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The Italo-Abyssinian Crisis and the Shift from Slave to Refugee

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Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)N/A
Number of pages17
JournalSlavery and abolition
Issue numberN/A
E-pub ahead of print2013

King's Authors


Britain's role as the leading anti-slavery force throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth century defined humanitarian action and rhetoric with regard to Africa in this period. At some point in the twentieth century, however, the primary victim group – and focus of humanitarian action – in Africa came to be defined as refugees. This article argues that this was a result of the use of anti-slavery rhetoric in the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, and the corresponding shift in British humanitarian and foreign policy circles to the use of the language and policies previously aimed at African slaves in describing and aiding refugees from the Abyssinian crisis.

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