Ethiopia Unveiled explores some unusual and exotic aspects of an intriguing topic: Ethiopia s presentation to and reaction to, the outside world over a period of several hundred years. The lands concerned are chiefly European Mediterranean countries, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, but also include Yemen, Egypt, and Palestine, where the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem was the goal of innumerable Ethiopian pilgrims. Some years ago, as a visiting professor at the Humboldt University at Berlin, lecturing on Ethiopian history, the author noticed how surprised the students were to hear of the sometimes quite vigorous interaction between European mediaeval powers and remote, but Christian, Ethiopia . Despite the incredible difficulties of communication even with closer neighbors like Egypt, Jerusalem or the Yemen transmission was far from easy there are letters and reports still preserved concerning Ethiopian relations not just with Egyptian sultans and patriarchs and Yemeni imams, but also with European kings and popes. The former mainly concern church matters or sometimes the Nile, though once the vague fantastic dream of converting an Ethiopian Christian king to Islam surfaced in Yemen. The European contacts are perhaps more surprising, and include accreditations of ambassadors, schemes for joint anti-Muslim military action, and even marriage proposals. In later times the association between the two very different worlds that Ethiopia and Europe represented increased, but at the same time understanding became obscured by the intermingling of wonderful legendary additions; for example, the queen of Sheba, Prester John, or the story of the blocking of the Nile to starve Muslim Egypt. All in all, the Ethiopians relations with the outside world seemed to deserve a study on their own the genesis of this book.
An author, attorney and motivational speaker, Pamela Samuels Young spent fifteen years as Managing Counsel for Toyota, specializing in labor and employment law. While still practicing law, Pamela began