Friday, January 30, 2009

Dem. Rep. of the Congo (continued)

Force Publique soldiers in the Belgian Congo in 1918.

During World War II the small Congolese army achieved several victories against the Italians in North Africa. The Belgian Congo which was also rich in Uranium deposits, supplied the uranium that was used to build the American atom bombs which destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in Japan.

Belgian colonialism was utterly paternalistic and geared primarily towards the extraction of natural resources. Belgium exerted tight control over the colony till 1955 and it was seen as an "empire of silence"and model of prosperity.
Belgian Govt. prohibited "political participation" by the natives and denied equal rights. For example, secondary and post-secondary education were discouraged amongst the natives to creat them a middle class citizen. However the publication of a thirty year "decolonisation" plan by a Belgian academic in 1956 stirred controversy among them and political awakening began to grow among the natives.

Since 1959, indigenous political activisim acted as a catalyst to think the Belgium Govt. to recognise political among ifferent ethnicgroups of the natives. Lumamba's Movement National Congolese (MNC), recruited mainly among ethnic members with the ideology of nationalism and ethnic broad mindedness.

A year later, Belgium drafted the constitution of the future sovereign country and five months before inependence they arranged first national elections .

Patrice Lumumba

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Early Period of DRC

Human civilisation was visible in early years of 3,500 BC to 2,000 BC in Northern and North-Western Africa.They produced food, maintained domestic livestockand developed use of oil palm. They also knew iron smelting and excavated iron in Rwanda and Burundi.These peoples are Bantus who drve away the natves from this land.
King Leopold II of Belgium with the help of Stanley purchsed the land of the southern part of the basin of Congo from the local brokers with the money received as a loan from the Belgian Govt. This was also approved in the Berlin conference of 1884-1885 by the 14 countries Europe and United States. Leopold gave the name of this country as Congo Free State.

Heart of Darkness :

Leopold developed infrastructural projects, as construction of railways from coast to the capital and all such projects which would help him to exploit the people of the Congo free State. His method of exploitation was very cruel in nature.He utilised local people to produce rubber with which he prepared rubber tube for international market. The sale of rubber made him a good fortune. He made buildings for him in Brussels and for his own country. He enforced a rule for the local people to fulfil their quota of preparing rubber or he would punish them by cutting their hands. He didn't hesitate even to kill them . By this way he killefd about 10 million congonese. Joseph Conrad wrote a novel mentioning all sorts of cruelty in his book Heart of darkness. Leopold accumulated a vast personal fortune from ivory and rubber through Congolese slave labour. During his time 10 million people had died due to forced labour, starvation, and outright extermination.
In 1908 Belgian parliament despite initial reluctance bowed to international presure, specialy UK, took over the Free State from the king and changed the name as Belgian Congo . The Belgian Congo had then become the colony of the elected Govt. of Belgium.
But this time the country's govt. was unstable which was reflected by its seven changes of names since 1885.
i) Congo Free State (1885 - 1908) = 24 yrs.
ii) Belgian Congo (1908- 60) = 52 yrs.
iii) Republic of the Congo or Cingo-Leopoldville ( 1960- 1964) = 4yrs
Iv) Democratic Republic of the Congo or Congo- kinshasa (1964-1966)= 2yrs.
v) Dem.Rep.of the Congo (1966- 1971) = 5yrs.
vi) Republic of Zaire (1971-1997) = 6 yrs.
vii) Dem. rep. of the Congo (1997 onwards)
During (1908 - 1960) these 52 yrs. national movements against the colonial authorities took place in different colonial countries through out the world and two great wars, world war I and World WarII, took place. In the first case Soviet Russia came out of the clutches of the exploiting capitalists and turned to a socialist state which in turn accelerated the national movement against the colonial rule. The exploited countries gradually became independent after World War II.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Leopold II, Founder of DRC

The reign of Leopold II (1835 - 1909) proved to be of great importance to Belgium. He was of opinion that the colonies abroad would be the key of the fortune of one's country. When Stanley returned from his great expedition to the basin of the Congo River, the Belgian king took the explorer under his patronage,seizing this vast territoryas virtually his own propertyand developing it for his private fortune.In 1890 he found it necessary to ask the Belgian Parliament for a loan which was granted on condition that in ten years time the territory should pass to the ownership of state government. After many complains received by the Government of the activities of the King the state government in 1908 purchased the so-called Congo Free state.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Congo River (Re-Written)

Congo is the 2nd. largest river in Africa and 7th. largest river in the world. It has a length of 3000 mileswith 1,500,000 sq. miles drainage area. it has a vast region of dense forest 2nd. largest in the world and next to Amazon.A portuguese explorer, Diogo Cao, discovered the mouth where as Sir Henry Morton Stanley (1841-!904), in 1871 at the call of of the newspaper , New york Herald, went to Africa at the age of 30 as a correspondent for a special mission . He was to try to find the missionary- doctor-explorer David Livingstone who had veen lost for five years He set out from Zanzibar in the interiore in march 1871. Travelling for eight months with difficulties he learnt from the natives that a white man with white beard was found in the Arab town of Ujijion lake Tanganiyaka. there he fond the man -old,ill and short of supplies but devoting his life to the welbeing of the natives and to fight against the evil of the slve trade.He stayed with Livingstone for four months and became his admirerAfter the ddeath of livingstone in 1873 Stanley decided to continue his voyage and discovered the course of Congo River .

The congo was divided in three parts , i) the lower, ii) the middle, iii) the upper.

rising in the north of Northern Rhoesia, in the name Chambezi, flows south- west to lake Bangweulu. it leaves the lake as laupula, and goes from south to north to enter lake Mweru , finally leaves northern Rhodesia and flows out as the Luvua receiving Lualabafrom the south at Ankoro.As the lualaba , it flows north to to Nyangwe, below which it is kown as Congo. The Stanley Falls , near Stanleyville , marks the start of the middle Congo, which flows in a great s

River basin of Congo

Stanley Pool
Here it meets its main tributaries Aruwimi and Ubangi from the north and Loumami and kasai from the south.From the junction with the Ubangi the congo forms the boundary between the two Congos, french and belgium.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dem.Rep. of the Congo (continued)

Intrduction :

The Dem Rep. of the Congo is a country in central Africa with a small length of Atlantic coast line. It is the third largest country in Africa and ten times the size of Great Britain. In order to distinguish it from the neighbouring Rep. of the Congo, Dem. Rep. of the Congo is often referred to as DR Congo, DRC., or RDC or Congo-Kinshasa (after the name of its Capital) . Dem. Rep. of the Congo was formerly referred to as the Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Congo Leopoldville, Congo Kinshasa, and Zaire though DRC is located in Central Africa but it is affiliated with Southern African Development Community.
History :
The history of Dem. Rep. of the Congo is broadly divided in the following parts :
i) History of the natives,
ii) The Congo Free State (1877- 1908)
iii) Political Crisis (!960- 1965)
iv) Zaire (1971- 1997)
v) Civil wars.

Dem. Rep. of the Congo

The above map of Africa shows that excepting one country (Ethiopia) all the other countries were occupied by eight European countries. Democratic Republic of the Congo was occupied by Belgium during king Leopold II at the 3rd. quarter of the nineteenth century.
Association Internationale Africaine :
This was an organisation fomed by King Leopold II of Belgium for promotion of humanitarian projects in the central Africa now known as Dem. Rep. of the Congo.
He convened a conference of nearly forty well-known experts amongst the geographic scientists and philanthrapists of European countries in Brussels in1876. But the conference ended to discover the ways of exploration of the various countries in their inividual interests and each of them formed their own committees to organise nationalised expeditions into the African interior with very little sharing of information.
At the end of nineteenth century two persons, i) Henry Morton Stanley and ii) Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza in thier own way took the responsibilities of expeitions in the Congo regions. Portugal, which also claimed the area due to old treaties with native Kongo Empire, made a treaty with Great Britain on Feb., 1884 to block off the Congo Soceity's access to the Atlantic.
At the same time, various European countries trie to acquire foothold in Africa. france occupied Tunisia and toda's rep. of the Congo in 1881 and Guinea in1884. In 1882, Great Britain occupied the niminally the Ottoman Egypt, which in turn ruled over the Sudan and parts of Somalia. In 1870 and 1882, Italy took possession of the first part of Eritrea, while Germany declare Togo, cameroon and South West Africato be under its protection in1884.
The Berlin conference of the association of 1884-1885 ended in a fracture of the association which caused "Scramble for Africa."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Congo, some pictures taken from internet (cont)

Congo's rain fall

Congo's Woman

Districts of the Rep. of the Congo

The Congo (continued)

Population of the republic of the Congo

The congo is one of the most urbanised countries in Africa with 85 % of its total population living in a few urban areas, namely Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or one of the small cities or villages . in rural areas, inustrial and commercial activities gradually declined leaving rural economies dependent on the government for support. Before the 1997 war, about 15,000 Europeans or other non- Afrcans lived in Congo, most of whom were French.Presently only about 9,500 remained.
Per capita Income :
National Average per capita income using ppp method :
Rank/ Country/ per capita income in US $
(est 2003)
National Av. per capita income in Atlas method
(est 2003)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rep. of the Congo (continued)

After the world War II, there was an upsurge of nationalism. France, weakened by its wars in Indochina and Algeria, di not resist but granted internal autonomy to its African colonies . Congo became an autonomous republic within the Franco- African Community in 1958.Upon Independence in 1960 the former french region of Middle Congo became the Repulic of the Congo. A quarter century of experimentation with Marxism, was abandoned in 1990 and a democratically elected Government was installed in 1992. A brief civil war in1997 restored former Marxist President Sassou-Ngoessou ushered in a period of ethnic unrest.Southern based rebel groups agreed to final peace accord in March , 2003, but the calm is trenuous and refugees continue to present a humanitarian crisis.The Republic of Congo is a largest petroleum producing country in Africa and significant for its potential for offshore development.
Congolese woman were thwarted in their ambition to improve their showing , with only one woman being elected. The center for the promotion of Women in politics had worked hard to raise the profile of its women candidates. In the two chamber of Parliament with188 seats, there are only 20 women . As in other African countries no. of women are more than the no. of men. and 70% of women live in poverty line.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Congo (continued)

The Teke Kingdom signed a treaty with the French in 1883 against the protection of himself and the land and gave some portion of land which was governed by the French. Pierre Savorgnan De Brazza secured north side of Stanley Pool and governed that from 1886 - 1897. From that time Congo was known as Congo Brazzaville.
Mausoleum of Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza.
The companies that were granted concessions in Congo abused their African workers to the extent that reports reached France, which eventually restricted the use of forced labour . In 1910 four colonies were brought together administratively as French Equatorial Africa,with Brazzaville as capital.
French Colony in Africa French Congo

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sierra leone ; Some Photos from Internet

An 1833 illustration of liberated Africans
arriving in Sierra Leone

A mende womanin the village of jojoima
in Kailahun district

Bai Bureh, leader of the 1898
rebellion against British rule

Rural way of Sierra Leo

Diamond Miners in Kono DDistrict

The road fromKenema to Kailahun District

Koidu Town Sierra Leone's fourth largest
city and a major center for Diamond trade

Earnest Bai Koroma
Current president of Sierra Leone

Friday, January 16, 2009

Poverty of Sierra Leone

In Sierra leone poverty is widespread and deep. About 26% of the population is food poor and can not afford a basic diet., 70 % live in poverty.There is a wide spread disparity in poverty's geographical distribution and about 605 live in rural areas where 3/4 live.In the poorest districts where war destroyed tree, cropsand aminities of living of rural people.8 out of 10 people live in poverty,Sierra Leone Alliance against hunger aims to minimise hunger.

Factors determining the poverty of a country are :

1. Gross National Income purchasing power parity (PPP) :GNI PPP is the average annual income earned by citizen of a country.

The GNI PPP of Malawi is $1.6 a day

,, ,, ,, of Eritrea is $ 2.5 ,,

,, ,, ,, of USA is $ 114 ,,

The rank of Sierra Leone in the list of poorest country of the worl is 13 (est. April 2005).

2. Human Development Index : the rank of Sierra leone is 177 with the following result

Rank/life exp. at birth/ adult ill./cont. gross enrol./ gdp per capita ppp/ life exp./edn/gdpi/hdi


Population Growth rate : 2.292%( 2007est)

Infant mortality rate : total - 158.27deaths/1,000 births

Life Expentancy at birth : 40.58 ave.

Total fertility Rate : 6.01 children/woman

Population below poverty line : 70.2 (2004 est)

GDP at PPP : (2007 est)


Rank/Am. Rank/Am Rank/Am

173/693 161/677 188/600
GDP (nominal) per capita :

171/290 163/286 176/270

Sierra Leone - Abolition of Slave system

In 1808 Sierra Leone officially became a Crown Colonywith the land possessions of Sierra Leone Company (formerly known as St. George's bay Company),transferred to the crown. The colony was dedicated to demonstrating the Principles of Chistianity, "civilisation" and commerce.
In 1833 British parliament passed the emancipation act and in 1833 slavery was finally abolished.It wasn't until 1865, the United States passed the 13th. amendment abolishing slavery.
By 1855 over 50,000 freed slaves has been settled in Freetown, known as the Krios. The repatriated settlers of Freetown live today in a multi - ethnic country.Though English is the official language Krio is widely spoken through out the country allowing different tribal groups a common language.

Modern Period : 20th. Century

Sierra Leone achieved Independence on the 27th. April 1961, the country attained republican status on the 19th. April 1971, though the 90's brought successive civil disturbances culminating into a ghastly RUF rebel war that led to to the intervention of International Community led by the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).Since Independence many changes have been experienced politically, economicallyand in the social society of SL.
Various International Organisations helped provide an environment for free and fair presidential elections of 2002.The war has been officially over in 2001.Since Independence , Sierra Leone has been ruled by a Head of State , making a world record, by an youngest leader, Valentine Strasser, aged 27 only.

Communist Party of sierra Leone :

Sierra Leone People's Party hosts Chinese communist Party.

UNS Jah &Victor Reider with Chinese leader.
Jun. 27, 2006.

Sierra Leone - Freetown

European contacts with Sierra Leone were among the first in west Africa. In 1652, the first slaves in North America were brought from Sierra Leoneto the sea Islans off the coast of the southern United States. During the 1700s there was a thriving trade bringing slaves from Sierra Leone to the plantations of soth Carolina an Georgiawhere their rice farming skills mae made them particularly valuable.
In 1787 the Britsh helped 400 freed slaves from the United States, Nova Scotia and Great Britain return to Sierra Leone to settle in what they called the "Province Of Freedom".Disease and hostility from the indigenous people nearly eliminated the first group of returnees. this settlement was joined by other groups freed slavesand soon became known as Freetown in 1792. Freetown became one of Brtain's first colonies in West Africa.

Thousands of slaves were returned to or libewrated in freetown . most chose to remain in Sierra Leone. These returned Africans - or Krio as they came to be called - were from all areas of Africa . Cut off from their homes and traditions by the experience of slavery , they assimilated some aspects of British styles of life and built a flourishing trade on the West African coast.
In the early 19th. century , freetown served as the residence of the British Governor who also ruled the Gold Coast ( Now Ghana) and the Gambia settlements . Sierra Leone served as the educational center of British West Africa as well. Fourah Bay College established in1827, rapidly became a magnet for English - Speaking Africanson the west coast.For more than a century , it was the only European - Style University in western Sub - Saharan africa.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Outlines of History of Sierra Leone

History of Sierra Leone
ca. 2500 BC Begining of agrculture, settled life,pottery making.
ca 600 AD Introduction of iron making
ca. 1450 - 1700 Mende migration into Sierra Leone
1462 Portuguese navigator visits the coast, names the peninsula, Sierra Leon ( Lion Mountain)
ca. 1540 Mane Invasion
1727 Futa Jallon Jihad
Expansion of Islam
1787 Province of Freedom established
1789 Koya Temne destroy colony
1792 Freetown Established
Arrival of Nova scotians
1800 Arrival of the Marrons
1808 British declare the colony of Sierra Leone
Recaptive slaves begin to arrive
1827 Fourth Bay institution established
1845 CMS Grammar school estblished
First secondary school in west Africa
1853 New constitution adopted
John Ezzidio becomes first African Elected
to the Legistative Council
1876 Fourah Bay Collegeaffiliated with Durham University
1884 Samori Invasionsbegin in northern interior
1896 British Declare The Sierra Leone Protectorate
1898 The 1898 Rebillion( Hut tax War) begins
in the south on April 27
1906 Bo school opens for sons and nominees of
1908 Railway reaches Pendembu
1914 - 1918 World War - I
Sierra Leonean troops fight in Cameroon
1924 New constitution adopted
Chiefs sit for the first time in the Legislative council
1937 Native Adminstration system established
1939 - 1945 World war II
Sierra leonean troops fight in burma
1946 District Council and Protectorate Assembly
1961 New Constitution adopted
Unified Governmental system adopted
protectorate representatives in the majority
Sierra Leone achieves independence in April 27
Sir Milton Margaret was 1st. Prime Minister
1964 Sir Albert margaret was 2nd. Prime Minister
1967 Military coup, Siaka Stevens appointed Prime Minister
1968 Siaka Stevens became 3rd. Prime Minister
1971 Sierra leone becomes a republic
Siaka stevens - 1st. Executive President
1978 Sierra Leone becomes a one-party state
under the banner of the All Peoples Congress
1985 Major general J.S.Momoh - 2nd. Executive president.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sierra Leone (Continued)

The Europeans - Portuguese, Dutch, French and English who arrived later conducted quick raids when opportunities came and kidnapped several local natives to sell them in different parts of the world. Soon, however , they found local actors willing to partner with them in these vicious but profitable affairs, some chiefs were willing to part with a few of the less desirable members of their tribes for a price, others went into the war business - a bevy of battle captives could be sold for a fortune in European rum, cloth, beads, copper or muskets.
The early slaving was essentialy an export business. The use slaves as labourers by the local Africans appears to have developed only later. It may first have occurred under coastal mulatto chiefs in the late 1700s.
The slave owners were orinally whiteand foreigners, but the late eighteenth century saw the emergence of powerful mulatto slve trading chiefs, who were said to own large no domestic slaves.In the late 1700s, the mulatto chief William Cleveland had a large slve - town on the main land opposite Banana Islands.Rodney has postulated two means by which slaving for export could have caused a local practise of using slaves for labour.
Domestic slavery was abolished in Sierra leone in 1928.

Sierra Leone, Africa

Sierra Leone, officially the Republic of Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea in the north-east, Liberia in the south- east, and the Atlantic Ocean in the south West. Freetown is its Capital. it has been inhabited continuously for at least 2,500 years. The use of iron was introduced in the 9th. century and by 1000 AD agriculture was being practiced in coastal areas by the tribes. Dense tropical rainforest was partly isolated it from other pre-colonial African Culture and spread of Islam.
In 1462 Portuguese explorer Pedro da Cintra first mapped the hills surrounding Freetown and gave its name as Serra Lyoa meaning Lion Mountains. Portuguese ships began visiting regulaarly in the late 1400s and andmaintained a forton theNorth shore of the Freetown estuary.
When Europeans first arrived at Sierra Leone, slavery among the African peoples of the area was rare.Historian Walter Rodney gave detailed report of the then situation.
At the begining, slavery in Sierra leone started by migrating a person in trouble from one kingdom to another where he placed himself in another kingdom under the protection of its king. Gradually he became a slave of that king and provided free labour and liable for sale.

Fragments of prehistoric pottery from Kamabai Rock shelter.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ethiopoia, Why The country is poor

Ethiopia is one of the five poorest countries of the world, with four out of every five people living on less than $2 a day. Agriculture is the only source of living of 90% of its population but the prouction is very low with cyclical drought. The country's persistently low rainfall also adds to the factor of its poverty. Moreover its population has grown dramatically in the last several decades , from 33 million in 1983 to more than 75 million today .
Deforestation is a major concern for Ethiopia as studies suggest loss of forest contributes to soil erosion, loss of nutrients of the soil, loss of animal habitats and reduction in bioiversity. Last but not the least, exploitation by its own people of one portion to another also adds to its poverty.
" Men make history but they don't know the history they make" Karl Marx.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ethiopia (Continued)

Post Derg Period

In July 1991, the EPRDF, the Oro Liberation Front (OLF) and others established the Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE) which was composed of an 87-member Council of Representatives and guided by a national charter that functioned as a transitional constitution.In 1994, a new constitution was written that formed a bicameral legislature and a juicial systemMeles Zenawi and nagasso Gidada was elected as Prime minister and president in the new constitution in the first fair election of the country.But in 2005, during the general elections in Ethiopia allegations of irregularities that brought victory to the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic front resulted in widespread protests in which the governmaent is accused of massacing civilians. With the collapse of Soviet Union and with the rise of radical Islamism, Ethiopia again turned to the Western Powers for alliance and assistance. After the 9/11 terrorist attack ethiopia allowed the US to station military advisors at Camp Hurso.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Ethiopia, Introduction of Communism

On September 12,1974, a prvisional adminstrative council of soldiers , known as the Derg (committe) seized power from the Emperor and installed a government which was socialist in name and military in style. The Derg summarily executed 59 members of the former government including two former Prime Ministers and crown councilors, court officials, ministers and generals. The new Marxist government undertook socialist reforms, including nationalisation of landlord's and churches property. The Government was backed by the forces and finance of Soviet Union, eastern bloc of Europe and Cuba. They expelled the American military missions.

Ogaden war

In July 1977 , Somalia attacked across the Ogaden, Ethiopia, which was resisted by Soviet airlift of arms and Cuban combat forces.

The end of seventy's were marked by massacres known as "red terror" against " white terror". The communism was officially adopted at the end of seventy's and early 80's. in 1984 Aa communist party in the name of The Workers party of Ethiopia (WPE)was established and a new Soviet style civilian constitution was to a popular referendum and the country was renamed as Peoples' Democratic republic of Ethiopia on 10 Sept. 1987 of which Mengistu became the president. But regimes collapsed which was aggravated by droughts and famine. About 8 million people were affected and 1 million people were dead. In the northern regions of Tigray and Eritrea , in 1989, two opposition party known as Tigrain Peoples' liberation front (TPLF) and Ethiopian Peoples revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)were formed.

In 1991 EPRDF forces advanced to Addis Ababa and Mengistu fled to Zimbabwe. Later on , in 2006, after a long trial, Mengistu was found guilty of genocide.
A disabled T-62 tank in Addis Ababa
after the fall of Derg.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ethiopia (Continued)

The 1880s were marked by the Scramble of Africa and modernisation of Etiopia, when the Italian began to vie with the British for influence in bordering regions. Asseb, a port near the southern entrance of the red Sea, was bought in March 1870 from the local Afar Sultan, vassal to the Ethiopian Emperor, by an Italian Company, which by 1890 led to the Italian colony of Eritrea, conflict between the two countries resulted in the battle of Adwain 1896, whereby the Ethiopians deafeted Italy and remained independent, under the rule of Menelek II . Italy and Ethiopia signed a provisional treaty of peace on 26 Oct. 1896.
The early twentieth century was remarkable by the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie I, who came to power after IyasuV was deposed. Modernisation of Ethiopia started during his time from 1916

Ethiopia was never colonised by a European Power. Excepting the occasion when the independence of Ethiopia was interrupted by the Second Italo-Abyssinian War and Italian occupation (1936-1941). During this time of attack Haile Selassie appealed to the United Nations in 1935 and delivered an adress that made him a world wide figure .Following the entry of Italy into World War II, the British Empire forces together with patriot Ethiopian fighters liberated Ethiopia in 1941and made an agreement, Anglo-Ethiopian Agreement in Dec. 1944 with British .
Haile Selassie's reign came to an end in 1974, when a Soviet- Backed Marxist- Leninist military junta, the "Derg", a provisional adminstrative council of soldiers, headed by Lt. Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam who later on assumed the power of the Derg as Chairman, after having his two predecessors and ten thousands suspected opponents killed.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ethiopia (Continued)

The first years of the 19th, century were disturbed by fierce campaigns between Ras Gugsa of Begemder, and Ras WoldeSe of Tigray , who fought over

control of the figurehead Emperor Egwale Seyon. Wolde Selassie was eventually the victor, and practically ruled the whole countrytill his death in 1816 at the age of eighty. Dejazmach Sabagadis of Agme succeededWolde in 1817 by use of force, to become warlord of Tigre.

Map of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in the 19th.
!800 - 1913
The second half of the 19th. century began to emerge from its medieval isolation to modernisation by three Emperors.
1. Tewodros II (1855 - 1868)
2. Yohnnes IV (1872 - 1889)
3. Menelek II (1889 - 1913)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ethiopia (Continued)

Green Ethiopia

Local People

Ethiopia Village
Abyssinian - Adal War
Between 1528 and 1540 armies of Muslims, under the Imam Ahmed ubn Ibrihim al-Ghazi, entered Ethiopia from the low country to the south - east , and overrun the kingdom, obliging the emperor to take shelter in the mountain fastnesses. But the Portuguese, John Bermudez, a subordinate member of the mission of 1520, who had remained in the country after the departure of the embassy, was, according to his own statement, obtained successor to the Abuna (archbishop),and sent to Lisbon .
In response to Bermudez's message , a Portuguese fleet under the command of Estevao da Gama, was sent from India and arrived at Massawa in Feb. 1541. Following a force of 400 musketeers under the command of Cristovao da gama, a younger brother of the admiral , mmarched into the interior and was successful to drive the enemy at the Battle of Wofla on 28th. Aug., 1542. Though they drove out the enemies , the emperor of Ethiopia had to profess obedience to Rome to make his way out of the country. Ethiopia had several Muslim states.
Zemene Mesfint : Age of princes
All of this contributed to Ethiopia's isolation from 1755 to 1855, called the Zemene Mesafint or "Age of princes." The Emperors became figureheads, controlled by warlords like Ras Mikael Sehul of Tigray, and by the Oromo Yejju Dynasty, which later led to 17th. century oromo rule of Gonda changing the language of the court from Amharic to Afaan Oromo.
By 1880s Sahle Selassie, as king of Shewa, an later as Emperor Menilik II, with the help of Ras Gobena's militia began expanding his kingdomto the South and east resulting the borders of Ethiopia of today.

The bitter religious conflict contributed to hostility toward foreign Christians and europeans, which persisted into the 20th. century and was a factor in Ethiopia's isolation until the mid-19th. century, when the first British mission, sent in 1805 to conclude an alliance with Ethiopia and obtain a port on the Red sea in case France coquered Egypt.This opened the door of Ethiopia to other European travellers, missionaries and merchants till Tewodrs's reign.

Addis Ababa

Addis Sheraton

City, Addis Ababa

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ethiopia (Continued)

Bete Giyorgis from above, one of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.
The Ethiopian Dark Ages followed by a peaceful period by Zagwe dynasty.
The line of rulers descended from the Aksumite kings was broken several times, first by the Jewish Queen Gudit around 950 (or possibly aroun 850, as in Ethiopian histories). About 1000, a non-christian princes , Yodit (Gudit, a play on Yudit meaning evil), conspired to murder all the members of the royal family and establish herself as monarch, excepting one child who escaped with the help of a faithful adherents. Yodit reigned for forty years and at one point Yodit's successors were overthown by an Agaw lord named Mara Takla Haymont ,who founded the Zagwe dynasty and married a female descendedof the Axumite monarchs (son in law)of previous ruler.One highlights of this dynasty was the reign of Gebre Mesqel Lalibela, in whose reign the stone churches of Lalibela were carved under king lalibela, allowed by a long period of peace and stability.
Ethiopian Empire
Around 1270,a new dynasty was established in the Abysinian highlands underYekuno Amlak who deposed the last of teh Zagbe kings and married one of their daughters, now recognised as the continuing Solomonic Dynasty but their success was due more to the force of their arms than to their purity of their lineage.
Conact with Europe

King Fasilies Castle
In the early fifteenth century Ethiopia sought to make diplomatic relation with European kingdoms for the first time since Aksumite times.A letter from King IV of England to the Emperor of Abyssinia survives. The first continuous relations with a European country began in 1508 with Portugal under emperor Lebna Dengel, who had just inherited the throne from his father . The emperor Fasilides declared the state religion again to be Orthodox Catholic instead of Roman Catholic.