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ETHIOPIA / SUDAN / SOUTH SUDAN: Abyssinia / Army/Air, Fifth Edition.


A rare advanced aeronautical chart of Central and South-western Ethiopia (including Addis Ababa) and Southern Sudan made in the wake of World War II, predicated upon the latest information supplied by Royal Air Force, published by the War Office in London.

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This intriguing aeronautical chart depicts the Ethiopian Highlands, including Addis Ababa, and extends through south-western Ethiopia into what is today South Sudan, including Juma.  It was made in 1948, in the wake of World War II, whereupon Ethiopia was a key theatre.  It is predicated upon the best information supplied by the Royal Air Force.

Ethiopia was invaded and occupied by Mussolini’a Fascist Italy in 1936, deposing Emperor Haile Selassie.  This was of great concern to Britain, as the Ethiopian Highlands occupied a strategically key position lording over the Red Sea coast, as well as British-controlled territories in Sudan, Somalia, Uganda and Kenya.  Upon the beginning of World War II, Italy assumed the offense, but was soon repelled by the British forces, which invaded Ethiopia.  The British captured Addis Ababa in April 1941, and crushed the mainstream Italian opposition at the Battle of Gondar in November of that year.  While the British had to contend with an Italian guerrilla insurgency until September 1943, they eventually assumed control over the entire country.  Britain returned Ethiopia to Haile Selassie’s sovereign rule by the Anglo-Ethiopian Agreement of December 1944.  The present map was made when Ethiopia was a fully independent country, closely allied to Britain and the Western establishment.

The present aeronautical chart follows a novel design, employing purple tints to denote elevation, making the relief much clearer for pilots.  The map shows all major landward details, such as rivers, mountain ranges, swamps, lakes, cities and towns, etc.  In the legend, in the lower right, labelled as ‘Reference to Air Information’, the map locates and names all proven aerodromes and landing grounds; unconfirmed aerodromes and landing grounds; all abandoned aerodromes and landing grounds; as well seaplane stations and alighting areas.  Additionally, the map delineates lines of magnetic variation for establishing flight vectors.

The present map is of the 5th edition, produced in 1948, while the first edition, which assumed a more rudimentary form, was published in 1925.  While a separately issued chart in and of itself, it was designed to connect seamlessly with charts of adjacent sectors.

The present map is scarce, all such aeronautical charts were issued in small print runs for use in the cockpits, so have low survival rates. 

References: OCLC: 255339764 / 898536329.


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