Northern Africa 1908: Consolidation of Ethiopia

Political map of Northern Africa on 16 May 1908 (Scramble for Africa: Consolidation of Ethiopia), showing the following events: End of Lagos Colony; Tripartite Agreement on Abyssinia; Bombardment of Casablanca; Hafidiya; Anglo-Russian Entente; Anglo-Ethiopian Delimitation Treaty; Ouaddai War; Italo-Ethiopian Convention.

By playing the European powers against one another as well as providing support to their wars in Somalia and Sudan, Emperor Menelik of Ethiopia not only preserved his empire’s independence but successfully quadrupled its size between 1883 and the early 1900s. In 1906 Britain, France, and Italy agreed to recognize Menelik’s gains and in the following years the British and Italians confirmed Ethiopia’s new borders.

Main Events

16 Feb 1906 End of Lagos Colony

In August 1904 the British Colonial Office appointed Walter Egerton, Governor of Lagos Colony, as High Commissioner for the Southern Nigeria Protectorate, with a view to merge the two territories. This union was achieved on 16 February 1906, when Lagos was incorporated into Southern Nigeria to form the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria. Although the capital of Southern Nigeria would remain at Calabar for the next eight years, Lagos would become the capital of a united Nigeria in wikipedia

6 Jul 1906 Tripartite Agreement on Abyssinia

Facing Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia’s deteriorating health, representatives of Britain, France, and Italy met to discuss the future of Ethiopia should his succession prove unstable. On 6 July 1906 the three powers agreed to spheres of influence but to preserve the integrity of Ethiopia and respect the status quo of its frontiers. The powers presented the treaty to Menelik on 16 October for his consideration, then signed it on 13 wikipedia

5–7 Aug 1907 Bombardment of Casablanca

On 30 July 1907 the tribes of the Chaouia, Morocco, revolted against French imperialism—most notably the construction of a railroad over a sacred gravesite—and seized control of the city of Casablanca. The French responded by calling in two squadrons of warships to bombard the city, killing several thousand inhabitants and leveling most of the buildings over the course of three days. Following this, French troops were landed in Casablanca, marking the beginning the French conquest of western wikipedia

16 Aug 1907–19 Aug 1908 Hafidiya

By 1907 the inability of the reform-minded Sultan Abdelaziz of Morocco to stave off European interference was undermining his national support. In August of that year, Abdelaziz’s inability to stop the French occupation of Casablanca prompted his conservative brother Abd el-Hafid to have himself proclaimed Sultan in Marrakesh—a move which was supported by the Ulama of Fez in January 1908. With the help of a French loan, Abdelaziz attempted to retake Marrakesh the following August, but was defeated and forced to take refuge in French-occupied wikipedia

31 Aug 1907 Anglo-Russian Entente

In 1907 Britain and the Russian Empire signed the Anglo-Russian Entente in St Petersburg, clarifying their respective influences in south-central Asia. Persia was divided into spheres of influence, with a Russian sphere in the north, a British sphere in the southeast, and a neutral zone in-between. Afghanistan was recognized as under British influence and both countries agreed not to interfere in wikipedia

6 Dec 1907 Anglo-Ethiopian Delimitation Treaty

In 1907 Britain and Ethiopia signed an agreement, delimiting the boundary between the East Africa Protectorate, Uganda, and the Ethiopian Empire. The border was defined as proceeding from the confluence of the Dewa and the Ganale-Darya in Somalia to the northeast coast of Lake Rudolf (Turkana), ceding large areas that had formerly been claimed by the British East Africa Protectorate to Ethiopia. Although Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia signed the agreement, he never ratified it due to ill health and the boundary would not be formally demarcated until the wikipedia

29 Mar 1908–27 Oct 1911 Ouaddai War

Encouraged by the Senussi, Sultan Dud Murra of the Wadai Sultanate declared a jihad against the encroaching French in 1908. The French promptly invaded Wadai, decisively defeating the sultan’s forces at Dokotachi and Djoua, before entering the capital of Abeche in June 1909 and installing Dud Murra’s cousin Adam Asil as their puppet. Dud Murra fled east, continuing to resist until his final surrender to the French in October wikipedia

16 May 1908 Italo-Ethiopian Convention

In 1908 the Italian and Ethiopian governments defined the eastern portion of the Eritrea–Ethiopia frontier as well as the frontier between Italian Somalia and Ethiopia. This convention completed the definition of Ethiopia’s borders except for some dispute as to which route the frontier took across the Ogaden to the British Somaliland wikipedia