Re:The Battle Of Adowa

sainey fayeBy Sainey Faye

The article is very interesting and educative, and I just thought of adding my few bututs to it, and sharing some information with the readership.

On March 1st 1896, at the battle of Adowa, Ethiopia defeated Italy militarily; thus embarrassing the European nations. Under the Emperor Menelik II the Ethiopian army beat Italy’s 10,000 man army; in one of the most fierce of 19th century colonial wars. Menelik II was one great ruler.

This defeat was said to be so embarrassing to Europe and Italian colonizers especially, that there were mass demonstrations in their capital and other cities. They forced the government to resign; ask for severe measures for those responsible for this debacle. It would take another fifty years, before it would invade Ethiopia again under Mussolini; to force Haile Selassie into exile. Menelik marched prisoners from Adowa to Addis Ababa some reports noted, so as to teach them a lesson. Let’s remember also that Italy was not even an independent country until the early 1830’s. Likewise Greece and Germany – all three became Independent countries in the early part of the nineteeth century; long after – make it centuries after Ethiopia was an Independent nation. The Atlantic Ocean used to be called the Ethiopian Ocean by European map makers or cartographers. We will leave its contributions to the three Abrahamic faiths – or religions e.g Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, for a later time.

Ethiopia helped nurture all three major religions, and is the oldest Independent African country not colonized. Ras Tafari was prince regent in 1922, and rose to be Emperor in 1930. Asa young emperor; one of the great things he did was to hook up with the U.N.I.A. and the Garveyites. Haile Salassie I was crowned Emperor in November 1930.

He sent a messages of invitations to Africans in the West to come to Ethiopia to live and help build their motherland. This messages resonated well with Garveyites and many Rastafarians, at a time when the UNIA and RASTAS were in full support of Ethiopia. Menelik’s defeat gave pride and inspiration to Africans worldwide and many left for Ethiopia never to return to Western hemisphere again. Haiti’s Benito Sylvain was one who was even made a representative when he left France to go visit Menelik.

Elsewhere in the Caribbean and the U.S.A.; similar messages of solidarity grew; and continued into the 20th century when pilots, Airmen and others volunteered to go fight for Haile Selassie after Italy’s invasion.Itis not surprising that Haile Selassie I, who was also known as King Of Kings, Lord Of Lords, Conquering Lion Of The Tribe Of Judah was an embodiment of the ancestors; who would never let another nation on earth rule over them.

The Rastas philosophy, spiritual, and political views are ; too complex to explain here.But Menelik’s defeat at Adowa of Italy, at a time known as the Scramble for Africa and about a decade after the Berlin Conference that partitioned Africa; was a lesson Africans worldwide were proud of and hoped the rest of continent followed suit. He saved Ethiopia from scramblers at least for a short while, the rest of the continent could not galvanize and defeat the rest of the European colonizers; attacking from all fronts for colonies.

In the Caribbean, the Rastafarians were in touch with developments in Ethiopia since the defeat of Italy by an African nation; especially one of the first to be named in the Bible and other sacred scriptures. Even prior to these incidents, Ethiopia was known as their land and the land of all Blacks. In ancient times Africa , used to be called Ethiopia and all the major scriptures – Islam, Christianity, and Judaism have been mentioned and/or nurtured in Ethiopia. Menelik’s victory is still celebrated in Ethiopia, as one of honor and duty to his people at home and all those scaterred all over worldwide. Ethiopia, this country whose name was and is still mentioned in the Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam than any other country on earth; defeated a ruthless enemy and sent a clear message to the colonizers and the whole world; not to mess with her.

It was no wonder, that our founding fathers of African political Independence, choose it as their headquarters for the OUA (now AU ), to launch various struggles against colonialism, settler colonialism, and Apartheid.



  1. African heritage, pride & aspirations have been manifested by exemplary leaders past & recent against colonialism, apathy, exploitation & greed……all forms of injustice; yet majority of African leaders turned to be replacement-scramblers to the European colonizers…..? These fluke African aggressors like yaya jammeh, e.g., meant/supposed to be incumbent custodians, are those who harass, kidnap, maim & kill based on divergence of opinions….?? It is the responsibility of all Gambians, particularly our opposition leaders & parties, friends & international community to stand up to treachery anywhere in the world, & in Gambia in particular….???

  2. Luntango Suun Gann Gi

    Thanks Sainey, great supplement. May I add that young Nelson Mandela was taught how to shoot a gun in Ethiopia.

    • The great resistance of Ethiopia & Africans under Menelik’s brave leadership against Italians earned Addis Ababa the AU headquarters. Just like the humility, tolerance & humanity of Gambians gain us the Africa Centre for Democracy & Human Rights…. Until the advent of Demonic kanilai Satan in his murderous greed turned everything Gambian sour….? Constantly aided & abated by the pompous egos of our political leaders & elites, fighting each other for selfish individualistic gains….?? Just why can we see Gambia & communal interests above individual gains & greed…..???

  3. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Mr Faye, I was reviewing your article on Sait Matty Bah after having consulted other literatures on Maba Jahou Bah, I realised that Maba was probably born in Baddibu because I am giving the impression that Baddibu was called Rip althought I am not quite sure. Can you help clarify? I know Maba Dislodged King Marong of BADDIBU and AFTER hIs defeat in Sine, the victors gave Baddibu ILLIASA TO THE Jammehs and Sanjal to the Tourays who built a fort in Kataba, the home village of the former Vice President Saihou Sabally.

    I love History