In 1862 the Ethiopian Emperor, Tewodros II, was in a precarious position as ruler. Much of his country was in revolt against him, and he controlled a small strip of territory that included a fort at the city of Magdala.
In an attempt to solve these problems and retain power he wrote a letter to several European powers, asking for assistance. He sent a letter to Queen Victoria asking for solidarity with his Christian kingdom, but he did not receive a response.
In order to get the attention of the British government he imprisoned several important British representatives. This caused the government in London to order an expedition to punish the emperor, transporting a large force hundreds of miles over mountainous terrain with no infrastructure.
As the British laid siege to his fortress at Magdala, Tewodros committed suicide with a pistol given to him as a gift by Queen Victoria, rather than face imprisonment. The British had won a resounding victory but the conflict was later described as one of the most 'expensive affairs of honour in history.'
Location drawn: Magdala, Abyssinia (Ethiopia)
- 1868-04-13 Abyssinian War ends as British and Indian troops capture Magdala and Ethiopian Emperor Tewodros II commits suicide
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