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Italian East Africa
Italian East Africa
(Italian: Africa Orientale Italiana) was an Italian colony in the Horn of Africa. It was formed in 1936 through the merger of Italian Somaliland, Italian Eritrea, and the newly conquered Ethiopian Empire
Ethiopian Empire
which became Italian Ethiopia.[3] During the Second World War, Italian East Africa
Italian East Africa
was occupied by a British-led force including colonial and Ethiopian units.[4] After the war, Italian Somaliland
Italian Somaliland
and Eritrea
Eritrea
came under British administration, while Ethiopia
Ethiopia
regained full independence. In 1949, Italian Somaliland was reconstituted as the Trust Territory of Somaliland, which was administered by Italy from 1950 until its independence in 1960.

Contents

1 Territory 2 History

2.1 The conquest of Ethiopia 2.2 Second World War and dissolution

3 Colonial administration

3.1 Economic development 3.2 Demographics 3.3 Atrocities against the Ethiopian population

4 See also 5 Notes 6 Bibliography 7 External links

Territory[edit] When established in 1936, Italian East Africa
Italian East Africa
(the other Italian colony in Africa being Italian North Africa) consisted of the old Italian possessions in the Horn of Africa, Italian Eritrea
Italian Eritrea
and Italian Somaliland, and the recently annexed Empire of Ethiopia.[5] Victor Emmanuel III of Italy consequently adopted the title of "Emperor of Ethiopia", although having not been recognized by any country other than Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
and Imperial Japan. The territory was divided into the six governorates of Italian East Africa: Italian Eritrea
Italian Eritrea
and Italian Somaliland, plus four provinces of Ethiopia
Ethiopia
(Amhara, Galla-Sidamo, Scioa, Harar) each under the authority of an Italian governor, answerable to a viceroy, who in turn represented the Emperor.[citation needed] Italian East Africa
Italian East Africa
was briefly enlarged in 1940, as Italian forces conquered British Somaliland, thereby bringing all Somali territories under Italian administration. However, the enlarged colony was dismembered only a year later, when in the course of the East African Campaign the colony was occupied by British forces.[citation needed] Italian East Africa, in Italian "Africa Orientale Italiana", was acronymed in official documents as "AOI".[5] History[edit] The dominion was formed in 1936, after the Second Italo-Abyssinian War that resulted in the annexation of the Ethiopian Empire
Ethiopian Empire
by Fascist Italy, by merging the pre-existing colonies of Italian Somaliland
Italian Somaliland
and Italian Eritrea
Italian Eritrea
with the newly conquered territory.[citation needed] The conquest of Ethiopia[edit] Historians are still divided about the reasons for the Italian attack on Ethiopia
Ethiopia
in 1935. Some Italian historians such as Franco Catalano and Giorgio Rochat argue that the invasion was an act of social imperialism, contending that the Great Depression
Great Depression
had badly damaged Mussolini's prestige, and that he needed a foreign war to distract public opinion.[6] Other historians such as Pietro Pastorelli have argued that the invasion was launched as part of an expansionist program to make Italy the main power in the Red Sea
Red Sea
area and the Middle East.[6] A middle way interpretation was offered by the American historian MacGregor Knox, who argued that the war was started for both foreign and domestic reasons, being both a part of Mussolini's long-range expansionist plans and intended to give Mussolini
Mussolini
a foreign policy triumph that would allow him to push the Fascist system in a more radical direction at home.[6] Unlike forty years earlier, Italy's forces were far superior to the Abyssinian forces, especially in air power, and they were soon victorious. Emperor Haile Selassie
Haile Selassie
was forced to flee the country, with Italian forces entering the capital city, Addis Ababa, to proclaim an empire by May 1936, making Ethiopia
Ethiopia
part of Italian East Africa.[7] The Italian victory in the war coincided with the zenith of the international popularity of dictator Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime, during which colonialist leaders praised Mussolini
Mussolini
for his actions.[8] Mussolini's international popularity decreased as he endorsed the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany, beginning a political tilt toward Germany that eventually led to the downfall of Mussolini
Mussolini
and the Fascist regime in Italy in World War II.[9] Second World War and dissolution[edit]

East Africa Campaign northern front: Allied advances in 1941.

On 10 June 1940, Italy declared war on Britain and France, which made Italian military forces in Libya a threat to Egypt and those in the Italian East Africa
Italian East Africa
a danger to the British and French territories in the Horn of Africa. Italian belligerence also closed the Mediterranean to Allied merchant ships and endangered British supply routes along the coast of East Africa, the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea
Red Sea
and the Suez Canal. (The Kingdom of Egypt
Kingdom of Egypt
remained neutral during World War II, but the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936
Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936
allowed the British to occupy Egypt and Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.)[10] Egypt, the Suez Canal, French Somaliland
Somaliland
and British Somaliland
British Somaliland
were also vulnerable to invasion, but the Comando Supremo (Italian General Staff) had planned for a war after 1942. In the summer of 1940, Italy was far from ready for a long war or for the occupation of large areas of Africa.[11] Hostilities began on 13 June 1940, with an Italian air raid on the base of 1 Squadron Southern Rhodesian Air Force (237 (Rhodesia) Squadron RAF) at Wajir
Wajir
in the East Africa Protectorate
East Africa Protectorate
(Kenya). In August 1940, the protectorate of British Somaliland
British Somaliland
was occupied by Italian forces and absorbed into Italian East Africa. This occupation lasted around six months. By early 1941, Italian forces had been largely pushed back from Kenya and Sudan. On 6 April 1941, Addis Ababa was occupied by the 11th (African) Division, which received the surrender of the city.[12] The remnants of the Italian forces in the AOI surrendered after the Battle of Gondar
Battle of Gondar
in November 1941, except for groups that fought an Italian guerrilla war in Ethiopia
Ethiopia
against the British until the Armistice of Cassibile
Armistice of Cassibile
(3 September 1943) ended hostilities between Italy and the Allies.[citation needed] In January 1942, with the final official surrender of the Italians, the British, under American pressure, signed an interim Anglo-Ethiopian Agreement with Selassie, acknowledging Ethiopian sovereignty. Makonnen Endelkachew was named as Prime Minister and on 19 December 1944, the final Anglo-Ethiopian Agreement was signed. Eritrea
Eritrea
was placed under British military administration for the duration, and in 1950, it became part of Ethiopia. After 1945, Britain controlled both Somalilands, as protectorates. In November 1949, during the Potsdam Conference, the United Nations granted Italy trusteeship of Italian Somaliland
Italian Somaliland
under close supervision, on condition that Somalia
Somalia
achieve independence within ten years.[13] British Somaliland
British Somaliland
became independent on 26 June 1960 as the State of Somaliland, the Trust Territory of Somalia
Somalia
(ex-Italian Somaliland) became independent on 1 July 1960 and the territories united as the Somali Republic.[14] Colonial administration[edit] Main article: List of viceroys of Italian East Africa

Italian East African 100 lira banknote.

The Italian-era Ethiopian electric power corporation building, Addis Abeba.

The colony was administered by a Viceroy
Viceroy
of Ethiopia
Ethiopia
and Governor General of Italian East Africa, appointed by the Italian monarch. The dominion was further divided for administrative purposes into six Governorates and forty Commissionerships.[citation needed] Economic development[edit] Fascist colonial policy in Italian East Africa
Italian East Africa
had a divide and conquer characteristic. In order to weaken the Orthodox Christian Amhara people
Amhara people
who had run Ethiopia
Ethiopia
in the past, territory claimed by Eritrean Tigray-Tigrinyas and Somalis
Somalis
was given to the Eritrea Governorate and Somalia
Somalia
Governorate.[15] Reconstruction efforts after the war in 1936 were partially focused on benefiting the Muslim peoples in the colony at the expense of the Amhara to strengthen support by Muslims for the Italian colony.[15] Italy's Fascist regime encouraged Italian peasants to colonize Ethiopia
Ethiopia
by setting up farms and small manufacturing businesses.[15] However, few Italians came to the Ethiopian colony, with most going to Eritrea
Eritrea
and Somalia. While Italian Eritrea
Italian Eritrea
enjoyed some degree of development, supported by nearly 80,000 Italian colonists,[16] by 1940 only 3,200 farmers had arrived in Ethiopia, less than ten percent of the Fascist regime's goal.[17] Continued insurgency by native Ethiopians, lack of natural resources, rough terrain, and uncertainty of political and military conditions discouraged development and settlement in the countryside.[17] Ethiopia
Ethiopia
proved to be extremely expensive to maintain, as the budget for the fiscal year 1936-37 had been set at 19.136 billion lira to create the necessary infrastructure for the colony.[15] At the time, Italy's entire yearly revenue was only 18.581 billion lira.[15] The architects of the Fascist regime had drafted grandiose urbanistic projects for the enlargement of Addis Ababa, in order to build a state-of-the-art capital of the Africa Orientale Italiana, but these architectural plans -like all the other developments- were stopped by World War II.[18] Demographics[edit]

Administrative subdivision of Italian East Africa.

In 1939, there were 165,267 Italian citizens in the Italian East Africa, the majority of them concentrated around the main urban centres of Asmara, Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa
and Mogadishu. The total population was estimated around 12.1 million, with a density of just over 6.9 inhabitants per square kilometre (18/sq mi). The distribution of population was, however, very uneven. Eritrea, with an area of 230,000 km2 (90,000 sq mi), had a population estimated in about 1.5 million, with a population density of 6.4/km2 (16.7/sq mi); Ethiopia
Ethiopia
with an area of 790,000 km2 (305,000 sq mi) and a population of some 9.5 million, had a resulting density of 12/km2 (31/sq mi); sparsely populated Italian Somaliland
Italian Somaliland
finally, with an area of 700,000 km2 (271,000 sq mi) and a population of just 1.1 million, had a very low density of 1.5/km2 (4/sq mi).[19]

English Italian Capital Total population[1] Italians[1] Tag Coat of Arms

Amhara Governorate Amara Gondar 2,000,000 11,103 AM

Eritrea
Eritrea
Governorate Eritrea Asmara 1,500,000 72,408 ER

Harrar
Harrar
Governorate Harar Harrar 1,600,000 10,035 HA

Galla-Sidamo Governorate Galla e Sidama Jimma/Gimma 4,000,000 11,823 GS

Shewa Governorate Scioà Addis Abeba 1,850,000 40,698 SC

Somalia
Somalia
Governorate Somalia Mogadishu 1,150,000 19,200 SOM

Atrocities against the Ethiopian population[edit] In February 1937, following an assassination attempt on Italian East Africa's Viceroy, Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, Italian soldiers raided the famous Ethiopian monastery Debre Libanos, where the plotters had taken refuge, and executed the monks and nuns.[15] Afterwards, Italian soldiers destroyed native settlements in Addis Ababa, which resulted in 30,000 Ethiopians being killed and their homes left burned to the ground.[15][20] The brutal massacre has come to be known as Yekatit 12.[citation needed] After the massacres, Graziani became known as "the Butcher of Ethiopia".[21] He was subsequently removed by Mussolini
Mussolini
and replaced by Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta, who followed a more conciliatory policy towards the natives, obtaining a limited success in pacifying Ethiopia.[22] See also[edit]

Colonial heads of Italian East Africa Italian Governors of Addis Ababa Italian Governors of Amhara Italian Governors of Galla-Sidamo Italian Governors of Harar Italian Governors of Scioa Dubats Political history of Eastern Africa Italian Ethiopia Italians of Ethiopia Italian guerrilla war in Ethiopia Italian Africa Police Italian East African lira Augusto Turati

Notes[edit]

^ a b c Istat (December 2010). "I censimenti nell'Italia unita I censimenti nell'Italia unita Le fonti di stato della popolazione tra il XIX e il XXI secolo ISTITUTO NAZIONALE DI STATISTICA SOCIETÀ ITALIANA DI DEMOGRAFIA STORICA Le fonti di stato della popolazione tra il XIX e il XXI secolo" (PDF). Annali di Statistica. XII. 2: 263. Retrieved 24 December 2013.  ^ Melvin E. Page;Colonialism: An International Social, Cultural, and Political Encyclopedia -page 1054 ^ "Italian East Africa". World Statesmen. Retrieved 9 November 2015.  ^ Ofcansky and LaVerle Berry, Thomas P. " Ethiopia
Ethiopia
in World War II". A Country Study: Ethiopia. Library of Congress. Retrieved 11 January 2014.  ^ a b Ben-Ghiat, edited by Ruth; Fuller, Mia (2008). Italian colonialism (1st pbk. ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0230606369. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ a b c Kallis, Aristotle Fascist Ideology, London: Routledge, 2000 page 124. ^ " Ethiopia
Ethiopia
1935–36". icrc.org. 8 January 2008. Archived from the original on 1 December 2006.  ^ Baer, p. 279 ^ Italian Foreign Policy in the Interwar Period, 1918–1940. Retrieved 24 May 2015.  ^ Playfair 1954, pp. 6–7, 69. ^ Playfair 1954, pp. 38–40. ^ Playfair 1954, pp. 421–422. ^ Zolberg, Aguayo & Suhrke 1992, p. 106. ^ NEB 2002, p. 835. ^ a b c d e f g Cannistraro, p. 5 ^ Italian industries and companies in Eritrea
Eritrea
Archived 2009-04-29 at the Wayback Machine. ^ a b Cannistraro, p. 6 ^ Addis Abeba
Addis Abeba
1939 Urbanistic and Architectural Plan Archived 2011-07-22 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Royal Institute of International Affairs (24 August 1940). "Italian Possessions in Africa: II. Italian East Africa". Bulletin of International News. 17 (17): 1065–1074.  access-date= requires url= (help) ^ Sarti, p. 191 ^ Mockler, Anthony (2003). "4". Haile Selassie's War. New York: Olive Branch.  ^ Knox, MacGregor (1986). Mussolini
Mussolini
unleashed, 1939-1941 : politics and strategy in fascist Italy's last war (1st pbk. ed.). Cambridge [Cambridgeshire]: Cambridge University Press. p. 150. ISBN 9780521338356. 

Bibliography[edit]

Antonicelli, Franco (1961) Trent'anni di storia italiana 1915 - 1945, Saggi series 295, Torino : Einaudi, 387 p. [in Italian] Cannistraro, Philip V. (1982) Historical Dictionary of Fascist Italy, Westport, Conn.; London : Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-21317-8 Del Boca, Angelo (1986) Italiani in Africa Orientale: La caduta dell'Impero, Biblioteca universale Laterza 186, Roma : Laterza, ISBN 88-420-2810-X [in Italian] Mockler, Anthony (1984). Haile Selassie's War: The Italian-Ethiopian Campaign, 1935-1941, New York : Random House, ISBN 0-394-54222-3 Sarti, Roland (1974) The Ax Within: Italian fascism in action, New York : New Viewpoints, ISBN 0-531-06498-0 Mauri, Arnaldo (1967). Il mercato del credito in Etiopia, Milano, Giuffrè, pp. XVI, 504 [in Italian]. Calchi Novati, Gian Carlo (2011).L'Africa d'Italia, Carrocci, Roma. [in Italian] Tuccimei, Ercole (1999). La Banca d'Italia in Africa, Presentazione di Arnaldo Mauri, Laterza, Bari, ISBN 88-420-5686-3 [in Italian]

External links[edit]

Italian East African Armed Forces, 10 June 1940 1940 Colonial Brigade, 10 June 1940 Italian East Africa
Italian East Africa
Air Command, 10 June 1940[permanent dead link] Ascari: I Leoni di Eritrea/Ascari: The Eritrean Lions. Second Italo-abyssinian war. Eritrea
Eritrea
colonial history, Eritrean ascari pictures/photos galleries and videos, historical atlas... Geographic map of Italian business community in Africa (December 2012) , established using applied onomastics.

v t e

Italian Empire

Subdivisions

Western Mediterranean

Southeastern France Monaco Corsica

Balkans

Albanian Kingdom Islands of the Aegean Kingdom of Croatia Dalmatia Greece

Hellenic State Principality of the Pindus Ionian Islands

Italian Province of Lubiana Kingdom of Montenegro

Italian East Africa

Italian Eritrea

Eritrea
Eritrea
Governorate

Italian Somaliland

Somalia
Somalia
Governorate Italian Oltre Giuba British Somaliland

Italian Ethiopia

Amhara Governorate Harrar
Harrar
Governorate Galla-Sidamo Governorate Scioa Governorate

Italian Libya

Libya

Cyrenaica Tripolitania Fezzan

Far East

Italian concession of Tientsin Concessions of Italy in China

Planned expansion

Egypt Majorca Tentative to occupy French Somaliland Kenya Sudan Malta Ticino, Valais and Grisons Tunisia

The Italian empire before WWII is shown in red. Pink areas were annexed/occupied for various periods between 1940 and 1943. Italian concessions and forts in China are not shown.

Settlers and Irredentism

Settlers and colonists

Albania Dodecanese Dalmatia Eritrea Ethiopia Libya Somalia Tunisia Egypt Lebanon Gibraltar

Irredentism

Corsica Nice Savoy Dalmatia Istria-Venezia Giulia Malta Switzerland Corfu

Architecture

Governmental

Governor's Palace (Mogadishu) Governor's Palace (Tripoli) Governor's Palace (Asmara) Asmara
Asmara
Presidential Palace (Asmara)

Civilian

Mogadishu
Mogadishu
Cathedral Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, Asmara Benghazi Cathedral Tripoli Cathedral Cinema Impero Fiat Tagliero Building Marble Arch Asmara's Opera Lighthouse "Francesco Crispi" (Cape Guardafui)

Urbanism

Italian Tripoli Mogadishu
Mogadishu
under Italian rule Italian Benghazi Italian Asmara Italian Massaua

Infrastructure

Mogadishu–Villabruzzi Railway Ethio- Djibouti
Djibouti
Railways Eritrean Railway Asmara-Massawa Cableway Railway stations in Eritrea Railway stations in Somalia Via Balbia Via della Vittoria Linea dell'Impero Italian Libya
Italian Libya
Railways Libyan Railway stations History of Italian colonial railways

Political concepts

Greater Italy Mare Nostrum New Roman Empire Spazio vitale Fourth Shore Third Rome

Police and military

Eritrean Ascari Italian African Police Bands (Italian Army irregulars) Zaptié Dubats Savari Spahis Royal Corps of Colonial Troops Royal Corps of Somali Colonial Troops Ascari del Cielo Paratroops Italian 1st Eritrean Division Italian 2nd Eritrean Division 1st Libyan Division Sibelle 2nd Libyan Division Pescatori Italian Libyan Colonial Division Italian Somali Divisions (101 and 102) Maletti Group Legione Redenta Italian guerrilla units (A.O.I.)

Currencies and Stamps

Eritrean tallero Italian East African lira Italian Somaliland
Italian Somaliland
lira Italian Somaliland
Italian Somaliland
rupia Italian Somaliland
Italian Somaliland
somalo Postage stamps and postal history of Italian East Africa Postage stamps and postal history of Oltre Giuba Postage stamps of Italian Libya

v t e

Eritrea
Eritrea
italiana (Colonia Primigenia)

Main authorities

King & Emperor Vittorio Emanuele III Prime Minister Benito Mussolini List of viceroys of Italian East Africa

Eritrea
Eritrea
Italiana. Red points are the new borders of Eritrea, enlarged in 1936 in the Governorate of Eritrea

Governors

Italian Governors of Eritrea Governorate of Eritrea: Pietro Badoglio, Alfredo Guzzoni, Vincenzo De Feo, Luigi Frusci

General History

Italian Eritrea Eritrea
Eritrea
Governorate Battle of Kassala Battle of Dogali First Italo-Ethiopian War Second Italo-Ethiopian War East African Campaign Battle of Keren Red Sea
Red Sea
Flotilla Eritrea
Eritrea
(colonial ship)

Infrastructures

Eritrean Railway Asmara-Massawa Cableway Railway stations in Eritrea Linea dell'Impero Asmara
Asmara
International Airport Governor's Palace (Asmara) Asmara
Asmara
Presidential Palace (Asmara) Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, Asmara Cinema Impero Fiat Tagliero Building Asmara's Opera

Related articles

Italian Eritreans Imperial Italy Italian East Africa Eritrean tallero Italian East African lira Postage stamps and postal history of Italian East Africa Eritrean Catholic Church Italian Eritrean cuisine Asmara
Asmara
Brewery

Colonial troops

Eritrean Ascari Royal Corps of Colonial Troops Italian 1st Eritrean Division Italian 2nd Eritrean Division Italian guerrilla units (A.O.I.) Italian African Police Bands Zaptié Spahis

Coordinates: 9°01′38″N 38°44′13″E / 9.0272°N 38.7369°E

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