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Emperor Menilik, his Swiss technical advisor Alfred Ilg, Italian and French duplicity and how Djibouti came to be spelled with a ‘G’… These and more fascinating facts from modern Ethiopian history make this week’s corner a must read.

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Very few Ethiopians have ever heard of “Amda Berhan Za Ityopeya”, an underground newsletter of the anti-fascist patriots during the Italian occupation. Fewer still may know of where a copy of this historic journal could be found. It you are one such, please do contact the writer and share in preserving a part of Ethiopian history.

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Maps, dear reader, were, as you know, rare all over the world in former times -including Ethiopia.
There was, however, one old-time Ethiopian map – or more exactly a diagramatic sketch of one, with which we are concerned today. At least five variations of it are known to the present writer. They are included in five different 18th century Ethiopian manuscripts – works of the later Gondarine period as historians call it.

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Historically the courts of Ethiopian royalty moved around the length and breadth of Ethiopia as they engaged in defending the nation from insurrection and invasion. Tents therefore, were an indispensable item to serve as shelters until the monarch and his courtiers could return to their built up palaces and castles. Two particular tents which belonged to Emperor Tewodros, are featured in this week’s Pankhurst’s Corner, along with a reminder in this Ethiopian millennium year. That they must be repatriated…

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Today, dear Reader, I will take you on a tour of some Italian and Ethiopian archives.

Let us start in perhaps the easiest way by looking at the UNESCO-sponsored Guide to the Sources of the History of Africa, more especially the volume on Italian-sources: the Guida delle Fonti per la Storia dell’ Africa a Sud del Sahara esistenti in Italia.

It was edited by my old friend Professor Carlo Giglio, once a Fascist, but by my day far less committed –and a great conversationalist. The volume was published in 1973 by the Inter Documentation Company, of Zug, in Switzerland, and is in itself an important source.

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Ethiopia’s ancient and still very much alive culture of traditional medicine is highlighted in this week’s Corner. Prof. Pankhurst urges us to give traditional Ethiopian medical science a larger profile…

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Pankhurst’s Corner continues this week on the theme of heritage preservation, highlighting the nation’s precious trove of rare manuscripts. The professor illuminates us on efforts underway in various initiatives, to maintain and establish the repositories of Ethiopian antiquity.

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