“Ethiopia Shall Rise” by Kwame Nkrumah

Nkrumah's sculpture at the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum in Accra
Nkrumah’s sculpture at the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum in Accra

President Kwame Nkrumah, the great, and first president of Ghana once wrote a poem on Ethiopia. Kwame Nkrumah was the mind behind the creation of the Organisation of African Unity (Organisation de l’Union Africaine) which has become the African Union (Union Africaine). He believed in the unity of Africa, not just economic, but in the cooperation within the different states, and their independence. So here is his poem entitled ‘Ethiopia shall rise‘. Remember that Ethiopia is the only African country which was never colonized by Europeans, and as such is the siege of the African Union. Here is his entire speech followed by his poem. In reality, in his eyes, Ethiopia symbolizes the whole of Africa, and his wish is for Africa to rise again! Enjoy!


Addis Ababa, May 25, 1963

Flag of Ethiopia

We have come to the end of a historic and momentous Conference. The decisions we have taken here have made African Unity a reality and we can see clearly a Union Government of Africa in the horizon.

This is the goal which we set ourselves when we struggled in our separate States for Independence. It is also the compelling force which brought us together in Addis Ababa.

As I have said over and over again, the independence of our separate State is meaningless, unless the whole of Africa becomes free and united.

broken chains

The resolutions we have made here are a symbol of our determination to become united and to remain united in an African Community with common aspirations and common objectives. Freedom Fighters in all parts of our Continent can now be assured that they are not alone in their struggle. The whole weight and power of a united Africa is behind them.

After centuries of colonial exploitation and domination, Africa has been re- born. We have discovered our common identity, a force with which we can re-assert our African personality.

Emperor Menelik II, of Ethiopia

We shall from now on think, plan and work together for the progress and development of our great Continent. In this way, we shall eliminate completely the handicaps, set-backs and humiliation we have suffered under colonialism and imperialism.

We should be happy that at long last, by the adoption of this Charter, we have seen the end of the various groupings and regional blocs. It only remains for me, Your Majesty, on behalf of my colleagues to convey to the Government and people of Ethiopia especially to His Imperial Majesty, my sincere expression of gratitude for a happy and memorable stay in Addis Ababa.

The ancient Greeks identified Ethiopia with the Black Race. I would therefore like to leave with you a little poem on this:


Ethiopia shall rise

Ethiopia, Africa’s bright gem
Set high among the verdant hills
That gave birth to the unfailing
Waters of the Nile
Ethiopia shall rise
Ethiopia, land of the wise;
Ethiopia, bold cradle of Africa’s ancient rule
And fertile school
Of our African culture;
Ethiopia, the wise
Shall rise
And remould with us the full figure
Of Africa’s hopes
And destiny.

Kwame Nkrumah

The Treaty of Wuchale: African Victory over European Expansionism

In March 1896, a well-disciplined and massive Ethiopian army did the unthinkable—it routed an invading Italian force and brought Italy’s war of conquest in Africa to an end. In an age of relentless European expansion, Ethiopia had successfully defended its independence and cast doubt upon an unshakable certainty of the age—that sooner or later all Africans would fall under the rule of Europeans. The battle of Adwa marked Ethiopia’s victory against Italian colonization. It all started with the treaty of Wuchale. The short documentary below gives you an idea about it. This indeed was the biggest, the only, African defeat of European expansionism and ugly scramble for Africa. Enjoy!

Treaty of Wuchale: The Treaty which led to European Colonialism’s Defeat in Africa

Edition of the Petit Journal of August 1896 titled: “Negus Menelik II at the Battle of Adwa”

In Africa, Ethiopia is the only country which was never colonized by a European power. This was the result of the famous Battle of Adwa on March 1, 1896, which marked the Ethiopian victory against Italian colonialism. The Battle of Adwa against Italy arose from the deceitful 1889 Treaty of Wuchale between the Ethiopian Empire and Italy, a treaty whose article 17 had two different meanings in Amharic and Italian versions: The Amharic version recognized the sovereignty of Ethiopia and its relationship with Italy as just a diplomatic partnership, while the Italian version made Ethiopia Italy’s protectorate The moment that discrepancy/trickery was uncovered, Empress Taytu Betul was the first to agitate Emperor Menelik II and other men to stand up for liberty, and dignity against Italian aggression. I am publishing here the Treaty of Wuchale. Special thanks to the Horn Affairs website for publishing the English version in its entirety. Some claim that Article 3 actually paved the way for Italians to claim Ethiopian lands (Eritrea). Well, here is the document of one of those treacherous treaties signed or rather forced upon Africans by European powers. Thank goodness for Taytu Betul, Menelik II, and their team of loyal and intelligent ministers and interpreters. I have attached the pdf version too.


Treaty of friendship and trade between the kingdom of Italy and the Empire of Ethiopia (Treaty of Wuchale)

Map of Ethiopia before 1911

His Majesty King Umberto I of Italy and Menelik His Majesty The King of Kings of Ethiopia, in order to make meaningful and lasting peace between the two Kingdoms of Italy and Ethiopia have agreed to conclude a treaty of friendship and commerce .

And His Majesty the King of Italy having delegated as his representative, Count Pietro Antonelli, Commander of the Crown of Italy, Knight SS. Maurice and Lazarus, his extraordinary posted by His Majesty the King Menelik, whose full powers were found in good and due form, and His Majesty the King Menelik concluded in his name as King of Kings of Ethiopia, agreed and concludes the following Articles:

Article 1. There will be perpetual peace and friendship between His Majesty the King of Italy and His Majesty the King of Kings of Ethiopia and between their respective heirs, successors, servants and protected populations.

Article 2. Each Contracting Party shall be represented by a diplomatic agent accredited to I’altra and may appoint consuls, agents and consular officers in the other.
Such officials shall enjoy all the privileges and immunities according to the customs of the European governments.

Map of Eritrea
Map of Eritrea

Article 3. To remove any ambiguity about the limits of the territories over which the two Contracting Parties shall exercise sovereign rights, a special commission composed of two delegates and two Ethiopians will draw on Italian soil with special signals a permanent boundary line whose strongholds are established as below:
a) the line of the plateau will mark the Ethiopian-Italian border;
b) from the region Arafali Hala, Sagan and Asmara are villages in the Italian border;
c) Adi and Adi Nefas Joannes Bogos will be on the side of the Italian border;
d) by Adi Joannes a straight line extended from east to west will mark the border between Italy and Ethiopia.

Article 4. The monastery of Debra Bizen with all their possessions will remain the property of the Ethiopian government but will never use it for military purposes.

Article 5. The caravans from or to Massawa to Ethiopian territory pay on one single law of the customs entry of 8 per cent on the value of the goods.

Emperor Menelik II, of Ethiopia

Article 6. The trade of arms and ammunition from or through Massawa to Ethiopia will be free for the only King of Kings of Ethiopia.
Whenever they want to get the passage of such kinds will make regular application to the Italian authorities, bearing the royal seal.
The wagons with load of weapons and ammunition will travel under the protection and cover of Italian soldiers until alconfine Ethiopia.

Article 7. The subjects of each of the two Contracting Parties will be free to enter, travel, go out with their merchandise and effects in the other country and will enjoy greater protection of the Government and its employees.
And, therefore, strictly forbidden to people on both sides armed contractors to meet many or few and pass their borders in order to impose itself on people and groped by force to provide food and livestock.

Article 8. The Italians in Ethiopia and Ethiopians in Italy or Italian possessions can buy or sell, take or lease and in any other manner dispose of their property no less than the natives.

Article 9. And fully guaranteed in both states the option for other subjects to practice their religion.

Article 10. Any disputes or quarrels between the Italians in Ethiopia will be defined by the Italian in Massawa or his delegate.
The fights between Italians and Ethiopians will be defined by the Italian in Massawa or his delegate and a delegate of the Ethiopian.

Empress Taytu Betul of Ethiopia

Article 11. Dying in an Italian in Ethiopia or an Ethiopian in Italian territory, the local authorities were carefully kept all his property and held at the disposal of government to which the deceased belonged.

Article 12. In any event, circumstance or for any Italians accused of a crime will be judged by the Italian.
That is why the Ethiopian authorities shall immediately deliver to the  Italians in Massawa accused of having committed a crime.
They also accused the Ethiopians of crime committed on Italian soil will be judged by the Ethiopian.

Article 13. His Majesty the King of Italy and His Majesty the King of Kings of Ethiopia is obliged to deliver criminals who may have become refugees, to escape punishment by the rulers of one on the other domains.

Article 14. The slave trade was against the principles of the Christian religion, His Majesty the King of Kings of Ethiopia is committed to prevent it with all his power, so that no caravan of slaves can cross its member.

Article 15. This Treaty shall be valid throughout the Ethiopian Empire.

Article 16. While in the present Treaty, after five years from the date of signature, one of two High Contracting Parties may wish to introduce some modifications to do so, but he must prevent the other a year earlier, while remaining firm and every single concession on territory.

The Battle of Adwa, 1896

Article 17. His Majesty the King of Kings of Ethiopia can [1] use the Government of His Majesty the King of Italy for all treatments that did business with other powers or governments.

Article 18. If His Majesty the King of Kings of Ethiopia intends to grant special privileges to nationals of third state to establish businesses and industries in Ethiopia, will always be given, under equal conditions, preference to the Italians.

Article 19. This treaty being drafted in Italian and Amharic and the two versions agree with each other perfectly, both texts shall be deemed official, and will in every respect equal faith.

Article 20. This Treaty shall be ratified.

In witness whereof, Count Pietro Antonelli on behalf of His Majesty the King of Italy, His Majesty the King of King Menelik of Ethiopia, in his own name, signed and affixed their seal to this Treaty, at the camp Uccialli of 25 miazia 1881 corresponding to May 2, 1889.

Imperial Seal of Ethiopia
For His Majesty the King of Italy Pietro Antonelli

Ratification of MS, Monza, September 29, 1889


[1] Article 17 has an obligatory sense in the Italian language version of the Treaty.

Lake Tana: Lake of Ethiopian Emperors’ Remains

Map of Ethiopia
Map of Ethiopia

This week, I will be talking about the great civilization of the Solomonic era in Ethiopia and particularly Lake Tana.  But what does a lake have to do with civilization? Well, lake Tana is Ethiopia’s largest lake and is also the source of the Blue Nile.  There are several islands on the lake: the Portuguese missionary Manuel de Almeida in the 17th century counted about 21 of which 8 had monasteries on them; today some count 45 of which 19 have monasteries dated from the 14th and 17th centuries on them.   So what does it have to do with civilization?
Well, the sepulchers and remains of many emperors (14th-17th centuries), treasures of the Ethiopian church, as well as ancient manuscripts are kept on some of the most isolated islands of Lake Tana (Ura Kidane Mehret, Narga Selassie, Kebran Gabriel, Daga Estifanos, Medhane Alem of Rema, Kota Maryam, Mertola Maryam, etc)!  It is being said that Frumentius, who introduced Christianity to Ethiopia, is buried on Tana Cherqos.  The body of Yekuno Amlak rests in the monastery of St. Stephen on Daga island. Emperors Dawit I, Zara Yaqob, Za Dengel and Fasilides, also lay on Daga island.

Mural at Uda Kidane Mihret
Mural at Uda Kidane Mihret

Lake Tana was already known by Ptolemee in the 2nd century BC, which he called Pseboe or ‘hollow swamps‘ (marais creux en francais).  It was very important in the 14th through the 17th centuries, as it played a key role in maintaining the Christian faith, and the rise of the Solomonic dynasty and the Christian Abyssinian empire. During the Solomonic dynasty, building churches and monasteries was emphasized, just like building pyramids in Egypt was emphasized by pharaohs.  Many crown jewels, treasures and precious manuscripts were stored on islands on Lake Tana.  The oldest of these forty churches from the Solomonic era was built in the 14th century.  The architecture reflects its era: the use of round shapes in the building technique.  Each monastery/church consists of three main rooms or areas: the inner sanctuary, the inner ambulatory, and the outer ambulatory.  The outside walls of the sanctuary are covered with magnificent colorful paintings reflecting that era.  Seven of these churches (and the most accessible) have been chosen by the UNESCO campaign for renovation.

Around the 16th century, lake Tana became an important trade center for travellers who were coming to the famous market of Bahir Dar by foot or tankwa (reed boats made out of papyrus).   Lake Tana was an important stop linking the north to the south of Ethiopia.

To learn more, go to the UNESCO World Heritage’s website, as well as the Selamta website whose emphasis is on Ethiopia’s lakes, Ethiopia travel, and check out pictures of the lake and other places in Ethiopia.  Enjoy this great video… of a lake full of ancient treasures!