Up until it was briefly held by Italy in 1931 to 1945, Ethiopia was the only African territory that resisted complete colonization by Europeans. Italy did indeed colonize part of ancient Ethiopia, the area along the Red Sea that became known as the independent country, Eritrea. However, under the leadership of Emperor Menelik II, Ethiopia resisted European attempts to colonize all of the country.
Ethiopia won a decisive victory over Italy at the Battle of Adowa in December 1895. During the battle, Menelik’s warriors attacked with a ferocity the Italians couldn’t have imagined. Taking hardly any prisoners, the victors of Battle of Adowa killed 289 Italian officers, 2,918 European soldiers and about 2,000 Askari (Africans who fought on the side of Europeans). Another 954 European troops were missing, while 470 Italians and 958 Askari were wounded. Some 700 Italians and 1,800 Askari fell into the hands of the Ethiopian troops.
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