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Menelik II was a strong emperor who believed that he should resist the
European colonization. He would do anything to keep the Europeans from
colonizing Ethiopia. Menelik’s accomplishments included defeating Italy in the
Battle of Adwa, and founding the city Addis Ababa.
Menilik II, emperor of Ethiopia, was born in 1844 and died 1913. His term
as emperor lasted from 1889 to 1909. He was the ruler of the kingdom of Shoa in
central Ethiopia. During Menelick’s reign as emperor, he suppressed the Ethiopian
slave trade, curbed the feudal nobility, and founded the city Addis Ababa.
Then he conquered the Oromn people and annexed their land. When he succeeded
he united Shoa with the northern kingdoms of Tigre and Amhara and signed the
Treaty of Wichale with Italy.
During Menelik’s reign as emperor he reviewed the Treaty of Wichale and he
noticed that the one written in Italian was different from the one written in
Ethiopian. This disagreement led to war with the Italians. Menelik was shrewd and
so he confused the Italians by hiding his military so the Italians did not know what
to expect in the war. Italy had no idea about Ethiopia’s weapon technology or
military tactics. During their preparation for the war, Italy counted on exploiting
the internal conflict between the princes. Italy encouraged internal rebellion to
assure neutrality. They failed to see that the Ethiopian aristocracy had by this time
built a system in which all could benefit. For instance, Menelik had never collected
or demanded annual revenue from the regional princes of the north. In fact,
exchanging of gifts and entertaining of guests was one of the outstanding
expenditure of Menelik’s court. Menelik was very wealthy so the imperial army had
sufficient material resources. The Italian military leadership never expected
Menelik to raise such a considerable number of forces. Their calculation was 30,000
men. The emperor alone could mobilize two thirds of the combat force in the
shortest possible time, inspite of the problem of communication, transport and the
rainy season. By the end of the war Italy didn’t have enough power or money to
continue so they Surrendered. Menelik succeeded and kept the land. He then
transformed the country from several little semi-independent states to a united
Another of Menelik”s accomplishments was the founding of the city Addis
Ababa in 1887. It was the site of a hot springs. A hot springs is a place where
there is natural hot water. It is surrounded by hills and has many streams flowing
through it. In 1889, it became the capital of Ethiopia.
Many could say that Menelik II was not such a great leader. They might say
this because they may think that the Italians didn’t have a chance of beating
Menelik because of Italy’s lack of money. Menelik II also didn’t have very many
accomplishments as well.
Through Menelik’s tenacity and perseverance he resisted the European colonization
and defeated the Italians. Because of his great leadership and military strategies Ethiopia
was one of the only countries in Africa to remain
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