Percy Horace Gordon Powell- Cotton.

A sporting trip through Abyssinia; a narrative of a nine months' journey from the plains of the Hawash to the snows of Simien online

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Online LibraryPercy Horace Gordon Powell- CottonA sporting trip through Abyssinia; a narrative of a nine months' journey from the plains of the Hawash to the snows of Simien → online text (page 33 of 34)
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trees, where they are filled with honey and wax by the wild bees. It may
be noted that the national drinks, tej and araki, are both distilled from

The .Vbyssinian (Habashi) cofl'ee is indigenous in Kaffa (whence the
name), Gomo, Ennarea, and a nimnber of other districts. It has a fine
flavour, and, if better cultivated and not handicapped by heavy duties and
expensive freight, might again become the staple export of the country.
At present it is considered inferior in aroma to that produced in Harrar,
which is of excellent quality, and is even preferred by connoisseurs to the real
Mokka. Cotton grows wild in Harrar and many parts of Abyssinia,
especially in the region bordering on the Blue Nile (Abbai). It is also
largely cultivated throughout the Abyssinian uplands, where it is woven into
blankets and the " shamnias," which form the chief part of the national
costume. These shanimas of native manufacture are preferred by the
people to all European imitations which have hitherto been put upon the
market. Tobacco likewise grows well in Harrar and the Galla country,
and is of fine quality. It is extensively smoked by the natives of these
provinces, but little used by the Abyssinians except in the form of snuff.
None is exported, though it should find a ready sale in Arabia and the
eastern coasts of Africa. Iron-ore abounds in Damol, Agomeder, and
Harrar, and is smelted locally, and manufactured into spears, knives, tools,
and agricultural implements.

It will be gathered even from this brief sketch that the natural wealth
of the country is very considerable — the soil in many regions, and par-
ticularly in Harrar, being of extraordinary fertility — and that with improved
cultivation, a settled government, and the removal of the heavy disabilities
by which trade is hampered at present, the agricultural exports at least
might be almost indefinitely increased and a corresponding rise take place
in the value of imported goods. The drawbacks are the long distances
over which goods have to be carried, the primitive means of transport, the
frequent reloading, and the consequent heavy freight and interminable
delays. As stated above, goods are generally carried by camels from Zeila
or Jibuti to Gildessa, there reloaded on mules, which carry them as far as
Balgi (or Harrar), where they are transferred to donkeys, and thus taken
to Adis Ababa. A camel caravan takes from twenty to thirty days
between Zeila and Harrar, and thirty to forty-five days from there to Adis
Ababa. The journey from the capital over Debra Markos to Metemmah
occupies some thirty-two days ; that by Debra Tabor, Makalle, and Adua
to Massowah, about fifty-six. Goods can therefore come from the coast to
Adis Ababa in about two months, but no reliance can be placed upon this
estimate in any commercial venture, for the delays owing to the transfers


are so great and frequent, that the caravans often take three or four times
as long. The cost of transit from Zeila to the capital is from §4 1 to §46
per camel-load of 504 lbs. To this has to be added the 10 per cent
import and export duty, besides the tolls to be paid on the road, which
amount in the aggregate to another §3 per load. In the matter of tolls,
however, the Zeila route compares favourably with the one leading to
Massowah, on which they are collected no less than five times between
Adis Ababa and the sea. .-\11 these causes contribute to enhance the cost
of merchandise and thus to depress trade, in some cases proving absolutely
prohibitive. The British consular agent at Harrar, for instance, states that
the imports of coffee from the interior are now next to nothing, the sale
price of %\ per faraslah (40 lb.) not covering even the cost of transport
from the Abyssinian districts to Harrar.

I can only repeat my conviction that the readiest means of removing
these disabilities, and developing the trade with Abyssinia, as well as
securing the transit to ourselves, would be theimmediate construction of a light
railway either from Berbera or Zeila to Harrar and Tadcchamalca. Even if
it were necessary to guarantee a private company a certain rate of interest
for a few years — as was done in the case of the Canadian Pacific — I feel
sure that the surplus revenue would in a short time be sufficient to make
the guarantee merely nominal, while in a very few years the wisdom of such
a measure would be as apparent to all as it has been proved to be in the
parallel case I have cited. My own experience leads me thoroughly to
endorse the opinions expressed by Messrs. Baird and Keyser on the great
possibilities of Abyssinia as a field for commercial enterprise. Everywhere
in the interior, where 1 passed on my journey from Adis Ababa, crowds of
people gathered round my men at the various markets, asking if I had
nothing for sale. With a vast population only beginning to realise its
wants, with the standard of comfort rapidly rising and leading to an
increased demand for European goods, with a settled and just government
such as it has never known before, Abyssinia has a great commercial
future before it, and the nation whose merchants and manufacturers first
realise this and grasp the opportunity will reap a golden harvest.

3. Ekvthrea.i
The Italian colony of Erythrea is divided into three great climatic
zones, each of which may be again subdivided into an upper and a lower
region. Starting from the coast line they are : —

' I am indebted for most of the facts and figures contained in this sketch to Major
Vittoria Elia, chief of the staff of the Itahan forces in Erythrea. The Italians spell, as
they pronounce, the name Eritrea ; so Hkewise Etiopia, etc.


I. Quolla. — Elevation below 1500 m. (ca. 5000 ft.) above sea-level.

(ii) Lower region. Temperature min. 28° to max. 48° C. (82' to
118' K.). This is the district called the Sanihar, outside
Massowah. The soil is arid and sandy ; trees arc few, except in
the neighbourhood of water. Products nil. The fauna com-
prises lion, hya;na, jackal, many kinds of antelope, and along the
coast, ostriches. Reptiles abound ; many venomous snakes,
python, and crocodile arc found.

{h) Upper region. Temperature min. 22" to max. 28' C. (72° to
82° F.). Flora; tamarisk, mimosa, euphorbia or qi/o/quol Uen.
Products : incense and gums, ebony, cotton, and maize. Fauna :
lion, leopard, buffalo, rhinoceros, elephant, hippopotamus, ante-
lope, and gazelles.

2. Usina Dega. — Elevation, 1500 to 2500 metres above sea-level (ca.
5000 to 8000 ft.).

(a) Lower region. Temperature min. 22' to max. 25° C. (72' to

77° F.).

(b) Upper region. Temperature min. 13' to max. 17' C. (55° to

63° F.). Flora : numerous trees and shrubs, e.g., sycamore,
terebinth, lemon, orange, banana, coffee. .Ml kinds of cereals
grow well. Cattle, good horses, and mules are plentiful.

3. Dega, on the Abyssinian plateau. Above the altitude of 2500
metres (ca. 8000 feel).

( jiiendliness, 217

Hints to spuitsmen in Abyssinia, 491-507

Hippo-hunters, 279, 281

llippopot.-imi, 54, 198, 480

Horn tumblers, 244

Hornibrook, Mr., 436

Horse-fair, 115

Horses, grooniinsj expbined to Eniperi

Hot springs, 22, 43
Hussein punished, 211
Huts, 65

Hyrona, 330, 486
Hyraces, 1S9, 4S6

Ibex, 14S, 362, 370, 478-4S0

favourite hunting-grounds, 3S1
Ilg, M., Councillor of State, 72
Illustrated books, 119
Illustrated papers, 188
Inchatkab, capital of Simien, 355
Indian expedition, 149
Indian traders, u8
Inscriptions in stones, 401, 402
Interpreters, 391, 437. 5°7
Italian and native troops, 447-450
Italian cannon, 212
Italian prisoners, 66, 399
Italian residency, Adis Ababa, 76
Italian territory reached, 430
Italians, war with, 380
Itch, prevalence of, 220
Ivory, 52, 84, 89, 516

Jackals, 26

varieties of, 460
Jardine, Sir William, 466
Jarso, 455, 460
Jewellery, 1 10
Jibuti port —

railway to Harrar, 510

sale of arms, etc.. Si, 516
Jirrehe landmark, 231
Jungle fire, 203

Karoder rock, 192

Kew Gardens, examination of native

grains, 451
Khartoum, 227
KiTi'^ .Vcizanas [see Aeizanas)
Kiiii; I olin's interpreter, 391
Ki,,,;-; Scat, 4'0
Iviny Solomon's Seal Order, 416
Klipspringer, 27, 189, 466
Kucharmerer hill, 269
Kudu, IS, 16, 18, 25, 26, 329, 477

I,a"arde, M., Duke of Entotlo, 86, 89,

Lake Ordah, 39
Lake Rudolf, 2
Lake Rudolf Kxpedition —
Captain Wellby's, 79
Harrington's advice, 78
Mcnclik's permission, 100
route decided, 79
Lake Tana, 273, 277, 279, 455, 456
Lakes remarkable for scenery, 279
Lane, Mi., 77. iS?
Lasman, 15

Leather-tanning district, 244
Ledj Marcha, story of, 391, 395
Legends, 294, 3S6

Leontietr, Count, expedition to Omo,
72. 177

Leopards, 189, 45S

Light railway, suggestion, 513, 518

Lilies, varieties of, 329

Lion-hunter feted, 432

Lion-hunting, 63, 225, 331

Lobelia trees, 357, 479

Locusts, 352

Loder, Sir Edmund, 474

London, departure from, 3

London and England, governor's
inquiries, 226-228

Lourre village, 361

Lurey village, 479

Lydekker, Mr. R., 47S

M'Kelvie, Mr., 170; story of, 152
Mad Mullah, 434, 510
Magazine-jiistols presented to Rases,

214, 227, 289
Magdala, 101, 152
Mahomed, 10, 38, 69
Mail steamers —

cargoes imported by, 520
detained at Aden and Marseilles, 4
Mammals collected by Mr. Powell-
Cotton, Mr. Rothschild's descrip-
tion, 453-4S6
Managasha forest, 158, 454, 455 .
Mantecura tanks, 143 -
M.ireb river, 424, 521
Maria Theresa dollars (see- Money) j
Marian\ Izzeto, 386
^L^rkets, 106

Adis>a, 108-117
Adua, 390
Debra Markos, 209
Dembatcha, 218
Dungoler, 243



Marriages —

religious and civil, in Abyssinia, 90,

Russo-Abyssipian union, 71
Martin, Ur, 98, 10 1
Masfin, Ras, 230
Maskelly Exsost peninsula, 283
Massowab, 520

journey to, 1 78

arrival, 439

permission refused by Russian Lega-
tion, 178
Masters, Dr. Maxwell, 357
Matschie, Dr., 4S2

Medical treatment of natives, 216, 220,

Online LibraryPercy Horace Gordon Powell- CottonA sporting trip through Abyssinia; a narrative of a nine months' journey from the plains of the Hawash to the snows of Simien → online text (page 33 of 34)