Italian East Africa
Africa Orientale Italiana
Talyaaniga Bariga Afrika
شرق افريقيا الايطالية
Motto: Foedere et Religione Tenemur
"We are bound by Treaty and by Religion"
|Status||Colony of Italy|
|Common languages||Italian, Arabic, Oromo, Amharic, Tigrinya, Somali, Tigre|
• 1936–1947 (de facto 1942)
|Victor Emmanuel III|
|Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta|
|Historical era||Interwar period / WWII|
|15 January 1936|
|10 February 1947|
|1939||1,725,000 km2 (666,000 sq mi)|
|Currency||Italian East African lira|
|Today part of|
Italian East Africa (Italian : Africa Orientale Italiana) was an Italian colony in the Horn of Africa. It was formed in 1936 through the merger of Italian Somaliland, Italian Eritrea, and the newly occupied Ethiopian Empire which became Italian Ethiopia.
Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, and together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to it of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Italian is included under the languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Romania, although Italian is neither a co-official nor a regional or a traditional language in these countries, where Italians do not represent a historical minority. In the case of Romania, Italian is listed by the Government along 10 other languages which supposedly receive a "general protection", but not between those which should be granted an "advanced or enhanced" one. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.
The Italian colonial empire, known as the Italian Empire between 1936 and 1943, comprised the colonies, protectorates, concessions, dependencies and trust territories of the Kingdom of Italy. The genesis of the Italian colonial empire was the purchase in 1869 of Assab Bay on the Red Sea by an Italian navigation company which intended to establish a coaling station at the time the Suez Canal was being opened to navigation. This was taken over by the Italian government in 1882, becoming modern Italy's first overseas territory.
The Horn of Africa is a peninsula in Northeast Africa. It extends hundreds of kilometers into the Arabian Sea and lies along the southern side of the Gulf of Aden. The area is the easternmost projection of the African continent. Referred to in ancient and medieval times as the land of the Barbara and Habesha, the Horn of Africa denotes the region containing the countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia.
Italian East Africa was divided into six governorates. Eritrea and Somalia, Italian possessions since 1869 and 1889 respectively, became Eritrea Governorate and Somalia Governorate, while Ethiopia was made of Harrar, Galla-Sidamo, Amhara, and Scioa Governorate.
The Governorates of Italian East Africa (AOI) formed the first level of country subdivision. The territory was divided into 6 Governorates, until 1938 including the Governorate of Addis Ababa, whose territory was integrated in the new government of Scioà, with a municipal administration.
Eritrea Governorate was one of the six governorates of Italian East Africa. Its capital was at Asmara.
Somalia Governorate was one of the six governorates of Italian East Africa.
During the Second World War, Italian East Africa was occupied by a British-led force including colonial and Ethiopian units.After the war, Italian Somaliland and Eritrea came under British administration, while Ethiopia regained its independence. In 1949, Italian Somaliland was reconstituted as the Trust Territory of Somaliland, which was administered by Italy from 1950 until its independence in 1960.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
The Trust Territory of Somaliland, officially the "Trust Territory of Somaliland under Italian administration" was a United Nations Trust Territory situated in present-day northeastern, central and southern Somalia. It had as capital Mogadishu and was administered by Italy from 1949 to 1960 as part of the Italian Empire, following the dissolution of the former British Military Administration.
When established in 1936, Italian East Africa (the other Italian colony in Africa being Italian North Africa) consisted of the old Italian possessions in the Horn of Africa, Italian Eritrea and Italian Somaliland, and the recently annexed Empire of Ethiopia. [ citation needed ]Victor Emmanuel III of Italy consequently adopted the title of "Emperor of Ethiopia", although having not been recognized by any country other than Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. 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 a viceroy, who in turn represented the Emperor.
Italian Eritrea was a colony of the Kingdom of Italy in the territory of present-day Eritrea. Although it was formally created in 1890, the first Italian settlements in the area were established in 1882 around Assab. The colony officially lasted until 1947.
Italian Somaliland, sometimes also referred to as Italian Somalia, was a colony of the Kingdom of Italy in present-day northeastern, central and southern Somalia. Ruled in the 19th century by the Somali Majeerteen Sultanate and the Sultanate of Hobyo, the territory was later acquired in the 1880s by Italy through various treaties.
Victor Emmanuel III was the King of Italy from 29 July 1900 until his abdication on 9 May 1946. In addition, he held the thrones of Ethiopia and Albania as Emperor of Ethiopia (1936–1941) and King of the Albanians (1939–1943). During his reign of nearly 46 years, which began after the assassination of his father Umberto I, the Kingdom of Italy became involved in two world wars. His reign also encompassed the birth, rise, and fall of Italian Fascism and its regime.
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 East African Campaign the colony was occupied by British forces.
The East African Campaign was fought in East Africa during the Second World War by Allied forces, mainly from the British Empire, against Axis forces, primarily from Italy of Italian East Africa, between June 1940 and November 1941. Forces of the British Middle East Command, including units from the United Kingdom and the colonies of British East Africa, British Somaliland, British West Africa, the Indian Empire, Northern Rhodesia, Nyasaland, Mandatory Palestine, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia and Sudan participated in the campaign. Imperial Ethiopian irregulars, the Free French and the Belgian Force Publique also participated.
Italian East Africa, in Italian "Africa Orientale Italiana", was acronymed in official documents as "AOI".
The dominion was formed in 1936, after the Second Italo-Abyssinian War that resulted in the annexation of the Ethiopian Empire by Fascist Italy, by merging the pre-existing colonies of Italian Somaliland and Italian Eritrea with the newly conquered territory.[ citation needed ]
Historians are still divided about the reasons for the Italian attack on Ethiopia in 1935. Some Italian historians such as Franco Catalano and Giorgio Rochat argue that the invasion was an act of social imperialism, contending that the Great Depression had badly damaged Mussolini's prestige, and that he needed a foreign war to distract public opinion.Other historians such as Pietro Pastorelli have argued that the invasion was launched as part of an expansionist program to make Italy the main power in the Red Sea area and the Middle East. A middle way interpretation was offered by the American historian MacGregor Knox, who argued that the war was started for both foreign and domestic reasons, being both a part of Mussolini's long-range expansionist plans and intended to give Mussolini a foreign policy triumph that would allow him to push the Fascist system in a more radical direction at home.
Unlike forty years earlier, Italy's forces were far superior to the Abyssinian forces, especially in air power, and they were soon victorious. Emperor Haile Selassie was forced to flee the country, with Italian forces entering the capital city, Addis Ababa, to proclaim an empire by May 1936, making Ethiopia part of Italian East Africa.Some Ethiopians welcomed the Italians and collaborated with them in the government of the newly created Italian Empire, like Ras Sejum Mangascià, Ras Ghetacciù Abaté and Ras Kebbedé Guebret. In 1937 the friendship of Sejum Mangascia with the Italian Viceroy Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta enabled this Ras to play an influential role in securing the release of 3,000 Ethiopian POWs being held in Italian Somaliland.
The Italian victory in the war coincided with the zenith of the international popularity of dictator Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime, during which colonialist leaders praised Mussolini for his actions.Mussolini's international popularity decreased as he endorsed the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany, beginning a political tilt toward Germany that eventually led to the downfall of Mussolini and the Fascist regime in Italy in World War II.
On 10 June 1940, Italy declared war on Britain and France, which made Italian military forces in Libya a threat to Egypt and those in the Italian East Africa a danger to the British and French territories in the Horn of Africa. Italian belligerence also closed the Mediterranean to Allied merchant ships and endangered British supply routes along the coast of East Africa, the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea and the Suez Canal. (The Kingdom of Egypt remained neutral during World War II, but the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936 allowed the British to occupy Egypt and Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.) 6-7, 69 Egypt, the Suez Canal, French Somaliland and British Somaliland were also vulnerable to invasion, but the Comando Supremo (Italian General Staff) had planned for a war after 1942. In the summer of 1940, Italy was far from ready for a long war or for the occupation of large areas of Africa. :38-40:
Hostilities began on 13 June 1940, with an Italian air raid on the base of 1 Squadron Southern Rhodesian Air Force (237 (Rhodesia) Squadron RAF) at Wajir in the East Africa Protectorate (Kenya). In August 1940, the protectorate of British Somaliland was occupied by Italian forces and absorbed into Italian East Africa. This occupation lasted around six months. By early 1941, Italian forces had been largely pushed back from Kenya and Sudan. On 6 April 1941, Addis Ababa was occupied by the 11th (African) Division, which received the surrender of the city. 421-422 The remnants of the Italian forces in the AOI surrendered after the Battle of Gondar in November 1941, except for groups that fought an Italian guerrilla war in Ethiopia against the British until the Armistice of Cassibile (3 September 1943) ended hostilities between Italy and the Allies.[ citation needed ]:
In January 1942, with the final official surrender of the Italians, the British, under American pressure, signed an interim Anglo-Ethiopian Agreement with Selassie, acknowledging Ethiopian sovereignty. Makonnen Endelkachew was named as Prime Minister and on 19 December 1944, the final Anglo-Ethiopian Agreement was signed.
In the peace treaty of February 1947, Italy officially renounced sovereignty over its African colonies. Eritrea was placed under British military administration for the duration, and in 1950, it became part of Ethiopia. After 1945, Britain controlled both Somalilands, as protectorates. In November 1949, during the Potsdam Conference, the United Nations granted Italy trusteeship of Italian Somaliland under close supervision, on condition that Somalia achieve independence within ten years.British Somaliland became independent on 26 June 1960 as the State of Somaliland, the Trust Territory of Somalia (ex-Italian Somaliland) became independent on 1 July 1960 and the territories united as the Somali Republic.
The colony was administered by a Viceroy of Ethiopia and Governor General of Italian East Africa, appointed by the Italian monarch. The dominion was further divided for administrative purposes into six Governorates and forty Commissionerships.[ citation needed ]
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. 5 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. :5:
Italy's Fascist regime encouraged Italian peasants to colonize Ethiopia by setting up farms and small manufacturing businesses. 5 However, few Italians came to the Ethiopian colony, with most going to Eritrea and Somalia. While Italian Eritrea enjoyed some degree of development, supported by nearly 80,000 Italian colonists, by 1940 only 3,200 farmers had arrived in Ethiopia, less than ten percent of the Fascist regime's goal. :6 Continued insurgency by native Ethiopians, lack of natural resources, rough terrain, and uncertainty of political and military conditions discouraged development and settlement in the countryside. :6:
The Italians invested substantively in Ethiopian infrastructure development. They created the "imperial road" between Addis Abeba and Massaua, the Addis Abeba - Mogadishu and the Addis Abeba - Assab. km of railways were reconstructed or initiated (like the railway between Addis Abeba and Assab), dams and hydroelectric plants were built, and many public and private companies were established in the underdeveloped country. The most important were: "Compagnie per il cotone d'Etiopia" (Cotton industry); "Cementerie d'Etiopia" (Cement industry); "Compagnia etiopica mineraria" (Minerals industry); "Imprese elettriche d'Etiopia" (Electricity industry); "Compagnia etiopica degli esplosivi" (Armament industry); "Trasporti automobilistici (Citao)" (Mechanic & Transport industry).900
Italians even created new airports and in 1936 started the worldwide famous Linea dell'Impero, a flight connecting Addis Abeba to Rome. The line was opened after the Italian conquest of Ethiopia and was followed by the first air links with the Italian colonies in Africa Orientale Italiana (Italian East Africa), which began in a pioneering way since 1934. The route was enlarged to 6,379 km and initially joined Rome with Addis Ababa via Syracuse, Benghazi, Cairo, Wadi Halfa, Khartoum, Kassala, Asmara, Dire Dawa. There was a change of aircraft in Benghazi (or sometimes in Tripoli). The route was carried out in three and a half days of daytime flight and the frequency was four flights per week in both directions. Later from Addis Ababa there were three flights a week that continued to Mogadishu, capital of Italian Somalia.
The most important railway line in the African colonies of the Kingdom of Italy, the Djibouti-Addis Ababa long 784 km, was acquired following the conquest of the Ethiopian Empire by the Italians in 1936. The route was served until 1935 by steam trains that took about 36 hours to do the total trip between the capital of Ethiopia and the port of Djibouti. Following the Italian conquest was obtained in 1938 the increase of speed for the trains with the introduction of four railcars high capacity "type 038" derived from the model Fiat ALn56.
These diesel trains were able to reach 70 km/h and so the time travel was cut in half to just 18 hours: they were used until the mid 1960s. At the main stations there were some bus connections to the other cities of Italian Ethiopia not served by the railway. Additionally, near the Addis Ababa station was created a special unit against fire, that was the only one in all Africa.
However Ethiopia and Africa Orientale Italiana (AOI) proved to be extremely expensive to maintain, as the budget for the fiscal year 1936-37 had been set at 19.136 billion lira to create the necessary infrastructure for the colony. 5 At the time, Italy's entire yearly revenue was only 18.581 billion lira. :5:
The architects of the Fascist regime had drafted grandiose urbanistic projects for the enlargement of Addis Ababa, in order to build a 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.
In 1939, there were 165,267 Italian citizens in the Italian East Africa, the majority of them concentrated around the main urban centres of Asmara, Addis Ababa and Mogadishu. The total population was estimated around 12.1 million, with a density of just over 6.9 inhabitants per square kilometre (18/sq mi). The distribution of population was, however, very uneven. Eritrea, with an area of 230,000 km2 (90,000 sq mi), had a population estimated in about 1.5 million, with a population density of 6.4/km2 (16.7/sq mi); Ethiopia with an area of 790,000 km2 (305,000 sq mi) and a population of some 9.5 million, had a resulting density of 12/km2 (31/sq mi); sparsely populated Italian Somaliland finally, with an area of 700,000 km2 (271,000 sq mi) and a population of just 1.1 million, had a very low density of 1.5/km2 (4/sq mi).
|English||Italian||Capital||Total population||Italians||Tag||Coat of Arms|
|Galla-Sidamo Governorate||Galla e Sidama||Jimma/Gimma||4,000,000||11,823||GS|
|Shewa Governorate||Scioà||Addis Abeba||1,850,000||40,698||SC|
In February 1937, following an assassination attempt on Italian East Africa's Viceroy, Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, Italian soldiers raided the famous Ethiopian monastery Debre Libanos, where the plotters had taken refuge, and executed the monks and nuns. 5 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. :5 The massacre has come to be known as Yekatit 12.:
After the massacres, Graziani became known as "the Butcher of Ethiopia".He was subsequently removed by Mussolini and replaced by Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta, who followed a more conciliatory policy towards the natives, obtaining a limited success in pacifying Ethiopia.
Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, 1st Marquis of Neghelli, was a prominent Italian military officer in the Kingdom of Italy's Regio Esercito, primarily noted for his campaigns in Africa before and during World War II. A dedicated fascist, he was a key figure in the Italian military during the reign of Victor Emmanuel III.
Marshal Pietro Badoglio, 1st Duke of Addis Abeba, 1st Marquess of Sabotino, was an Italian general during both World Wars and the first viceroy of Italian East Africa. With the fall of the Fascist regime in Italy, he became Prime Minister of Italy.
The Second Italo-Ethiopian War, also referred to as the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, was a colonial war fought from 3 October 1935 until 19 February 1937, although Addis Ababa was captured on 5 May 1936. The war was fought between the armed forces of the Kingdom of Italy and those of the Ethiopian Empire. Ethiopia was defeated, annexed and subjected to military occupation. The Ethiopian Empire became a part of the Italian colony of Italian East Africa. Fighting continued until the Italian defeat in East Africa in 1941, during the East African Campaign of the Second World War.
The lira AOI was a special banknote circulating in Italian East Africa between 1938 and 1941.
Luigi Frusci was an officer in the Italian Royal Army during the Italian conquest of Ethiopia and World War II. He was the last Italian Governor of Eritrea and Amhara (Ethiopia).
The Italian guerrilla war in Ethiopia was a conflict fought from the summer of 1941 to the autumn of 1943 by remnants of Italian troops in Ethiopia, in what had been the short-lived attempt to re-incorporate Ethiopia as part of Italian East Africa. The guerrilla campaign was fought following the Italian defeat during the East African Campaign of World War II, while the war was still on in Northern Africa and Europe.
Italian Somalis are Somali descendants from Italian colonists, as well as long-term Italian residents in Somalia.
Zerai Deres was an Eritrean translator and patriot. In 1938, he engaged in an act of public devotion to an important symbol of his native country, the Monument to the Lion of Judah, at the time kept in Rome. When interrupted, he violently protested against Italian colonialism while brandishing a scimitar, which led to his arrest and internment in a psychiatric hospital for seven years, until his death. However, contemporary Italian historians doubt the claim that he was mentally unstable. Zerai's protest, lionized after the end of the Second World War, is considered by Eritrean and Ethiopian historiography as part of the movement against Italian occupation. To this day, Zerai is considered a legend and a folk hero of anticolonialism and antifascism both in Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Amhara Governorate was one of the six governorates of Italian East Africa. Its capital was at Gondar.
Italians of Ethiopia are the immigrants from Italy who moved to live in Ethiopia as far back as the 19th century, and their descendants. King Menelik II did not allow the sale of lands belonging to Ethiopia to Italians (Eritrea) and probably allowed France (Djibouti) to solidify his centralized power and have external trading partners. Most of the Italians moved to Ethiopia after the Italian conquest of Abyssinia in 1936. Italian Ethiopia was made of Harrar, Galla-Sidamo, Amhara and Scioa Governorates in summer 1936 and became a part of the Italian colony Italian East Africa, with capital Addis Abeba and with Victor Emmanuel III proclaiming himself Emperor of Ethiopia.
This is a list of words, terms, concepts, and slogans in the Italian language and Latin language which were specifically used in Fascist Italian monarchy and Italian Social Republic.
Italian Ethiopia, also known as the Italian Empire of Ethiopia, is the shorthand English name given to the Italian possession in the territory of Ethiopia, obtained by expanding the existing Somali and Eritrean colonies in East Africa of the Kingdom of Italy.
The Royal Corps of Somali Colonial Troops was the colonial body of the Royal Italian Army based in Italian Somaliland, in present-day northeastern, central and southern Somalia.
Ethiopia issued revenue stamps from when it was an independent empire onwards.
Giuseppe Daodice was an Italian general. He was the 6th Italian governor of Addis Ababa and 3rd Italian governor of Scioa (1940-1941). He was a knight of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus.
The Imperial Line was a flight route of the Italian national airline Ala Littoria between 1935 and 1941 during the Fascist era. It was the longest route in the Italian colonial empire in Africa and "the jewel in Ala Littoria's crown". It connected Rome with Benghazi (Libya), Asmara (Eritrea), Addis Abeba (Ethiopia) and Mogadishu (Somalia). It carried passengers and mail. Italy ultimately lost control of the route during World War II.