Wednesday, 28 February 2018

'Italian Proceedings on the African Coast of the Red Sea.' 1880

'Italian Proceedings on the African Coast of the Red Sea.' 1880 Confidential correspondence by the British Foreign office

The first section describes the course of events at and around Assab from May 1880 to September 1881, including protests made by the Egyptian Government to the Italian Government at their purchase of the whole coastline around Assab Bay and the islands nearby, and an enquiry that followed the massacre of an Italian exploring party. This section concludes with two reports suggesting that, although the Italians had not made much progress at Assab Bay, they had shown their intention to get a foothold on the African continent.

The second section reproduces correspondence between the British, Italian and Egyptian governments, and between the India Office and the Foreign Office from May 1880 to September 1881. The correspondence relates to the purchase of land at Assab Bay by the Rubattino Company; Italian Government denials that the territory would be used for military purposes; attempts made by the Italian Government to legitimise their occupation of the place by encouraging the British Government to accredit a British Agent there, both for commercial purposes and for the purpose of co-operation in the suppression of the slave trade; and a British Government proposal that the Italian Government enter into a formal convention about the matter with the Egyptian Government.
The final section reproduces correspondence connected with a proposed disembarkation of Egyptian troops at Raheita to the south of Assab Bay; Egyptian appeals for a British warship to be sent to the area; Italian protestations that disembarkation at Raheita would constitute a provocation; and the British Government's reaffirmation that the sovereignty of the coastline at Raheita and Assab Bay belongs to the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and the Khedive of Egypt.

Source: British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/B22a, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 18 February 2018]

Thanks to Dawit Ayalew Makonnen fo sharing

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