The Colony of Eritrea from its Origins until March 1, 1899


Italy, which achieved its national unity in 1859–60, was a relative latecomer to the scramble among the European powers for colonies in Africa. Italian ambitions initially settled upon a region along the Red Sea coast once occupied by the Ottoman Turks and subsequently claimed by both Egypt and Ethiopia. Between 1869 and 1880 the Rubattino Navigation Company purchased tracts of land along the Red Sea coast from the local sultan. These acquisitions were transferred to the Italian state in 1882, and in 1885 Italian troops landed at Massawa, Aseb, and other locations along the coast. Ethiopia recognized Italian control of the region along the Red Sea in May 1889, and on January 1, 1890, the colony of Eritrea was formally established. La colonia Eritrea (The colony of Eritrea) traces Italy’s campaign to establish and develop the colony in the period 1869–99. Written by Lieutenant B. Melli, a soldier who participated in the Italian military campaigns in Africa, the book contains a brief glossary of indigenous vocabulary and several maps. Melli gives a detailed account of the Battle of Adowa (Adwa), where on March 1, 1896, the Ethiopian army of Emperor Menelik II decisively defeated outnumbered Italian forces under General Oreste Baratieri, thus blocking Italy’s attempt to expand its Red Sea colony by conquering parts of Ethiopia.

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Publication Information

Luigi Battei, Parma


Title in Original Language

La colonia Eritrea dalle sur origini fino al Io. marzo 1899


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Physical Description

xviii pages, 362 pages : folded maps ; 21 centimeters

Last updated: September 29, 2014