Answer to Question #155525 in History for Bob

Question #155525

On what basis does king menelik appeal to his people to mobilize against the Italian

Expert's answer

The Treaty of Wuchalé, signed in both Italian and Amharic in May 1889, provided the pretext for the Battle of Adwa. Under the treaty, the Italians were given large swaths of land in exchange for a hefty loan of cash, arms and ammunition. “The pièce de résistance for the Italians,” writes Vestal, was the clause obligating Menelik to conduct all foreign affairs via Italy. “The Amharic version made such service by the Italians optional,” notes Vestal. Some have argued that Menelik was aware of the discrepancy, treating it as a convenient fiction that would deliver short-term gains before ultimately disentangling himself from it.

Menelik denounced the Wuchalé treaty and any foreign claim to his dominions. Menelik repaid the loan “with three times the stipulated interest,” notes Vestal, but kept the guns. Italy responded by annexing small territories near the Eritrean border, shipping over tens of thousands of troops and seeking to subvert Menelik’s power base by entering into agreements with provincial leaders. Menelik, a “master of the sport of personal advancement through intrigue,” according to Vestal, convinced the provincial rulers that the Italian threat was so grave that they must resist as a united force rather than “seek to exploit it to their own ends.”

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