The Survival of Ethiopian Independence

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Tsehai, 2003 - 437 pages
How did it happen that Ethiopia alone of all the old states in Africa preserved its independence throughout the era of European colonization? Why did Ethiopia alone survive the scramble for Africa as a free nation? In this book, Professor Rubenson has devoted his attention to this fundamental question in the modern history of the ancient kingdom. His analysis of nineteenth-century contacts between Ethiopians and foreigners is based wherever possible on contemporary Ethiopian documents. It demonstrates that it was neither physical inaccessibility nor lack of determination by imperial powers to subdue the country that saved it from colonization. This book has much to offer to those interested in the mechanisms by which the Europeans created dependence in Africa. However, its main objective is to provide the Ethiopian side of the story: the growing awareness of the issue involved, the birth of a conscious and active foreign policy, and the determination to resist foreign tutelage and conquest whatever the cost.

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A survey of sources
Prospects and first contacts
Increasing pressures and sporadic responses

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About the author (2003)

Sven Rubenson was born in 1921 in Sweden and educated at the University of Lund where he submitted his L.Phil. dissertation on Ethiopian history in 1954. He has been a missionary, teacher, and educational administrator in Ethiopia since 1947 and was Headmaster of the Ethiopian Evangelical College, Debre Zeyt from 1953 to 1958. He also taught at what is now Addis Ababa University in the history department at the University College and Haile Sellasie I University in the 1960's. Currently he resides in Sweden with his wife Britta, while working on Acta Aethiopica Vol. IV. His publications include Wichale XVII: the attempt to establish a protectorate over Ethiopia (1964); King of Kings: Tewodros of Ethiopia (1966); Acta Aethiopica Vol. I: Correspondence and Treaties 1800-1854 (1987); Acta Aethiopica Vol. II: Tewodros and His Contemporaries 1855-1868 (1994), and Acta Aethiopica Vol. III: Internal Rivalries and Foreign Threats 1869-1879 (2000).

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