The Battle of Adwa: Reflections on Ethiopia's Historic Victory Against European Colonialism

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Paulos Milkias, Getachew Metaferia
Algora Publishing, 2005 - History - 320 pages
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In the 19th-century "Scramble for Africa," when the Europeans carved up an entire continent for exploitation, Africans won a solitary, shocking, glorious victory at Adwa (Ethiopia). The most celebrated military operation involving the Africans and the Europeans since the time of Hannibal, this emblematic victory still resounds in the minds of Africans and the African diaspora as a promise of potential and an illustration of the dictum, "strength in unity." In this volume, nine scholars analyze the unique Ethiopian victory at Adwa, pondering the factors that brought success, the putative missed opportunities for securing the future integrity of the Ethiopian territory, and the lessons to be learned. Rising above their regional rivalries and local concerns, all facets of this multi-ethnic society pulled together to defeat the Italian invaders who were armed with vastly more sophisticated technology and had the support of all of Europe. For the victors it was decisive; for the vanquished, catastrophic. The Italian colonialist soldiers were crushed. Their casualty figure was 70%; all their artillery pieces were capturd, one out of four of their generals was taken prisoner and two of the remaining as well as almost half of their staff officers were killed on the battlefield. The event and its implications have much to say about Ethiopia's subsequent development, the secession of Eritrea, and relations with external powers. It also reveals much about the machinations of global powers and the dangers they pose to weaker nations, and most specifically international influence in Africa. The Ethiopian victory at the Battle of Adwa has remained a very important event in the shared recollection ofthe entire African people. It is the only secular episode in the whole history of Africa that has been celebrated for more than a century with unabated popular enthusiasm. A phenomenon such as Adwa is a complex nexus of various historical processes with wide ranging but as yet not fully explored meanings. The contributors to this collection show that Adwa does not only reflect its time, but that it also transcends it, and that the aspirations and meanings that flow from it have been a powerful constitutive force in the rise and evolution of modern Africa Indeed, it is an event that awakened the hope for emancipation and the struggle against colonialism and racism among Africans in the colonies and in the Diaspora. * Paulos Milkias is a professor of Humanities and Political Science at Marianopolis College/Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. Getachew Metaferia, co-editor, teaches political science and coordinates the graduate program in International Studies at Morgan State University. Richard Pankhurst has published 36 books and more than 400 scholarly articles. His seminal works, The Economic History of Ethiopia, Cambridge University Press, 1976, and The Ethiopians: a History, Oxford University Press, 2001, are classics in the field. Zewde Gabra-Selassie, Dejazmach served as Governor and Mayor of the capital city of Addis Ababa. Negussay Ayele is Professor of Political Science and International Relations. He is a former Ethiopian Ambassador to Scandinavia. Harold Marcus was Distinguished Professor of History at Michigan State University. Theodore M. Vestal is professor of political science and international studies at Oklahoma State University. Maimire Mennasemay teaches in thehumanities/philosophy department of Dawson College, Montreal, Canada. Mesfin Araya is Associate Professor of African Studies at York College/City University of New York, where he is Head of African-American Studies.
 

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Contents

Chapter 1 Reflections on the Battle of Adwa and Its Significance for Today
21
The Historic Victory of Ethiopia over European Colonialism
37
Chapter 3 Continuity and Discontinuity in Meneliks Foreign Policy
89
Who Was Civilized and Who Was Savage?
133
A Bulwark against European Colonialism and its Role in the PanAfrican Movement
181
as Illustrated by The Times of London for 1896
217
Chapter 7 Racist Discourse about Ethiopia and Ethiopians before and after the Battle of Adwa
229
Chapter 8 Contemporary Ethiopia in the Context of the Battle of Adwa 1896
239
The Case of Adwa
253
Amharic Version of the Wuchalé Treaty
303
Contributors
309
Bibliography
313
Index
317
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Page 48 - I said that because of our friendship our affairs in Europe might be carried on with the aid of the Sovereign of Italy, but I have not made any treaty which obliges me to do so, and today, I am not the man to accept it. That one independent power does not seek the aid of another to carry on its affairs your Majesty understands very well.44 The Italians, however, would not budge. Instead, they declared that "Italy cannot notify the other powers that she was mistaken in Article XVII, because she must...
Page 50 - I should like one to be formulated. We are ready for any sacrifice in order to save the honor of the army and the prestige of the Monarchy.
Page 46 - XVII. — His Majesty the King of Kings of Ethiopia consents to avail himself of the Italian Government for any negotiations which he may enter into with the other Powers or Governments (per tutte le trattazioni di affari che avesse con altre potenxe o governi).

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