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by Haggai Erlich

Ras Alula (1847-1897) was one of the Big Men or Telek Saw who played a prominent role in the making of modern Ethiopia. He was famous enough to be lamented by a British historian as, "the greatest leader that Abyssinia has produced since the death of Emperor Theodore in 1868." As remembered by the Ethiopians and reflected in their literature, "the famous and brave Ras Alula" was a great warrior whose valor and military skill contributed greatly to various important victories over Ethiopia's enemies. Both Italians and Ethiopians regarded Alula as the most persistent opponent of Italian involvement in Ethiopian affairs. Professor Haggai Erlich's Ras Alula and the Scramble for Africa: A Political Biography has all the ingredients of personal drama. The life and times of this great Ethiopian political figure of the 19th century in its vicissitudes reflects some of the major issues in his period. The revival of Tigrean hegemony over Ethiopia; the military victories which guaranteed the survival of Ethiopia's independence; the rise of Menilek II and the great national victory near Adwa were all milestones in the Ras's life. Simultaneously, the story of this son of a peasant - his successes and failures, his ambitions and weaknesses, his achievements and mistakes - was an important factor in those developments. This biography makes a significant contribution in the study of an important chapter in the history of Ethiopia and Eritrea through the experience of a person who was not the head of the state. As such, it is also an insignificant analysis of late 19th century Ethiopian sociopolitics

Paperback: 223 pages