Aug 17 2011

Text of Wuchale Treaty | 1889 Ethio-Italian Treaty

Treaty of friendship and trade between the kingdom of Italy and the Empire of Ethiopia (Treaty of Wuchale)

His Majesty King Umberto I of Italy and Menelik His Majesty The King of Kings of Ethiopia, in order to make meaningful and lasting peace between the two Kingdoms of Italy and Ethiopia have agreed to conclude a treaty of friendship and commerce .

And His Majesty the King of Italy having delegated as his representative, Count Pietro Antonelli, Commander of the Crown of Italy, Knight SS. Maurice and Lazarus, his extraordinary posted by His Majesty the King Menelik, whose full powers were found in good and due form, and His Majesty the King Menelik concluded in his name as King of Kings of Ethiopia, agreed and concludes the following Articles:

Article 1.

There will be perpetual peace and friendship between His Majesty the King of Italy and His Majesty the King of Kings of Ethiopia and between their respective heirs, successors, servants and protected populations.

Article 2.

Each Contracting Party shall be represented by a diplomatic agent accredited to I’altra and may appoint consuls, agents and consular officers in the other.

Such officials shall enjoy all the privileges and immunities according to the customs of the European governments.

Article 3.

To remove any ambiguity about the limits of the territories over which the two Contracting Parties shall exercise sovereign rights, a special commission composed of two delegates and two Ethiopians will draw on Italian soil with special signals a permanent boundary line whose strongholds are established as below:

a) the line of the plateau will mark the Ethiopian-Italian border;

b) from the region Arafali Hala, Sagan and Asmara are villages in the Italian border;

c) Adi and Adi Nefas Joannes Bogos will be on the side of the Italian border;

d) by Adi Joannes a straight line extended from east to west will mark the border between Italy and Ethiopia.

Article 4.

The monastery of Debra Bizen with all their possessions will remain the property of the Ethiopian government but will never use it for military purposes.

Article 5.

The caravans from or to Massawa to Ethiopian territory pay on one single law of the customs entry of 8 per cent on the value of the goods.

Article 6.

The trade of arms and ammunition from or through Massawa to Ethiopia will be free for the only King of Kings of Ethiopia. Whenever they want to get the passage of such kinds will make regular application to the Italian authorities, bearing the royal seal.

The wagons with load of weapons and ammunition will travel under the protection and cover of Italian soldiers until alconfine Ethiopia.

Article 7.

The subjects of each of the two Contracting Parties will be free to enter, travel, go out with their merchandise and effects in the other country and will enjoy greater protection of the Government and its employees.

And, therefore, strictly forbidden to people on both sides armed contractors to meet many or few and pass their borders in order to impose itself on people and groped by force to provide food and livestock.

Article 8.

The Italians in Ethiopia and Ethiopians in Italy or Italian possessions can buy or sell, take or lease and in any other manner dispose of their property no less than the natives.

Article 9.

And fully guaranteed in both states the option for other subjects to practice their religion.

Article 10.

Any disputes or quarrels between the Italians in Ethiopia will be defined by the Italian in Massawa or his delegate.

The fights between Italians and Ethiopians will be defined by the Italian in Massawa or his delegate and a delegate of the Ethiopian.

Article 11.

Dying in an Italian in Ethiopia or an Ethiopian in Italian territory, the local authorities were carefully kept all his property and held at the disposal of government to which the deceased belonged.

Article 12.

In any event, circumstance or for any Italians accused of a crime will be judged by the Italian. That is why the Ethiopian authorities shall immediately deliver to the  Italians in Massawa accused of having committed a crime. They also accused the Ethiopians of crime committed on Italian soil will be judged by the Ethiopian.

Article 13.

His Majesty the King of Italy and His Majesty the King of Kings of Ethiopia is obliged to deliver criminals who may have become refugees, to escape punishment by the rulers of one on the other domains.

Article 14.

The slave trade was against the principles of the Christian religion, His Majesty the King of Kings of Ethiopia is committed to prevent it with all his power, so that no caravan of slaves can cross its member.

Article 15.

This Treaty shall be valid throughout the Ethiopian Empire.

Article 16.

While in the present Treaty, after five years from the date of signature, one of two High Contracting Parties may wish to introduce some modifications to do so, but he must prevent the other a year earlier, while remaining firm and every single concession on territory.

Article 17.

His Majesty the King of Kings of Ethiopia can[1] use the Government of His Majesty the King of Italy for all treatments that did business with other powers or governments.

Article 18.

If His Majesty the King of Kings of Ethiopia intends to grant special privileges to nationals of third state to establish businesses and industries in Ethiopia, will always be given, under equal conditions, preference to the Italians.

Article 19.

This treaty being drafted in Italian and Amharic and the two versions agree with each other perfectly, both texts shall be deemed official, and will in every respect equal faith.

Article 2O.

This Treaty shall be ratified.

In witness whereof, Count Pietro Antonelli on behalf of His Majesty the King of Italy, and His Majesty the King of King Menelik of Ethiopia, in his own name, signed and affixed their seal to this Treaty, at the camp Uccialli of 25 miazia 1881 corresponding to May 2, 1889.

Imperial Seal of Ethiopia.

His Majesty the King of Italy Pietro Antonelli

Ratification of MS Monza, September 29, 1889


[1] Article 17 has an obligatory sense in the Italian language version of the Treaty.

  1. gonderew

    minilik did not betrayed only yohannes but even he did it in tewodros the great martryar.he wrote a letter to queen of england(elizabet)i read the copy of the original letter in one book shortely it says he(minilik)was sent a number of troops to help the british but they did not reached mekdela timely.he said that he feel sory for that at the last he says am glad to hear the death of was unbeliveable to me but it is the copy of the original letter with a seal of the king.he betrayd his country for his selfish needs.yohannes also betrayed by him(minilik) the italians took some of eritrean lands when yohannes was in gonder defending us the people of gonder.the great fai lur of the wuchale treaty is not article 17 but minilk gave legtimacy for the occupation italan forces of fritrean lands so we lost sea outleats.becuase of this eritreans start to erase ethopianism from their bottom of heart and we ethiopians suffer problems still even 100years ago.minilik did the fatal mistake of the century.

    1. Getachew

      That is true Gonderwe, His majesty Yonahhes have paid his life for his country while the mahadists invaded Gondar and menilik was sitting asside waiting for defeat of the emperor/Yohannes/ to ensure the meniliks or shoans power thirst, inilik did nothing as far as Ethiopian soernity is convcerned, he was totally blind and envy of the Tigreans power and did try to lock this contry by gifting Eritrea as as to be the icon by a treaty with the Italias to get aminition fo him and him only. Shame on this rusted leader who lead this country to a double endless suffer!


  2. Daniel

    I have great respect for Yohanes IV. He was a real hero and did great favours for ethiopia (saving it from Egyptian, mehadists and Turks). Yet, it would be anacronistic and a double standard to point that Yohaness had meagre resources to fight the Brits while judgng that Minilik should have fought the Italians to drive them out of Eritrea as he also had meager resources. For that matter, it was during Yohanes’s reign that the Italians seized Messewa and its environs, as Ras Alula was unable to defend it after serious of battles.

    It is obvious that Article 6 is meant to bare Tigrian forces from access to armament and munition. But does this surprise anyone? wouldnt any government want to bare potential opponents from access to armament? Why is there alot of problem between TPLF and Sheabiya, isnt it because eritreans support Ethiopian rebels? I dont know what surprised you and let you make it sound as if it was a secret treaty with Italians against Tigrian nobility. In fact, it was obviuos that he (minilik) had power struggle with the Tigrian nobility and Yohanes’s decendants(who later become part of the ruling family of Hailesilasse) but not to the level of being anti-Tigran. For that matter, it is very well recorded that Minilik gave a lot of munition, arms and money ato Ras Mengesha Yohanes after the Adwa war on his way home. I think minilik did the right thing at that time and fought galantly to defend Ethiopia in the first Italo-ethiopian war.

    The serious of mistakes done about Eritrea were done after the reunification. however, claims that Minilik was unti-Tigrian are to the least naive and to the worest recisit and trachereous. It is only recently that I began to understand that the nihilist politics of the TPLF during the rebel years were deeply rooted in the misinterpretation and misunderstanding of Ethiopian politics of the last quarter of the 19th century. A recent book (Ye Tigray hizb tigl ena yetimkihitegnoch sera-an out-and-out racist and provocative book-if it was a certain non tigrian who wrote such a book against Tigreans, i am sure he would have been in a lot of trouble. i hope the writer would face justice some timein the future) and comenatries by ardent TPLF supporters and members (Sibhat Nega) also testify this fact. it is amazing to see this deep resentment felt by many disillusioned TPLF supporters against Minilik at the time when they are ruling the very country made brick-by-brick by Emperor minilik II himself. Lastly, it is important to note that nothing (inluding whatever is done by minilik II) can compensate for all the mistakes done or are being done by TPLF with respect to Eritrea.