Christian Ayne Crouch


2016-2017: Hutchins Fellow

Queen Victoria's Captives

Project Description

Queen Victoria's Captives

Queen Victoria's Captives revolves around the history of the 1867-68 British military expedition to Ethiopia to rescue European hostages held by Emperor Tewodros. Widely publicized in its day, the Magdala Campaign "liberated" these Europeans and brought Tewodros' treasury and orphaned son Alemayu as spoils of war to England. Despite these triumphs, Ethiopia did not ally with a British sphere of influence. Rather Magdala put into motion unexpected actors and events that challenged both British government and the British public's orderings of the world. Using textual, oral, and visual archives, this book uncovers the story of the Magdala captives, both those freed and those made by the campaign, and the entangled, unfulfilled expectations of British and Ethiopian imperial ambitions. Prince Alemayu, for one, challenged British ideas of race and colonialism despite being a hostage by his presence as a royal ward (1868-1879) at the heart of Britain's empire. This work connects these past narratives to the present, showing the potent unresolved legacy of the campaign through Ethiopia's continuing demands for repatriation of national patrimony and current issues of public pressure on Western states' to liberate their hostage citizens and recognize state's roles in the growing crisis of forced migration.

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