Colonial powers and Ethiopian frontiers 1880–1884 is the fourth volume of Acta Aethiopica, a series that presents original Ethiopian documents of nineteenth-century Ethiopian history with English translations and scholarly notes. The documents have been collected from dozens of archives in Africa and Europe to recover and present the Ethiopian voice in the history of Ethiopia in the nineteenth century. The present book, the first Acta Aethiopica volume to appear from Lund University Press, deals with how Ethiopian rulers related to colonial powers in their attempts to open Ethiopia for trade and technological development while preserving the integrity and independence of their country. In addition to the correspondence and treatises with the rulers and representatives of Italy, Egypt and Great Britain, the volume also presents letters dealing with ecclesiastical issues, including the Ethiopian community in Jerusalem.
Sultan Ḥanfadhē. Dated in the month of Jumād al-Ākhir, the 15th, Friday, the year 1301 Hijra. __________________ ASMAE, AE 2. Arabic original. A part of the text is not clear since the edge of the paper has been cut. Thus, our translation is in some parts tentative. 209 RUBENSON TEXT.indd 209 03/02/2021 13:53 Document no. 159 Minīlik II to Pietro Antonelli, 8 May 1884 From King Minīlik II, King of Shewa, Kefa, and all its dependencies, i.e. the lands of the Galla; [may it] reach Mr. Count Antonelli. How are you? By the grace of God I find myself in a state
, this letter was translated by Antoine d’Abbadie. The “snider”, more properly the Snider-Enfield, referred to was a breech-loading rifle widely used by the British army in the late nineteenth century. 95 RUBENSON TEXT.indd 95 03/02/2021 13:53 Document no. 81 Minīlik II to Pietro Antonelli, 9 March 1882 I have heard how Mr. Martini has written things against me, but I do not believe they have done any damage. I would have been able to write to the Geographical Society of Italy and to the king himself about what has happened here in this country. But it would be a
illegible Seal: Minīlik, King of Shewa. The Lion of the tribe of Judah has prevailed. Ankober, 22nd May 1883. The representative of His Majesty the King of Italy, Pietro Antonelli. Seal: The Royal Italian expedition. 147 RUBENSON TEXT.indd 147 03/02/2021 13:53 118c Amharic text 148 RUBENSON TEXT.indd 148 03/02/2021 13:53 A treaty reached between the great Adal chief and the Italian government. The first Friendship and peace will always prevail between the chiefs of Aseb and Maḥammad Ḥanfadhē and their subjects. The second One person from each side will be
news of Chiarini’s death (5 October 1879) and Cecchi’s captivity reached the outside world, but by April 1880 it was known inter alia through the above letter from Ras Adal. It was, however, only at the end of August 1881 that Ras Adal was able to have Cecchi liberated, and only in October that he could join Pietro Antonelli, Alfred Ilg and finally Gustavo Bianchi north of the Abbay. Whether “without excuses”, “senza scuse” in the Italian text, refers to the writer, “I feel no need to excuse myself”, or the receiver, “don’t bother about excusing yourself”, is not