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Bloodshed in Adwa

Battle of Adwa, Adwa also spelled Adowa or Italian Adua, military clash at Adwa, in north-central Ethiopia, between the Ethiopian army of Emperor Menilek II and Italian forces. The Ethiopian army’s victory checked Italy’s attempt to build an empire in Africa. The victory had further significance for being the first crushing defeat of a European power by African forces during the colonial era.

From the mid century, Ethiopia was an aggregate of semi-independent kingdoms, which were presided over by the Ethiopian emperor. The death of Emperor Yohannes IV was followed by great disorder as his potential successors fought for ascendancy. The Italians had supported Sahle Miriam of Shewa (Shoa) in the years prior to this, supplying him with modern weaponry, ammunition, and funds that helped him acquire military strength. He used that strength to incorporate smaller Ethiopian kingdoms under his rule and, after Yohannes IV’s death, to secure his claim to the title of emperor, taking the name Men…

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