italian east africa


Rashaida Tribe Woman Near Massawa, Eritrea by Eric Lafforgue Photography
Via Flickr:
The Rashaida tribe came to Eritrea from Saudi Arabia about 200 years ago, they live in the desert along the coastline of the Red Sea, are muslim, and their homeland extends from Massawa, Eritrea, to Port Sudan, Sudan; they are nomadic, the men are excellent camel traders and some even go to Emirates to take care of the rich people’s animals; Rashaida women always wear veils to cover their nose and their mouth, but not the hair, Rashaida live in isolated communities, preferring not to live with people of other tribes.

@ ethiopia-and-eritrea Agree with your note and made the needed changes from Eric Lafforgue comment. Thanks for pointing it out.



The Afar are a people found primarily in northern Ethiopia with smaller populations in Eritrea and Djibouti. Originally ruled by smaller states, they were unified under the Sultanate of Aussa in 1734. The sultanate slowly began to fall into the Colonial Italian sphere in the 19th century, being incorporated into Italian East Africa in 1936. Following the end of World War II, Ethiopia invaded and annexed the region in 1945. Despite this, the 1950s-1970s saw the former state and the Afar people hold onto a degree of self-governance within the Ethiopian Empire. This ended in 1974 following the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of a Marxist-Leninist junta, prompting the Afar royal family to flee to Saudi Arabia. This resulted in the creation of groups such as the Afar Liberation Front and the Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front, who sought to defend Afar interests, sometimes through violent means. Today the Afar have a degree of autonomy within Ethiopia, living primarily in the Afar Regional State. 

One of our newcomers to AskHistorians, an expert in Modern Italy & Italian Colonialism /u/Quirite, answers the question “What was life like for Italian settlers in East Africa as they attempted to colonize Ethiopia?”

Above: Contemporary Italian illustration of a victorious Italian soldier marking the end of the war against Ethiopia with a display of the Italian tricolor. Cover of La Domenica del Corriere, December 27 1936.


On this day in 1941 British troops launch a general counter-offensive against Italian East Africa.

Top; “Ethiopian Warriors Aid British Troops: Among the Ethiopian warriors are fathers, sons, and brothers, pictured is a 14 year-old boy who has been waging war against the Italians for 5 years. He is wearing the cap of an Italian officer sniped during one of his encounters with the enemy.”

Bottom; “Soldiers of the King’s African Rifles (KAR) during the British advance into Italian Somaliland, East Africa Campaign, 1941.”