Leaving aside the uncertain and confused notifications of Ethiopia in antiquity and which, moreover, were limited to the coastal region of the Aksumite kingdom, it can be said that in the Middle Ages the first information was that which Marco Polo reported to us from an indirect source. Italian missionaries and merchants frequented the country certainly before the fifteenth century and, on the basis of the information provided by them and that provided by Abyssinians who came to Italy, a map of Ethiopia made in Florence around 1450 and inserted in some codes of Geography had to be outlined. by Ptolemy, and the representation contained in the famous globe by Fra Mauro, cosmographer of the Venetian Republic (1465; see below: Political and cultural relations with Italy). L’ Christian Ethiopia and ruled by a Christian emperor was now identified with the legendary country of the Priest Gianni. Therefore, when King John II of Portugal wanted to enter into a relationship with this sovereign to have him support the commercial enterprises he intended to carry out in the East, he sent a specific mission to look for him in 1482, entrusting it to Pedro da Covilham and Affonso de Paiva. After various events, when the latter died, the Covilhão was able to enter the country of the mysterious emperor via Zeila (Zayla), who welcomed him kindly, was generous with support and favors, without however allowing him to return to his homeland.
According to topschoolsintheusa, thirty years after his arrival, the great Portuguese expedition led by Don Rodrigo de Lima (1520-26) found him in Ethiopia, whose events were told to us by Francisco Alvares. His report, which can be considered, after the previous reports of the Italians, the first widespread description of Ethiopia, was largely inspired by the information provided by Covilhão, whose stay in the country had given way to learn its language and to know its customs. It seemed that Don Rodrigo’s mission would have a fate equal to that of Covilhão; but the danger of the Muslim incursion led by Ahmad Grāñ and the need to invoke Portuguese help, which was victoriously brought by the heroic team commanded by Cristoforo da Gama (v. whose stay in the country had given way to learn the language and to know its customs. It seemed that Don Rodrigo’s mission would have a fate equal to that of Covilhão; but the danger of the Muslim incursion led by Ahmad Grāñ and the need to invoke Portuguese help, which was victoriously brought by the heroic team commanded by Cristoforo da Gama (v.gama, Christovam from). With the power of the Grāñ overthrown and security and independence restored to Ethiopia, those relations of friendship and awe were activated with the Portuguese liberators which were to lead, due to the religious intolerance of the missionaries, to the expulsion of the Portuguese (1632). Thus there was throughout the period in which the Portuguese influence lasted a series of reports drawn up by the same missionaries who recognized the country, studied its physical, social and economic conditions, learned its languages, reconstructed it, with the aid of the chronicles locals, history. The names of his father Gaspare Páez (died 1622), who in 1603 visited Lake Tana (Ṭānā) and the sources of the Abai (Abbāy); by his father Girolamo Lobo, who remained in Ethiopia until his expulsion, following it in every direction and wrote an extensive historical and descriptive work; of his father Manoel d’Almeida, who went as far as Lake Zuai (Zwāy) ahead of modern travelers by centuries; of his father Antonio Fernández, who in the years 1613-1614 tried in vain to reach the coast of Malindi, crossing the unknown countries of the South Ethiopian; that of his father Manoel Barradas, who in the years 1624-33 lived in Tigrè (Tĭgrē, Tĭgray) leaving us a very accurate description of it, are intimately linked, together with that of Alvares, to the history of the first geographical reconnaissance of the region and of its first representations cartographic. All these reports, particularly that of his father Lobo, were widespread in Europe and were translated into the main European languages. The same can be said of the they are intimately linked, together with that of Alvares, to the history of the first geographical reconnaissance of the region and its first cartographic representations. All these reports, particularly that of his father Lobo, were widespread in Europe and were translated into the main European languages. The same can be said of the they are intimately linked, together with that of Alvares, to the history of the first geographical reconnaissance of the region and its first cartographic representations. All these reports, particularly that of his father Lobo, were widespread in Europe and were translated into the main European languages.
The same can be said of the Historia Aethiopica by Job Ludolf (1681), who, informed by an Abyssinian monk from S. Stefano dei Mori in Rome, gave us the most complete work, for his time, around Ethiopia. With the Portuguese expelled, relations with Europe were almost completely interrupted. For the sec. In the seventeenth century the report of a trip that an Italian gentleman, Giacomo Baratti (v.) Would have made there, and of which only the English (1650) and German (1676) translations are known, both very rare; and that of the Savoyard doctor Ch.-Jacques Poncet, who entered Abyssinia via the Sennar (Sennār) route in the company of his father Saverio da Benevento (1697) and was called to Gondar by that negus. For the sec. XVIII, passing over other minor relationships, we remember for its breadth and importance and above all for its great diffusion and interest that aroused, the one given to us by the Scottish doctor James Bruce (v.), who, having entered Abyssinia via the Massawa road in September 1769, was in Adua (‛Adwā) and Gondar and remained in Abyssinia until 1773, visiting Lake Tana and the sources of the Abai, he claimed to have discovered the sources of the Nile, already discovered by P. Poez in 1603, traveling through the town in various directions. After Bruce’s journey, Abyssinia was the destination of numerous expeditions which, generally for geographical and scientific purposes, but also with political and economic intentions, were organized by travelers of all nationalities, but especially English, French and Germans and later Italians., Russians, Americans, Swiss, Spaniards, who with their works have enriched our knowledge of this vast and interesting country. These, however, it is useful to warn, for almost the entire nineteenth century they limited themselves to Abyssinia; with some limited incursion into the more southerly territories included today within the political limits of the Empire; territories that only in the last years of the century began to be crossed by the itineraries of travelers and to be recognized, geographically, at least in their general lines. Limiting ourselves to mentioning the most fruitful explorations from the point of view of geographical and cartographic knowledge, we will first of all recall, in chronological order, the travels of the English consul Henry Salt, made in the years 1806 and 1809-1810: the second of them is especially notable. for the information collected and reported on the countries of Northern Ethiopia up to Takkazè (Takkazē) that the Salt – unable to go as far as Gondar – diligently scoured and described. The exploration of the German Eduard Rüppel, carried out in the years 1831-1833, was even more fruitful: he, also coming from Massawa, went as far as Gondar and Lake Tana performing astronomical determinations on which he based the construction of the map accompanying his report (Frankfurt s. M. 1838-40). Of lesser scientific interest, though extended to a wider field, that of the French Edmond Combes and Maurice Tamisier, who from Massawa in the years 1835-37 crossed all of Abyssinia up to Scioa (Šawā) and the villages Galla (Paris 1838).
Very interesting, however, also for the new itinerary followed, the journey and the report of C.-E.-X. Rochet d’Hericourt, that he was twice at the Scioa (1839-40 and 1843) starting from Tagiura and making topographical determinations and geological observations there (Paris 1841 and 1846). The English Ch. T. Beke (v.) Also entered Ethiopia by the Tagiura route, giving us the first news of the depression of Lake Assal, who between the years 1840 and 1844 remained in Ethiopia, especially along the Scioa and the Goggiam (Goğğām) and then returning to Massawa. The great scientific expedition, led by the French naval officer Ch.-Th. Lefebvre, who, having entered Abyssinia in 1839 via the via di Massaua, remained there until 1843, traveling it in every direction and reporting a wide range of topographical, physical and naturalistic studies (Paris 1848). But an eminent place in the history of exploration of the Ethiopia belongs to the work of the French astronomer Antoine d’Abbadie (v.), Who with his brother Arnaud was in Ethiopia between the years 1838-1848 and alone, with his own astronomical and trigonometric observations, laid the foundations for the construction of a geodesic map of the region, carrying out a work that has perhaps no parallel in the history of geography.
In the same period we should also remember the travels of the English missionaries Ch. W. Isenberg and JL Krapf, who among their other fruitful explorations in East Africa were also in Scioa, from 1839 to 1842; that of R. Burton (v.), who, first European, penetrated the hitherto mysterious city of Harar; that of the French Guillaume Lejan, French consul in Massawa, who between 1862 and 1864, sent on a mission by his government to King Theodore,magdala), various publications of scientific interest for the region crossed by the expedition; among which, the official report (Record of the expedition to Abyssinia, London 1870), and that of the geographer CR Markham (A history of the Abyssinian Expedition, London 1869) rich in maps, plans, meteorological observations, etc. After the disappearance of Theodore, who for some time had interrupted the relations of the European world with Abyssinia, these resumed with fervor, especially in the southern region, where the consolidation and extension towards the south of the sovereignty of the king of Scioa promised more and new field of action. We remember first of all the great expedition to the Equatorial Lakes organized by the Italian Geographic Society on the advice of Msgr. Massaia (v.), Established in the region since 1842: expedition that took place in the years 1876 and 1880 under the command of O. Antinori (v.) And which, despite the painful events suffered and the death of G. Chiarini (v.) and of Fr. Leone des Avanchers, he brought, with the report of the chap. A. Cecchi (v.), a highly valuable contribution to the knowledge of the southern countries of Ethiopia. Almost contemporary is the mission to the negus Giovanni of the German W. Rohlfs, accompanied by Dr. Stecker, who remained in Abyssinia until July 1883. The latter was responsible for a regular survey of Lake Tana and various itineraries and reconnaissance in the source region of Hawash (Ḥawāš) at Lake Zuai, in the Wollo Galla and in the upper Golima valley, on the Semien mountains around which, due to the precocious death of the traveler, there is limited information.