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Rifles of Emperor Menelik II: Ethiopian Gewehr 88 and Karabiner 88

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In 1889, Emperor Menelik II ascended to power in Ethiopia, and would rule for 20 years, moving Ethiopia (aka Abyssinia) forward into the modern age. He brought railways, sewer systems, telegraph lines, and other modern amenities to the country, particularly the capital of Addis Ababa. In addition, Menelik II was a very capable logistician and military strategist, and decisively defeated an Italian colonial invasion at the Battle of Adwa in 1896. This victory was made possible by Ethiopian acquisition of modern arms of many types. Early support came from Orthodox Russia in the form of Berdan rifles, but other arms would flow into the country as well, including Gewehr 88 and Karabiner 88 rifles and carbines. These two are marked in Amharic as Menelik’s property, and are a part of what allowed Ethiopia to be the only major African nation not colonized by Europe.

Thanks to InterOrdnance for giving me access to these rifles to bring to you!

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