|Written by:||Meshack Masibo|
The Italian army of some 20,000, many of them conscripts from the recently colonized Eritrea, faced off against Emperor Menelik II’s 100,000 troops. The Italians likely did not worry much about the odds. After all, this was the late 19th century when well-armed and well-trained colonial armies repeatedly defeated vast armies of “native” troops. Except this time was different. Aside from having a civilization that dated back some 2,000 years, Ethiopia was also united for the first timed in centuries under Menelik, who had also succeeded in buying modern weapons to arm his troops. Colonial armies had been defeated in Africa before. Zulus had overwhelmed a British force at Isandlwana in South Africa in 1879, and the religious army of the Sudanese Mahdi successfully besieged Khartoum in 1885. But all were defeated in the end.
At Adwa, the Ethiopian victory was decisive, and the Italians would not come back for half a century. It was an inspiration to Africans across a colonized continent — although some of Ethiopia’s other ethnic groups might argue that Menelik, in uniting the country, was actually carrying out his own brand of colonizing and conquest. The Italians, then under fascist rule, did return in 1936 and briefly occupied Ethiopia with the help of copious amounts of mustard gas (apparently Europeans didn’t need to follow the Geneva protocols when attacking Africans) before they were driven out five years later by British forces with the help of Ethiopian rebels.
Of course the one big difference between Ethiopia and Wakanda is that Ethiopia is not the advanced technological paradise of its mythic counterpart, and despite its history of independence, it is certainly not richest country on the continent. Yet it has been an important inspiration to Africa, and — as Ethiopians are……<a href=”https://mtkenyatimes.co.ke/premium/”><span style=”color: #0000ff;”><strong>Subscribe to Readmore</strong></span></a>………