Mostafa Minawi

Senior Core Fellow
Period of Stay: 
October 2020 - June 2021
Cornell University, the USA
Project Title: 
Ottoman-Ethiopian Relations and the Geopolitics of Imperialism in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea Basin
Project Abstract: 

Relying on a large set of archival documents recently made available at the General Directorate of National Archives in Istanbul, this project will uncover an untold history of Ottoman imperial ambitions along the Red Sea coast stretching from Djibouti to the Suez, and the northern Somali coast from Bab el-Mandab to the tip of the Horn of Africa. This book project will bring to light an Istanbul-Addis Ababa imperial axis of power which existed in dialectic tension with the other North-South axes that stretched from European imperial capitals to the African coasts of the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. The result promises to be a complex global history of competing imperial interests in the period between the Conference of Berlin (1884-85) and the First World War. A trans-regional project cannot be written by relying on Ottoman imperial records only. That is why I have conducted research in several archives and libraries in the UK, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Djibouti, and Somalia. The result will be a book that transcends the boundaries of area studies: a new history of shared political interests and competing imperial goals between the only two non-western European empires with territorial claims and expansionist ambitions in Africa at the turn of the 20th century.