Some aspects of the British policy in Ethiopa 1847-1868

Venkataram, Krishna Murthy (1969) Some aspects of the British policy in Ethiopa 1847-1868. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Though informal contacts between Britain and Ethiopia had existed from the eighteenth century, it was only in 1848 that Consular relations between the two powers were established. The need to counteract the growing French activity on the Red sea coast which seemed to threaten the sea route to India, the desire to extend British commerce in the region, and the mid-Victorian belief in civilizing underdeveloped people had prompted Britain to take the initiative. -- While Britain considered the 1848 treaty with Ethiopia a means to promote these aims, the Ethiopians, being uninterested in trade, tried to use it as a lever to obtain British support against the Turks from whom they hoped to recover some territories that had been a part of the historic Ethiopian empire. In this they were disappointed as Britain would not antagonize the Ottoman empire through which passed the traditional overland routes to India. This led to unfortunate misunderstandings since the Ethiopians considered as their enemies all those who were on friendly terms with Turkey. -- Since these positions were irreconcileable, Anglo-Ethiopian relations could hardly have been expected to fare better than they did. The actual rupture came as a consequence of Theodore's imprisonment of the British Consul and his subsequent intransigent attitude towards British proposals which in turn forced the British government to send a military expedition in 1867 to free the captives and thus to restore the supposedly lost British prestige in the region. -- Having achieved these objectives, without claiming any concessions for herself, Britain withdrew from Ethiopia. This was no great sacrifice since to safe guard her interests on the Red Sea coast, which was under the control of friendly Turkey, Britain had no need to rule Ethiopia. Moreover, since 1848 France had ceased to be active in Ethiopia, and this had removed the chief motive for Britain's presence there. Above all the race for the partition of Africa had not yet begun. -- The two decades of British relations with Ethiopia seemed to be an exercise in futility.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/9859
Item ID: 9859
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 161-163.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 1969
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Ethiopia; Great Britain
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Ethiopia--Foreign relations--Great Britain; Great Britain--Foreign relations--Ethiopia

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