March to Magdala

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Soomaaliga voasomali. Kiswahili voaswahili. Zimbabwe voazimbabwe. Kurdi dengeamerika. Latin America Creole voanouvel. Share on Facebook. Share on Twitter. Related Stories. At Antalo , Napier parleyed with Dajamach Kassai later Emperor Yohannes IV , and won his support, which the British needed in their single-minded march to Magdala; without the help, or at least indifference, of the local peoples, the British Expedition would have had greater difficulty in reaching its goal deep within the Ethiopian highlands.

At this point, Emperor Tewodros's strength had already been dissolving. At the beginning of he controlled little more than Begemder , Wadla , and Delanta wherein the fortress of Magdala lay. He struggled to keep up the size of his army—which Sven Rubenson points out was his only "instrument of power"—but by mid defections from his army had reduced its size to 10, men.

The British were also aided by their diplomatic and political agreements with the native population, local potentates, and important provincial princes to protect the march from the coast to Magdala and to provide a reliable supply of food and forage. The two most powerful Ethiopian princes in the north, Dajamach Kassai of Tigray and Wagshum Gobeze of Lasta both pledged to cooperate and aid the British Army, thus transforming an apparent invasion of Abyssinia into a conquest of a single mountain fortress defended by only a few thousand warriors in the employ of an unpopular ruler.

Additionally, the British secured the support of two Oromo Queens, Werkait and Mostiat, who served to block all escape routes from Magdala. At the same time the British marched south to Magdala, Tewodros advanced from the west, up the course of the Bashilo River , with the cannons including his prize creation, the massive Sebastopol that he had induced the European missionaries and foreign artisans to build for him at Gafat.

The Emperor intended to arrive at Magdala before the British, and although he had a shorter distance to cross and had started his journey ten days before Napier left Zula, his success was not certain, and he only arrived at his fortress ten days before his opponents. Rubenson notes that it was Tewodros, not the British expedition, which had to travel through hostile territory, for Tewodros's soldiers had marched under the threat of attacks from Gobeze 's numerically superior forces, and had been obliged to defend themselves against a hostile peasantry.

Tewodros's problems of provisioning for his army and transporting his artillery had also been much greater than Napier's. Most important of all, Tewodros could not trust even the four thousand soldiers who still followed him. Given the opportunity, they might abandon him as so many had already done. Tewodros provided one last demonstration of his lack of diplomatic skills on 17 February, when after accepting the submission of the inhabitants of Delanta , he asked them why they had waited until he appeared with his army.

When they answered that they had been prevented by rebellious Oromo and Gobeze, "he told them they were as bad as the others, and ordered them to be plundered. Consequently, when the King [Tewodros] further ordered them to be attacked, they all fought bravely, and, in conjunction with the inhabitants of Dawunt, killed a great number of his soldiers and seized their arms and mules. On 9 April, the lead elements of the British force reached the Bashilo, "and on the following morning, Good Friday, they crossed the stream barefooted, stooping to fill their water-bottles on the way.

On the afternoon of that Good Friday, the decisive Battle of Magdala began outside the fortress. The British had to get past the plateau at Arogye , which lay across the only open route to Magdala. The way was barred by thousands of armed Ethiopian soldiers camped around the hillsides with up to 30 artillery pieces.

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The British, not expecting the Ethiopians to leave their defenses and attack them, paid little attention to them as they formed up to deploy. Tewodros, however, ordered an attack, and thousands of soldiers, many of them armed only with spears, charged the British positions. The British quickly deployed to meet the charging mass, and poured devastating fire into their ranks, including rockets from the Naval Brigade and Mountain gun artillery fire, as well as rifle fire. Of the rocket fire, Captain Hozier remarked "Many a charred mass and mangled heap showed how terrible was the havoc, how awful the death".

After a minute chaotic battle, the defeated Ethiopians retreated, back to Magdala. Altogether, about to Ethiopian warriors were killed and 1, to 1, wounded, most of them seriously, while on the British side there were only twenty casualties, two fatally wounded men, nine seriously wounded, and nine lightly wounded. As such, the Arogye battle was far more bloody and consequential than the subsequent day's siege of the hill-top fort at Magdala. After repelling the Ethiopian attack, the British force moved onto Magdala the following day.

The most beautiful church in Israel. Magdala, Migdal near the Sea of Galilee, Israel

As the British approached, Tewodros released two hostages on parole to offer terms. Napier insisted on release of the hostages and an unconditional surrender. Tewodros refused to unconditionally surrender, but released the European hostages over the next two days, while the native hostages had their hands and feet amputated before being thrown over the edge of the precipice surrounding the plateau. The British continued their advance on 13 April, and laid siege to the fortress of Magdala.

The British attack began with a bombardment with mortars, rockets, and artillery.

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Infantry units then opened fire to provide cover for the Royal Engineers as they blew up the gates of the fortress at 4pm. The British then advanced and took the second gate, where they found Tewodros dead inside. Tewodros had committed suicide with a pistol that had originally been a gift from Queen Victoria, rather than face captivity. A modern commentator has tried to put a positive gloss on this event by stating "When Tewodros preferred self-inflicted death to captivity, he deprived the British of this ultimate satisfaction and laid the foundation for his own resurrection as a symbol of the defiant independence of the Ethiopian.

About a hundred paces beyond it lay the half-naked body of the Emperor himself, who had taken his own life with a pistol shot. A strange smile was on the remarkably young and attractive-looking face, and I was struck particularly by the finely drawn, boldly aquiline nose" [7]. Tewodros's body was cremated and his ashes buried inside a local church by the priests. The church itself was guarded by soldiers of the 33rd Regiment, who looted it, taking away a variety of gold, silver, and brass crosses, [27] as well as filigree works and rare tabots.

The casualties in the Battle for Magdala were comparatively small: the British artillery's bombardment killed about twenty Ethiopian warriors and civilians and wounded about , whereas a further forty-five Ethiopians were killed by rifle fire during the infantry assault. Altogether, the British troops' casualties included only ten seriously wounded and five lightly wounded. He also permitted his troops to loot and burn the fortress, including its churches, as a punitive measure.

The troops collected many historical and religious artefacts that were taken back to Britain, [28] many of which can now be seen in the British Library. Fifteen elephants and almost mules were required to carry away the booty. Magdala was in the territory of the Muslim Oromo tribes who had long ago taken it from the Amhara people ; however Tewodros had won it back from them some years before.

Two rival Oromo queens, Werkait and Mostiat, who had both allied themselves with the British claimed control of the conquered fortress as a reward. Napier much preferred to hand Magdala over to the Christian ruler of Lasta Wagshum Gobeze because if he were in control of the fortress, Gobeze would be able to halt the Muslim Oromos' advance and assume responsibility for over 30, Christian refugees from Tewodros's camp.

Yet as Gobeze was unresponsive to these overtures, much preferring to acquire Tewodros's cannons, and the two Oromo queens could not reach an arrangement, Napier decided to destroy the fortress. Following the destruction of Magdala, the British began to retrace their steps back to Zula, "an imposing procession, with the bands playing and the flags leading the way, but the army soon learned that they had earned no gratitude in Ethiopia; they were treated as simply another warlike tribe on the move, and now that they were going away like weak and defeated men they were an obvious target for attack.

Several artifacts were uncovered including pottery, coins and stone columns. This marked the first archaeological excavation of the ancient city of Adulis, a key African port of antiquity which served as a hub for trade along the Red Sea. By 2 June, the base camp was dismantled and as the men and hostages were loaded into the ships, Napier boarded the Feroze on 10 June, and set sail for England by way of the Suez Canal. On a curious side note, many of the hostages were unhappy with Napier's demand that they leave the country. Several hostages argued that they had long since become alienated from their old homeland in Europe and would no longer have any chance of building a new life for their families there.

The German observer Josef Bechtinger, who accompanied the expedition, wrote:. They were indignant, upset, at having to leave Abyssinia. How are we supposed to live now among people who have [become] alien to us and whom we no longer like? What are we supposed to live on? Bechtinger reported that many of them eventually returned to their adopted country from Suez by way of Massawa.

After the Magdala expeditions ended, many stolen objects, cultural artifacts and art objects found their way into state and private collections, family possessions, and the hands of ordinary soldiers. Most of the books and manuscripts went to the British Museum or the Bodleian Library in Oxford, while a few went to the Royal Library in Windsor Castle and to smaller British collections. All the scientific acquisitions and expropriated articles of the Magdala expedition stimulated and promoted an increased interest in the history and culture of Ethiopian among European researchers and the educated public.

The march to Magdala: the Abyssinian War of (Book, ) []

This laid the foundations for modern Ethiopian Studies , and also for the research on the ancient Kingdom of Aksum. From time to time some of the looted treasure has been returned to Ethiopia. For instance, an edition of the Kebra Nagast along with an icon of a picture of Christ wearing the crown of thrones were returned to Emperor Yohannes IV in the s.

In , Lady Valerie Meux bequeathed her collection of Ethiopian manuscripts to Emperor Menelik II , but her will was overturned shortly after her death in In , the Empress Zawditu was given one of the two stolen crowns of Tewodros but the more valuable gold crown was retained by the Victoria and Albert Museum. Tewodros had asked his wife, the Empress Tiruwork Wube , in the event of his death, to put his son, Prince Alemayehu , under the protection of the English.

March to Magdala

This decision was apparently made in fear that his life would be taken by any aspirant for the empire of Abyssinia. In accordance with these wishes, Alemayehu was taken to London where he was presented to Queen Victoria , who took a liking to the young boy. However, both the Queen and Napier were later concerned with the subsequent development of the young prince who became increasingly lonely, unhappy and depressed during this time. In , the prince died of illness at the age of He was buried near the royal chapel in Windsor with a funeral plaque placed to his memory by Queen Victoria.

After the withdrawal of the English, fighting for the succession to Tewodros's throne raged in Ethiopia from to Eventually, it was Dajamach Kassai of Tigray, not least because of the British weapons that had been handed over to him by the withdrawing Magdala expedition, who was able to expand his power and prevail over his rivals. In July , he won the Battle of Assam, near Adwa , even though he had far fewer troops defeating his old rival Wagshum Gobeze of Lasta. Kirkham was instrumental in training Ethiopian troops to Western military standards, raising and drilling what became known as the Emperor's Disciplined Force.