1 March 2018 marked the 122nd anniversary of the greatest victory known in Ethiopian History. In the CMHS auditorium, the College of Social Sciences and Humanities organized and hosted an event that celebrated the Adwa Victory. The battle marked the only time in history where an African nation successfully repelled an attempt at conquest over a European powerhouse (in this case Italy).
During the scramble for Africa ruthlessness and barbarity were norms that Western nations adopted to subdue helpless countries in the continent. Their acts are a testament to the woes of humanity and a shameful past that they would like to erase from history. In fact out of all of the countries in the continent that were colonized almost all of them lost their identity and adopted the language, culture, norms and precepts of the colonizer. For the only exception being Ethiopia, all other nations on the continent were under severe bondage and their natural resources plundered.
The Battle of Adwa was fought on 1 March 1896 between the Ethiopian Empire and the Kingdom of Italy near the town of Adwa, Ethiopia, in Tigray. The battle created an atmosphere where all Ethiopians from Emperor Menilek II’s Empire came together as one to fend off their common enemy.
The event that took place on Thursday was a colorful display of Ethiopian patriotism. The packed auditorium which brought together the University of Gondar’s administrative staff, students and patriots showed to Ethiopians, at home and abroad, the significance of unity.
After the opening speech by Dr. Asrat Atsedeweyn, delegate of the president, who spoke of the importance of the day and the courage of past Ethiopian fortitude, a power point presentation from Dr. Fentahun Ayle (Bahar Dar University) about the role of women in Ethiopian history was presented.
The Doctor of History from BDU spoke of the role of Empress Taytu in the discussions of the Treaty of Wuchale. “Her role was so significant,” he said, “that when all the other high princes and officials of the Empire accepted the treaty, she opposed it and persuaded her husband King Menilek to decline the terms.”
We can now observe in hindsight that her decision was the right one which kept Ethiopia from outside rule. Therefore according to Dr. Fentahun the victory was not only a success of Ethiopian men, but also the fierce nature of Ethiopian women was relevant.
Traditional freestylers and a live band entertained the crowd between transitions giving a cultural vibe to the event. What followed was a drama reenactment of the famous discussions being held in the court of Emperor Menilek. The drama students, who are enrolled at UoG, gave a spectacular rendition of the events that led up to the war.
Ethiopia has fought countless wars in its over 3,000 years of existence. Its place in history is cemented as one of the only nations in the world to have never been colonized. The proud history and pride of the natives at home and abroad is a testament to this fact. And now for the 122nd time the people of this Horn of Africa realm can rejoice and demonstrate what makes them different.
The Italian army had 17,000 troops on the ground for the battle compared to 100,000 troops by Ethiopia. The casualties on the Italian side were close to 7,000 compared to less the 4,000 for the Ethiopians which made it one of the easiest wars ever won in Ethiopian History.
By: Samuel Malede| Public & International Relations Directorate