Communication de Serge Dewel à l’ICES20
ADDIS ABÄBA: The Making of a Capital
in a Nation Building Process
ICES20 University of Mäqälle (Ethiopia)
Panel 516 “Modern Ethiopia, from Adwa to the Derg”
October 3rd, 2018, room 04
While fiercely struggling for its independence during the second half of the 19th century, Ethiopia extended considerably its territory. A region of meadows and mountains, at the southern march, became the centre of the country in its new borders. There, in 1886, what was first founded as a garrison camp for its strategic position became Addis Abäba, soon the new capital at the crossroads of the world.
This communication aims to highlight the part played by the national sovereignty and its recognition in the particular process of the Ethiopian capital foundation and its perpetuation, as well as its development during the 20th century. The main growing phases of Addis Abäba might only be understood in terms of its international context whilst Ethiopian sovereignty and independence were jeopardized. During those particular times, the rulers used Addis Abäba as a stage for its performance, expanding the city and provided it with architectural and monumental heritage. For this, they drew in the country’s long-time history, in the strong commitment to the Ethiopian Christianity – the Täwahǝdo – and into the Kǝbrä Nägäst the national myth. The successive systems and reigns until the 21st century have adopted the same urban and building response.