eritrea) and, gradually, of an area surrounding that port. John IV and his leaders wanted to oppose a further advance of the Italians and Ras Alulā attacked by surprise at Dogali (v.), On January 26, 1887, the De Cristoforis column (see Italo – Abyssinian, war). The following year the negus Giovanni moved with his army into the Massauine lowland to face General Di San Marzano, commander of the new Italian expedition. But Di San Marzano, resisting all the Abyssinian incitements and provocations, was able to remain in the forts on the defensive, thus forcing Giovanni to retire without fighting due to serious logistical difficulties (February-March 1888).

Meanwhile in the Scioa the negus Menelilk had made contact with Italy through Count Pietro Antonelli and other travelers and had managed to obtain his friendship, often resulting in supplies of weapons and ammunition that increased the possibility of the king’s autonomy. scano. John, worried about this, was preparing for a new expedition against the Scioa, when he was called to the western frontier of Abyssinia by a devastating expedition of the Mahdists of Sudan. In the battle of Matammā (March 1889) John IV was defeated and killed by the Mahdists and Menelik was thus able to assert the rights to the Abyssinian throne of the Solomonides of Scioa.

The new Abyssinian negus, Merielik II, signed the Uccialli treaty of 2 May 1889 with Italy and recognized the Italian occupation of the Eritrean plateau which took place in those months. The art. 17 of the treaty of Uccialli, written differently in the Italian text and in the Amharic text, gave Italy reason to notify the signatory Powers of the final act of the Berlin Congress of the obligation of Abyssinia to use the intermediary of the king’s government for his foreign relations, while on the other hand Menelik addressed the heads of European states directly, deeming the intermediary of Italy only optional.

While the Italo-Ethiopian dispute thus began diplomatically, Menelik II carried out his skilful unifying action of Abyssinia and a daring policy of expansion to the south and west of the borders of the ancient kingdom. To the north in Tigrè the ras Mangascià (Mangašā), son of the negus John IV was shrewdly kept at bay, wanting to avoid Menelik II above all a lasting alliance of Mangascià with Italy. The negus Takla Hāymānot of Goggiām and other chiefs of central Ethiopia were linked to Menelik not only out of fear, but also to obtain the weapons and ammunition of which the Scioa became the main holder for its relations with abroad. The minor heads of Scioa followed Menelik for dynastic and regional fidelity (the tradition of the new Solomonid dynasty was established regionally by Menelik II who had himself crowned negus in the church of S. Maria di Enṭoṭṭo in Scioa, and no longer in Aksum like everyone else his predecessors); but Menelik also knew how to use their ambitions wisely by launching them with their troops armed with modern rifles against the hitherto independent states Galla and Sidāmā.

A series of warlike expeditions that lasted until 1897 and generally conducted by the Schaani leaders, among which Ras Makonnen conqueror of Ogaden, ras Dārgē conqueror of the Arussi Galla and uncle of Menelik, ras Walda Giyorgis conqueror of Caffa and others were noted. Menelik had sovereignty over the entire Ethiopian plateau by bringing the border of his state from the Blue Nile-Hawash line to the Lake Rodolfo-Wēbi line in regions never before dependent on the Abyssinian kingdom. Menelik’s political ability connected and co-interested in this enterprise also some leaders of the same Galla people that he wanted to subdue: and chiefs of Galla origin who became feudalaries of the Crown were among the most faithful lieutenants of Menelik in these conquests. Thus the ras Gobanā that s’ fit ā wr ā ri Habta Giyorgis who in 1897 subdued the Galla Boranā of the far south.

These conquests gave a new character to the state which transformed itself from a unitary Abyssinian kingdom (including the populations of various ethnic origins historically grouped in the northern and central plateau) into an Ethiopian Empire in which the Abyssinian peoples of the old kingdom keep the populations under their dominion. alien Galla, Sidama, Somali, etc., of the already independent states. This dominion is affirmed in the bond of the gab ā r, natives of submissive bloodlines who are assigned to maintain the soldiers of Menelik’s troop corps and their descendants.

The Ethiopian Empire, while it was thus constituting itself internally, was also going through a critical phase in foreign policy. Italy, which from 1889 to 1895 had negotiated with Menelik the application of the Treaty of Uccialli, and, in the meantime, had considered Menelik’s campaigns against the Galla and Sidama with favor because, based on the known interpretation of art. 17 of the treaty itself, it could look at the conquests of the negus as an expansion of its sphere of influence, and was finally, after six years of negotiations, forced to resort to arms. But even after the outbreak of hostilities, no political connection between Italy and Menelik’s adversaries came to disturb the action of the Schano negus; and the events of Adua (iMarch 1896) and even more the hasty peace of Addis Abeba (December 1896) were particularly favorable to the new Empire of Ethiopia which saw itself recognized as an international personality.

From then on, Menelik’s policy was aimed at making the European states accept his conquests; and this he did by means of border treaties with Great Britain (border with Sudan May 15, 1902; with Kenya and Uganda December 6, 1907; with British Somalia May 14 and June 4, 1897); with France (border with French Somalia 20 March 1897); with Italy (Eritrean border, see Eritrean: History; Somali border, see Somalia: History).

To ensure the succession of the Empire, Menelik II proclaimed heir to the throne the l ĭǵǵ Iyāsu, son of his daughter Šawā Raggā and of ras Mikā’ēl. Iyāsu, on Menelik’s death, effectively became the head of state (1913), but he was never proclaimed emperor. However, he conferred on his father the dignity of negus and Mikā’ēl, having been crowned in Aksum, assumed the old title of negusa Ṣ yon that once, up to John IV, was that of the emperors. When the European war broke out in 1914, Iyāsu continued his policy in favor of the Muslim peoples recently conquered by Menelik even more openly. This attitude of his increased the hopes of the Central Empires and of Turkey, who saw in the young and ambitious heir of the Ethiopian throne a possible ally against the Entente. In 1916 a revolution broke out in Shoa and Metropolitan of Ethiopia, l ‘ abuna Mattēwos dissolving the scioani leaders of the oath of allegiance to the ĭǵǵ Iyāsu. In the same year the negus Mikā’ēl, who rushed against the Scioa, was defeated and taken prisoner in the battle of Sagalēe a Shaan column repressed with ruthless energy the movement of Somalis and Dancali in favor of Iyāsu. The victorious leaders proclaimed empress Zauditu, another daughter of Menelilk and therefore aunt of the l ĭǵǵ Iyāsu, and “heir to the throne of Ethiopia” Ras Tafari, son of ras Makonnen. For Ethiopia history, please check

The l ĭǵǵ Iyāsu who, after having wandered in the Danakil lowlands, had taken refuge in Tigrè, was handed over to the new empress in 1921 and relegated. The European powers welcomed the new rulers and in 1923 Ethiopia was admitted to the League of Nations.

The following year Ras Tafari with the main Ethiopian leaders came to Europe to visit the European sovereigns and heads of state with whom Ethiopia was in relationship. In 1927 the Duke of Abruzzi went to Addis Abeba to return the visit in the name of the king of Italy; and strengthened the Italo-Ethiopian relations with agreements that the following year led to the signing (2 August 1928) of a twenty-year treaty of friendship and the reciprocal concession of a free zone in Assab and the construction of a truckable from there to Dessie. Two months later a movement of Shia leaders concluded with the appointment of Tafari a negus with the title of “Plenipotentiary Vicar of the Empire”, without prejudice to the sovereign rights of Empress Zauditu.

This, however, exercised since then only a power of control; and in 1930 the feudatory ras Gugsā of Baghiemeder rebelled against the central power by presenting himself astutely as the defender of the empress. Gugsā was defeated and killed by the troops of the Empire commanded by the da ǵǵazm ā è Mulughētā in Zabit in March 1930. Empress Zauditu died a few days later; and Tafari proclaimed himself emperor with the name of Hāyla Sellāsē I. In November 1930 he was crowned in the church of St. George in Addis Ababa and about a year later in July 1931 he issued a constitution of the Empire founded on advisory councils composed of representatives of the various regions, however, appointed by the central government: the beginning of evolution from ancient feudalism.

Ethiopia Recent History