• Embassy of Ethiopia

Commemoration of the Victory at Adwa in 1896

The 119th Adwa Day, commemorating the Ethiopian victory over Italy at Adwa on March 1 and 2, 1896, was celebrated on Monday, (March 2) in Addis Ababa and across the nation. Italy had invaded Ethiopia to expand its colonial territory following dispute over the earlier Treaty of Wuchale of which the Italian version claimed that Article 17 meant Ethiopia had relinquished its foreign policy to Italy and had become a protectorate. The Amharic version clearly stated that Italy and Ethiopia would cooperate on foreign affairs. Italy used this as a reason for invading in 1896. So thorough was the defeat of Italy that there was widespread rioting in Italy. Italy was forced to pay indemnities to Ethiopia and recognize its borders. The Italians suffered about 7,000 killed and 1,500 wounded in the battle and subsequent retreat with 3,000 taken prisoner as well as the loss of their artillery and 11,000 rifles; Ethiopian losses were estimated around 4-5,000 killed and 8,000 wounded. Public opinion in Italy was outraged; with street demonstrations in most major cities. The King of Italy declared a day of national of Ethiopia was assured. The Battle of Adwa was of huge significance for Africa and in retrospect marked the beginning of the end of colonialism. The victory made Ethiopia an emblem of African valor and resistance to European conquest and colonialism. At the commemoration in Addis Ababa, the Speaker of the House of Peoples' Representatives Abadula Gemeda said the victory achieved over great odds at Adwa should now be replicated over the country’s major enemy today, “poverty”. He urged the youth of the country to stand for the sustainability of peace and stability, and development of the nation as their forefather’s had done, and to take part actively in the renaissance of the country.