A Photo Journal Retracing the Last March of Emperor Tewodros to Meqdela

Cover of the book Crossing Ethiopia: A 1972 Photographic Journal Retracing the Last March of Emperor Tewodros to Meqdela. (Photo Courtesy: John Snyder)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, January 20th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Forty two years ago, John Snyder traveled with his wife to Ethiopia to retrace Emperor Tewodros’ final route to Meqdela to face British troops numbering over 60,000.

“I had just finished reading Alan Moorehead’s ‘The Blue Nile’ and I was fascinated by Emperor Tewodros and his battle with the British,” John told Tadias. “I had traveled to Kenya and Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, and now my interest in Ethiopia was peaked.”

After contacting both the Ethiopian consulate and the office of Ethiopian Airlines to inquire about the feasibility of the route, John was connected to the late Professor Donald Crummey — who was teaching at Addis Ababa University at the time — and an Ethiopian translator. Arriving in Ethiopia John and his wife began the 300 mile expedition by bus, Land Rover, mule and foot, and John recorded his meetings with governors and civilians along the way and took extraordinary photographs, a selection of which are now published in his new book: Crossing Ethiopia.

Following the treacherous and unpaved route taken by Emperor Tewodros and his army John set out to see firsthand where Ethiopian and British “armies converged for a showdown at [Meqdela], a mountaintop fortress where a handful of European prisoners were residing in fetters at the mercy of the Emperor.” John noted in his introduction: “Costing $9 million in 1867 sterling, (translating to over $5 billion today) it was, and remains, history’s most expensive hostage rescue operation.”

You can learn more about the book on Amazon.com.

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