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The Italian colonial empire ( it, Impero coloniale italiano), known as the Italian Empire (''Impero italiano'') between 1936 and 1943, began in Africa in the 19th century and comprised the
colonies In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of the original country of the colonizers, the metropole, metropolitan ...
, protectorates,
concessions Concession may refer to: * Concession (contract) (sometimes called a concession agreement), a contractual right to carry on a certain kind of business or activity in an area, such as to explore or develop its natural resources or to operate a "conc ...
and dependencies of the
Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state that existed from 1861—when King Victor Emmanuel II en, Victor Emmanuel Mario Albert Eugene Ferdinand Thomas , house = House of Savoy, Savoy , father = Charles Albert o ...
. In Africa, the colonial empire included the territories of present-day
Eritrea Eritrea ( ), officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a ...
,
Somalia Somalia,, Osmanya script: 𐒈𐒝𐒑𐒛𐒐𐒘𐒕𐒖; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federal Republic of SomaliaThe ''Federal Republic of Somalia'' is the country's name per Article 1 of thProvisional Constitutio ...

Somalia
,
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...
, and
Ethiopia Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the ...

Ethiopia
; outside Africa, Italy possessed the
Dodecanese Islands The Dodecanese (, ; el, Δωδεκάνησα, ''Dodekánisa'' , literally "twelve islands") are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), ...
(following the Italo-Turkish War), Albania (a protectorate from 1917 to 1920 and from 1925 to 1939, when it was invaded and forced into a
personal union A personal union is the combination of two or more states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The Stat ...

personal union
with Italy),Nigel Thomas. Armies in the Balkans 1914–18. Osprey Publishing, 2001, p. 17. and some
concessions in China Concessions in China were a group of concessions Concession may refer to: * Concession (contract) (sometimes called a concession agreement), a contractual right to carry on a certain kind of business or activity in an area, such as to explore o ...
, including in Tianjin. The Fascist government that came to power with dictator
Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
after 1922 sought to increase the size of the Italian empire and to satisfy the claims of Italian irredentists. Systematic "demographic colonization" was encouraged by the government, and by 1939, Italian settlers numbered 120,000-150,000 in Italian Libya and 165,000 in Italian East Africa. During World War II, Italy allied with Germany in 1940 and occupied British Somaliland, western Egypt, Yugoslavia, Tunisia, parts of south-western France and Greece; however, it then lost those conquests and its African colonies to the invading allied forces by 1943. In 1947, Italy officially relinquished claims on its former colonies. Only the territory of Somalia was eventually turned into a UN trust territory under Italian administration until 1960. Following the independence of Somalia in 1960, Italy's 78-year period of imperialism concluded.


Flag

The Italian Empire had two flags used during its existence. The first being the flag of the Kingdom of Italy used between 1882 and 1946, and from 1946 to 1960.


History


Background and pre-unification era

Imperialism in Italy dates back to
ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who stud ...
, and the Latin notion of ''
mare nostrum ''Mare Nostrum'' (; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...

mare nostrum
'' ("Our Sea", referring to the Mediterranean) has historically been the basis for Italian imperialism, especially during the fascist era. During the Middle Ages and the modern period, the
Republic of Venice The Republic of Venice ( it, Repubblica di Venezia; vec, Repùblega de Venèsia) or Venetian Republic ( it, Repubblica Veneta; vec, Repùblega Vèneta), traditionally known as La Serenissima ( en, Most Serene Republic Most Serene Republic ( ...
and the
Republic of Genoa The Republic of Genoa ( lij, Repúbrica de Zêna ; it, Repubblica di Genova; la, Res Publica Ianuensis) was a medieval and early modern maritime republic The maritime republics ( it, repubbliche marinare), also called merchant republics ( it ...
controlled networks of "colonies" in the Mediterranean region known as the
Venetian Empire Venetian often means from or related to: * Venice, a city in Italy * Veneto, a region of Italy * Republic of Venice (697–1797), a historical nation in that area Venetian and the like may also refer to: * Venetian language, a Romance language sp ...
and the Genoese Empire respectively. Between the 15th and 16th centuries, Italian explorers contributed to the colonial enterprises of other European countries in the Americas: Cristopher Columbus from Genoa served Spain,
Amerigo Vespucci Amerigo Vespucci (; ; 9 March 1451 – 22 February 1512) was an Italian-born merchant, explorer, and navigator from the Republic of Florence, from whose name the term " America" is derived. He became a Castillian citizen in 1505. Between 1 ...

Amerigo Vespucci
from Florence served Portugal, the brothers from Venice served England, and
Giovanni da Verrazzano Giovanni da Verrazzano ( , , often misspelled Verrazano in English; 1485–1528) was an Italian (Florentine) explorer Exploration is the act of searching for the purpose of discovery Discovery may refer to: * Discovery (observation) ...
from Florence served France. However, no Italian power took an active role in the scramble for the Americas, with the notable exception of the Pope who acted as an arbiter between European colonial powers during the Renaissance. The geographical position of Italy, located in the center of an internal sea, without an open free access to the ocean, contributed to this purely Mediterranean policy.
Ferdinand IFerdinand I or Fernando I may refer to: People * Ferdinand I of León, ''the Great'' (ca. 1000–1065, king from 1037) * Ferdinand I of Portugal and the Algarve, ''the Handsome'' (1345–1383, king from 1367) * Ferdinand I of Aragon and Sicily, ''of ...

Ferdinand I
, Grand Duke of Tuscany, made the only Italian attempt to create a colony in the Americas, in what is now
French Guiana French Guiana ( or ; french: link=no, Guyane ) is an overseas department/region and single territorial collectivity A single territorial collectivity (french: collectivité territoriale ''unique'') is a chartered subdivision of France ...

French Guiana
, organizing in 1608 an
expedition Expedition may refer to: * An exploration, journey, or voyage undertaken by a group of people especially for discovery and scientific research Places * Expedition Island, a park in Green River, Wyoming, US * Expedition Range, a mountain range in ...
to explore the north of Brazil and the Amazon river in 1608 under the command of the English captain Robert Thornton. However, Thornton, on his return from the preparatory expedition in 1609, found Ferdinand I dead and his successor,
Cosimo II Cosimo II de' Medici (12 May 1590 – 28 February 1621) was Grand Duchy of Tuscany, Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1609 until his death. He was the elder son of Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Christina of Lorraine. For the ma ...

Cosimo II
, was not interested in the project. In 1651,
Giovanni Paolo Lascaris Giovanni Paolo Lascaris di Ventimiglia e Castellar, Alpes-Maritimes, Castellar (28 June 156014 August 1657) was an Italian nobility, Italian nobleman and Grand master (order), Grand Master of the Knights of Malta. Early life Lascaris was born on 2 ...
, Italian nobleman and Grand Master of the
Knights Hospitaller The Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem ( la, Ordo Fratrum Hospitalis Sancti Ioannis Hierosolymitani), commonly known as the Knights Hospitaller (), was a medieval and early modern Catholic The Catholic Church, ...

Knights Hospitaller
of Malta (at the time a vassal state of the
Kingdom of Sicily Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. L ...

Kingdom of Sicily
), possessed four
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles ...
islands:
Saint Christopher Saint Christopher ( el, Ἅγιος Χριστόφορος, ''Ágios Christóforos'') is veneration, venerated by several Christianity, Christian denominations as a martyr killed in the reign of the 3rd-century Roman Empire, Roman emperor Decius ...
,
Saint MartinSaint Martin may refer to: People * Saint Martin of Tours (c. 316–397), Bishop of Tours, France * Saint Martin of Braga (c. 520–580), archbishop of Bracara Augusta in Gallaecia (now Braga in Portugal) * Pope Martin I (598–655) * Saint Martin ...
,
Saint Barthélemy Saint Barthélemy (french: Saint-Barthélemy, ), officially the , is an overseas collectivity The French overseas collectivities ('' collectivité d'outre-mer'' or ''COM''), are first-order administrative divisions of France, like the F ...
, and
Saint Croix Saint Croix; nl, Sint-Kruis; french: link=no, Sainte-Croix; Danish and no, Sankt Croix, Taino: ''Ay Ay'' ( , ) is an island in the Caribbean Sea, and a county and constituent district of the United States Virgin Islands The United St ...
, which were colonized from 1651 until 1665. No other colonial attempt in the ocean was made and, by 1797, the Venetian and Genoese possessions in the Mediterranean were lost.


Scramble for an empire

Once unified as a nation-state in the late 19th century, Italy intended to compete with the other European powers for the new age of European colonial expansion. It saw its interests in the Mediterranean and in the
Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsula of East Africa.Robert Stock, ''Africa South of the Sahara, Second Edition: A Geographical Interpretation'', (The Guilford Press; 2004), p. 26 Located on the ea ...

Horn of Africa
, a region yet to be colonized and with access to the ocean. Italy had arrived late to the colonial race and its status as the least of the Great Powers, a position of relative weakness in international affairs, meant that it was dependent on the acquiescence of Britain, France and Germany towards its empire-building. Italy had long considered the Ottoman province of
Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in northern Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous , after in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11. ...

Tunisia
, where a large community of Tunisian Italians lived, within its economic sphere of influence. It did not consider annexing it until 1879, when it became apparent that Britain and Germany were encouraging France to add it to its colonial holdings in
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...
. A last-minute offer by Italy to share Tunisia between the two countries was refused, and France, confident in German support, ordered its troops in from
French Algeria French Algeria (french: Alger to 1839, then afterwards; unofficially , ar, الجزائر المستعمرة), also known as Colonial Algeria, refers to the France, French colonisation of Algeria. French rule in the region began in 1830 with t ...
, imposing a protectorate over Tunisia in May 1881 under the
Treaty of Bardo A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relation ...
. The shock of the "Tunisian bombshell", as it was referred to in the Italian press, and the sense of Italy's isolation in Europe, led it into signing the Triple Alliance in 1882 with Germany and
Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exe ...

Austria-Hungary
. The genesis of the Italian colonial empire was the purchase in 1869 of Assab Bay on the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر, translit=al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar; or ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a North ...

Red Sea
by an Italian navigation company which intended to establish a coaling station at the time the
Suez Canal The Suez Canal ( ar, قَنَاةُ ٱلسُّوَيْسِ, ') is an artificial sea-level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an mean, average level of the surface of one or more of Earth's bodies of water from which hei ...
was being opened to navigation. This was taken over by the Italian government in 1882, becoming modern Italy's first overseas territory. Italy's search for colonies continued until February 1886, when, by secret agreement with Britain, it annexed the port of
Massawa Massawa ( ; ti, ምጽዋዕ, məṣṣəwaʿ; gez, ምጽዋ; ar, مصوع; it, Massaua; pt, Maçuá) is a port city in the Northern Red Sea Region, Northern Red Sea region of Eritrea, located on the Red Sea at the northern end of the Gulf of ...
in
Eritrea Eritrea ( ), officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a ...

Eritrea
on the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر, translit=al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar; or ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a North ...

Red Sea
from the crumbling
Egyptian Empire Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt Egypt ( ; ar, مِصر ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanning the North Africa, northeast corner of Africa and Western Asia, southwest cor ...
. Italian annexation of Massawa denied the
Ethiopian Empire The Ethiopian Empire (), also formerly known by the Abyssinia (derived from the Arabic '), or just simply known as Ethiopia (; and : ኢትዮጵያ , , : Itoophiyaa, : Itoobiya, : ''Itiyoophiyaa''), was an that historically spanned the g ...
of
Yohannes IV ''girmāwī''His Imperial Majesty Imperial Majesty (''His/Her Imperial Majesty'', abbreviated as ''HIM'') is a style (manner of address), style used by Emperors and Empresses. It distinguishes the status of an emperor/empress from that of a Kin ...
an outlet to the sea. At the same time, Italy occupied territory on the south side of the
horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsula of East Africa.Robert Stock, ''Africa South of the Sahara, Second Edition: A Geographical Interpretation'', (The Guilford Press; 2004), p. 26 Located on the ea ...

horn of Africa
, forming what would become
Italian Somaliland Italian Somaliland ( it, Somala italiana; ar, الصومال الإيطالي, Al-Sumal Al-Italiy; so, Dhulka Talyaaniga ee Soomaalida), was a protectorate of the Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state which ...

Italian Somaliland
. However, Italy coveted Ethiopia itself and, in 1887, Italian Prime Minister
Agostino Depretis Agostino Depretis (31 January 181329 July 1887) was an Italian statesman and politician. He served as Prime Minister of Italy for several stretches between 1876 and 1887, and was leader of the Historical Left parliamentary group for more than a d ...

Agostino Depretis
ordered an invasion, leading to the Eritrea War. This invasion was halted after the loss of five hundred Italian troops at the
Battle of Dogali The Battle of Dogali was fought on 26 January 1887 between Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a Northern Italy, continental part, delimited by the A ...
. Depretis's successor, Prime Minister
Francesco Crispi Francesco Crispi (4 October 1818 – 12 August 1901) was an Italian patriot and statesman. He was among the main protagonists of the Italian Risorgimento and a close friend and supporter of Giuseppe Mazzini and Giuseppe Garibaldi, and one of th ...

Francesco Crispi
signed the
Treaty of Wuchale Treaty of Wuchale (also spelled Treaty of Ucciale; it, Trattato di Uccialli, am, የውጫሌ ውል) was a treaty signed between the empire of Ethiopia and the kingdom of Italy. King Menelik II of Shewa, later the Emperor of Ethiopia, and Co ...
in 1889 with
Menelik II Menelik II ( gez, ዳግማዊ ምኒልክ ; horse name Abba Dagnew (Amharic: አባ ዳኘው ''abba daññäw''); 17 August 1844 – 12 December 1913), baptised as Sahle Maryam (ሣህለ ማርያም ''sahlä maryam'') was Emperor of Ethiopi ...

Menelik II
, the new emperor. This treaty ceded Ethiopian territory around Massawa to Italy to form the colony of
Italian Eritrea Italian Eritrea (Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italia ...
, and – at least, according to the Italian version of the treaty – made Ethiopia an Italian
protectorate A protectorate is a state that is controlled and protected by another sovereign state. It is a dependent territory A dependent territory, dependent area, or dependency (sometimes referred as an external territory) is a territory that does not ...
. Relations between Italy and Menelik deteriorated over the next few years until the
First Italo-Ethiopian War The First Italo-Ethiopian War, lit. ''Abyssinian War'' was fought between Kingdom of Italy, Italy and Ethiopian Empire, Ethiopia from 1895 to 1896. It originated from the disputed Treaty of Wuchale, which the Italians claimed turned Ethiopia in ...
broke out in 1895, when Crispi ordered Italian troops into the country. Vastly outnumbered and poorly equipped, the result was a decisive defeat for Italy at the hands of Ethiopian forces at the
Battle of Adwa The Battle of Adwa (Amharic: አድዋ; ti, ዓድዋ; Italian language, Italian ''Adua'', also spelled ''Adowa'') was the climactic battle of the First Italo-Ethiopian War. The Ethiopian forces, who had high numerical superiority and weapons ...
in 1896. The Ethiopians were supported by Russian advisers and equipment, as well as by a unit of Russian volunteers. The death toll was 6,889, including 4,133 Italians. The Ethiopians counted at least 4,000 dead and 10,000 wounded. Total Italian, Eritrean, and Somali deaths, including those from disease, were estimated at 9,000. Italy also fought in the
Mahdist War The Mahdist War ( ar, الثورة المهدية ''ath-Thawra al-Mahdiyya''; 1881–1899) was a war between the Mahdist State, Mahdist Sudanese of the religious leader Muhammad Ahmad, Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah, who had proclaimed himself the ...
, and since 1890 it defeated Mahdist troops in the Battle of Serobeti and the
First Battle of Agordat The First Battle of Agordat, the first battle between Kingdom of Italy, Italy and History of Mahdist Sudan, Mahdist Sudan, took place on June 27, 1890. Violence began when a force of one-thousand Mahdists raided the Beni-Amer people, Beni Amer, "a ...
. In December 1893, Italian colonial troops and Mahdists fought again in the Second Battle of Agordat; Ahmed Ali campaigned against the Italian forces in eastern Sudan and led about 10–12,000 men east from Kassala, encountering 2,400 Italians and their
Eritrean Ascari The Royal Corps Of Eritrean Colonial Troops were indigenous soldiers from Eritrea, who were enrolled as askaris in the Royal Corps of Colonial Troops (''Regio Corpo di Truppe Coloniali'') of the Royal Italian Army (''Regio Esercito'') during the per ...
s commanded by Colonel Arimondi. The Italians won again, and the outcome of the battle constituted "the first decisive victory yet won by Europeans against the Sudanese revolutionaries". A year later, Italian colonial forces seized Kassala after the successful
Battle of Kassala The Battle of Kassala was fought on July 17, 1894, between an Italian Eritrea, Italian colonial troop and Mahdist Sudanese forces. Prelude Governor Oreste Baratieri sought to capture Kassala, so as to forestall Mahdist war, Mahdist attacks on Ita ...
; Italy returned the city to the British at the end of the war three years later. In 1898, in the wake of the acquisition of leased territories by Germany,
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...
,
Britain Britain usually refers to: * United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United ...
and
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...
in China earlier that year, the Italian government, as a matter of national prestige and to assert Italy's great power status, demanded the cession of
Sanmen BaySanmen, may refer to: * Sanmen County, a county in Taizhou, Zhejiang, China. * Sanmen, Longsheng County, a town in Longsheng Various Nationalities Autonomous County, Guangxi, China. {{Geodis ...
to serve as a coaling station. Aware that Italy did not have sufficient naval power in Asian waters to back up its demand, the Chinese imperial government rejected the ultimatum and all subsequent requests, arguing that Italy had no real political or economic interests in China. This national humiliation, which for Italy's main newspaper made the country appear "like a third or fourth-rate power", provoked the fall of the Italian government. This prompted Italy to take part in the international expedition in Beijing at the outbreak of the
Boxer Rebellion The Boxer Rebellion, Boxer Uprising or Yihetuan Movement, was an armed and violent , , and insurrection in China between 1899 and 1901, towards the end of the . It was initiated by the Militia United in Righteousness (''Yìhéquán''), kno ...

Boxer Rebellion
the following year, and resulted in the acquisition of an concession in Tianjin in 1901, its only outpost in Asia. The concession was administered by the Italian consul in Tianjin. A wave of nationalism that swept Italy at the turn of the 20th century led to the founding of the
Italian Nationalist Association The Italian Nationalist Association (''Associazione Nazionalista Italiana'', ANI) was Italy's first nationalist Nationalism is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of ...
, which pressed for the expansion of Italy's empire. Newspapers were filled with talk of revenge for the humiliations suffered in Ethiopia at the end of the previous century, and of nostalgia for the
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...

Roman
era.
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...

Libya
, it was suggested, as an ex-Roman colony, should be "taken back" to provide a solution to the problems of
Southern Italy Southern Italy ( it, Sud Italia; nap, 'o Sudde; scn, Italia dû Sud), also known as ''Meridione'' or ''Mezzogiorno'' (, literally "Midday"; in nap, 'o Miezojuorno; in scn, Mezzujornu), is a macroregionA macroregion is a geopolitical subdivis ...
's population growth. Fearful of being excluded altogether from North Africa by Britain and France, and mindful of public opinion, Prime Minister
Giovanni Giolitti Giovanni Giolitti (; 27 October 1842 – 17 July 1928) was an Italy, Italian statesman. He was the Prime Minister of Italy five times between 1892 and 1921. He is the List of Italian Prime Ministers by time in office, second-longest serving Pri ...

Giovanni Giolitti
ordered the declaration of war on the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
, of which Libya was part, in October 1911. As a result of the
Italo-Turkish War The Italo-Turkish or Turco-Italian War ( tr, Trablusgarp Savaşı, "Tripolitanian War", it, Guerra di Libia, "War of Libya") was fought between the and the from 29 September 1911, to 18 October 1912. As a result of this conflict, Italy capture ...
, Italy gained Libya and the
Dodecanese Islands The Dodecanese (, ; el, Δωδεκάνησα, ''Dodekánisa'' , literally "twelve islands") are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), ...

Dodecanese Islands
. A distinguishing feature of this desert war in Libya in 1912 was the first use of an armoured fighting vehicle in military history. The war also featured the first significant employment of air power in warfare. Nine Italian aircraft flew both combat and support missions during the campaign. History's first war death of a pilot occurred when an aircraft crashed during a recon sortie.


World War I and aftermath

In 1914 Italy remained neutral and did not join its ally Germany in World War I. The Allies made promises and in 1915 Italy joined them. It was promised territorial spoils mainly from Austria and Turkey. Prior to direct intervention in World War I, Italy occupied the Albanian port of
Vlorë Vlorë ( , ; sq-definite, Vlora) is the third most populous city of the Republic of Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europ ...
in December 1914. In the fall of 1916, Italy started to occupy southern
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...
. In 1916, Italian forces recruited Albanian irregulars to serve alongside them. Italy, with permission of the Allied command, occupied
Northern Epirus Northern Epirus ( el, Βόρειος Ήπειρος, ''Vórios Ípiros''; sq, Epiri i Veriut; rup, Epiru di Nsusu) is a term used to refer to those parts of the historical region of Epirus, in the western Balkans, which today are part of Albania ...
on 23 August 1916, forcing the neutralist Greek Army to withdraw its occupation forces from there. In June 1917, Italy proclaimed central and southern Albania as a protectorate of Italy while Northern Albania was allocated to the states of
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
and
Montenegro Montenegro (; cnr, Crna Gora, , , ; sq, Mali i zi) is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (fro ...

Montenegro
. By 31 October 1918, French and Italian forces expelled the Austro-Hungarian Army from Albania. However, in 1920, an Albanian rebellion led the Italians to agree to return the occupied regions to Albania, with the exception of
Sazan Island Sazan ( sq-definite, Sazani) is an uninhabited island inside the Mediterranean Sea in southern Albania. It is the Islands of Albania, largest island in Albania and strategically located between the Strait of Otranto and the entrance to the Bay of ...
.
Dalmatia Dalmatia (; hr, Dalmacija ; it, Dalmazia; see #Name, names in other languages) is a region on the east shore of the Adriatic Sea, a narrow belt stretching from the island of Rab in the north to the Bay of Kotor in the south. The Dalmatian Hin ...

Dalmatia
was a strategic region during World War I that both Italy and Serbia intended to seize from Austria-Hungary. The Treaty of London guaranteed Italy the right to annex a large portion of Dalmatia in exchange for Italy's participation on the Allied side. From 5–6 November 1918, Italian forces were reported to have reached Lissa, , Sebenico, and other localities on the Dalmatian coast. By the end of hostilities in November 1918, the Italian military had seized control of the entire portion of Dalmatia that had been guaranteed to Italy by the Treaty of London and by 17 November had seized Fiume as well.Paul O'Brien. ''Mussolini in the First World War: the Journalist, the Soldier, the Fascist''. Oxford, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Berg, 2005. Pp. 17. In 1918, Admiral declared himself Italy's Governor of Dalmatia. Famous Italian nationalist
Gabriele D'Annunzio General A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate on Littoral Zone, littoral ...

Gabriele D'Annunzio
supported the seizure of Dalmatia, and proceeded to (today's Zadar) in an Italian warship in December 1918. At the concluding
Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles (french: Traité de Versailles; german: Versailler Vertrag, ) was the most important of the peace treaties A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or government ...
in 1919, Italy received less in Europe than had been promised and none overseas mandate except for a promise of colonial compensations made on 7 May 1919 during the partition of Germany's colonies between France and Britain. To satisfy this promise, France and Britain directly or indirectly gave Italy, from 1919 to 1935, a number of territories to expand Libya (Cufra, Sarra, Giarabub, the Aouzou strip, other lands in the Sahara), Somalia (Jubaland), the Dodecanese (Kastellorizo), and Eritrea (Raheita, the Hanish islands). In April 1920, it was agreed between the British and Italian foreign ministers that
Jubaland Jubaland ( so, Jubbaland, ar, , it, Oltregiuba), the Juba Valley ( so, Dooxada Jubba) or Azania ( so, Asaaniya, ar, ), is a Federal Member State in southern Somalia Somalia,; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federa ...
would be Italy's first compensation from Britain, but London held back on the deal for several years, aiming to use it as leverage to force Italy to cede the
Dodecanese The Dodecanese (, ; el, Δωδεκάνησα, ''Dodekánisa'' , literally "twelve islands") are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greece, Greek list of islands of Greece, islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean, off ...

Dodecanese
to Greece.


Fascism and the Italian Empire

In 1922, the leader of the
Italian fascist Italian Fascism ( it, fascismo italiano), also known as Classical Fascism or simply Fascism, is the original fascist Fascism () is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppres ...
movement, , became Prime Minister and dictator. Mussolini resolved the question of sovereignty over the
Dodecanese The Dodecanese (, ; el, Δωδεκάνησα, ''Dodekánisa'' , literally "twelve islands") are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greece, Greek list of islands of Greece, islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean, off ...

Dodecanese
at the 1923
Treaty of Lausanne A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relation ...
, which formalized Italian administration of both Libya and the Dodecanese Islands, in return for a payment to Turkey, the successor state to the Ottoman Empire, though he failed in an attempt to extract a mandate of a portion of Iraq from Britain. The month following the ratification of the Lausanne treaty, Mussolini ordered the invasion of the Greek island of
Corfu Corfu (, ) or Kerkyra ( el, Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, ), ; ; la, Corcyra. is a Greek island Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch ...

Corfu
after the
Corfu incident The Corfu incident was a 1923 diplomatic and military crisis between Kingdom of Greece (Glücksburg), Greece and Fascist Italy (1922–1943), Italy. It was triggered when an Enrico Tellini, Italian general heading a commission to resolve a border ...
. The Italian press supported the move, noting that Corfu had been a Venetian possession for four hundred years. The matter was taken by Greece to the
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: Société des Nations ), was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member state ...
, where Mussolini was convinced by Britain to evacuate Italian troops, in return for reparations from Greece. The confrontation led Britain and Italy to resolve the question of Jubaland in 1924, which was merged into
Italian Somaliland Italian Somaliland ( it, Somala italiana; ar, الصومال الإيطالي, Al-Sumal Al-Italiy; so, Dhulka Talyaaniga ee Soomaalida), was a protectorate of the Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state which ...

Italian Somaliland
. During the late 1920s, imperial expansion became an increasingly favoured theme in Mussolini's speeches.Smith, Dennis Mack (1981). ''Mussolini'', p. 170. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London. Amongst Mussolini's aims were that Italy had to become the dominant power in the Mediterranean that would be able to challenge France or Britain, as well as attain access to the and
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large ...

Indian Ocean
s. Mussolini alleged that Italy required uncontested access to the world's oceans and shipping lanes to ensure its national sovereignty.Salerno, Reynolds Mathewson (2002). ''Vital crossroads: Mediterranean origins of the Second World War, 1935–1940''
pp. 105–106
Cornell University Press The Cornell University Press is a division of Cornell University Cornell University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingd ...
This was elaborated on in a document he later drew up in 1939 called "The March to the Oceans", and included in the official records of a meeting of the
Grand Council of Fascism The Grand Council of Fascism (, also translated "Fascist Grand Council") was the main body of Mussolini's Fascist Fascism () is a form of far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, a ...
. This text asserted that maritime position determined a nation's independence: countries with free access to the high seas were independent; while those who lacked this, were not. Italy, which only had access to an inland sea without French and British acquiescence, was only a "semi-independent nation", and alleged to be a "prisoner in the Mediterranean": In the
Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rathe ...

Balkans
, the Fascist regime claimed
Dalmatia Dalmatia (; hr, Dalmacija ; it, Dalmazia; see #Name, names in other languages) is a region on the east shore of the Adriatic Sea, a narrow belt stretching from the island of Rab in the north to the Bay of Kotor in the south. The Dalmatian Hin ...

Dalmatia
and held ambitions over
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...

Albania
,
Slovenia Slovenia ( ; sl, Slovenija ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: , abbr.: ''RS''), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, l ...

Slovenia
,
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
,
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina,, abbreviated BiH or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in South South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north a ...

Bosnia and Herzegovina
,
Vardar Macedonia Vardar Macedonia ( Macedonian and sr, Вардарска Македонија, ''Vardarska Makedonija'') was the name given to the territory of the Kingdom of Serbia The Kingdom of Serbia ( sr, Краљевина Србија, Kraljevina Srbija ...
, and
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
based on the precedent of previous Roman dominance in these regions.Robert Bideleux, Ian Jeffries. ''A history of eastern Europe: crisis and change''. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 1998. Pp. 467. Dalmatia and Slovenia were to be directly annexed into Italy while the remainder of the Balkans was to be transformed into Italian client states. The regime also sought to establish protective patron-client relationships with
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...

Austria
,
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
,
Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (; sh, Jugoslavija / ; sl, Jugoslavija ; mk, Југославија ;; rup, Iugoslavia; hu, Jugoszlávia; Pannonian Rusyn Image:Novi Sad mayor office.jpg, 250px, Mayor office written in four official languages used in the ...

Yugoslavia
,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
, and
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
. In both 1932 and 1935, Italy demanded a
League of Nations mandate A League of Nations mandate was a legal status for certain territories transferred from the control of one country to another following World War I World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global ...
of the former
German Cameroon Kamerun was an African German colonial empire, colony of the German Empire from 1884 to 1916 in the region of today's Cameroon, Republic of Cameroon. Kamerun also included northern parts of Gabon and the Republic of the Congo, Congo with western ...
and a free hand in Ethiopia from France in return for Italian support against Germany (see
Stresa Front The Stresa Front was an agreement made in Stresa Stresa is a town and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a basic Administrative division, constituent entity of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function ...
).Burgwyn, James H. (1997). ''Italian foreign policy in the interwar period, 1918–1940''
p. 68
Praeger Publishers.
This was refused by French Prime Minister Édouard Herriot, who was not yet sufficiently worried about the prospect of a German resurgence. In its in 1935–36, Italy was successful and it merged its new conquest with its older east African colonies to create
Italian East Africa Italian East Africa ( it, Africa Orientale Italiana, AOI) was an Italian colony in the Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA) om, Gaafa Afrikaa, am, የአፍሪካ ቀንድ, yäafrika qänd, so, Geeska Afrika 𐒌𐒜𐒈𐒏𐒖 𐒖𐒍 ...

Italian East Africa
. In 1939, Italy invaded Albania and incorporated it into the Fascist state. During the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
(1939–1945), Italy occupied British Somaliland, parts of south-eastern France, western
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
and most of Greece, but then lost those conquests and its African colonies, including Ethiopia, to the invading Allies of World War II, allied forces by 1943. It was forced in the Treaty of Peace with Italy, 1947, peace treaty of 1947 to relinquish sovereignty over all its colonies. It was granted a Trust Territory of Somaliland, trust to administer former Italian Somaliland under United Nations supervision in 1950. When Somalia became independent in 1960, Italy's eight-decade experiment with colonialism had ended. The Second Italo-Ethiopian War cost 4,359 killed in action—2,313 Italians, 1,086 Eritreans, 507 Somalis and Libyans, and 453 Italian laborers. Ethiopian military and civilian dead, many of them from Italian bomb and Sulfur mustard, mustard gas attacks, were estimated as high as 275,000. In July 1936, Francisco Franco of the Nationalist faction in the Spanish Civil War requested Italian support against the ruling Republican faction, and guaranteed that, if Italy supported the Nationalists, "future relations would be more than friendly" and that Italian support "would have permitted the influence of Rome to prevail over that of Berlin in the future politics of Spain". Italy intervened in the civil war with the intention of occupying the Balearic Islands and creating a client state in Spain. Italy sought the control of the Balearic Islands due to its strategic position – Italy could use the islands as a base to disrupt the lines of communication between France and its North African colonies and between British Gibraltar and Malta. After the victory by Franco and the Nationalists in the war, Italy pressured Franco to permit an Italian occupation of the Balearic Islands but he did not do so. After the United Kingdom signed the Anglo-Italian Easter Accords in 1938, Mussolini and foreign minister Ciano issued demands for concessions in the Mediterranean by France, particularly regarding Djibouti,
Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in northern Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous , after in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11. ...

Tunisia
and the French-run
Suez Canal The Suez Canal ( ar, قَنَاةُ ٱلسُّوَيْسِ, ') is an artificial sea-level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an mean, average level of the surface of one or more of Earth's bodies of water from which hei ...
.Reynolds Mathewson Salerno. Vital Crossroads: Mediterranean Origins of the Second World War, 1935–1940. Cornell University, 2002. p 82–83. Three weeks later, Mussolini told Ciano that he intended for Italy to demand an Italian takeover of Albania. Mussolini professed that Italy would only be able to "breathe easily" if it had acquired a contiguous colonial domain in Africa from the Atlantic to the Indian Oceans, and when ten million Italians had settled in them. In 1938, Italy demanded a sphere of influence in the
Suez Canal The Suez Canal ( ar, قَنَاةُ ٱلسُّوَيْسِ, ') is an artificial sea-level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an mean, average level of the surface of one or more of Earth's bodies of water from which hei ...
in Egypt, specifically demanding that the French-dominated Suez Canal Company accept an Italian representative on its board of directors."French Army breaks a one-day strike and stands on guard against a land-hungry Italy", ''LIFE'', 19 Dec 1938. Pp. 23. Italy opposed the French monopoly over the Suez Canal because, under the French-dominated Suez Canal Company, all Italian merchant traffic to its colony of
Italian East Africa Italian East Africa ( it, Africa Orientale Italiana, AOI) was an Italian colony in the Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA) om, Gaafa Afrikaa, am, የአፍሪካ ቀንድ, yäafrika qänd, so, Geeska Afrika 𐒌𐒜𐒈𐒏𐒖 𐒖𐒍 ...

Italian East Africa
was forced to pay tolls on entering the canal. In 1939, Italy Italian invasion of Albania, invaded and captured Albania and made it a part of the Italian Empire as a separate kingdom in
personal union A personal union is the combination of two or more states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The Stat ...

personal union
with the House of Savoy, Italian crown. The region of modern-day Albania had been an early part of the Roman Empire, which had actually been held before northern parts of Italy had been taken by the Romans, but had long since been populated by Albanians, even though Italy had retained strong links with the Albanian leadership and considered it firmly within its sphere of influence.Dickson (2001), pg. 69 It is possible that Mussolini simply wanted a spectacular success over a smaller neighbour to match Germany's Anschluss, absorption of Austria and Occupation of Czechoslovakia, Czechoslovakia. Italian King Victor Emmanuel III took the King of Albania, Albanian crown, and a fascist government under Shefqet Verlaci was established to Albania under Italy, rule over Albania.


World War II

Mussolini entered World War II in June 1940 on the side of Adolf Hitler with plans to enlarge Italy's territorial holdings. He had designs on an area of western
Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (; sh, Jugoslavija / ; sl, Jugoslavija ; mk, Југославија ;; rup, Iugoslavia; hu, Jugoszlávia; Pannonian Rusyn Image:Novi Sad mayor office.jpg, 250px, Mayor office written in four official languages used in the ...

Yugoslavia
, southern France, Corsica, Malta, Tunisia, part of Algeria, an Atlantic port in Morocco, French Somaliland and British-controlled Egypt and Sudan. On 10 June 1940, Mussolini declared war on Britain and France; both countries had been at war with Nazi Germany since September of the previous year. In July 1940, Italian foreign minister Count Ciano presented Hitler with a list of Italy's goals that included: the annexation of Corsica, Nice, and Malta; protectorate in Tunisia and a buffer zone in Eastern Algeria; independence with Italian military presence and bases in Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Transjordan as well as expropriation of oil companies in those territories; military occupation of Aden, Perim and Sokotra; Cyprus given to Greece in exchange for Ionian islands and Ciamuria given to Italy; Italy is given British Somaliland, Djibuti, French Equatorial Africa up to Ubangi-Shari, as well as Ciano adding at the meeting that Italy wanted Kenya and Uganda as well.Santi Corvaja, Robert L. Miller. Hitler & Mussolini: The Secret Meetings. New York, New York, USA: Enigma Books, 2008. Pp. 132. Hitler made no promises. In October 1940, Mussolini ordered the Greco-Italian War, invasion of Greece from Albania under Italy, Albania, but the operation was unsuccessful. In April 1941, Germany launched an invasion of Yugoslavia and then Battle of Greece, attacked Greece. Italy and other German allies supported both actions. The German and Italian armies overran Yugoslavia in about two weeks and, despite British support in Greece, the Axis troops overran that country by the end of April. The Italians gained control over portions of both occupied Yugoslavia and Axis occupation of Greece during World War II, occupied Greece. A member of the House of Savoy, Prince Aimone, Duke of Aosta, Prince Aimone, 4th Duke of Aosta, was appointed king of the newly created Independent State of Croatia. During the height of the Battle of Britain, the Italians launched an Italian Invasion of Egypt, invasion of Egypt in the hope of capturing the Suez Canal. By 16 September 1940, the Italians advanced across the border. However, in December, the British launched Operation Compass and, by February 1941, the British had cut off and captured the Tenth Army (Italy), Italian 10th Army and had driven deep into Libya. A Operation Sonnenblume, German intervention prevented the fall of Libya and the combined Axis attacks drove the British back into Egypt until summer 1942, before being First Battle of El Alamein, stopped at El Alamein. Operation Torch, Allied intervention against Vichy French-held Morocco and Algeria created a two-front campaign. German and Italian forces entered Tunisia in late 1942 in response, however, forces in Egypt were soon forced to make a major retreat into Libya. By May 1943, Axis forces in Tunisia were forced to surrender. The East African Campaign (World War II), East African Campaign started with Italian advances into British-held Kenya, British Somaliland, and Sudan. In the summer of 1940, Italian armed forces Italian conquest of British Somaliland, successfully invaded all of British Somaliland. But, in the Spring of 1941, the British had counter-attacked and pushed deep into
Italian East Africa Italian East Africa ( it, Africa Orientale Italiana, AOI) was an Italian colony in the Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA) om, Gaafa Afrikaa, am, የአፍሪካ ቀንድ, yäafrika qänd, so, Geeska Afrika 𐒌𐒜𐒈𐒏𐒖 𐒖𐒍 ...

Italian East Africa
. By 5 May, Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia had returned to Addis Ababa to reclaim his throne. In November, the last organised Italian resistance ended with the Battle of Gondar, fall of Gondar.Jowett (2001) p.7 However, following the surrender of East Africa, some Italians Italian guerrilla war in Ethiopia, conducted a guerrilla war which lasted for two more years. In November 1942, when the Germans occupied Vichy France during Case Anton, Italian-occupied France was expanded with the occupation of Corsica.


End of the empire

By the autumn of 1943, the Italian Empire and all Italian imperialism under Fascism, dreams of an Imperial Italy effectively came to an end. On 7 May, the surrender of Axis powers, Axis forces in Tunisia Campaign, Tunisia and other near continuous Italian reversals, led King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, Victor Emmanuel III to plan the removal of Mussolini. Following the Invasion of Sicily, all support for Mussolini evaporated. A meeting of the
Grand Council of Fascism The Grand Council of Fascism (, also translated "Fascist Grand Council") was the main body of Mussolini's Fascist Fascism () is a form of far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, a ...
was held on 24 July, which managed to impose a Fall of the Fascist regime in Italy, vote of no confidence to Mussolini. The "Duce" was subsequently deposed and arrested by the King on the following afternoon. Afterwards, Mussolini remained a prisoner of the King until 12 September, when, on the orders of Adolf Hitler, Hitler, he was rescued by German paratroops and became leader of the newly established Italian Social Republic. After 25 July, the new Italian government under the King and Field Marshal Pietro Badoglio remained outwardly part of the Axis. But, secretly, it started negotiations with the Allies. On the eve of the Allied landings at Salerno, which started the Allied invasion of Italy, the new Italian government Armistice between Italy and Allied armed forces, secretly signed an armistice with the Allies. On 8 September, the armistice was made public. In
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...

Albania
,
Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (; sh, Jugoslavija / ; sl, Jugoslavija ; mk, Југославија ;; rup, Iugoslavia; hu, Jugoszlávia; Pannonian Rusyn Image:Novi Sad mayor office.jpg, 250px, Mayor office written in four official languages used in the ...

Yugoslavia
, the
Dodecanese The Dodecanese (, ; el, Δωδεκάνησα, ''Dodekánisa'' , literally "twelve islands") are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greece, Greek list of islands of Greece, islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean, off ...

Dodecanese
, and other territories still held by the Italians, German military forces successfully attacked their former Italian allies and ended Italy's rule. During the Dodecanese Campaign, an Allied attempt to take the Dodecanese with the cooperation of the Italian troops ended in total German victory. In China, the Imperial Japanese Army occupied Italy's concession in Tientsin after getting news of the armistice. Later in 1943 the Italian Social Republic formally ceded control of the concession to Japan's puppet regime in China, the Reorganized National Government of China under Wang Jingwei. In 1947, the Treaty of peace with Italy (1947), Treaty of Peace with Italy formally ended the empire that was now totally defunct. There were discussions to maintain Tripolitania (a province of Italian Libya) as the last Italian colony, but these were not successful. In November 1949 the former
Italian Somaliland Italian Somaliland ( it, Somala italiana; ar, الصومال الإيطالي, Al-Sumal Al-Italiy; so, Dhulka Talyaaniga ee Soomaalida), was a protectorate of the Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state which ...

Italian Somaliland
then under British military administration, was made a 10-year United Nations Trust Territory under Italian administration (Trust Territory of Somaliland). On 1 July 1960, Somalia merged with British Somaliland to form the independent Somalia, Somali Republic.


Former colonies, protectorates and occupied areas

*
Italian Eritrea Italian Eritrea (Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italia ...
(1882–1947) *Italian Somalia (1889–1947) **Trust Territory of Somaliland (1950–1960) *
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...
(1911–1947) **Italian Tripolitania & Italian Cyrenaica, Cyrenaica (1911–1934) **Italian Libya (1934–1943) *
Italian East Africa Italian East Africa ( it, Africa Orientale Italiana, AOI) was an Italian colony in the Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA) om, Gaafa Afrikaa, am, የአፍሪካ ቀንድ, yäafrika qänd, so, Geeska Afrika 𐒌𐒜𐒈𐒏𐒖 𐒖𐒍 ...

Italian East Africa
(1936–1941) *Italian Ethiopia (1936-1941) *Italian concessions in China **Italian concession of Tientsin (1901–1943) *Italian protectorate over Albania, Italian Albania (1917-1920, Italian protectorate of Albania (1939–1943), 1939-1943) *Italian Islands of the Aegean (1912–1947) *Italian occupation of France (1940–1943) *Independent State of Croatia (1941–1945) *Italian occupation of Montenegro (1941–1943) *Governorate of Dalmatia (1941–1943) *Hellenic State (1941–1944), Hellenic State (1941–1943) *Province of Ljubljana (1941–1945)


References


Citations


Bibliography

* Andall, Jacqueline and Derek Duncan, eds. ''Italian Colonialism: Legacy and Memory'' (2005) * Ben-Ghiat, Ruth and Mia Fuller, eds. ''Italian Colonialism'' (2005), * * * * * * Finaldi, Giuseppe. ''A History of Italian Colonialism, 1860–1907: Europe’s Last Empire'' (Taylor & Francis, 2016). * Hofmann, Reto. ''The Fascist Effect: Japan and Italy, 1915–1952'' (Cornell UP, 2015
online
/ref> * * * Kelly, Saul. "Britain, the United States, and the end of the Italian empire in Africa, 1940–52." ''Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History'' 28.3 (2000): 51–70. * Kelly, Saul. ''Cold War in the Desert: Britain, the United States & the Italian Colonies, 1945-52'' (2000). * * * McGuire, Valerie. ''Italy's Sea: Empire and Nation in the Mediterranean, 1895-1945'' (Liverpool University Press, 2020). * Maurizio Marinelli, Giovanni Andornino, Italy's Encounter with Modern China: Imperial dreams, strategic ambitions, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. * * Palumbo, Patrizia. ''Place in the Sun: Africa in Italian Colonial Culture from Post-Unification to the Present'' (2003), since 1860. * Pergher, Roberta. ''Mussolini's Nation-Empire: Sovereignty and Settlement in Italy's Borderlands, 1922–1943'' (Cambridge UP, 2017) * Poddar, Prem, and Lars Jensen, eds., ''A historical companion to postcolonial literatures: Continental Europe and Its Empires'' (Edinburgh UP, 2008), "Italy and its colonies" pp 262–313
excerpt
* Renzi, William A. "Italy's neutrality and entrance into the Great War: a re-examination." ''American Historical Review'' 73.5 (1968): 1414–1432.
online
* Shinn, Christopher A. "Inside the Italian Empire: Colonial Africa, Race Wars, and the ‘Southern Question’." in ''Shades of Whiteness'' (Brill, 2016) pp. 35-51. * Srivastava, Neelam. ''Italian Colonialism and Resistances to Empire, 1930-1970'' (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). * Steinmetz, George. "Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s Italian Fascism’s Empire Cinema." ''American Journal of Cultural Sociology'' 6.1 (2018): 212-22
online
* Tripodi, Paolo. ''Colonial Legacy in Somalia: Rome & Mogadishu from Colonial Administration to Operation Restore Hope'' (1999) covers 19th century to 1999. * Wright, Patricia. "Italy's African Dream: Part I, The Adowa Nightmare". ''History Today'' (Mar 1973), Vol. 23 Issue 3, pp 153–160, online; **"Italy's African Dream. Part 2: Fatal Victory, 1935-6." ''History Today'' (April 1973), Vol. 23 Issue 4, pp 256–265. ** "Italy's African Dream. Part 3: Nemesis in 1941," ''History Today'' (May 1973), Vol. 23 Issue 5, pp 336–34.


External links

*
Atlas of Italian colonies
written by Baratta Mario and Visintin Luigi in 1928 * Simona Berhe
Colonies (Italy)
in

{{Authority control Italian Empire, 1882 establishments in Italy 1960 disestablishments in Italy States and territories established in 1882 States and territories disestablished in 1960 History of European colonialism Italian Fascism, Empire Overseas empires Axis powers Historical transcontinental empires