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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Provinces and Princes: Power and the Eastern Ethiopian Periphery, c.1906-1916
Author:Barnes, Cedric
Year:2001
Periodical:Journal of Ethiopian Studies
Volume:34
Issue:2
Period:December
Pages:95-120
Language:English
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Ethiopia
Northeast Africa
Subjects:political history
nation building
traditional rulers
history
1900-1999
History and Exploration
Politics and Government
History, Archaeology
Kings and rulers
imperialism
Political leadership
Power (Social sciences)
About person:Lej Iyyasu
Abstract:The struggle for succession to Menelik in early twentieth-century Ethiopia illustrates the important role of the periphery with colonial territory in the struggle for the centre. Lej Iyassu, who succeeded Menelik in 1913, established a loyal and powerful base for himself in the eastern province of Hararge, whose wealth and convenient situation for communication with the outside world made it a valuable and vital patrimony, second only to Shawa in the politics of the Ethiopian Empire. Iyassu replaced Shawan military bureaucrats with Harari and Oromo Muslims in order to gain more direct access to Harar's grain, export commodities and taxes, and thus a substantial resource base for his throne. His policies can be seen as a reaction to the challenge of ruling the vast and loosely integrated Ethiopian Empire. He needed to achieve central control to guard against the disintegrative regional and external (colonial) forces. However, the primary concern was to shore up his own individual power base from which he could then address the larger 'national' concerns. But his neglect of the centre was a serious miscalculation. In 1916 he was deposed by a mixture of high-ranking soldiers, nobles and officials in Addis Ababa, egged on by the European legations. Iyassu and his failed reign illustrate the accommodation, integration and exploitation of subjected peoples, the competition over the State, the maintenance of its primacy and the defence of its sovereign integrity in the Horn of Africa, a region otherwise ruled by colonial administrations. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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