How Ethiopia Beat Back Colonizers in the Battle of Adwa

In the late 19th century, the European powers ran roughshod over Africa, brutally colonizing one country after another. Italy, for its part, targeted Ethiopia. But when its troops attacked on March 1, 1896, near the town of Adwa, they were overpowered by a large and well-armed Ethiopian force. In winning this pivotal victory, Ethiopia not only secured its own independence, but also inspired the anti-colonialist movement.

As far back as the 1400s, European nations made incursions into Africa, largely to facilitate the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Yet, for centuries, tropical diseases and navigational challenges restricted most of their activities to coastal areas. In 1870, by which time the slave trade had subsided, Europeans controlled only about 10 percent of the continent.

Source link