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by Francis Akhalbey, at 12:55 pm, May 24, 2018, History

How Eritrea gained independence from African neighbour Ethiopia in 1991

Eritreans taking to the streets to celebrate after independence

On this day in 1991, Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia after a 30-year long battle fought between the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front and the Ethiopian Army.

The Horn of Africa nation was previously an Italian colony (known as Italian Eritrea) from the 1800s to the early 1940s until the British took over its administration after its forces defeated the Italian army in the Battle of Karen.

Note that after the Second World War, Eritrea became a part of Ethiopia after both countries were freed from Italian occupation. Historically, Ethiopia also claimed Eritrea was part of its territory.

Eritrea was under British control until 1952. That same year after the British gave up control, the United Nations General Assembly passed a decree allowing Eritrea to govern itself through a local parliament.

However, Ethiopia was granted control over Eritrea with issues pertaining to defence and foreign affairs through a federal status for ten years. In 1962, Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia annexed Eritrea after annulling its parliament.

This action instigated the 30-year Eritrean War of Independence which subsequently ended with the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front defeating Ethiopian forces in Asmara in 1991.

Below are some photos of Eritreans celebrating the historic day.

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