Sagallo was a short-lived Russian settlement established in 1889 on the Gulf of Tadjoura in French Somaliland. It was located some 149 kilometres (93 miles) west of Djibouti City.
Sagallo (Russian: Сагалло; Arabic: ساغلو; French: Sagallou) is a village situated on the Gulf of Tadjoura, in the country of Djibouti, famous for having been occupied by a Russian monk and adventurer in 1889.
|Elevation||21 m (69 ft)|
The Ottoman Empire had loose control over the area from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. In reality, however, the Afar Sultans of Tadjoura were in control. It was during this time, that Sagallo was visited by the Englishman William Cornwallis Harris on his way to Ankobar, in the year 1841. His assistant surgeon, who wrote the report on the expedition, mentioned that water in the village was abundant in wells.
By the early 1870s, the Egypt had been gaining power in the region and, in 1873, the Egyptians occupied Sagallo and other sites on the Gulf of Tadjoura, but their hold didn't last long. In 1884, the Sultan of Tadjoura, Mohammed Loitah, ceded Sagallo to Paul Soleillet of the Société Française d'Obock, forcing the Egyptians to retire.
In 1883, Nikolai Ivanovich Achinov, a Russian adventurer and burgess of Penza (b. 1856) had visited Abyssinia (the Ethiopian Empire) in order to establish clerical and political ties between the two countries. After his return to Russia, Achinov voiced his plans for an 1888 expedition to the Gulf of Tadjoura to establish a settlement, while claiming to be a free Cossack. Achinov assured the participants that Mohammed Loitah had permanently leased him land in the region. It was purely on his own initiative, and without the involvement of the Russian government, that on 10 December 1888, Achinov along with 165 Terek Cossacks boarded the Kornilov, a ship heading from Odessa to Alexandria. The expedition then boarded the Lazarev which brought them to Port Said. There, Achinov rented the Austrian ship Amfitrida, which entered the Gulf of Tadjoura on 6 January 1889. The expedition was greeted by a group of Ethiopian priests. Achinov struggled to keep the Cossacks under his control, but some raided the Danakil, stealing a cow and a sheep after driving off the local tribesmen with rifle fire. The sultan accepted 60 francs from Achimov as reparations. The French foreign office demanded an explanation of Achinov's actions and the Russian ambassador in Paris distanced the Russian Empire from him. On January 14, the abandoned Egyptian fort of Sagallo was chosen as the new base of the expedition. Achinov named the fort New Moscow. A tent was erected to serve as the church of St. Nicholas and a flag of the expedition was raised. Rumours about the formidable size of the expedition quickly spread through the press. Later, several colonists escaped to Obock, informing the French of the settlement's whereabouts. On 5 February, the Cossacks noticed a French cruiser and three French gunboats. An ultimatum was issued, but Achinov misunderstood it and did not surrender. The artillery barrage that followed came as a complete surprise for the Russians, leaving 6 colonists dead and 22 wounded. A white shirt was raised to show surrender. The Russian government disavowed Achinov, accusing him of disobedience to the Tsar and acts of piracy. Participants were arrested and deported to Odessa aboard the Zabiyaka.
In 1977, after three referendums, the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas finally became independent from France as the newly formed country of Djibouti. By this point, the water had become scarce, and the community of Sagallo used generators to run water pumps, even though it often fell short of raising enough cash to purchase diesel to power the generators. In the early 21st century, however, a UNICEF-backed project installed solar panels on a hill to power a submersible pump that now delivers the water when ever needed.
|Climate data for Sagallo|
|Average high °C (°F)||29.2
|Average low °C (°F)||20.2
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||10
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