Page:EB1922 - Volume 31.djvu/27

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9
ERITREA—ERZBERGER

ERITREA (see 9.745). Surveys made since the settlement of the Danakil frontier with Abyssinia in 1908 gave the colony an area of about 45,800 sq. miles. Proposals made in 1915 that Kassala should be transferred to Eritrea from the Anglo-Egyp- tian Sudan and Jubuti ceded to the colony by France were not entertained (see AFRICA, History).

No complete census had been taken up to 1921, when the pop. was roughly estimated at 350,000, including 115,000 Abyssinians. Europeans, apart from soldiers, numbered about 4,000, mostly Italians; next in importance came the Greek community. Asmara (pop. 15,000 including 2,000 Europeans), rebuilt since the Italian occupation, possesses several fine buildings and is the seat of Government; Massawa, the chief port, had some 4,000 inhabitants, including about 400 Europeans and 500 Asiatics (Arabs and Indians). Massawa is in wireless telegraphic com- munication with the Italian station at Coltano, near Pisa, and with Mukdishu, Italian Somaliland. For local Government pur- poses Eritrea is divided into eight " commissariats," but certain regions, such as the sultanate of Raheita and other parts of the Danakil country, are not directly controlled by Italy. At the head of the administration is a civil governor, responsible to the Minister for the Colonies.

The chief concern of the authorities in the period 1910-21 was the development of the resources of the country and of the transit trade with northern and central Abyssinia and with the Sudan. Efforts to settle large numbers of Italians in the high- lands were abandoned. That region, the only part of Eritrea where Europeans could live permanently, was already largely occupied by Abyssinian agriculturists. While development was hindered by lack of adequate means of transport and the dis- inclination of Italian capitalists to invest money in the colony (foreign capital was not sought), progress was made. The rail- way, State owned, from Massawa to Asmara, 75 m. long, was completed in 1912; it rises to 7,700 ft., the altitude of Asmara. A further section of the railway was opened in Dec. 1914, and in 1915 a loan of 800,000 to be spread over five years was authorized by the Italian Treasury to complete the line via Keren to Agordat 184 m. from Massawa and on the main caravan route to Kassala. The route to Adowa (Adua) , N. Abys- sinia, was improved, and from the port of Assab, on the Danakil coast, a good road was built to the frontier at Ela, whence a caravan route goes to central Abyssinia.

The Asmara-Agordat railway opened up the Khor Baraka dis- trict, where the cultivation of cotton was successfully undertaken by an Italian company. Cotton was also grown in the river Gash (Mareb) area and irrigation work began in 1915. It was estimated that 140,000 ac. were suitable for cotton-growing. Ginning mills were erected at Agordat and Massawa.

An industry which made considerable progress was that in vege- table ivory the collection of nuts from the dum palm, which grows on the banks of the Baraka, the lower Mareb and other regions. The exports rose in 1917 to 10,000 tons, valued at over 1,000,000 lire. Salt deposits were worked in the neighbourhood of Massawa and in the Danakil country. In 1917-8 a Decauville line was built from Fatima harbour, 76 m. S. of Massawa, to serve the Dalol potash mine, which lies 10 m. within the Abyssinian border. The Decau- ville line, 46 m. long, stopped at the frontier. Stock-raising remained, however, the principal occupation of the people, and skins and hides the most valuable export. Salt, dum nuts and mother-of-pearl are the chief other exports. Cotton goods and dura (Indian millet) are the chief imports. The value of imports at Massawa rose from 17,160,000 lire in 1911 to 47,591,000 in 1917, and was 103,811,000 lire in 1918 (the result of inflated prices). Exports increased from 8,818,000 lire in 1911 to 21,660,000 in 1917 and were valued at 85,254,000 in 1918. The value of transit trade was returned at 3,351,000 lire in 191 1, 5,845,000 lire in 1915, 2,498,000 lire in 1917 and 5,415,000 lire in 1918. Many of the goods classed as exports of the colony were however reexports from Abyssinia or the Sudan. The value of the internal trade with Abyssinia was unascertained, that with the Sudan reached a value of about 100,000 in 1918^-9. Oversea trade is mainly with Italy, Aden and India. The shipping which entered Massawa in 1911 had a total tonnage of 206,000, in 1915 the tonnage was 356,000, in 1918 it had fallen to 103,000 tons.

There was (1919) a military force 12,000 strong (3,000 Europeans, 9,000 Abyssinians). Eritrea also supplied battalions for Tripoli, Cyrenaica, and Italian Somaliland. Eritrean troops served with distinction in the hostilities in Tripoli, 1911-4, and in the World War.

Up to 1921 Eritrea had not become self-supporting, though between 1915 and 1920 revenue raised in the colony doubled. For 1920-1 ordinary revenue was estimated at 10,132,000 lire, civil expenditure at 12,049,000 lire and military expenditure at 3,857,000 lire. The Italian Treasury made a grant of 6,650,000 lire. Signer' (afterwards Marquis) G. Cerrina Feroni, who had served in the colony for several years, was in 1919 appointed governor.

See Tommaso Tittoni, Italy's Foreign and Colonial Policy (Eng- lish trans. 1914) ; Eritrea, a British official handbook, with bibli- ography (1920) ; the Rivista Coloniale and the Bollettino of the Ital- ian Geographical Society. (F. R. C.)


ERNLE, ROWLAND EDMUND PROTHERO, 1ST BARON (1852- ), British agriculturist and politician, was born at Clifton- on-Teme Sept. 6 1852, the third son of the Rev. Canon Prothero, rector of Whippingham, Isle of Wight. He was educated at Marlborough and Balliol College, Oxford, where he took his degree in 1875, subsequently being elected to an All Souls fellow- ship. He remained at Oxford for some years as a fellow and tutor, and became well known as an authority upon agriculture. From 1883 to 1884 he was university proctor, and in 1894 became editor of the Quarterly Review, retaining this post till 1899. In 1898 Mr. Prothero became chief agent to the Duke of Bedford, and in this capacity his experience on agricultural questions was much extended. In 1910 he unsuccessfully contested the Biggies- wade division of Beds, as a Unionist. In 1913 he was a member of the royal commission on railways, and in 1914 was elected member for Oxford University. He sat on the departmental com- mittees on the home production of food (1914) and the increased price of commodities (1915), and in 1916, on the formation of Mr. Lloyd George's Government, became president of the Board of Agriculture. He resigned his office in 1919 and was raised to the peerage. Lord Ernie published Pioneers and Progress of English Farming (1887), and English Farming, Past and Present (1912); besides the Life and Correspondence of Dean Stanley (1893); Letters of Edward Gibbon (1896); a Memoir of Prince Henry of Battenberg (privately printed, 1897); Letters and Journals of Lord Byron (1898-1901) and Letters of Richard Ford (1905). His Psalms in Human Life (1903; enlarged 1913), tracing the influence of the Psalter on the notable men of suc- ceeding generations, had a great popular success.


ERZBERGER, MATTHIAS (1875-1921), German politician, was born Sept. 20 1875 at Buttenhausen in Wurttemberg. He began life as a national school-teacher and in 1896 became a member of the staff of the Deutsches Volksblatt at Stuttgart. In 1903 he was elected as a representative of the Catholic Centre party in the Reichstag, and soon, by virtue of his unusually varied activities, took a leading position in the parliamentary party. He occupied himself in particular with colonial questions. During the World War, although he had at first put forward in letters to leading military authorities, since published, extravagant plans for the German annexations, he soon became a most active agent in attempts to draw the Allies into negotiations for peace. He was the real author of the so-called Peace Resolutions adopted by the Reichstag July 17 1917. He likewise employed his relations with the Austrian Imperial Court in order to work for an early conclusion of peace. In Oct. 1918 he entered the Government as a Secretary of State after he had contributed to bring about the fall of Bethmann-Hollweg. Entrusted with the task of conducting the negotiations for the conclusion of the Armistice, he signed (Nov. 1918) the Armistice agreement in the saloon railway carriage of Marshal Foch in the Forest of Compiegne. After the elections for the National Assembly he entered the new Government of the German Republic in Aug. 1919 and was appointed Finance Minister of the Reich. In the National Assembly he succeeded in forcing through the new measures of taxation, notwithstanding the vigorous attacks made upon him by the Right. He set himself in particularly sharp opposition to the German National party (the old Conservatives), on whom he laid the responsibility for the World War; the result was a personal dispute with the leader of the Nationalists, the former Secretary of State for the Treasury, Dr. Helfferich, and Erzberger was ultimately compelled to bring an action against Dr. Helfferich for slander. The action resulted in Helfferich's being condemned to pay a small fine (the German, law does not admit of any damages or penalties for slander);