It was an independent empire for many years, and even in the late 19th century, when many European countries scrambled to have African territories of their own, Ethiopia was still exempted.
How Ethiopia stayed uncolonized
It's interesting to know that Ethiopia is one of the only two African countries that Europeans never colonized.
How did such a vast territory never become occupied? Especially one with many resources that the Europeans would have significantly benefited from if they had control.
Ethiopia, formerly known as Abyssinia, is one of the world’s oldest countries, dating as far back as 400 BCE, and is even mentioned in the bible several times. One thing to note is that Ethiopia’s unique geographical location, economic prosperity, and viability, as well as the unity of the people, helped the territory avoid colonialization.
Despite opposition and various attempts to be subdued, the leaders were determined to keep their country free from external influence.
Throughout the millennia of its existence, Ethiopia scored decisive victories against a series of global colonialist forces, particularly Italy, in the mid-1890s.
Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1895, seeking to expand its colonial empire in Africa. In the ensuing first Italo-Ethiopian War from 1895-1896, Ethiopian troops won a crushing victory over Italian forces at the Battle of Adwa on the 1st of March, 1896.
The Ethiopian troops won the war mostly because of their organization and teamwork, their wealth which allowed them to purchase the modern rifles and ammunition they needed to fight, and the smart moves made by the emperor, Menelik II of Ethiopia.
The emperor assembled approximately two hundred thousand men fully armed with local and advanced firearms weapons. He ensured that the Italian soldiers had no chance whatsoever of conquering him.
On the 23rd of October 1896, Italy agreed to the Treaty of Addis Ababa, ending the war and recognizing Ethiopia as an independent state. Although the country was later occupied during World War II, the occupancy was brief, and Italy never established colonial control over Ethiopia.
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