The Battle of Adwa: Reflections on Ethiopia's Historic Victory Against European Colonialism

Paulos Milkias et al.

Published by Algora Publishing, 2005
ISBN 10: 0875864139 / ISBN 13: 9780875864136
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Synopsis: Ethiopia's warriors earned an outstanding reputation over a hundred years ago.

In the 19th-century Scramble for Africa, when the Europeans carved up an entire continent for exploitation, Africans won a solitary, shocking, glorious victory at Adwa (Ethiopia). The most celebrated military operation involving the Africans and the Europeans since the time of Hannibal, this emblematic victory still resounds in the minds of Africans and the African diaspora as promise of potential and an illustration of the dictum, strength in unity.

Nine scholars analyze the unique Ethiopian victory at Adwa, pondering the factors that brought success, the putative missed opportunities for securing the future integrity of the Ethiopian territory, and the lessons to be learned.

Rising above their regional rivalries and local concerns, all facets of this multi-ethnic society pulled together to defeat the Italian invaders who were armed with vastly more sophisticated technology and had the support of all of Europe.

For the victors it was decisive; for the vanquished, catastrophic. The Italian colonialist soldiers were crushed. Their casualty figure was 70%; all their artillery pieces were captured, one out of four of their generals was taken prisoner and two of the remaining as well as almost half of their staff officers were killed on the battlefield.

The event and its implications have much to say about Ethiopia s subsequent development, the secession of Eritrea, and relations with external powers. It also reveals much about the machinations of global powers and the dangers they pose to weaker nations, and most specifically international influence in Africa.

The Ethiopian victory at the Battle of Adwa has remained a very important event in the shared recollection of the entire African people. It is the only secular episode in the whole history of Africa that has been celebrated for more than a century with unabated popular enthusiasm.

A phenomenon such as Adwa is a complex nexus of various historical processes with wide ranging but as yet not fully explored meanings. The contributors to this collection show that Adwa does not only reflect its time, but that it also transcends it, and that the aspirations and meanings that flow from it have been a powerful constitutive force in the rise and evolution of modern Africa Indeed, it is an event that awakened the hope for emancipation and the struggle against colonialism and racism among Africans in the colonies and in the Diaspora.

About the Author: Paulos Milkias, a former Canada Council Doctoral Fellow, is a professor of Humanities and Political Science at Marianopolis College/Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. He is Co-editor of the Journal of North-East African Studies and others. Getachew Metaferia, co-editor, teaches political science and coordinates the graduate program in International Studies at Morgan State University. Contributors include:
Richard Pankhurst
Zewde Gabra-Selassie
Negussay Ayele
Harold Marcus
Theodore M. Vestal
Maimire Mennasemay
Mesfin Araya

'The historic victory of Ethiopia under Menelik over Italian invaders at the 1896 Battle of Adwa ended Italy's self-proclaimed 'protectorate' over Ethiopia, even if the Italians remained in Eritrea. The nine chapters presented here by Milkias (humanities and political science, Marianopolis College/Concordia U., Canada) and Metaferia (political science and international studies, Morgan State U., US) explore the historical and present-day significance of this defeat for European colonialism. Topics include continuities and discontinuities in King Menelik's foreign policy, humanitarian considerations in the aftermath of the Wuchal'e Treaty negotiated between Ethiopia and Italy, the role of Ethiopia in the Pan-African movement, British colonial reactions to the Battle of Adwa, and the application of critical theory to the analysis of Adwa.'
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Title: The Battle of Adwa: Reflections on ...
Publisher: Algora Publishing
Publication Date: 2005
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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