[This is a declaration by the Kingdom of Italy and its parliament regarding the transfer of the Assab area from Rubattino Company to the government of Italy and the creation of a colony on the area. This Act granted power to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to enter into conventions of friendship and commerce with the “Sovereigns and Heads of the neighboring regions” and establish good neighborly terms with them and for the safety of the colony]


Creation of the Assab colony

July 5, 1882

Umberto I, by the grace of God and the will of the nation, King of Italy

The Senate and the House of Representatives have approved;

We have sanctioned and promulgate the following:

Article 1.

Established on the west coast of the Red Sea, an Italian colony in the territory of Assab, under the sovereignty of Italy.

The territory aforesaid shall consist of:

1/ a wide zone of six miles from Ras in Ras Dermah Lumah;

2/ from an area of about two miles from Ras larghezia Lumah to Sceik Duran;

3/ of a wide zone of four miles from Sceik Duran Ras Synthia;

4/ Sannabor Island, opposite to Ras Lumah;

5/ of the adjacent islands and the coast between parallels of Ras and Ras Lumah Synthia.

Article 2.

Be given the opportunity to provide the Government with royal decrees, or ministerial, according to the importance of the subjects, nll’o! Ordination legislative, administrative, judicial and economic development of the colony, with those rules will be convenient to local conditions and to vary conpotestà Nelia same form according to the results of experience.

The colony will be under the direct dependence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which will have to adopt the necessary measures by agreement with the relevant ministries in their respective subjects.

Among the power granted to the Government by this Act include the following:

Regular assignments from the civil commigsario therein established, not that of officials who may be committed under the hierarchical DEPENDENCE Commissioner, the public administration in Assab by prescribing standards that must comply;

Grant in the territory of Assab exemption from payment of taxes of any kind, whether direct or indirect, for thirty years; Establish a free port in Assab, with full exemption from all customs duty for import, export or transit, as well as the maritime rights;

Companies or to grant that right, Italian, indigenous or foreign concessions of public land, or other quualsivoglia in possession of Assab, and out, with general rules, conditions;

Provide for public works in progress, and other urgent in that territory;

Conclude with the Sovereigns and Heads of the next regions conventions of friendship and commerce, and establish good neighborly terms with them and for the safety of the Italian colony.

Will be presented to Parliament in session in 1884 a report to explain the measures taken, the first order of the colony, the status of ‘various services and the relationship of that with the neighboring populations. Such a report will subsequently be presented regularly to the Parliament at the end of each biennium.

Article 3.

The codes and the Italian laws on the territory of Assab will have their application Italians of the Kingdom, as citttadinanza relationships, family and marital status, succession, and generally intutto that to which it is not waived by the laws and spociali administrative measures taken to the colony of Assab, as also to regulate their legal relationships and dealings with the Indians or people of foreign nationality, but that those between strangers, or between natives and foreigners.

Compared to individuals of the indigenous population, will be complied with their religious beliefs and practices. Shall be governed by customary law applicable to them so far their personal status, family relationships, marriages, inheritance, and report tuttele private law, as though the law does not object to universal moral and public order, it will be waived by express provisions.

The jurisdiction will be exercised to the natives in these matters, and judgments that will take place between them without the participation and interest of other Italian or foreign persons, being a judge, graduated in the Muslim Law (fall), but these will be appointed by the Royal Commissioner, and administer justice in the name of the King of Italy.

Article 4.

It approved the agreement signed in March 10, 1882 between the Company and Gorerno R. Rubattino and C. for the transfer of all rights and property of the Company aforesaid the Government, and to regulate each other pecuniary relations employees from the purchase and creation of the commercial establishment of Assab.

For pagmmento, including agreed upon, in favor of Company A. Rubattino and C, three equal annual installments of 138,666.66 pounds ciascuoa will be allocated the necessary funds at the extraordinary budgets of the Treasury for the years 1882, 1883, 1884, in a special chapter under the name of Expenditure purchase in Assab.

Will be allocated in a special chapter of the budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in extraordinary session for the year 1882, Ia sum of 60,000 francs to cover expenses in the first arrangement of the colony, for the continuation of public works in progress, not that esplorazloni inward, subject to further provide exercises in the ordinary and extraordinary expenses needed for possedimentodi Assab, by regular appropriations in the budgets of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Public Works.

With other special law will be provided for the construction of a port in Assab and other work needed there.

The costs for the staff of the Commissioner (allowances, daily allowances, gratuities, etc.). Assab for inspection, and for missions related to the settlement of Assab, in continuing to provide the Chapter 9 (travel and missions) of the budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

We order that the present, bearing the seal of the State, is plugged into the official collection of laws and decrees of the Kingdom of Italy, sending anyone up to observe and enforce it as law of the State.

Fate in Rome, addi July 5, 1882.


Source: Ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Développement international. https://diplomatie.gouv.fr/

Related posts in Colonial era Treaties archive

Convention of Awsa b/n Italy, Shoa and Sultan of Danakil – 1883

– Contracts of Assab and Ras Lumah 1869 and 1870

– Text of Wuchale Treaty | 1889 Ethio-Italian Treaty

– The 1902 Treaty between Ethiopia and Great Britain

Fetsum Berhane is an Ethiopian resident, economist researcher and a blogger on HornAffairs.

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