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ROOTS | Battle of Adwa

ROOTS | Battle of Adwa

Battle of Adwa

On March 1 every year, Ethiopia celebrates the Victory of Adwa (also spelled Adowa), the climactic battle of the First Italo-Ethiopian War. The Ethiopian force led by Emperor Menilek II defeated the invading Italian forces on Sunday, March 1, 1896, in a decisive victory that prevented Italy’s campaign to expand its colonial empire in the Horn of Africa.

The European powers had already divided Africa into territories after the Berlin Conference (1884–85), and only Ethiopia and Liberia maintained their independence.

The outcome of the Battle of Adwa secured Ethiopia’s independence and made it the only African country never to be colonized. In addition, the Battle of Adwa turned Ethiopia into a symbol of freedom for black people globally.

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