It was not, however, at Massawa that Italy first obtained a foothold in eastern Africa.
France was equally careless of Italian susceptibilities, and in April 1888 Goblet made a futile but irritating attempt to enforce at Massawa the Ottoman rgime of the capitulations in regard to non-Italian residents.
In the Red Sea Massawa was the most northerly point frequented by the Portuguese until 1541, when a fleet under Estevao da Gama penetrated as far as Suez.
The great arteries, however, number three, which, starting from Massawa by way of Asmara, run, two to Abyssinia, and one to Kassala and Khartum.
Before Nerazzini could reach Adis Ababa, Rudini, in order partially to satisfy the demands of his Radical supporters for the abandonment of the colony, announced in the Chamber the intention of Italy to limit her occupation to the triangular zone between the points Asmar, Keren and Massawa, and, possibly, to withdraw to Massawa alone.
In 1900 the seat of government was transferred from Massawa to Asmara, which in its modern form is the creation of the Italians.
The customs and political surveillance along the coast is entrusted, afloat, to the Massawa naval station, and, ashore, to a coastguard company 400 strong stationed at Meder, with detachments at Assab, Massawa, Raheita, Edd and Taclai.
The khedive Ismail revived Said's project of a railway, and a survey for a line from Wadi Halfa to Khartum was made (1871), while a branch line to Massawa was also contemplated.
A railway from Massawa to Asmara was completed as far as Ghinda, at the foot of the plateau, in 1904.
He was also almost constantly in conflict either with the Shilluks, Nuers and other negro tribes of the south; with the peoples of Darfur, where at one time an anti-Mandi gained a great following; with the Abyssinians; with the Kabbabish and other Arab tribes who 5 Sennar town held out until the 19th of August, while the Red Sea ports of Suakin and Massawa never fell into the hands of the Mandists.