Sunday, 17 March 2019


 CHI È? DELL’ERITREA 1952Dizionario Biografico:
Con una Cronologia by Giuseppe Puglisi 


This is biographical dictionary in Italian of the important actors in Eritrea in 1952 with an English introductory summary by Prof. Jonathan Miran. The list includes Eritreans, Italians, non-Italians non-Eritreans (Explorers and travelers, military officials, administrators, [Ottoman and Egyptian] governors, diplomats, manufacturers, architects, industrial entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, government employees, law experts, goldsmiths, shipping agents, Christian missionaries, Muslim religious figures, scholars, restaurant and bar owners, arms dealers, journalists, naturalists, ethnographers).

According to Miran, "As its full title suggests, the Chi è? dell’Eritrea 1952. Dizionario Biografico:
Con una Cronologia, is an unusual, hybrid, reference work. It is part historical biographical dictionary of Eritrea and its region, containing entries on historical figures going back to the sixteenth century, part Who’s Who including concise information on prominent people in Eritrea at the time of its publication in the mid twentieth century, and, to a far lesser extent, part business directory, advertising – within ordinary person-based entries – firm names, commodities traded, and addresses of businesses in Eritrea (information that one would usually find in commercial guides such as the Italian Guida Monaci). The Chi è? consists of twenty-three (xxiii) prefatory pages and 304 pages of biographical entries."

Source: Jonathan Miran, “Biography and History in Giuseppe Puglisi’s Chi è? Dell’Eritrea 1952,” Pount. Cahiers d’Études sur la Corne de l’Afrique et l’Arabie du Sud, Volume 12 (2018), pp. 47-71. 

Regarding Eritreans, the list includes:
Regional and local rulers and chiefs, politicians and political activists, communal leaders, military commanders and soldiers, colonial soldiers (ascari),merchants,landowners,bankemployees,manufacturers/industria-lists, merchants and businessmen, Muslim and Christian figures and authorities, journalists, scholars, educators and teachers, customary law experts, government employees, interpreters, railway workers, wireless operators, caravaneers, notaries, farmers, police officials, archivists, moneychangers and more.

Thanks to Jelal Yassin for making me aware of the book and to Prof. Jonathan Miran for sharing

Thursday, 14 March 2019

How the colony of Eritrea was of interest to American Commerce 1920

ERITREA: A Red Sea Italian Colony of Increasing Interest to American Commerce 1920

A 1920 Report by Addison E. Southard. American consul at Aden, Arabia, on the commercial status of the Italian Red Sea colony of Eritrea, prepared with special reference to the development of American trade. The report is based on observations made by Mr. Southard during his three and one-half years' service as consul at Aden, supplemented by a personal visit to all important trading centers of Eritrea. The report was submitted to the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, Washington,  on August 31, 1920.

"The Italian colony of Eritrea has recently become an important factor in Red Sea trade, and its promising future in the commerce of this district gives a definite and timely interest to a discussion of its possibilities both as an import and as an export market. Indications are that the Eritrean port of Massaua will be the principal port for the rich trade of northern Abyssinia and the entrepot for an important trade with the Arabian Red district. A great deal about Eritrea has been written and published in the Italian language, but it does not appear that there has been any reasonably comprehensive discussion in English of the commercial possibilities of the colony. This report is based upon personal investigations conducted by the Aden consulate, supplemented by statistical and other data made available by the progressive Government of Eritrea."

Monday, 11 March 2019

Petitions by the Eritrean people demanding respect of the federation in 1958

برقيات بعث بها قطعات من الشعب الارتري ١٩٥٨ للامبرطور يطلبونه فيها بالحفاظ على الفدرالية وإجرأت الحكومة الإرترية لإنهاء خدمات زعماء القبائل الذين عارضوا خطط ضم ارتريا الى اثيوبيا

Petitions by the Eritrean people demanding respect of the federation in 1958 and the Eritrean Government measures to terminate the services of the tribal leaders who opposed the annexation plans, in Arabic

الشكر لادريس أبو نفيسة للمشاركة بالوثائق

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Letter of Tigrê representatives of Eritrea submitted to the Four Power Commission 1947

Letter of  Tigrê representatives of Eritrea submitted to the Four Power Commission for the Investigation of Former Italian Colonies  
Keren, 25 November, 1947

With due respect, we the undersigned, legal representatives of all races (Tigrê) of Arabic origin, dwelling in the provinces of Keren, Nakfa, Agordat, Tessenei, have the honour to submit this letter to the Hon. Four Power Commission so that it may be examined and brought to the attention of the DEPUTIES OF THE FOREIGN MINISTERS OF THE FOUR GREAT POWERS, in order to have full justice from the United Nations, justice which has been proclaimed and confirmed by the Atlantic Charter of the United Nations.

We represent almost the entire Moslem population of the western provinces of Eritrea, that is about 95% of the population consists of our so-called "Tigre or Arabs", who speak local dialect.  In spite of this we have no right to hold political posts, nor do we enjoy equality with the so-called noble class, known under the name of "Thanit"; we are forced to plough our land in order to give food to these noblemen; we milk our cows to supply them with milk; we collect fire-wood to keep them warm;     we draw water from the wells to supply them with drinking water; we are also forced to supply them with beasts of burden and we transport their luggage for them without any remuneration; not even a word of' thanks; when we marry our daughters to them we have to offer them a present, otherwise the marriage is not valid. Our position is worse than any form of slavery, a form that not even the Nazis have given the world, while they are being accused of the ill-treatment of humanity, humanity created partially by God, with all the organs of the body and the senses of man.

Thanks to Joseph Venosa for sharing