Colonial powers and Ethiopian frontiers 1880–1884 is the fourth volume of Acta
Aethiopica, a series that presents original Ethiopian documents of
nineteenth-century Ethiopian history with English translations and scholarly
notes. The documents have been collected from dozens of archives in Africa and
Europe to recover and present the Ethiopian voice in the history of Ethiopia in
the nineteenth century. The present book, the first Acta Aethiopica volume to
appear from Lund University Press, deals with how Ethiopian rulers related to
colonial powers in their attempts to open Ethiopia for trade and technological
development while preserving the integrity and independence of their country. In
addition to the correspondence and treatises with the rulers and representatives
of Italy, Egypt and Great Britain, the volume also presents letters dealing with
ecclesiastical issues, including the Ethiopian community in Jerusalem.
as a trader and messenger of Minīlik in relation to
MaḥammadḤanfadhē and the rulers along the coast as well as the Italians. He is sometimes referred to as Gīyorgīs
Gebre Sillasē or Gīyorgīs Nigusē.
RUBENSON TEXT.indd 93
Document no. 79
Minīlik II to François Soumagne, 7 March 1882
Please forward my letter to Grévy. You already know, perhaps, what has happened to my subjects
and tributary chiefs at the hands of the Egyptians.
I have been the friend of the Egyptians until now. I have never sought conflict with them. I
have even sent
Document no. 105
Ḥamad La’īta to Giulio Pestalozza, 9 Jan. 
And now, the message comes from Ḥamad La’īta to Mr. Pestalozza, the Governor (ḥākim) of Aseb,
if you inquire about us, we are well. We would like to inform you that we are sending you this
letter to announce that the delegation to Sultan MaḥammadḤanfadhē has left. Until I came to you
a monthly payment has to be made for the months I have been away from you, counted according
to the rules kept by you. And my arrival shall be soon, after our work is finished, and our money
is collected from [the
Document no. 152
MaḥammadḤanfadhē to Giovanni Branchi, 28 Jan. 1884
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To His Excellency, the most noble and most honoured, the beloved and respected Consul of Aseb.
May God Almighty lead him. Amen.
If you ask about us and those who take refuge with us, we are well and healthy, and we are not
concerned about anything except you and your well-being which is the ultimate aim and desire of
the Lord of the faithful. These lines are dispatched from Sinkara, the protected; all the information
we have is good and
to be released as soon he was informed (see doc. 51), it is evident that he had
no sympathy for them. In fact, the letter reiterates what Yohannis had already written in 1872 about the Catholics
meddling in Ethiopian politics and supporting his rivals. See Acta III, docs 88 and 100.
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Document no. 47
MaḥammadḤanfadhē to Louis Auguste Brémond, June 1881
In the name of God, the compassionate and
Praise be to God alone and blessings and
peace be upon him after whom there is no pro
phet, and upon his com