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Title: A history of Addis Ababa, from its foundation in 1886 to 1910
Author: Phillips Garretson, Peter
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1974
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This thesis traces aspects of the political, economic and religious history of Addis Ababa from 1886 to 1910. It is based largely on documentary material, both Ethiopian and European, but also depends on oral information. As a city it was unique in Africa because of the absence of an imposed European direction of its development and as a result it grew ad hoc, influenced by both Ethiopian and foreign concepts of an urban community. From the beginnings Emperor Menilek completely dominated the political and administrative machinery of the capital, but during his illnesses many of his responsibilities were, perforce, delegated to his closest associates who exercised their powers largely through the organisation of the Imperial Palace. The bureaucracy became increasingly civilian in its personnel, rather than military, especially after the Battle of Adwa. Furthermore, since Addis Ababa was also the capital of the empire, the city and its administrators played not only a local but also an imperial role. The economic influence of the capital was even more pronounced, where again the Emperor was more important than any other individual in the land and under his watchful eye foreigners dominated the import and export trade, while Christians wrested the overall control of trade in the Empire from the Muslims. Yet evangelically, the church was rarely very energetic in the capital although its influence was pervasive. While many historians have seen Menilek's reign as a period of significant innovation and modernisation, this thesis regards that as an exaggerated claim. For, when closely examined, the modernisation of even the capital was never very impressive, although it was the acknowledged centre of foreign influence. Nonetheless, the capital did show itself to be the main point for the diffusion of the few modernisations that were introduced into the country from the 1880s to 1910.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral