Ethiopians Prepare To Celebrate The Life Of Menelik II And The Battle Of Adwa

Emperor Menelik II
Emperor Menelik II

AFRICANGLOBE – Next month, the Ethiopian Heritage Society of North America will mark the centennial of Emperor Menelik II’s death and the 118th anniversary of the victory in Adwa.

The commemorative event will take place at 2 p.m. March 2 at 1 Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring in Maryland.

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) will be the keynote speaker.

The celebration of the Battle of Adwa is the Ethiopian equivalent of U.S. Independence Day, according to a news release from the group. Two leaders, Emperor Menelik II and the Empress Taytu, along with an army of Ethiopian citizens, repelled a well-armed Italian force on March 1, 1896. The Italians were trying to occupy and eventually colonize Ethiopia.

The Battle of Adwa was fought on 1 March 1896 between the Ethiopian Empire and the Kingdom of Italy near the town of Adwa, Ethiopia, in Tigray. It was the climactic battle of the First Italo-Ethiopian War, securing Ethiopian sovereignty.

As the 20th century approached, most of Africa had been carved up among the European colonists. The two independent exceptions were the young Republic of Liberia on the west coast of the continent and the Ethiopian Empirein the strategic Horn of Africa. The newly unified Kingdom of Italy was a relative newcomer to the colonial scramble for Africa.

Italy had two recently obtained African territories: Eritrea and Somaliland. Both were near Ethiopia on the Horn of Africa and both were impoverished. Italy sought to improve its position in Africa by conquering Ethiopia and joining it with its two territories, boy were they wrong.

For more information, call 202-596-1964.


By: Aline Barros