Antoine Thomson d'Abbadie

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Antoine Thomson d'Abbadie d'Arrast (January 3, 1810 – March 19, 1897) was a French and Basque explorer, geographer, ethnologue, linguist and astronomer notable for his travels in Ethiopia during the first half of the 19th century. He was the older brother of Arnaud Michel d'Abbadie.[1].



Born from a noble family of the province of Soule, his father Michel was born in Arrast-Larrebieu and his mother was Irish. His grandfather Jean-Pierre was an abbot and a notary in Soule.

The family moved to France in 1818 where the brothers received a careful scientific education.

At his return from Ethiopia, he married Virginie Vincent de Saint Bonnet in 1848, and settled in Hendaye where he purchased 250ha to build his castle, and became the mayor of the city from 1871 to 1875.

Abbadie was a knight of the Legion of Honour and a member of the French Academy of Sciences. He died in 1897, and bequeathed the Abbadi domain and castle in Hendaye, yielding 40,000 francs a year, to the Academy of Sciences.

Science and explorations

In 1835 the French Academy sent Antoine on a scientific mission to Brazil, the results being published at a later date (1873) under the title of Observations relatives à la physique du globe faites au Bresil et en Ethiopie. The younger Abbadie spent some time in Algeria before, in 1837, the two brothers started for Ethiopia, landing at Massawa in February 1838. They visited various parts of Ethiopia, including the then little-known districts of Ennarea and Kaffa, sometimes together and sometimes separately. They met with many difficulties and many adventures, and became involved in political intrigues, Antoine especially exercising such influence as he possessed in favour of France and the Roman Catholic missionaries. After collecting much valuable information concerning the geography, geology, archaeology and natural history of Ethiopia, the brothers returned to France in 1848 and began to prepare their materials for publication.

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