Treaty of Wuchale (or, Treaty of Ucciale; in Italian, Trattato di Uccialli) was a treaty signed by King Menelik II of Shewa, later the Emperor of Ethiopia with Count Pietro Antonelli of Italy in the town of Wuchale, Ethiopia, on 2 May 1889. The treaty stated that the regions of Bogos, Hamasien, Akkele Guzay, and Serae were part of the Italian colony of Eritrea and is the origin of the Italian colony and modern state of Eritrea. Per the Treaty, Italy promised financial assistance and military supplies.
The contents of Article 3 of the treaty state the following:
Art. 3. To remove any ambiguity about the limits of the territories over which the two Contracting
Parties shall exercise the rights of sovereignty, a special committee composed of two Italian delegates
and two Ethiopians will trace on the ground with appropriate signs a permanent boundary line
whose benchmarks are established as follows:
a) The line of the plateau will mark the Italian-Ethiopian border;
b) Starting from the region Arafali, Halai, Saganeiti and Asmara are villages in the Italian border;
c) Adi Adi Nefas and Joannes will be on the side of Bogos in the Italian border;
d) From Adi Joannes a straight line extended from east to west will mark the border between Italy and Ethiopia.
Disputes over Article 17 regarding the conduct of foreign affairs led to the First Italo–Ethiopian War. The Italian version stated that Ethiopia was obliged to conduct all foreign affairs through Italian authorities, in effect making Ethiopia an Italian protectorate, while the Amharic version gave Ethiopia considerable autonomy, with the option of communicating with third powers through the Italians. The misunderstanding, according to the Italians, was due to the mistranslation of a verb, which formed a permissive clause in Amharic and a mandatory one in Italian.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- TREATY OF WUCHALE UMBERTO I BY THE GRACE OF GOD AND THE WILL OF THE COUNTRY KING OF ITALY
- Discussions include Chris Prouty, Empress Taytu and Menilek II (Trenton, NJ: The Red Sea Press, 1986), pp. 70-99; Marcus G. Harold, The Life and Times of Menelik II: Ethiopia 1844-1913 (Trenton: The Red Sea Press, 1995), pp. 111–134; and Hatem Elliesie, Amharisch als diplomatische Sprache im Völkervertragsrecht, Aethiopica (International Journal of Ethiopian and Eritrean Studies), 11, (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2008), pp. 235-244.
- "Languages of Diplomacy: Towards a Fairer Distribution". 2 April 2013. https://www.economist.com/blogs/johnson/2013/04/languages-diplomacy.
Further reading[edit | edit source]
- Sven Rubenson, "Chapter V: Trials of Strength with Egypt and Italy" in The Survival of Ethiopian Independence (Hollywood: Tsehai, 2003).
- Carlo Giglio, "Article 17 of the Treaty of Uccialli" in Journal of African History VI, 2 (1965) pp. 221–235.
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