Ethiopia-India relations have existed for two millennia. In the second half of the 19th century traders from Gujarat, India were among the first foreigners to settle in the city of Harar, strengthening Ethiopia’s linkages with the Indian Ocean trade. Indians came to Ethiopia in increasing numbers as British subjects after the opening of Anglo-Ethiopian relations in 1897.
Their presence drove Addis Ababa’s early development following Emperor Menelik II’s resolve to make his new capital the commercial hub of the Empire. Their commercial skills, their ability to please Ethiopian tastes, and their historical access to Gulf of Aden and Indian ports, they soon formed a large business community alongside Greeks, Yemenis and Armenians. “Indian Bazaars”, as European travelers called them, were the places to find all indispensable items for daily life.