Italy's Colonization of Ethiopia and Great Eritrea Essay

Italy's Colonization of Ethiopia and Great Eritrea Essay

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I. The Effects of Colonial Legacy

The root causes of the war could be traced back in history to the imperialist policy of great powers of Europe, an international phenomenon during the 19th century. Eritrea as a new independent entity was created by Italian colonization. Italian colonization did not only create a new independent state of Eritrea but also a separate Eritrean identity. As a result of the socio-economic improvements created by the Italian colonial legacy, Eritreans developed a distinct Eritrean identity and a sense being “civilized” and regarded Ethiopians as “backward”. (Tekeste: 2000, p.54-157). In one interview, Eritrean President Issayas once said, “We have lived with Europeans; we have seen much of the civilized world. There are many things we have learned from them. The Ethiopians, on the contrary, have just come out of the forest. They are not civilized. They feel inferior because they have come out of the bush” (Solomon: 1998, p.15).

Although Ethiopia and Italy signed three treaties regarding the common border, none of these treaties were demarcated. Having the intention of further expansion; Italians did not seem interested in effecting the demarcation of the border. Indeed, Italians interpreted the border treaties unilaterally and drew a new borderline of their own (Tekeste and Tronvoll: 2000, p.8).Italian colonization of Ethiopia and the creation of the Great Eritrea; combining the Tigrayan speaking provinces of both Eritrea and Ethiopia made the demarcation of the border unimportant (Tekeste and Tronvoll: 2000, p.8).

II. The Nature Leaders of Both Countries

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Eritrean President Issayas Afeworki each played a crucial role in the eruption of the conflict. Both ...


... middle of paper ...


...l partner. After victory and taking over of political power, EPLF maintained its old psychological perception of seniority and attempted to assert itself in the region. The new Eritrea under EPLF‟s leadership wanted to play the leading role in the development of the horn of Africa. Eritrea’s clashes with Sudan, Djibouti and Yemen are cases in point to illustrate Eritrea’s hegemonic ambition in the region (Tronvoll: 2004, p.51). However, depending on its wide resources, Ethiopia appeared much more hegemonic than Eritrea imagined. As a senior front, EPLF was not ready to accept the new dominant role of Ethiopia under TPLF. Such historically rooted competition for regional hegemony was possibly the most important reason that turned the two friends into enemies in 1998 (Tronvoll: 2004, p.51).

IV. State Building Tasks of Eritrea






C. Consequences of the Conflict



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