How important is the battle of Adwa?
Updated on February 27,2017
Raymond Jonas,historian and author of “The Battle of Adwa: African Victory in the Age of Empire” is interviewed by John Welsh- a graduate student of Italian study at Harvard University.
Raymond Jonas teaches history at the University of Washington in Seattle. In the video below he talks about the Battle of Adwa which took place on March 1,1896. Italian causality was about 18,000 men and the loss on the Ethiopian side was about 20,000. Adwa was a triumphant victory for Ethiopians.
John posed the question why the victory for Ethiopia was so important not only for Italy and Ethiopia but also for the future direction of world politics. Listen to what professor Raymon Jonas has to say.
John also posed other interesting questions. was also thinking in terms of the rise to power of Menelik II and the preparations made by Menelik, and wonder if the battle was won from the outset – before even the military engagement against the Italians at Adwa.
As part of his explanation for the above question, historian Raymond Jonas describes Menelik as a brilliant strategist and recognize his political capabilities by highlighting power struggles during which finally led to the coming to power of Menelik of Shoa as Emperor Menelik II.
The events that unfolded immediately after the battle of Adwa and months later which led to the conclusion of the peace treaty at Addis Ababa are fascinating as much as the battle itself.
Italian captives at the battle of Adwa saw the very caring and human side of Emperor Menelik in their brief captivity and were later allowed to go to their country via Djibouti.
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