Friday, 29 May 2015

Memorandum on Abyssinia 1855 by the British Foreign Office

"Memorandum on Abyssinia" is an article from Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 25. Communicated by the foreign office on March 12, 1855
You read among other things:

“A merchant starts at Massowah for Baso, the last mercantile station to the southward of Christian Abyssinia. He pays at Massowah for the import or export duty to the Turkish Governor. He must then engage a Shohos (I guess refers to Saho or Shaho) an independent tribe, inhabiting the hills near the coast and in possession of the only passable roads, winding through the defiles for 50 or 60 miles. According to the agreement made and his appearance wealthy or otherwise, he may pay this guide from 10 to a half dollar, arriving then in Obeay’s dominions, he will be stopped 4 to 5 times, before he reaches Adowah…

…On the accusation of any man in Abyssinia, of any crime he has the right to be heard in the first instance by his own judge, that is either the chief of his village or the master he is attached for the time being, and to be forwarded to his residence with his accuser, by any authority to whom he shall appeal in the King’s name..

….The boundaries of Northern Abyssinia is defined as the district inhabited by Christians, do not reach by 90 or 100 miles, to the Red Sea at any point. This interval is occupied by various more savage tribes: The Adiael, The Azebo Gallas, the Areya Gallas, The Denakil, the Faltals, the Shoho, the Habab and the Arab tribes of the Beni Amer. These have adopted more or less strictly the Mohametan faith, and are all expecting the Gallas wandering tribes, living by their flocks or their camels governed by no master, and occupied with incessant fueds or combats....

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