Ethiopia in the 1930’s
According to localcollegeexplorer, the most recent events in Ethiopia, after the regained independence, are closely linked to the end of the Italian dominion over that region and therefore they have been exposed, for the need for coordination, in the Italian East Africa item (in this App.), Dedicated precisely to the narration of the facts that led to the re-establishment, in Ethiopia, of the political situation prior to the Italian action of 1935-36. Here, in addition to the information already given, we can recall the question that arose with the request by Ethiopia to extend its sovereignty over at least part of the Italian possession of Eritrea in order to be able to establish its own base on the Red Sea. (Assab bay), now linked to Ethiopia by the road (see assab, in this App.) built by the Italians.
Exploration. – Within the borders it had before the Italo-Ethiopian war and the constitution of Italian East Africa (see App. I, p. 62), Ethiopia had a notable development during the Italian administration and the knowledge of the territory is systematically progressed in the years between 1936 and 1939.
Considerable impetus was given to cartographic reconnaissance: in some areas during the campaign of operations a photogrammetric aerial survey was carried out: eg. in the area of the great communication route between Eritrea and Addis Ababa for Dessie, in part of the region of Gondar, Dire Daua, Harar, etc.
Of all Ethiopia, together with Eritrea and Somalia, the sheets of the International Charter to the millionth have been published with numerous and fundamental additions and corrections.
Large activity was carried out by Italian scholars for geological reconnaissance, with the dispatch of numerous expeditions by the Italian Ministry of Africa or other state bodies and mining and oil companies. A. Bianchi, G. Dainelli, M. Gortani, G. Merla, C. Migliorini, Ethiopia Minucci, etc. they surveyed large areas of the territory, publishing preliminary or definitive results, on the basis of which G. Dainelli was able to publish a large work with a new and fairly detailed geological map.
Knowledge about the climate could not be perfected as quickly. However, the meteorological network had been greatly strengthened with the establishment of a considerable number of stations, which was reported by A. Fantoli. The same applies to the collection of hydrological observations on the main rivers and lakes, the study of which (see margherita, in this App.) Has been particularly cared for by means of expeditions of specialists, so as to give a very precise picture of these problems. New data also emerged from these expeditions for general limnology.
To these studies of the natural environment must be added those, relating to populations, by LV Grottanelli who especially illustrated some little known ones in the Lake Tana region and in south-western Ethiopia.
This study activity has sometimes been accompanied by that of practical achievements, especially in the demographic, agricultural and industrial fields, although not always conducted with uniform criteria.
Population. – Ethiopia seemed to have about 10 million residents in 1939 on a territory of over 1 million (1,201.15) sq km. (9 residents per sq km). Of these, perhaps a quarter were Italians, largely devoted to productive economic activities.
Some large centers such as Addis Abeba (160,000 residents In 1939), Adua (5000 residents), Gimma (10,000 residents), Gondar (20,000 residents), Harar (20,000 residents) Whose population in 1939 marks a decline, due to international conditions, they were on the way to being transformed into European-style organized cities.
Communications. – The road network, which is widely mentioned in App. I (see Italian East Africa, p. 65) had been perfected and completed in 1940 with the completion of very difficult construction sections, such as the one from Asmara to Gondar for the Semien and some others already started as early as 1938. Airlines with good airports and facilities in major cities are widely developed.
Economic resources. – The economic resources of Ethiopia between 1938-40 had a notable boost, especially agriculture, with the enlargement and strengthening of plantations already underway before the unification with Eritrea and Somalia and with the plant, albeit still in the experimental phase, of others. However, the lack of uniform criteria, especially with regard to indigenous labor, and the tendency to favor the immigration of the Italian population without adequate regulations have at times hindered an almost immediate agricultural development.
In those years some medium and small industries had also had a considerable boost, often the result of private initiative.
The outcome of the military operations and the consequent almost total demobilization of agricultural and industrial initiatives, many of which are still in the process of settling, have forced Ethiopia to undertake a vast recovery work which is underway and whose importance is not foreseeable.
Religion – The metropolitan of Ethiopia (abuna) was appointed by the Coptic patriarch of Alexandria, who chose him from among the Coptic monks of Egypt. But during the Italian occupation the Ethiopian Church became autocephaly. In fact, on November 27, 1937 a council of Ethiopian prelates and dignitaries replaced the Egyptian abuna Cirillo with an Abyssinian monk, former bishop by previous consecration of the Coptic patriarch.
By regulation dated July 28, 1940, approved by the viceroy governor general of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Church received the following organization. Supreme pastor the metropolitan (Liqa – P ā p ā sât, Head of the archbishops), elected from among the archbishops and bishops of Ethiopia by an ecclesiastical assembly, and consecrated according to the modalities indicated by the canons. Ethiopia was divided into ten ecclesiastical circumscriptions, each headed by an archbishop (p ā p ā s), elected by a circumscriptional council of ecclesiastics and notables and consecrated by the metropolitan. To the dependence of each p ā p ā s one or more bishops (ē piscopôs), elected by councils of ecclesiastics and notables, and consecrated by the p ā p ā s. The metropolitan, assisted by one of the archbishops acting as general secretary (Wānnā Ṣaḥafī), and assisted: in the superintendence of the convents and monks from the E è ag ē (Ecieghié), head of the convent of Dabra Libānos, p ā p ā s of the ecclesiastical circumscription of the same name and second person in the ecclesiastical hierarchy; in the superintendence of churches and priests of Liqa – liq ā na – Kā h ě nât (Chief of the chief priests), chosen from among the ecclesiastics of particular esteem. In each ecclesiastical circumscription, depending on the p ā p ā s, a Head of Priests (Liqa – K ā h ě n ā t) and a Head of Monks (Liqa Man ā ku ě sât). An ecclesiastical council was established.
Having recovered his throne in May 1941, the emperor Ḫaīla Sellāsē II has reinstated the abuna Cirillo in office, but he is conducting laborious negotiations with the Coptic patriarchate to achieve, without ruptures, the Church’s centuries-old aspiration to have an Abyssinian metropolitan, gifted of the faculty, hitherto denied to him, to consecrate bishops. In the current state of negotiations, the Coptic Church is about to accede to the request of the Negussite government for the time when the succession of the current abuna will open, while maintaining the principle that the ordination of the Abyssinian metropolitan must be done by the patriarch of Alexandria, whose supreme jurisdiction would also be protected by the obligation of his nulla osta for the consecration of bishops, and by other guarantees.