Treaty of Wuchale
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 May 2, 1889. The treaty ceded territories that had previously been a part of Ethiopia, namely the provinces of Bogos, Hamasien, Akkele Guzay, and Serae and is the origin of the Italian colony and modern state of Eritrea. In return, Italy promised financial assistance and military supplies.
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.1 The misunderstanding was due to the mistranslation of a verb, which formed a permissive clause in Amharic and a mandatory one in Italian.2
- 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". The Economist. 2 April 2013.
- 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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