Page:EB1922 - Volume 30.djvu/32

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ABNEY—ABYSSINIA

he appeared often in America. In 1905 he played Monks in Oliver Twist at His Majesty's theatre, London. He died in New York May 20 1918.


ABNEY, SIR WILLIAM DE WIVELESLIE (1843–1920), English chemist, was born at Derby July 24 1843 and educated at Rossall school, obtaining a commission in the R.E. 1861. In 1876 he became C.B., D.Sc., D.C.L. and F.R.S. and from 1893 to 1897 he was successively president of the Royal Astronomical Society and of the Physical Society. In 1899 he became assistant secretary to the Board of Education; in 1903 he was appointed advisor to the science department of the Board, and the same year became a member of the Advisory council for education to the War Office. In 1900 he was knighted and in 1904 became chairman of the Society of Arts. His contribution to science was mainly in the furtherance of photographic chemistry and especially of colour photography and colour printing (see 16.661; 21.489, 498, 531, 532; 25.631; 6.729). His publications on these subjects include Instruction in Photography (1870); Colour Vision, Colour Measurement and Mixture (1893); and Trichromatic Theory of Colour (1914). He also wrote Thebes and its Five Great Temples (1876), and, with C. D. Cunningham, The Pioneers of the Alps (1888). He died at Folkestone Dec. 3 1920.


ABRUZZI, DUKE OF THE [Luici Amedeo] (1873–), Italian vice-admiral and explorer, son of Amedeo, late Duke of Aosta and sometime King of Spain, was born at Madrid Jan. 29 1873. He entered the navy as a cadet and followed a regular naval career in which he achieved great distinction; but he also became well known as an eminent traveller and mountaineer. He was the first to ascend Mt. St. Elias in Alaska (1897), and in 1899 he organized an expedition with the object of reaching the North Pole; although he himself was disabled by frostbite early in 1900 and forced to remain on his ship, the “Stella Polare,” Comm. Cagni pushed on with a part of the expedition and reached the lat. of 86° 34′, at that time the record of northern exploration. In 1906 he was the first to ascend Mt. Ruwenzori in East Africa, reaching the twin summits (16,800 ft.), which he named Margherita and Alexandra, and also the other chief peaks of the range; he made the first detailed map of the Ruwenzori and collected much scientific information about it. In 1909 he explored the Central Karakoram in the Himalayas and by ascending peak K2 achieved the record for height; among other scientific work the expedition completed the map of the great Baltoro glacier. During the Libyan War he commanded a naval squadron in the Adriatic and had various successful engagements with Turkish warships. During the World War he was commander-in-chief of the Italian naval forces, and showed very high qualities of seamanship, strategy and organization in the extremely difficult operations in the Adriatic. He had British and French warships under his orders. He relinquished his command in 1917 owing to disagreements with Adml. Thaon di Revel, chief of the Naval Staff, and retired from the service. Afterwards he undertook an important colonization and agricultural development scheme in Italian Somaliland. He was made a Knight of the Order of the Annunziata.


ABYSSINIA (see 1.82).—Since 1910 boundary commissions have delimited in part the Sudan-Abyssinia and the Italian-Abyssinian frontier. No change was made in the international status of the country between 1910 and 1921. The conquests of Menelek had been retained and the independence of the empire maintained. The Spanish protectorates excepted, Abyssinia was the only country of Africa neutral throughout the World War.

Recent History.—From 1899, a year which marked the end of an era of conquest and civil war, the Emperor Menelek (see 18.128) had maintained internal peace and had cautiously encouraged commercial relations with Europeans. But in 1910 Menelek was stricken by a malady which incapacitated him from rule, although until his death, in Dec. 1913, and for years afterwards (e.g. in 1919), his name was invoked by the people as that of the highest authority in the country. A regency was formed in 1910, consisting of Lij Yasu—Menelek's grandson, whom he had nominated his heir in 1908—and Ras Tesamma, Lij Yasu being then only fourteen. Menelek's wife, the Empress Tartu, a princess of Tigre, opposed the regency, called to her aid the Tigrian chiefs, and usurped authority. She refused to see the representatives of foreign powers and stopped the building of the railway from Jibuti (see 1.95) to the capital, Addis Abbaba. After maintaining her position about a year Taitu was overthrown by a palace revolution. She took no further part in the government and died Feb. 11 1918.

Not long after the regency was established Ras Tesamma, a capable man of moderating influence, died, April 1911. Lij Yasu then attempted to reign uncontrolled. He was strongly opposed; but with the help of his father Ras Michael, chief of the Wollo Galla, Yasu made good his authority and on Menelek's death was acknowledged negus negusti (king of kings, emperor).

At that time, the beginning of 1914, the condition of the country was not without promise. The building of the railway from Jibuti had been resumed; in 1912 it had reached the Hawash river, and was then (1914) being carried up the steep escarpment to the Abyssinian plateau. Even in its incomplete state it carried in 1913 merchandise valued at over 1,600,000. A considerable trade between the Galla provinces (western Abyssinia) and the Sudan had also developed. Both Abyssinians and Gallas showed a distinct appreciation of foreign products; it needed only good government and the provision of better means of communication to have brought about a great development of the very rich natural resources of the country. Lij Yasu, however, was a youth of depraved morals, his administration was both weak and tyrannical, and the result was in the south anarchy,[1] and in the north the alienation of the Tigrians, always jealous of Shoa (Menelek's hereditary kingdom). The maintenance of a large standing army was another cause of poverty and discontent. Out of a total population, according to trustworthy estimates, of from 10,000,000 to 12,000,000, about 500,000 were in the army. (Detailed figures for 1916 gave a total of 571,000 as the strength of the Abyssinian forces.) In the Galla, Somali and Shankalla (i.e. negro) provinces these men lived largely by plunder.

Such was the situation when the World War broke out. Lij Yasu had already come very much under German and Turkish influence, the chief agent in the propaganda of the Central Powers having been Herr K. Schwemmer, consul for Austria-Hungary. (Schwemmer, owing to Italian pressure, was recalled to Vienna and left Abyssinia in Oct. 1914.) Yasu had already given offence to the Abyssinians, whose attachment to their own form of Christianity is strong, by his neglect of the observances of the national church, and in June 1914 had caused his father, Ras Michael, to be crowned negus (king) of Wollo, the only province of Abyssinia proper inhabited by Moslems (Galla intruders). Michael remained nominally a Christian; Yasu, at first secretly and later openly, embraced Islam, and, inspired by Turco-German policy, set himself to unite all the Moslems of the empire. He married the daughters of several Danakil and Galla chiefs, and betrothed himself to the daughter of Aba Jiffar, King of Jimma, the most powerful Moslem prince in the empire. He also made political alliances with Moslems outside the Abyssinian dominions, among others with the “Mad” Mullah of Somaliland, then at war with the British. His policy was summed up as (1) Moslem as opposed to Christianity; (2) Galla as opposed to Abyssinian; (3) Turco-German as opposed to the Entente.

In April 1916 Yasu officially placed Abyssinia in religious dependence on the Sultan of Turkey as Caliph and sent to the Turkish consul-general at Harrar an Abyssinian flag bearing the crescent and a confession of faith in Islam. About this time he informed his Moslem confederates who had been told that Germany and Austria had embraced Islam and had imposed that faith upon France that he would lead them against the Allies as soon as a great German victory should be announced.

  1. One result was raiding into the Sudan and adjacent territories by Abyssinians. These raids the central Government did not or could not prevent.