Chapter 11: The Problem Of The Ethiopian Somalis from the book Somali Nationalism: International Politics and The Drive For Unity In The Horn Of Africa – The Horn of Africa can be thought of as a triangle, whose up-tilted eastern point extends so far into the Indian Ocean that it is approximately due south of Tehran. The “Horn,” of course, is not a definite territorial jurisdiction, but for the purposes of this book, we define it arbitrarily (but conveniently) as the region inhabited mainly by Somalis.


Chapter 11: The Problem Of The Ethiopian Somalis

From the book Somali Nationalism: International Politics And The Drive For Unity In The Horn Of Africa

Somali Nationalism International Politics And The Drive For Unity In The Horn Of AfricaSaadia Touval

Harvard University Press

Cambridge, Massachusetts • 1963

In this chapter

Somali nationalism confronts Ethiopia with a grave challenge. It claims the right for the Somali-populated region to secede and join a Greater Somali state. This claim concerns one-fifth of Ethiopian territory. But far more threatening than the loss of territory and population is the effect of the Somali challenge upon the political stability of this polyethnic state.


The Somalis inhabit the entire southeastern portion of Ethiopia, an area of about 80,000 square miles. The map presented earlier in this book shows the region in question. Administratively, it falls within Harar and Sidamo provinces. The exact number of the Somali population is not known, but on the basis of available information and our local inquiries, it seems reasonable to estimate that the figure is between 850,000 and 1,000,000. The area is populated almost exclusively by Somalis, except at its fringes where the population is intermixed and ethnic divisions are sometimes blurred. This is the case, especially in the Diredawa-Harar-Jigjiga area where a number of agricultural tribes are of mixed Somali and Galla origin and do not readily identify themselves with either ethnic group. Moreover, the Somalis are a minority in the three towns, which have large Amhara and Galla populations. Elsewhere in the region, the non-Somali population consists of a few hundred Amhara administrators and police with their families and scattered individual Arab and Galla traders. Thus it is not far wrong to consider the entire 80,000 square miles—except for the three above-mentioned towns—as being ethnically homogeneous, inhabited by the Somalis.


The Somali population belongs to a variety of tribes. It can conveniently be divided into five main groups.

In the northern portion of the Somali-populated region, between Harar and French Somaliland, live the Issa. They are all nomads and number between 50,000 and 100,000.

To the south of them, in the vicinity of Jigjiga, there is a concentration of settled agricultural Somalis. Some of them belong to the Gadabursi tribe, which is divided between Ethiopia and the Northern Region of the Somali Republic. Others are sections of the Darod referred to as Absame and Jidwak. The agricultural Somalis in this area number close to 250,000.

A third group are the Ogaden who occupy the central portions of the Somali-inhabited region. The Ogaden are Darod and number between 350,000 and 400,000. They are nomads and graze their stock exclusively within Ethiopian territory all year round.

A fourth group are nomadic tribes whose main center is in the Somali Republic—the Ishaq, Dolbahanta, Mijertain, and Marehan. Most of these tribes used to cross into Ethiopia only for seasonal grazing. However, during the last forty years, some sections have ceased to return to British Somaliland and Somalia, and now stay in Ethiopia throughout the year. This change was brought about partly by a deliberate Italian policy encouraging them to do so. But, to some extent, their penetration into Ethiopia is a manifestation of the traditional Somali pattern of southward migration.[1] The process resulted in a partial displacement of the Ogaden tribe from the rich grazing area of the Haud, and from a series of wells running parallel to the border of the Southern Region of the Somali Republic. The Ethiopian portions of the Ishaq, Dolbahanta, Mijertain, and Marehan are estimated at approximately 150,000 (Ishaq 50,000, Dolbahanta 30,000, and Mijertain and Marehan 70,000). One difficulty in estimating these tribes is that some of them are included in the population estimates of the Somali Republic, and are thus counted twice.

A fifth group are tribes of the extreme south of Ethiopia, some of which are divided between Ethiopia and the neighboring areas of Kenya and the Somali Republic. These are sections of the Marehan (Darod) and Digodia, Gurreh, and Ajouran (Hawiya). They number between 50,000 and 100,000.

The degree of political consciousness among the Somali population is difficult to assess. In the early 1960s, no political parties had yet made their appearance in Ethiopia, and there were no political organizations of any kind among the Somalis. During the period when portions of Ethiopia were under British Military Administration, the Somali Youth League (S.Y.L.) from Somalia established a number of branches in Ethiopian territory. These were disbanded when Ethiopian authority was restored in the region. There is no doubt, however, that the Somalis have kept themselves informed about political developments around them. They are aware of the progress made by Somali nationalism, including the unification of British Somaliland with the Italian-administered trust territory of Somalia. News and nationalist propaganda have reached the Ethiopian Somalis regularly through the continuing seasonal migrations back and forth across the border, and also by means of radio, though the effect of this medium was limited for the time being by the scarcity of receivers.

General sympathy for Somali nationalism is apparently found among all sections of the Somali population of Ethiopia. They differ, however, in the intensity of nationalist feeling and the degree of identification with nationalist causes.

It seems that the most fervently nationalist are the Ishaq, Dolbahanta, Mijertain, and Marehan, whose main centers are across the border in the Somali Republic. The Ogaden, on the other hand, seem to be less influenced by Somali nationalism. The divergent attitudes of these two groups reflect to a considerable extent their conflicting economic interests. The Ishaq, Dolbahanta, Mijertain, and Marehan all seek to fortify and extend their rights with respect to rich grazing lands and wells inside Ethiopian territory. On the other hand, the Ogaden, some of whom have been displaced from areas they previously occupied by the tribes from across the border, would like to have their pre-eminent rights for the shared grazing areas recognized. They suspect that the incorporation of the Ethiopian territories in a “Greater Somalia” would result in their losing their pre-eminence over the areas in question.

The agricultural Somalis around Jigjiga also seem less fervently nationalist than the neighboring nomadic Ishaq. The Issa appear to be strongly anti-Ethiopian, as the frequent clashes between them and the authorities indicate. Their antagonism to the Ethiopian authorities renders them at the same time strongly pro-nationalist. There is no information about the attitudes of the fifth group, the Somalis of Sidamo province in the south. The absence of information suggests that their sympathy for Somali nationalism has not reached violent proportions.

Expressions of Somali nationalist sentiments in Ethiopia are few and sporadic and are quickly suppressed by the authorities. The most overt manifestations of nationalism take the form of Somali defiance of established Ethiopian authority. Usually, however, it is difficult to distinguish between politically motivated incidents and common lawlessness. An incident which was explicitly nationalist in character occurred in Jigjiga in 1948. On the eve of the restoration of the town to Ethiopian administration, the S.Y.L. flag was hoisted on a public building. When the British authorities lowered it, a riot followed, resulting in a number of casualties. From time to time, public displays of disrespect toward the Ethiopian flag during hoisting and lowering ceremonies are known to occur. During such ceremonies, which take place twice daily everywhere in the country, all persons present are supposed to stand at attention. Occasional defiance of this custom by Somalis has reportedly been accompanied by statements that this was not the Somali flag and that as Somalis they did not owe it respect.

Armed clashes between tribesmen and Ethiopian security forces also occur, but are more difficult to assess. A serious incident in 1956, involving the Issa, apparently had nationalist undertones. An even more serious incident, the Issa attack on the railroad between Addis Ababa and Djibouti in August 1960, apparently had mixed motives: it was a raid for looting purposes as well as a politically inspired challenge to Ethiopian authority. In the following months, the frequency of incidents seemed to be increasing. Between January and April 1961, there were three major ones: at Damot in the Haud, at Aisha on the railway line, and at Dagahbur in the Ogaden. The episodes at Aisha and Dagahbur appear to have been purely political in character. They are disquieting reminders to the Ethiopian government that the dormant Somali nationalism may erupt any time into a major conflagration.


The territory coveted by the Somalis is mainly a semi-arid plateau. At present, it is a poor and desolate country, but it has potentialities for agricultural and mineral development. Water resources in the Ogaden have not been extensively explored. It seems probable that with modern well-drilling techniques, the damming of river beds, and perhaps irrigation schemes involving waters from the Webi Shebeli, parts of the Ogaden could become fit for cultivation. As for mineral resources, they too have not been fully explored. From the sketchy surveys undertaken, it appears that in the Harar area there are iron ore, lead, copper, tin, and clays. Farther east, near Jigjiga, mica has been mined for some time, and other mica deposits are reported in the Ogaden. Small veins of asbestos have been found near Diredawa. Oil explorations were conducted in the Ogaden for several years by the Sinclair Oil Company, which apparently considered the prospects unpromising and discontinued their operations in 1957.[2] Recently a German-owned oil company started explorations in the southwest of Harar province. Even the remote possibility of the presence of oil increases Ethiopian determination to hold on to its territory.

Demands upon Ethiopian territory are by themselves sufficient to cause concern to the Ethiopian government. Their example is even more alarming, for the Somali demands might encourage demands by other peoples.

The population of Ethiopia is a conglomeration of ethnic groups and tribes, belonging to different races and divided by language, culture, and religion. There are well over a hundred different groupings, speaking at least fifty different languages.[3] In the context of Ethiopian history and society, the diversity of the population poses for that country extremely grave problems. The history of Ethiopia was a continuous struggle of the Christian polity against Moslem and pagan tribes, either warding off their attacks or striving to expand the Ethiopian domain over them. Although the warfare has subsided, traditional antagonisms are engrained among the people.

The forging of new nations from multiple tribes can be attempted either through a process of amalgamation or through assimilation. In Ethiopia, national integration is achieved through the assimilation of minorities by the ruling Amharas, rather than through a process of cultural, economic, and social amalgamation of different ethnic groups. Assimilation involves the acceptance by the minority of Amhara culture, language, religion, and customs. In the newly independent countries of Africa, nationalism does not usually reflect the cultural heritage of any single particular tribe or ethnic group to the exclusion of others, but Ethiopian nationalism is actually Amhara nationalism.

Assimilation is hindered by religious divisions: approximately 40 percent of the population are Christian, 40 percent Muslim, and 20 percent pagan. The ruling Amharas are Christian, and the minorities are mainly Moslem and pagan. Racial antagonisms are another complicating factor. The Amharas are Hamitic, whereas many of the western tribes are Negroes who have long been subject people and are sometimes still regarded as such.

The Amharas are concentrated mainly in the center and north of the country. The minorities live along the borders and inhabit almost the entire southern half of the country. Moreover, the minorities are usually related to peoples living across the border in the Sudan, Kenya, and the Somalilands. In view of the cultural and religious divisions, and of the historical antagonisms, it is quite possible that tribalism in Ethiopia may assume the character of secessionist movements.[4]

The Somali claims are unique in some respects since there is no other ethnic group of the same size and degree of national cohesion, occupying so extensive a territory. Nevertheless, there are groups which potentially pose similar problems.

Eritrea, for example, is often regarded as a potential trouble spot. Prior to its federation with Ethiopia in 1952, there existed a powerful movement demanding independence for the territory, deriving its principal support from sections of the Muslim population.[5] The calm in Eritrea during the attempted coup d’état in 1960 suggests that the current strength of separatism there has been overestimated. Yet any concessions to the Somalis might encourage its revival.

Sections of the Galla population may also be encouraged to press for a change in the status quo. The Galla migrations into the Ethiopian highlands took place during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These people are spread throughout the country, and in some areas constitute the great majority of the population. Most of the Gallas are Moslem and speak their own language. Among some of them, notably in the southwest, memories of their past political independence, which they lost at the end of the nineteenth century, are still very much alive.[6] Others have been assimilated by the Amharas and have adopted Christianity. Since the eighteenth century the Gallas have been influential in Ethiopian politics and their support has at times decided the outcome of internal political rivalries. During the constitutional crisis which followed Menelik’s death, they, along with the Somalis, supported Lij Yasu who reportedly leaned toward Islam. Their record in the Italian-Ethiopian war was mixed. There were numerous cases of Gallas aiding the Italians, while other Galla troops rebelled and became shijtas (bandits). Although there is no Galla “nationalism,” and the Gallas are less conscious of their separate identity than the Somalis, the possibility of the development of some form of Galla self-assertion cannot be ruled out.[7]

These possibilities probably cause great concern to the Ethiopian government. The Ethiopians’ worries are further augmented by the fear that their troubles might be exploited by foreign powers, or, perhaps, are partly the product of foreign intrigues. This fear may be greatly exaggerated. Yet, beliefs, however, ill-founded, sometimes become political factors more significant than reality. The Ethiopians have been traditionally suspicious of foreigners, and their suspicions were nurtured by their experiences. Somalia and the Ogaden plateau figured prominently in the Italian scheme for the conquest of Ethiopia in the 1930s. First, the Ogaden was penetrated with the help of Somali irregulars; then the Wal-Wal incident was provoked on the pretext that the area in question actually belonged to Italian Somaliland; and finally, Italian Somaliland served as a base for the invasion. The Somali-inhabited areas were a source of friction between Ethiopia and Britain as well. The retention of British Military Administration over the Ogaden until 1948, and over the Haud near the British Somaliland border until February 1955, ten years after the war had ended, was viewed with considerable suspicion by Ethiopia. The “Bevin Plan” whereby the Ogaden was to be detached from Ethiopia and joined with other Somali territories under British trusteeship aggravated the suspicions.

The encouragement given to Somali nationalism by Cairo is another source of concern for Ethiopia. The Islamic content of Egyptian propaganda may have an influence not only on the Somalis, but upon other Moslem minorities as well.[8]

At stake for Ethiopia is not only one fifth of its territory, but the very foundations of the Ethiopian state. If the principle of secession is conceded to the Somalis, it may stimulate similar demands by other sections of the population and gravely threaten the continued existence of the Ethiopian state in its present form.


The Ethiopian response to this challenge to its integrity and stability is threefold: the strengthening of Ethiopia’s international position; a call on the Somalis throughout the Horn to achieve unity through joining Ethiopia; and increased efforts to win the loyalty of the Ethiopian Somalis and assimilate them.

Until 1958, Ethiopian policy was closely allied to the West on issues in the cold war. Ethiopian forces participated in the Korean War, and Ethiopia provided facilities for the establishment of an American military communications station on its territory. The same policy had manifested itself at the United Nations on numerous occasions. However, as the Somali threat increased, so did Ethiopian doubts about the advisability of trusting in Western support in case the Somali issue ever came to a head. These doubts were induced in part by memories of the 1930s when Ethiopia was abandoned by the League of Nations. Moreover, British policy since the Second World War, and especially the “Bevin Plan” and the retention of British administration in Ethiopian territory long after the war had ended, instilled a conviction in Ethiopia that Britain favored Somali unification at Ethiopian expense. American support for the British policy statement of February 1959, offering Britain’s good offices for arranging negotiations between Somali representatives on the subject of closer association between British Somaliland and Somalia, aroused Ethiopian suspicions toward the United States as well.[9]

As subsequent events have shown, Emperor Haile Selassie concluded that the path of prudence lay not in trusting friends, but in the avoidance of making enemies. The Somalis, even standing alone, could not be taken lightly; but Somali nationalism, if supported by the Soviet Union or China, could become a very grave threat indeed. Ethiopia’s desire for a rapprochement with the Soviet Union was motivated in large measure by the fear that the Somalis might be able to obtain such support. In an attempt to forestall this potentially threatening development, the Emperor visited Moscow in 1959, and Ethiopia accepted a Soviet offer of economic assistance. Ethiopia’s apparent desire to mend its relations with China is reflected in its voting on the question of Chinese admission to the United Nations. Until 1958, Ethiopia voted consistently with the United States against the consideration of the proposal to admit China. In 1959, it abstained. In 1960 it voted for the first time in favor of the resolution.

Ethiopia also seeks to strengthen its position within the bloc of independent African states. Ethiopia, showing pride in being the oldest independent state in Africa, has displayed interest in African affairs. Although its aspiration for recognition as a leading member of the African bloc is not a product of its concern about the Somali issue, the consistent Somali appeals to African conferences have heightened Ethiopia’s interest in enhancing its African influence.[10] The more influential Ethiopia’s general position in the bloc, the less likely African states will be to support the Somalis. Any moral support the Somalis might get would not be of great practical significance, but it would, nevertheless, make the situation more uncomfortable for Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian call upon the Somalis to join Ethiopia is both a response to the Somali desire for unity and a manifestation of Ethiopia’s own nationalist aspirations. On various occasions in recent history, the Ethiopian government laid claim to the entire Horn of Africa. In April 1891, as mentioned earlier, Emperor Menelik sent a circular to the European powers contending that his territories extended to Khartoum and Lake Victoria in the west, and to the sea in the east and southeast. Ethiopian claims to Italian Somaliland were renewed during and after the Second World War. These claims were based on the argument that at some time in history, the Somali territories were part of the Ethiopian Empire. Additional arguments were Ethiopia’s need for outlets to the sea, and the racial affinities between Ethiopians and Somalis.[11]

The claim to Italian Somaliland failed to gain support and, Ethiopian protests notwithstanding, the country was placed under United Nations trusteeship with Italy as the administering power. However, Ethiopia has not abandoned its hope to incorporate the Somalilands within its domain. The Ethiopian point of view was expressed by the Emperor in his speech at Gabredare in the Ogaden on August 25, 1956:

The people of ex-Italian Somaliland are to achieve independence in the near future. We are confident that they will also remember that unity is strength, even as the Eritreans recognized that unity is strength. Not only they, but the whole world will recognize that we are united by race, color, economics and that we all drink from the same great river . . . As to the rumors of a greater Somalia, we consider that all the Somali peoples are economically linked with all Ethiopia and, therefore, we do not believe that such a state can be viable standing alone separated from Ethiopia. We will speak of this more fully when the proper time comes.[12]

It is doubtful that the incorporation of the Somali areas would solve more political problems for Ethiopia than it would create. The problem which would find a solution is Somali irredentism; and the step would also relieve some of the anxieties the Ethiopians may have about the establishment along their borders of foreign influence that might be inimical to their interests. But the addition of a sizable Moslem minority to Ethiopia’s existing minorities would only complicate the already difficult internal situation and would undermine the precarious balance between the Christians and the Moslems. Intensified contact between the politically conscious Somalis and other minorities might provide the stimulus to the awakening of political consciousness among other groups, and their presence would tend to hinder Ethiopian efforts to assimilate the minorities. Thus, there may be more danger for Ethiopia in the incorporation of the Somali territories than in their independence.

Ethiopia’s efforts to encourage assimilation of the Somalis now within its jurisdiction represent a different approach to the Somali problem. If Ogaden is to remain part of Ethiopia, the assimilation of its population into Ethiopian society seems imperative. The Ethiopians, as pointed out above, have traditionally encouraged assimilation; the minorities, which are mainly Muslim and pagan, were encouraged to adopt the Amharic language and to convert to Christianity, and often, political bonds were cemented through marriage alliances between the royal house and the minorities’ ruling families. The absorption of those of the Gallas who have settled among the Amharas is a process that has been going on for centuries. After the restoration of Ethiopian independence during the Second World War a more deliberate and comprehensive policy of assimilation directed at the minorities was embarked upon. With the beginning of modern economic and political development in Ethiopia, the traditional methods of the past no longer suffice. It has become necessary to integrate minorities within the new social, economic, and political fabric which is being created. This applies in particular to the growing numbers of educated young people in the country.

Efforts to encourage the assimilation of the Somalis are limited for the time being to educational measures and to the appointment of Somalis to administrative positions, mainly in Harar province.

No significant attempt has been made to convert the Somalis to Christianity. Any such attempt would probably backfire because of the passions it would arouse. Economic and social integration has not commenced because of the relative isolation of the Somali regions from the rest of Ethiopia. Nor have attempts at political integration gone far. There were in 1960 six Somali deputies and one senator in the Ethiopian parliament, and there were a few Somalis in high-ranking positions in the central government. The main importance of the recent appointment of Somalis to civil service posts in Harar province lies in the employment and status it provides for some of the educated young men. The Ethiopian authorities also hope that the presence of Somali administrators may help reduce tensions between the government and the tribes and diminish the attraction of the all-Somali administration across the border. Yet the effect of these measures, intended to help win Somali loyalty and goodwill, is questionable.

The government’s policy with respect to the assimilation and integration of the Somalis was outlined in the course of the Emperor’s 1956 speech in the Ogaden:

We have seen the elimination of the spirit of strangeness which you formerly had with one another, and instead, as Ogaden is but one of the integral parts of Ethiopia, our police live happily with you. You are now linked with them in a fraternity, in mutual confidence, and in brotherly love. Intermarriage has followed, and has cemented your unity . . . We have, in the first place, given orders for the establishment of schools in the various districts, whereby your children will be educated so as to help their country, themselves, and their parents. It is our desire that these schools will not only impart education but also will foster understanding and cooperation among the military, the police and the civilian population . . . It is imperative for you, the people of the Province of the Ogaden, who form part of the great family of the Empire of Ethiopia, to acquire the necessary education whereby you will be able to take over the various positions and responsibilities that await you in the Central Government Administration. Difference in language often creates misunderstanding, and can seriously affect the responsibilities that are being bestowed on you. A lack of knowledge of the national language will be a barrier for the education we have in mind for you . . .[13]

In pursuance of this policy, the government has paid special attention to the development of educational facilities in Harar province. Elementary schools were established in a number of administrative centers, with the purpose of providing education to children from the Somali tribes. This is complicated by the nomadic way of life of these tribes, and the difficulty of keeping the children in school throughout the school year while their tribes migrate. T h e authorities have attempted to cope with this problem by provision of boarding facilities. One such boarding school was set up in Gabredare, and others were planned elsewhere. Compared to other provinces, Harar province has also been well provided with secondary education facilities. An academic secondary school for boarding students has been functioning in Harar for a number of years. Select Somali students, usually the children of prominent chiefs, were sent to secondary schools in Addis Ababa.[14] Moreover, there are Somali students studying at the University College in Addis Ababa.

It would be naive to suppose that educating people makes them loyal citizens, or that teaching young Somalis the Amharic language accomplishes their assimilation. Rather, after having provided them with education the government faces the responsibility of placing the young people in appropriate jobs because the literate young men are unlikely to find satisfaction in return to a nomadic way of life. Thus far, employment has been found for most Somalis who completed their secondary education, mainly in the Harar provincial administration. No information is available about elementary school graduates, but presumably, jobs can be found for them too in the rapidly expanding government service. As the number of educated Somalis increases, however, an acute problem is likely to arise because of the slower rate of increase in employment opportunities. This is a general problem throughout Ethiopia but seems more acute among the Somalis because of the almost total absence of any economic development in Ogaden.

The integration of the Somalis in Ethiopia’s economic and social life is an important aspect of assimilation. But the continued isolation of the Ogaden region imposes a formidable barrier. The great majority of the Somalis, whether settled or nomadic, are engaged in production of food necessary for their subsistence. With the exception of the settled agricultural Somalis in the Harar-Jigjiga-Diredawa area, the Somali population moves around in places that have inadequate communications with the rest of Ethiopia and no economic intercourse with it. In the early 1960’s it took about eighteen hours to travel by car or truck from Harar to Gabredare in the Ogaden, a straight-line distance of only about 200 miles. The little trading that the Somalis require is conducted almost exclusively with the neighboring Somali territories across international frontiers. Even provisions for the Ethiopian authorities in the Ogaden have ordinarily been purchased through British Somaliland. As long as there are no adequate roads linking the Ogaden with the rest of Ethiopia, no commerce is likely to develop, nor is any significant personal contact or travel likely to occur.

Even those Somalis who have moved outside the Somali-inhabited region do not assimilate easily. Traditional antagonisms between ethnic and religious groups are pronounced. This seems especially the case in Addis Ababa, a city of about 400,000 inhabitants. Unemployment is another problem facing the Somali community there. The government is the largest single employer in Ethiopia; and since the Somalis’ loyalty to the state is considered questionable, they have special difficulty in finding jobs.

There is a basic dilemma in the government’s policy toward the Somali minority in Ethiopia. It seeks to integrate and assimilate the Somalis; to that end, educational facilities have been provided, and an attempt is being made to place an increasing number of Somalis in civil service jobs in Harar province. Yet the Somalis are not trusted and therefore are not placed in responsible positions. Outside the Somali-populated region, they seem to be at considerable disadvantage, both socially and in terms of employment opportunities. Thus, the education provided for the Somali minority, though constituting a step toward their social and economic advancement, may also produce discontent among increasing numbers of young Somalis, and result in their espousal of Somali nationalism as an outlet for their frustrated ambitions. On the other hand, if the development of educational facilities and the Somalization of the civil service are deliberately retarded, the social and economic progress in the Somali Republic across the border may attract comparison and induce nationalist activity.

So the probable results of these alternative policies—to accelerate the spread of education among the Somalis or not to do so—seem equally menacing. The difficulties inherent in the Somali problem seem to be increasing both in magnitude and complexity.


[1] For an example of this migration see Lord Rennell of Rodd, British Military Administration of Occupied Territories in Africa, 1941-1947 (London: H.M.S.O., 1948), pp. 488-489.

[2] Chamber of Commerce, Guide Book of Ethiopia (Addis Ababa, 1954), pp. 169, 174-185; D. A. Talbot, Contemporary Ethiopia (New York: Philosophical Library, 1952), p. 15; E. W. Luther, Ethiopia Today (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1958), pp. 69, 136. For a journalistic account of the oil explorations, see H. Jenny, Äthiopien, Land im Aufbruch (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1957), pp. 141-143.

[3] On the Ethiopian peoples and languages, see Luther, pp. 24-25, and E. Ullendorf?, The Ethiopians (London: Oxford University Press, 1960), chaps. Ill, IV.

[4] On the Moslems, and on minorities in general, a very instructive book is J. S. Trimingham, Islam in Ethiopia (London: Oxford University Press, 1952).

[5] See G. K. N. Trevaskis, Eritrea, A Colony in Transition: 1941-52 (London: Oxford University Press, 1960), chaps. III, IV.

[6] For some interesting illustrations see E. Cerulli, “The Folk-Literature of the Galla of Southern Abyssinia,” Harvard African Studies, vol. Ill (1922).

[7] No meaningful population figures on the Gallas are available. According to one estimate, as many as 40 percent of the inhabitants of Ethiopia (excluding Eritrea) are Galla or of Galla origin; see G. W. B. Huntingford, The Galla of Ethiopia (London: International African Institute, 1955), p. 23 and passim. See also Trimingham, pp. 187-209, and passim. On the 1915-1917 constitutional crisis, see A. H. M. Jones and E. Monroe, A History of Ethiopia (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1955), pp. 153-159; Trimingham, pp. 129-131; and M. Perham, The Government of Ethiopia (New York: Oxford University Press, 1948), pp. 60-62. On the Gallas during the Italian-Ethiopian war, see G. Steer, Caesar in Abyssinia (Boston: Little, Brown, 1937), passim.

[8] For a frank expression of concern by the emperor see New York Times, Feb. 16, 1957. On Egyptian policy see Chapter 14 below.

[9] For echoes of the diplomatic exchanges which took place at the time see The Times (London), Feb. 19, 1959.

[10] The Somalis won qualified support for their goals at the All African People’s Conference in Tunis in January 1960. They were rebuffed, however, in their attempt to raise the question at the Conference of Independent African States held in Addis Ababa in June 1960.

[11] Menelik’s circular is quoted in Clement de la Jonquière, Les Italiens en Erythrée (Paris: Henri Charles-Lavauzelle, 1897), pp. 145-146. On subsequent territorial claims see Ethiopia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Digest of Memoranda Presented by the Imperial Ethiopian Government to the Council of Foreign Ministers, in London, September 1945 (revised edition, April 1946), pp. 3-11 ; N. Bentwich, Ethiopia at the Paris Peace Conference (London: Abyssinia [Ethiopia] Association, 1946), p. 4. See also U.N. Docs. A/C.i/429, A/991, A/1191. The claim that the Horn of Africa once formed a part of the Ethiopian empire would be difficult to substantiate historically.

[12] Quoted in Ethiopia Observer, vol. I, no. 1 (December 1956), p. 8. In Somalia and British Somaliland the speech was described as “imperialistic,” because of its call upon all Somalis to join Ethiopia. The Somalia Legislative Council issued an official reply. See U.N. Advisory Council 1956-57 (U.N. Doc. T/1311), par. 56; and Lewis, “Political Movements,” pp. 348, 355.

[13] Ethiopia Observer, vol. I, no. 1 (December 1956), pp. 5-6. For further expression of the emperor’s interest in the development of the Ogaden see his speech from the throne at the opening of Parliament on November 2, 1957, in Ethiopia Observer, vol. II, no. 2 (January 1958), p. 92.

[14] Some Somalis believe that in addition to the educational purpose, the government’s sending of chiefs’ children to be educated in Addis Ababa has the political objective of keeping the children as hostages and thus ensuring that the chiefs remain loyal to the government.

To be continued …..

About This Book

In this first book on the emergence of Somali nationalism, Saadia Touval draws on extensive research and firsthand knowledge to explore the complex and dangerous situation in easternmost Africa. He describes the land and people, the spread of Somali tribes with their Moslem culture, the arrival of Europeans during the nineteenth century, the development of national consciousness, politics in the new Somali Republic and French Somaliland, problems presented by the Somalis of Kenya and Ethiopia, and the overriding question of boundary lines. Finally, he discusses the prospects for a peaceful solution.

About the Author(s)

Saadia Touval lectures on Political Science and African Politics at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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