Battle of Adwa (day off!)

So, today I have a day off school – but not for any kind of normal holiday.

I am most certainly blessed to have taught Ethiopian History to 8th grade, and now, dear followers, I will help you also understand this wonderful holiday.

So in the late 1800s, Ethiopia was a bit of a mess. They were not united under any one king, and the line of kings was not very certain.

During all this mess, the Italians came in and helped the future king Menelik II, after which a treaty was made in two languages, Amharic and Italian. (Sound familiar, New Zealanders??)

Needless to say, there were (purposeful) errors in the translation, and, as Italy desperately wanted a colony out of Ethiopia, they went to war.

The war itself went on for a while, but the decisive battle was in the north of Ethiopia, near a place called Adwa (or Adowa). Both sides were running out of supplies, and if the Italians didn’t start the fight, the Ethiopian warriors that had been rounded up may well have gone home. Also, if the Italian government were not quite so insistent on it, they may have given up too.

The battlefield was very hilly, mountainous territory, which the Ethiopians new well. In ONE DAY they routed their enemy, and the Italian General went home in disgrace.

This battle is important not only for Ethiopia, but also for all of Africa. At this time the “scramble for Africa” was occurring, and Africa was being carved up by European colonists. This was the one time in history where an African army beat a European army.

It is also the reason why many African nations have colours on their flags of red, yellow, and green.

So proud of Ethiopia. Love seeing the history.

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2 Responses to Battle of Adwa (day off!)

  1. Naomi Wallace says:

    Thanks for the awesome history lesson Jo! xx

    ps is the photo at the top of this blog page one you took when we visited Portuguese Bridge?

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