05.05.

1936: Italians Conquer Addis Ababa – The Capital of the Ethiopian Empire

1936: Italians Conquer Addis Ababa – The Capital of the Ethiopian Empire
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 05 May 1936
  • Italy was at that time governed by the fascist Benito Mussolini. Interestingly, the Italian Marshal Pietro Badoglio, whose units triumphantly entered Addis Ababa on this day, was awarded the high title of "Duke of Addis Ababa" (Italian: Duca di Addis Ababa).

On this day in 1936, the Italian Army entered the conquered capital of the Ethiopian Empire – Addis Ababa.

This event finalized the Italian occupation of Ethiopia, one of only a few African countries that had managed to keep its independence till that time.

Italy was then, of course, governed by Duce Benito Mussolini, but it was formally a kingdom. Soon after the conquest of Addis Ababa, the Italian king was assigned the additional title of Emperor of Ethiopia (Italian: Imperatore d’Ethiopia).

The war in which Italy occupied Ethiopia was bloody – a large number of Ethiopians were killed.

The Italians ruthlessly used advanced weaponry against relatively undeveloped local army. They even attacked Ethiopians with chemical weapons.

The total number of killed Ethiopians amounted to hundreds of thousands once the victims of famine, Italian massacres, and camps are summed up.

Interestingly, the Italian Marshal Pietro Badoglio, whose units triumphantly entered Addis Ababa on this day, was awarded the high title of “Duke of Addis Ababa” (Italian: Duca di Addis Ababa).

He was also appointed the first Viceroy of Ethiopia (Italian: Vicere d’Ethiopia), which is a position similar to a colonial governor, only classier-sounding.

The former Ethiopian emperor – the famous Haile Selassie – fled the country, taking the gold from the Ethiopian central bank with him. He went into exile in England, and returned to Ethiopia only in 1941, following the expulsion of the Italians.

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