Cartographic Sources and Territorial Transformations of Ethiopia since the Late 18th Century - ETHIOMAP

Project description

Abyssinia (landscape map)

The research project consists of two partner projects, which are carried out in parallel in France (funded by the ANR) and in Germany (funded by the DFG). The aim of the research project is the systematic collection, classification and analysis of historical maps from and about Ethiopia, many of which are unknown in Ethiopian research. Findings of map material that is still completely unknown even to the participating researchers, which will offer important cultural-historical and historical insights, are to be expected in the process. This will not only close a gap in the global history of cartography, but also make an important contribution to the preservation of indigenous territorial knowledge, which was incorporated into maps produced on the basis of local employees, especially in the phase before colonization, and thus of original African cultural heritage. This is also a contribution to "nation-building" in Ethiopia, where reliable material on socio-political territorial history hardly exists. The project combines digital methods with historically grown Northeast African or Ethiopian research and a fund of historical map archive treasures that are largely unprocessed. The goal is the publication of a book documenting, analyzing and indexing the most important maps, and a digital database to be created by the French partners in cooperation with the German partners to document and index map material important for research.

For more information, please visit LA LETTRE De L'EHESS.


01/2016 - 01/2019



Cooperation partner

École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris - main partner through ANR funding of the French partner project Gotha Research Centre and Gotha Research Library of the University of Erfurt Mekelle University, Tigray, Ethiopia Max Planck Institute for Ethnology, Halle/Saale Centre français des études éthiopiennes (CFEE), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Job-Ludolf Centre for Ethiopian Studies, University of Hamburg


Researchers: Dr. Eloi Ficquet (project manager / EHESS, Paris) Assoc.-Prof. Dr. Wolbert Smidt (project manager / Mekelle University, Ethiopia) Prof. Dr. Iris Schröder (Deputy Director of the Gotha Research Centre / University of Erfurt) Fesseha Berhe (Department of History and Heritage Management / Mekelle University, Ethiopia / Herzog-Ernst-Scholarship holder at the Gotha Research Centre 2016)


A publication is in preparation.

Image: Ethiopia, detail from: Hermann Berghaus, Chart of the World, 6th edition, Gotha: Justus Perthes 1871, © Gotha Research Library of the University of Erfurt.