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Ethiopia commemorates defeat of Italian forces at 1896 'Battle of Adwa'


Ethiopians witnessed a colourful event to mark the country’s victory against Italian forces in a battle that was fought over 120 years ago.

The ‘Battle of Adwa’ was fought on March 1, 1896, near the northern town of Adwa. The Ethiopian forces prevailed over the Italians in a victory that President Mulatu Teshome says taught the country lessons of cooperation and mutual respect.

‘‘Our ancestors have made huge sacrifices to safeguard the sovereignty of the country and pass it on to existing generations,’‘ the President is quoted to have said during an event in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Our ancestors have made huge sacrifices to safeguard the sovereignty of the country and pass it on to existing generations.

The battle according to him was a victory for all black people. He tasked young Ethiopians to involve themselves in the development of the country.

“It is my strong conviction that a generation that remembers the history of its forefathers can also make its own history. In order to pass this history on to the next generation we have to build a war museum and a pan African University.

“Although a foundation stone for this project has already been laid, it has never materialized due to various reasons. Now, the Ministry of Tourism is taking on full responsibility and is establishing a secretariat office so that this can be realized soon and make Adwa a tourist destination,” he added.

The event saw marches by members of the Ethiopian security forces and displays by veteran soldiers who showed up with weapons and displayed artistry. They were all draped in the colours of the country.

Also present at the event was the Deputy Prime Minister, Demeke Mekonnen and the Mayor of the Addis Ababa, Dariba Kuma. A ceremonial event launch was held by President and Speaker of the legislature aimed at raising funds for the completion of the Great Ethiopia Rennaissance Dam (GERD) project.

About the Battle of Adwa

Thousands gathered in the country’s Northern town to mark 121 years since repelling the Italians.

In the age of relentless European expansion into Africa, Ethiopia, led by Emperor Menelik II, defeated one of Europe’s major powers.

Italy had taken control of the impoverished territories of Eritrea and Somaliland and wanted to further advance its imperial ambitions by taking over adjoining Ethiopia.

Adwa is a market town and separate district in northern Ethiopia specifically in the Tigray region. It is best known as the community closest to the decisive Battle of Adwa fought in 1896 with Italian troops.

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