Wuchale Agreement

King Menelik condemned the Italians for their alleged deception, claiming that the treaty was neither valid nor recognized by his government. The Italians disagreed, claiming that King Menelik was aware of the context of their agreement and threatened military action to maintain their newly established theoretical hegemony over Ethiopia. According to the Italians, the misunderstanding was due to the erroneous translation of a verb that was a permissive clause in Amharic and a mandatory clause in Italian. [7] The Amharic version of the treaty states in Article 17: “His Majesty, the King of the Kings of Ethiopia, may use the government of His Majesty the King of Italy for all treatments that have done business with other powers or governments.” [6] According to this version, the Emperor of Ethiopia has a choice and is not obliged to use the Italian government to conduct foreign relations. [8] The Italian version stipulated that Ethiopia was obliged to conduct all foreign affairs through the Italian authorities, making Ethiopia an Italian protectorate, while the Amharic version united Ethiopia with considerable autonomy, with the possibility of communicating with third powers via the Italians. [9] Menelik II was not in favour and rejected Italy`s protection. As he could not resolve this disagreement, the Treaty of Menelik II. And the Battle of Adwa followed. [10] The battle took place in Adwa and ended after two days with the victory of Ethiopia, which guaranteed its independence. [11] In 1896, Italian envoys met with the then ruler of Ethiopia, King Menelik II, under the pretext of establishing closer relations between their nations. King Menelik and Italy agreed and signed the Treaty of Wuchale.

The Treaty of Wuchale was based mainly on the sale of land to the Italians so that they could form an Italian colony in the region. It was a simple treaty to appease the Italians` desire for a colonial empire. After the signing of the treaties, a dangerously devastating concern emerged. The Italians had secretly slipped into an addendum that legally obliged Ethiopia to maintain all foreign relations through Italy and turn Ethiopia into an Italian protectorate. The Amharic version of the treaty did not contain this, but reaffirmed Ethiopia`s presence as an autonomous kingdom, with the individual choice to use Italy to conduct foreign affairs as they saw fit. In 1889, when it was a fief of Queen Taytu, the Italian ambassador, Count Pietro Antonelli, met Emperor Menelik II in Wuchale shortly after his death at the Battle of Emperor Yohannes IV. . . .

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