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Title: The Ethiopian state and its Somali periphery, c. 1888-1948
Author: Barnes, C.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2000
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This thesis examines the regional history of the western Somali lands that were incorporated into the Ethiopian Empire at the turn of the last century. The study is about the changing nature of centre and periphery in Ethiopia, and the evolution of statehood in the region. Its primary focus is the economical and political relationship between Somalis and the representatives of the Ethiopian state, and how these relationships were affected by the emergence of rival colonial administrations that also claimed to govern Somalis. The thesis first addresses the role of the periphery in the history of the expansion of the modern Ethiopian state. It is argued with recent Ethiopian historians that the state Menilek created was primarily about diverting the demands of a militarised system away from the centre into new lands in order to create a sustainable standing army with which to assert political supremacy. However this militarised state was soon found to be too anachronistic, devolved and cumbersome and did not manage well the transition which came with the death of Menilek. The next two chapters show how the periphery was used as a resource with which to compete in the battle for power at the centre. This was a struggle from which Tafari (later Emperor Hayla Sellase), the governor of a peripheral province in the east emerged as victor. The second half of the thesis goes on to argue that once the centre was won the eastern periphery continued to play an important part in the modern centralist project. Since this was one of the points at which Ethiopia communicated with the outside world in both political and economic terms, the periphery was peculiarly important in the evolution of the sovereignty of the modern Ethiopian state. However the latter part of the study shows how the political and economic articulation of the eastern periphery with neighbouring colonial states, especially the growth of markets and improvement in infrastructure there, progressively weakened Ethiopian sovereignty and precipitated the Italian invasion.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available