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Did Italy have any Ethiopian Allies?

#1 User is offline   donniechris59 

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 08:34 AM

I understand that when the Italians invaded in 1935, Ethiopia was composed of various tribal and ethnic groups of which some were loyal to the Ethiopian Emperor and some were not.

I was wondering if there was any particular Ethiopian tribal or ethnic group(s) which supported the Italian invasion? Was there Ethiopians who saw the Italian invasion as a possible liberation from Ethiopian rule?

If the answer is "yes," I was wondering which tribal group(s) or ethnic group(s) in particular allied themselves with the Italians. What demographics would we be speaking off, such as the populations of these tribal groups and were they located in a specific area(s) of Ethiopia?

I have a map of how Italy divided Ethiopia after the conquest and united the country with Somalia into various administrative zones ie. Amara, Scioa, Harrar, Galla-Sidamo, and combined the eastern part of Ethiopia to the pre-existing Italian colony of Somalia. If you need to be more general in telling me where these folks were located, using these areas would be helpful for me... If I am making myself clear.

Did any Ethiopians enlist or were conscripted to be part of the Italian colonial forces in Italian East Africa? Where they used to fight Ethiopian guerrillas? Did any fight with the Italians against the British when they counter-attacked from Kenya?

To any who could help me, I extend to you in advance my deepest appreciation.
" a gentleman is a man who can play the bagpipes... but didn't " Samuel Johnson
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#2 User is offline   Lupo Solitario 

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 06:24 PM

oh, a lot, Italians widely used corruption, internal political struggles, etc. Unfortunately I've not a list or a specific reference at the hand...
melius esse quam videri

#3 User is offline   Alexander 

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 05:34 PM

Ethiopia was a big country with lots of different tribes, many of whom were disaffected to a greater or lesser extent with the central authorities.

I think the greatest source of pro-Italian feeling came from the Eritreans. Most of them did not live in Ethiopia of course, but as Eritrea had been conquered by Ethiopia in the past there was (and still is to this day) a lot of negative feeling towards Ethiopians. Many Eritreans fought well for the Italians as a result (most famously, Amedeo Guillet's Eritrean irregular cavalry).

As for the tribes inside Ethiopia proper, I am not so sure, but I have a boardgame of the conflict which has counters representing three tribes which are subject to bribery by the Italians - if successful, they disband rather than change sides, but I think we can assume they were historically pro Italian, or at least anti-Selassie. Their names are Gojjam, Wollo, and East Tigre.

I also think the Tigre region generally was quite anti-Selassie as it has historically been rather distinct from the rest of the country.

I was once told by an Ethiopian that there is still one legacy of the invasion which he considered a good thing - an Italian restaurant in Addis Ababa which I was told is "the finest restaurant south of the Sahara"!

#4 User is offline   bombtrack2 

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 06:58 PM

Have a look at "The Italian Invasion of Abyssinia" of Osprey Publishing's Men At Arms series.

#5 User is offline   fredleander 

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 11:35 PM

Wikipedia has this insert:

In addition to their own colonial troops from Eritrea, Somalia, and Libya, the Italians had a variety of local semi-independent "allies" who fought for them. In the north, the Azebu Galla were one of several groups induced to fight for the Italians. For many reasons, the Galla were willing to sweep down on the fleeing Ethiopians. In the south, Sultan Olol Diinle commanded a personal army that advanced into the northern Ogaden alongside the forces of Italian Colonel Luigi Frusci. The Sultan was motivated by his desire to take back lands that the Ethiopians had taken from him. The Italian colonial forces even included some Yemenis recruited from across the Gulf of Aden.


Many good references at the end of the article.

Fred - River Wide, Ocean Deep - a book on Operation Sea Lion
Saving MacArthur - the book series on how The Philippines were saved

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