Ethiopians celebrate European colonizers’ defeat at Adwa

Ethiopians across the country today colorfully celebrated 124th anniversary of the Battle of Adwa, the first black people victory over highly armed Western colonizers – the Italians.

With traditional tools and weapons, Ethiopian patriots have defeated the most advanced and highly armed Italian invasion at the Battle of Adwa in the Northern part of Ethiopia. The cause of the war was the deal signed between the then emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia and Italian government, known as the Wuchale Treaty.

Emperor Menelik II realized that contrary to the Amharic language version, the Italian version of Article 17 of the Treaty reads that Ethiopia will handle its foreign relation with the permission of the Italian Government, which made the Emperor angry.

Emperor Menelik II then mobilized the people of Ethiopia to combat the Italian army at the Battle of Adwa. It was for the first time that an African country defeated European civilized army. Addressing the gathering this morning at the celebration of the 124th anniversary of the Battle of Adwa in Adwa Town, Debretsion Gebremichael, head of Tigray Region of Ethiopia, stressed that Ethiopians should stick together to stop the emerging interference of foreign countries in Ethiopian politics today as seen in the case of Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

The President of Ethiopia Sahle-Work Zewde, who also attended today’s Adwa Victory celebration has also stressed the need for Ethiopians to stand together to combat all the challenges the country is facing.

Italians defeat end of February 1896 is considered by many historians as the first victory of Africans against colonizers, as it inspires many African countries and black people across the world to launch organized arms struggle against European colonizers. Since then Ethiopian leaders have been engaged in supporting freedom fighters such as Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Zimbabwe’s struggle against colonizers, among others. At the Battle of Adwa it is estimated that Italians have lost tens of thousands of soldiers at the Battle of Adwa.

In his book about the Battle of Adwa an American historian Raymond Jonas wrote, “In the late 1830s, Ras Wube of Tigray received a group of Europe an explorers. Wube had doubts about the visitors’ intentions, but they came prepared with a gift in the hope that it might allay his suspicions. Wube accepted the gift—a framed portrait of the French king Louis-Philippe—but it did nothing to soften Wube’s unwelcoming message. ‘Take care never to set foot on my country,’ he warned his startled French visitors.”