An Overview and Assessment of Gambella Trade (1904-1935)

The establishment of the Gambella trading post in 1904 was meant to be a brilliant British countermove to avert the virtual commercial hegemony in Ethiopia that the Djibouti-Addis Ababa Railway seemed to promise the French. Considered in the abstract, the venture had all the appearance of a stroke of diplomatic genius. In reality, however, it proved an undertaking embarked upon without full cognizance of the inherent geographical and political problems of the area. Early in the 20th century, Gambella managed to become the most important venue of Ethio-Sudanese trade, attracting some 70 percent of it. On the other hand, as late as 1935, Djibouti continued to be the channel for up to 75 percent of Ethiopia’s foreign trade. The remaining 25 percent was shared among the other routes. Notes, ref.

Title:An Overview and Assessment of Gambella Trade (1904-1935)
Author:Zewde, Bahru
Year:1987
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Volume:20
Issue:1
Pages:75-94
Language:English
Geographic terms: Ethiopia
Great Britain
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/219279
Abstract:The establishment of the Gambella trading post in 1904 was meant to be a brilliant British countermove to avert the virtual commercial hegemony in Ethiopia that the Djibouti-Addis Ababa Railway seemed to promise the French. Considered in the abstract, the venture had all the appearance of a stroke of diplomatic genius. In reality, however, it proved an undertaking embarked upon without full cognizance of the inherent geographical and political problems of the area. Early in the 20th century, Gambella managed to become the most important venue of Ethio-Sudanese trade, attracting some 70 percent of it. On the other hand, as late as 1935, Djibouti continued to be the channel for up to 75 percent of Ethiopia’s foreign trade. The remaining 25 percent was shared among the other routes. Notes, ref.