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Adwa (አድዋ) | Tigray Region (ትግራይ) | ETHIOPIA | Gallery

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Adwa is a market town in northern Ethiopia, and best known as the community closest to the decisive Battle of Adwa fought in 1896 with Italian troops. Notably, Ethiopian soldiers won the battle, thus being the only African nation to thwart European colonialism.

Adwa is also home to several notable churches: Adwa Awraja Fird Bet, Adwa Gebri'el Bet (built by Dejazmach Wolde Gebriel), Adwa Maryam Bet (built by Ras Anda Haymanot), Adwa Medhane `Alem Bete (built by Ras Sabagadis), Adwa Nigiste Saba Huletenya Dereja Timhirt Bet, and Adwa Selasse Bet. Near Adwa is Abba Garima Monastery, founded in the sixth century by one of the Nine Saints and known for its tenth century gospels. Also nearby is the village of Fremona, which had been the base of the 16th century Jesuits sent to convert Ethiopia to Catholicism.

The Battle of Adwa was fought on 1 March 1896 between Ethiopia and 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 19th-century Africa had been carved up among the various European powers. The two independent exceptions were the tiny Republic of Liberia on the west coast of the continent and the ancient Ethiopian Empire in the strategic Horn of Africa. The Kingdom of Italy was a relative newcomer to the colonial scramble for Africa. Italy had only two recently-obtained African territories, both located near Ethiopia on the Horn of Africa: Eritrea and Somalia. Both were impoverished. Italy sought to improve its position in Africa by conquering Ethiopia, which would join its two territories.

The Italian army comprised four brigades totaling 17,978 troops, with fifty-six artillery pieces. However, it is likely that fewer fought in the actual battle on the Italian side: Harold Marcus notes that "several thousand" soldiers were needed in support roles and to guard the lines of communication to the rear. He accordingly estimates that the Italian force at Adwa consisted of 14,923 effectives. One brigade under General Albertone was made up of Eritrean askari led by Italian officers. The remaining three brigades were Italian units under Brigadiers Dabormida, Ellena and Arimondi. While these included elite Bersaglieri, Alpini and Cacciatori units, a large proportion of the troops were inexperienced conscripts recently drafted from metropolitan regiments in Italy into newly formed "di formazione" battalions for service in Africa.

Estimates for the Ethiopian forces under Menelik range from a low of 73,000 to a high of 100,000, outnumbering the Italians by an estimated five or six times. The forces were divided among Emperor Menelik, Empress Taytu Betul, Ras Welle Betul, Ras Mengesha Atikem, Ras Mengesha Yohannes, Ras Alula Engida, Ras Mikael of Wollo, Ras Makonnen Wolde Mikael, Fitawrari Gebeyyehu, and Negus Tekle Haymanot Tessemma. In addition, the armies were followed by a similar number of traditional peasant followers who supplied the army, as had been done for centuries. Most of the army was composed of riflemen, a significant percentage of which were in Menelik's reserve; however, the army was also composed of a significant number of cavalry and infantry only armed with lances. Also, in the Ethiopian Army there was a small team of Russian advisers and volunteers of the officer the Kuban Cossack army N.S. Leontiev. On the night of 29 February and the early morning of 1 March three Italian brigades advanced separately towards Adwa over narrow mountain tracks, while a fourth remained camped. David Levering Lewis states that the Italian battle plan.

During the battle, 261 Italian officers, 2918 Italian non-commissioned officers and men, and about 2000 askaris, or local troops, were killed. In addition, 954 Italian soldiers were permanently missing; and 470 Italians and 958 askaris were wounded. Total Italian casualties amounted to over 40 percent of the fighting force, which was almost completely routed and lost all its artillery, besides 11000 rifles. As a result of Menelik's victory, the Italians agreed, on 26 October, to the Peace Treaty of Addis Ababa, which annulled the Treaty of Wuchale and recognized the absolute independence of Ethiopia.
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Our grand fathers fought and shaded blood not to be colonized but now our generation are willingly being canonized by putting Hollywood like sign on the mountains our ancestors fought and died for our freedom. I'm really sad
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^^^^ it is the monument of the battle of Adwa.
What a truly horrendous idea. Furthermore, who is it for- us or foreigners? But what an idiotic and totally inappropriate scheme. Thankfully I haven't seen any progress on it.
Its just bunch of letters on the top of a mountain. A well deserved Landmark. A place where the yolk of colonialism and the ideology of white supremacy was broken.You need to :chill::chill::chill::chill::chill::chill::chill::chill::chill::chill::chill::chill::chill:AX bro, like really
^^No, it is completely inappropriate.
Its just bunch of letters on the top of a mountain. A well deserved Landmark. A place where the yolk of colonialism and the ideology of white supremacy was broken.You need to :chill::chill::chill::chill::chill::chill::chill::chill::chill::chill::chill::chill::chill:AX bro, like really
It is also the place where "banda" TPLF originated. After all the sacrifice paid by our patriots, that land gave birth to traitors.
What does that have to do with 1896?? As far as I know the title doesn't read 'TPLF'...besides this is the photography section so please feel free to indulge yourself on relieving your frustration here
wow ! u should not talk about often bring fear, hate, chaos and division in Africa !
better to avoid dealing with political agenda in this trend....
I never talk politics with my own relatives : it ends up in anger or stress !
so guys, please no more politics here ! keep it private.
just a suggestion....
Part of a cemetery for the fallen Italians at the battle of Adwa....
HAILU: The Battle of Adwa Changed Ethiopia and the World

Abebe Hailu, Special to The Informer | 2/28/2014, 5 p.m.

"The Battle of Adwa" (Courtesy of A. Davey via Wikipedia)

Ethiopia, Yesterday and Today
Ethiopia has a significant history reaching over 3,000 years into the past. The word "Ethiopia" has become a term for the idea of African solidarity and freedom, not just the name of a nation or a region. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus noted the region of Ethiopia as home to "people with burnt faces." During the Greek and Roman eras, everything south of the Sahara Desert in Africa was generally referred to as Ethiopia or Abysinnia.
Biblical references also label Ethiopia as Cush, Kesh, Ekosh and Shewa (Sheba) in the Hebrew language. These were the names used in Solomon's courts when he received a visit from the Ethiopian Queen of Sheba. The biblical "Song of Solomon" praises her physical beauty. In modern times, especially since the battle of Adwa, Ethiopia has been seen as a de facto model of freedom for all black cultures sand societies world-wide.
This held true up until the time the current political regime came to power. At least this is a homegrown terror and not a conquering white European army. This renegade regime has been busy throwing fellow citizens off of their ancestral lands and leasing them to international corporations. Freedom of the press is nonexistent and journalists are jailed regularly. The current corrupt politicians have even set about the process of changing history by denying the importance of the Battle of Adwa, and mocking the reign of Menelik and Taytu.
Commemorating the Victory at Adwa
In an effort to head off the rewriting of history, Ethiopian-Americans and other members of the African diaspora will commemorate the Victory at Adwa at Veterans Plaza in the Silver Spring Civic Building in Maryland. Historians will be on hand to offer their take on the importance of the battle – and its global impact – at the gathering that will take place on Sunday, March 2, 2014. All citizens of the D.C. Metro area are encouraged to attend.
European Might is Turned Back at Adwa
King Menelik exposed the treachery and would have none of the treaty. The Italians, claiming that Menelik knew what he was signing, decided to use military power to force compliance. The Italians had about 18,000 men armed with around 56 pieces of artillery. King Menelik II was able to organize and structure an army within a very short period of time. Though the Ethiopian forces out-numbered the invaders, they lacked the technological advantage held by the Italians.
Command of the Ethiopian forces was split between Menelik, the Empress Taytu, and a number of other leaders. These forces positioned themselves on the hills overlooking the Italian-occupied Adwa Valley. By noon on March 1, 1896, the Italian army was in full retreat with a considerable number of casualties. The Italians left most of their military equipment while they fled and this allowed the forces of Menelik and Taytu to increase their armories considerably.
Taytu, an Empress at War and a Wily Politician
Before the battle, the Empress Taytu had held a hard line against the Italians at the Ethiopian Imperial Court. When talks over the spurious treaty broke down, Italy assembled a force to invade Ethiopia. Empress Taytu joined her husband.
Among Taytu's army was a force of cannoneers that rained fire down onto the Italians in the valley of Adwa. After their kingdom was secured, during their reign the king played the good and beloved king. The empress played the strict monarch. This good cop/bad cop division of duties and politics helped ensure their long reign.
Adwa Affected America
The unexpected victory at Adwa spurred the birth of a Pan-African solidarity that was evident in America. The African-American Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois was a major spokesman for freedom for Black Africans. He also edited the "Crisis" magazine, the voice for the NAACP. He devoted a whole chapter of his book, "The World and Africa," to a history of Ethiopia as a state, while promulgating Ethiopia as an idea of global African unity.
In 1936 there were some so-called black riots in Harlem. These were really just demonstrations against the treatment of Ethiopia by the Western powers. No property damage or casualties were declared. John Hope Franklin wrote a book, "From Slavery to Freedom," that helped Black Americans to become more worldly in their politics. African-American communities adopted the words "Ethiopia" or "Abyssinia" to rename their churches to push the idea of black global unity.
"… Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hands …"
These words are from the biblical Psalm 68:31 and seem to reflect the modern global rise of a Pan-African vision of freedom. After the success of Ethiopia against colonial rule, some began to think of forming a United States of Africa. Others broadened their political views to include black societies throughout the world, as well as members of the African diaspora. A racial Pan-Africanism began to grow around the globe.
Ethiopia, as an idea of black solidarity, did indeed stretch forth her hands. Pan-African conferences were called in America and England during the early 1900s. Ethiopia grew in esteem among the global community upon her admittance to the League of Nations in 1923. This also thwarted any future movement by Europeans to colonize the nation, and shattered the centuries old negative myths that Africans were no better than "savages."
The victory at Adwa helped produce a new phase of Pan-Africanism. It planted the seed of unity and cooperation of blacks throughout the world. It helped to break the yoke of colonialism in a united way. The African-American abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, summed up the forces unleashed by the victory at Adwa, and could have used his famous quote to fit the Ethiopian struggle: "It's better to die free, than live as a slave."


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Adwa, Ethiopia (TADIAS) — When historians recorded major world events of 1896 they included several headlines about the Battle of Adwa such as ‘Abyssinia (Ethiopia) Defeats Invading Italians’; ’80,000 Ethiopians Destroy 20,000 Italians at the Battle of Adwa’; ‘Italian Premier Crispi Resigns’; and ‘Abyssinia and Italy Sign Peace Treaty.’ In other words, Adwa was placed on the world map and remained a historic story because of Ethiopia’s decisive victory against the Italian army on March 1st 1896 (Yekatit 23, 1888 according to the Ethiopian calendar).
Adwa has generated a significant amount of discourse and prose from writers across the globe. To Raymond Jonas, Adwa is “the story of a world turned upside down.” As he further aptly puts it, “Ethiopia stunned the world.” Many writers made note of the fact that an African army defeated a European army. Donald Levine, the great Ethiopianist scholar, marked the historical event by highlighting its racial implications in reverse order: “a non-white nation has defeated a European power.” Levine’s perspective makes a whole lot of sense when one notices that it was also in 1896 that the US Supreme Court by seven-to-one majority vote affirmed racial segregation. And it took 58 years to overturn racial segregation in the United States.
Encyclopedia Britannica narrated the following about the event of Adwa for posterity: “ The decisive Ethiopian victory checked Italy’s attempt to build an empire in Africa.” British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill penned the event in these words: “On the 1st of March 1896, the Battle of Adwa was fought and Italy, at the hands of Abyssinia, sustained a crushing defeat. Two results followed which affected other nations. First, a great blow had been struck at European prestige in north [east] Africa. Second, the value of Italy as a factor in European politics was depreciated.”
In the context of world history, “the Battle of Adwa marked the largest military triumph of an African state over a European army in the nineteenth century and helped Ethiopia retain its independence during Europe’s Scramble for Africa,” writes Stanford University Historical Education Group. Ethiopia’s retention of its independence paved the way for global anti-colonial movements. Paul Henze describes it best when he states “the defeat at the Battle of Adwa as the beginning of the decline of Europe at the center of world politics.”
Film Director and Producer Haile Gerima, framed the event as follows: “The victory ignited a lasting flame of hope, of freedom and of independence in the hearts of Africans throughout the world.” Bahru Zewde, a distinguished historian, understood Adwa’s global historical significance, for it “brought Ethiopia to the attention of the world.” The leading Afrocentrist, Molefi Kete Asante, further reiterates: “After the victory over Italy in 1896, Ethiopia acquired a special importance in the eyes of Africans as the only surviving African state. After Adwa, Ethiopia became emblematic of African valor and resistance, the bastion of prestige and hope to thousands of Africans who were experiencing the full shock of European conquest and were beginning to search for an answer to the myth of African inferiority.”
In fact, in 1896, outside of Adwa, there was no good news from the continent of Africa. European colonizers were almost on the verge completing their colonial agenda everywhere. In 1896, France dismissed Queen Ranvalona and later annexed Madagascar to its vast colonial empire. British troops defeated Zanzibar in a 38-minute war — A battle that started at 9:02am and ended at 9:40am, the record shows. It is equally important to note the resistance against colonialism in 1896 as evidenced by the uprising of the Matebeles in what is now the nation of Zimbabwe.
When Adwa is studied and understood in the context of world history, we find Adwa as one of the most significant beacons of hope for all oppressed and colonized people of the world. It is a victory that shattered the myth of European supremacy. It is a global historic moment that should be remembered and its bigger story should be shared by young and old in the world. Adwa, we call again, for its inclusion in the World Heritage List.

Ayele Bekerie is an Associate Professor at the Department of History and Heritage Management at Mekelle University.
The Significance of the 1896 Battle of Adwa
Call for the Registry of Adwa as UNESCO World Heritage Site
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