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Italian occupation of Ethiopia

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Italian occupation of Ethiopia

Template:Infobox former country/autocat
Italian East Africa
Africa Orientale Italiana
Colony of Italy

 

 

 

1936–1941
Flag Royal Coat of arms
Motto
Foedere et Religione Tenemur
"We are bound by Treaty and by Religion"
Anthem
Marcia Reale d'Ordinanza
"Royal March of Ordinance"
Italian East Africa in 1936. Template:Plainlist
Capital Addis Ababa
Languages Italian, Amharic, Somali
Political structure Colony
Emperor
 -  1936–1941 Victor Emmanuel III
Viceroya
 -  1936 Pietro Badoglio
 -  1936–1937 Rodolfo Graziani
 -  1937–1941 Amedeo Umberto
 -  1941 Pietro Gazzera
 -  1941 Guglielmo Nasi
Historical era Interwar period / WWII
 -  Established 9 May 1936
 -  Disestablished 27 November 1941
Area
 -  1936 1,750,000 km² (675,679 sq mi)
Population
 -  1936 est. 10,000,000 
     Density 5.7 /km²  (14.8 /sq mi)
Currency Italian East African lira
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Italian Eritrea
Italian Somaliland
Ethiopian Empire
British Somaliland
Trust Territory of Somalia
Eritrea
British Somaliland
Ethiopian Empire
French Somaliland
Today part of  Ethiopia
 Djibouti
 Somalia
 Eritrea
^a Full title was "Viceroy and Governor-General of Italian East Africa".[1]

Italian East Africa (Italian: Africa Orientale Italiana) was an Italian colony established in 1936, resulting from the merger of Italian Somaliland and Italian Eritrea.

In August 1940, during the Second World War, British Somaliland was conquered and annexed to Italian East Africa, which itself was conquered by Ethiopian-led forces in the course of 1941. British Somaliland, Italian Somaliland and Eritrea then came under British administration. In 1949 Italian Somaliland was reconstituted as the Trust Territory of Somalia, which was administered by Italy from 1949 until its independence in 1960. In 1952 Eritrea was annexed by Ethiopia.

Territory

When established in 1936, Italian East Africa covered the former Italian Eritrea and Italian Somaliland and the recently invaded Ethiopia. King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy consequently adopted the title of "Emperor of Ethiopia". The territory was divided into the six governorates of Italian East Africa: Italian Eritrea and Italian Somaliland, plus four provinces of Ethiopia (Amhara, Galla-Sidamo, Scioa, Harar) each under the authority of an Italian governor, answerable to the Italian viceroy, who represented the Emperor Victor Emmanuel.

Italian East Africa was briefly enlarged in 1940, as Italian forces conquered British Somaliland, thereby bringing all Somali territories under Italian administration. However, the enlarged colony was dismembered only a year later, when in the course of the Ethiopian and British East African Campaign of June 1940 to November 1941 Italian East Africa was conquered.

The other Italian colony in Africa was Italian North Africa (Africa Settentrionale Italiana, or ASI).

History

The dominion was formed in 1936 during Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini's government in Italy with the defeat of Haile Selassie's Ethiopia in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War.

In February 1937, following an assassination attempt on Italian East Africa's Viceroy Rodolfo Graziani, Graziani ordered Italian soldiers to raid the famous Ethiopian monastery Debre Libanos, where the would-be assassins had briefly taken refuge and had the monks and nuns in the monastery executed.[2] Afterwards, Italian soldiers destroyed native settlements in Addis Ababa, which resulted in 30,000 Ethiopians being killed and their homes left burned to the ground.[2][3]

Fascist colonial policy in Italian East Africa had a divide and conquer characteristic. In order to weaken the Orthodox Christian Amhara people who had run Ethiopia in the past, territory claimed by Eritrean Tigray-Tigrinyas and Somalis was given to the Eritrea Governorate and Somalia Governorate.[2] Reconstruction efforts after the war in 1936 were partially focused on benefiting the Muslim peoples in the colony at the expense of the Amhara to strengthen support by Muslims for the Italian colony.[2]

Italy's Fascist regime encouraged Italian peasants to colonize the colony by creating agriculture and small industries there.[2] However few Italians came to the Ethiopian colony, with most going to Eritrea. By 1940, only 3200 farmers had arrived to Ethiopia, less than ten percent of the Fascist regime's goal.[4]

Continued insurgency by native Ethiopians, lack of resources, rough terrain, and uncertainty of political and military conditions discouraged development and settlement in the countryside[4] However, Italian Eritrea enjoyed a huge development, supported by nearly 80,000 Italian colonists.[5]

The colony proved to be extremely expensive to maintain the budget in 1936-37 requested from Italy 19.136 billion lire to create the necessary infrastructure for the colony.[2] At the time Italy's entire revenue that year was only 18.581 billion lire.[2]

There was an urbanistic project for the enlargement of Addis Ababa, in order to become the state-of-the-art capital of the Africa Orientale Italiana, but these architectural plans -like all the other developments- were stopped by World War II.[6]

In 1940, the adjacent protectorate of British Somaliland was occupied by Italian forces and absorbed into Italian East Africa. The conquest was the only victory of Italy without reinforcement from German troops during World War II against the Allies. This occupation lasted around one year.

Viceroy and Governor-Generals of Italian East Africa

Under the rule of Victor Emmanuel III, "King of Italy and Emperor of Ethiopia", there were five Governor-Generals (Viceroy) of Africa Orientale Italiana: Pietro Badoglio, Rodolfo Graziani, Amedeo d'Aosta, Pietro Gazzera and Guglielmo Nasi. They governed six Governorates:

English Italian Capital Population Tag Symbol
Amhara Governorate Amara Gondar 2.000.000 ab. AM
Eritrea Governorate Eritrea Asmara 1.000.000 ab. ER
Harrar Governorate Harar Harrar 1.300.000 ab. HA
Galla-Sidamo Governorate Galla e Sidama Jimma/Gimma 1.600.000 ab. GS
Shewa Governorate [7] Scioà Addis Abeba 300.000 ab. SC
Somalia Governorate [7] Somalia Mogadishu 1.300.000 ab. SOM

Notes

Bibliography

  • Antonicelli, Franco (1961) Trent'anni di storia italiana 1915 - 1945, Saggi series 295, Torino : Einaudi, 387 p. [in Italian]
  • Cannistraro, Philip V. (1982) Historical Dictionary of Fascist Italy, Westport, Conn.; London : Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-21317-8
  • Del Boca, Angelo (1986) Italiani in Africa Orientale: La caduta dell'Impero, Biblioteca universale Laterza 186, Roma : Laterza, ISBN 88-420-2810-X [in Italian]
  • Mockler, Anthony (1984). Haile Selassie's War: The Italian-Ethiopian Campaign, 1935-1941, New York : Random House, ISBN 0-394-54222-3
  • Sarti, Roland (1974) The Ax Within: Italian fascism in action, New York : New Viewpoints, ISBN 0-531-06498-0
  • Mauri, Arnaldo (1967). Il mercato del credito in Etiopia, Milano, Giuffrè, pp. XVI, 504 [in Italian].
  • Calchi Novati, Gian Carlo (2011).L'Africa d'Italia, Carrocci, Roma. [in Italian]
  • Tuccimei, Ercole (1999). La Banca d'Italia in Africa, Presentazione di Arnaldo Mauri, Laterza, Bari, ISBN 88-420-5686-3 [in Italian]

See also

External links

  • Italian East African Armed Forces, 10 June 1940
  • 1940 Colonial Brigade, 10 June 1940
  • Italian East Africa Air Command, 10 June 1940
  • Ascari: I Leoni di Eritrea/Ascari: The Eritrean Lions. Second Italo-abyssinian war. Eritrea colonial history, Eritrean ascari pictures/photos galleries and videos, historical atlas...
  • Geographic map of Italian business community in Africa (December 2012) , established using applied onomastics.
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