From Battle of Adwa to Gun War, here’re five colonial-era battles in Africa that shocked the world

Mildred Europa Taylor August 05, 2020
Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: August 5, 2020
The Battle of Adwa. Credit: Wikipedia

While the rest of Africa was under colonial rule after the infamous partition by European powers at the Berlin Conference of 1884, Ethiopia was a sovereign nation with a formidable army and a strong monarchy.

A few years after the division of the continent, the Italian Kingdom – which had obtained Eritrea and Italian Somalia as its African territories – wanted to add Ethiopia to its kingdom on March 1, 1896.

This was a failed effort after the defeat of the Italian army in the Battle of Adwa which is also described as the First Italo-Ethiopian War. The battle fought near the northern town of Adwa in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region is the first victory by an African country over a colonial power.

Ethiopian forces surprised the world by defeating heavily-armed Italian troops that attempted to conquer it in 1896. There were of course other interesting conflicts and battles that took place during the colonial era in sub-Saharan Africa apart from the Battle of Adwa.

Here are four other such battles where indigenous African armies clashed with colonial powers.


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