Italian Eritrea

Alliance Axis - Minor Member Nation or Possession
Possessing Power Italy
Entry into WW2 10 Jun 1940
Population in 1939 1,000,000


ww2dbaseIn 1889, Italy, which already had commercial presence in the port of Assab, seized the northern coastal region of Abyssinia as the African nation experienced a power struggle after the death of Emperor Yohannes IV. In the following year, Italy established its first colony, Italian Eritrea. Emperor Menelik II, who rose from the strife as Abyssinia's next leader, signed the Wuchale Treaty with Italy recognizing Italian interests in Eritrea.

ww2dbaseItalian interest in Italian Eritrea, as was in the nearby Italian Somaliland to the southeast, generally revolved around the strategically-positioned ports near the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, which led to the Suez Canal from the south. Beyond the expected infrastructure projects such as roads and railways, Italian colonial administration also established schools, hospitals, and other modern facilities for both Italians as well as the colonial population. Since the underlying motive of the Italians was not humanitarian, amidst the modernization local cultures were suppressed and punishment for those who opposed the colonization was often harsh.

ww2dbaseIn Oct 1935, Italian Eritrea hosted staging points for Italian troops during Second Italo-Abyssinian War. At the conclusion of the victorious campaign, the newly gained Abyssinian territories were merged with both Italian Eritrea and Italian Somaliland to form a new entity, Italian East Africa (Italian: Africa Orientale Italiana), in Jun 1936, with the capital at Mogadishu in the former Italian Somaliland. In 1940, Italian troops invaded and took control of British Somaliland, expanding the borders of Italian East Africa. In 1941, British troops embarked on a campaign of their own, restoring Abyssinian independence and taking control of the remainder of Italian East Africa. A small-scale Italian-sponsored guerrilla war across the former Italian East Africa would last until 1943.

ww2dbaseAfter 1943, the former Italian Eritrea came under British control. In 1951, United Nations Resolution 390A(V) set the path for Ethiopia to annex Eritrea, and in 1962 Eritrea officially became a province of Ethiopia. This annexation was bitterly opposed by Eritrean nationalists, and a war of independence would be fought in in Eritrea until it finally became an independent nation in 1991.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Update: Aug 2013

Events Taken Place in Italian Eritrea
Invasion of Italian East Africa19 Jan 1941 - 16 May 1941


WW2-Era Weather Data for Italian Eritrea


Wellesley Mark I (L2673 KU-C) of No. 47 Squadron RAF based at Agordat, Eritrea in flight, Feb-Mar 1941Wellesley Mark I K7775 KU-N of No. 47 Squadron RAF based at Agordat, Italian Eritrea, in flight, circa Feb-Mar 1941Pilot Officer Kennedy of No. 47 Squadron RAF Detachment inspecting his Wellesley bomber after engagement with two CR.42 fighters, Agordat, Eritrea, 25 Mar 1941; his gunner Sergeant German was killed

Italian Eritrea in World War II Interactive Map

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anonymous says:
5 Nov 2016 02:58:38 PM

My late grand father fought for Italian during 2nd world war. In Eritrea and Libya he always told me as a kid hwang was a good soldger . I want to find out more about him in Italian Eritrean ascre (soldier) if any one contacts me to help me to find out more about it I will.provide his and brith place .
2. Anonymous says:
30 Apr 2017 10:33:15 PM

My late grand father used to be a caveliery in Italian military in Eritrea. He fought in Libya and other places, i want help from you to know more about him and if you have pictures of him, i would like to have them too. If any one need to contact me regard to the above question, i can provide a full name and place of birth.
warm regards.
Thanks in advance.
3. Anonymous says:
12 Aug 2018 02:12:52 PM

I purchased a photo album entitled Life in Eritrea, third edition, 1942. The photos are by fotocelere coloniale with 360 photos. I'd like to know more about this album.
4. Anonymous says:
12 Apr 2020 01:07:19 AM

I have a 1st edition photo album entitled Life in Eritrea 1943. Can anyone give me some iformation?

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Italian Eritrea in World War II Photo Gallery
Wellesley Mark I (L2673 KU-C) of No. 47 Squadron RAF based at Agordat, Eritrea in flight, Feb-Mar 1941
See all 3 photographs of Italian Eritrea in World War II

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