09.05.

1936: Victor Emmanuel III Became Emperor of Ethiopia

1936: Victor Emmanuel III Became Emperor of Ethiopia
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons / Victor Emmanuel in Darfo Boario Terme

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 9 May 1936
  • King Victor Emmanuel III won the title of Emperor of Ethiopia (Imperatore d'Etiopia). Despite the hype, Benito Mussolini actually ran politics in Italy at that time as Duce.

On this day the Italian king Victor Emmanuel III was declared Emperor of Ethiopia. 

It was the year 1936, at a time when Italian politics was led by Benito Mussolini. Italian military forces defeated Ethiopians a few days earlier in the so-called Italo-Abyssinian War (Abyssinia is the older name for Ethiopia). 

The former Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie fled the country and the Italians took over the government (these events are extensively discussed in our eCalendar).

King Victor Emmanuel III was by nature shy and somewhat withdrawn person. He held by the constitutional principle of ruling, so he usually did not impose his will.

But, he had a greater impact during World War I. Anyhow, in 1922 fascists took over the government, so the king’s function became quite symbolic.

 Politics was led by Benito Mussolini as “Duce”. Actually, Mussolini’s full title was “Sua Eccellenza Benito Mussolini, Capo del Governo, Duce del Fascismo e Fondatore dell’Impero” (His Excellency Benito Mussolini, Head of Government, Duce of Fascism, and Founder of the Empire).

It seems that the title of Emperor of Ethiopia (Imperatore d’Etiopia), which Victor Emmanuel III received on this day, did not help his popularity.

In fact, the Italian aggressive occupation of Ethiopia, in which the underdeveloped local population was murdered by airplanes and poison gas, world looked upon with scorn. 

Later, to the titles of Victor Emmanuel III was added the title of “King of Albania” (Re d’Albania) and, together with Mussolini, he got the highest rank of “First Marshal of the Empire” (primo maresciallo dell’impero).

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