Map from 1903 Appears to Prove Ethiopia's Case

Reference: Journal of the African Society, London, Volume 2, 1903

Dear Netters;
The following map was presented in the prestigious "Journal of the African Society" which is published in the UK. This journal is nowadays called "African Affairs."

Zoom on Badime area

Wider View

The map was created shortly after the May 1902, tripartite treaty between Ethiopia, Italy and the UK. This treaty did three things:

    1) Great Britain returned land (previously extorted from Ethiopia) from Sudan to Ethiopia in the area between Humera and Gonder

    2) In exchange for the above transaction, Great Britian (Sudan) incorporated areas near Kassala from Italy (Eritrea)

    3) In exchange for transaction #2, Italy gained the Gash-Setit region from Ethiopia.

This is why the Treaty of May 1902 is called a "tripartite" treaty. The treaty specified the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia as follows:

    "Commencing from the junction of the Khor Um Hagar with the Setit, the new frontier follows this river to its junction with the Maieteb, following the latter's course so as to leave Mount Ala Tacura to Eritrea, and joins the Mareb at its junction with the Mai Ambessa.

    The line form the juntion of the Setit and Maieteb to the junction of the Mareb and Mai Ambessa shall be delimited by Itlaian and Ethiopian delegates, so that the Canama tribe belong to Eritrea."

The map was titled: "Map of the Sudan, showing the Distribution of the Principal Tribes." Although it was focused on the Sudan, the map has great detail from Eritrea, apparently obtained from Italian sources. Also, the British were involved in the Treaty of 1902 as described above, and knew this area well. Mount "Ala Takoora" has the notation "Baker 1861" indicating that this Englishman had climbed the mountain at that time. The interesting thing about this map is that it shows:

    (a) Mount Ala Takoora (aka: "Ala Tacura", "LacaTacura")
    (b) A river along the eastern flank of Mount Ala Takoora which joins the Setit (Tekezze) and is undoubtedly the Maieteb
    (c) The boundary line delimiting area inhabited by the Kunama between the Setit/Tekezze and the Mareb.

This map totally conflicts with Mussolini's claims of 1934-1935 and with the current Eritrean claims (they are based on the fascist-era maps of 1934-1935).

Eritrea wants to move the border to perhaps 100 kms or more deeper into Ethiopia along the Tekezze river. They want to place the border at the juntion of the Tomsa, not at the junction with the Maiteb (as specified in the treaty). As a simple check, anyone can see that the Eritrean claims put the border far south of the point where the Tekezze river makes a sharp turn to the west and flows into Sudan.


The above map matches Ethiopia's map of 1997 far more closely than it matches the Mussolini/Eritrea maps of 1934-1935. It also matches the Macmillan Atlas map fairly closely.

Another feature of the map is that it disproves the Eritrean claims about the border being a straight line between the Tekezze and the Mareb. Nevertheless, if a straight line is drawn between the Tekezze/Maieteb junction, and the Mareb/Mai Ambessa junction, then the Badime area will lie firmly within Ethiopia. The Eritrean case is thus seen as having no basis other than the illegal Mussolini expansions.

- Dagmawi

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