Eritrea History

By | June 1, 2022

According to localcollegeexplorer, Eritrea was colonized, even before the Common Era, by the same people of southern Arabia who, through the progressive expansion within the country, later founded the kingdom of Aksum. The main Eritrean regions were part of this for centuries. But with the affirmation of Islam (7th century) the ways of maritime-commercial expansion were closed to the Aksumite empire, which therefore moved its political and economic center more and more to the west, within the Ethiopian plateau., while the Muslim domination was established on the coast. The Dahlak Islands became the center of an independent Islamic principality, on which Massawa also had to depend, except for brief interruptions. Towards the middle of the 16th century. the Turks permanently took possession of Massawa and then of Archico on the mainland.

In 1865 the coastal regions were bought by Egypt. The Mahdī movement developed in Sudan, the western regions of Eritrea suffered the invasion of the Dervishes, while on the coast, in Massawa, Italy (which had established its first African colony in Assab in July 1882) replaced its own for Egyptian sovereignty in agreement with Great Britain (1885) . Occupied in 1889 Asmara and Cheren, in 1890 the various possessions were united in the Colony of Eritrea(from the Greek and Latin name of the Red Sea). In Eritrea the Italian colonialism took place in an intense way, with the transplantation of numerous colonists, a partial alienation of the indigenous lands and the formation of a middle class in the cities. The colony, in other respects, was conceived as an outpost for the conquest of the Ethiopian plateau and was precisely from Eritrea that in 1935 the war against Haile Selassiè began. After the proclamation of the empire, Eritrea it became part of the Italian East Africa (AOI), reorganized as a governorate and enlarged with parts of the Tigrè (1936).

Occupied by British forces during World War II (1941), saw an acceleration of economic and social development in the following decade of British administration. The peace treaty of 1947 sanctioned Italy’s renunciation of all its former colonies: the assignment of Eritrea was the subject of a long negotiation, first between the four great powers and then at the UN, also following the claims of Ethiopia, which claimed Eritrea both as belonging to its sphere of historical sovereignty and its only access to the sea, and as compensation for the war suffered. According to the UN resolution of 1950, Eritrea became an autonomous ‘unit’ federated with Ethiopia (in force in 1952), but soon Ethiopia began to stifle the autonomy of Eritrea (more evolved from a social and political point of view), in order to annex it to its territories. The degradation in 1962 to a simple province of the Ethiopian Empire provoked a reaction that soon took on an independentist character (with the help of Sudan and other Arab countries). The Popular Front for the Liberation of Eritrea (FPLE) became the main force of the anti-Ethiopian resistance.

In 1991 the fall of Asmara and Assab, which followed that of the northern regions (also thanks to the disengagement of the USSR, which until then had supported Ethiopia), marked the definitive victory of the independence forces that took control of the country. The first measures launched by the government chaired by I. Afewerki (later President of the Republic) were aimed at addressing the dramatic economic situation, by supporting state industry, agriculture and fishing. Independence was formally proclaimed in 1993. In 1994 the FPLE took the name of the Popular Front for Democracy and Justice (FPDG) and adopted a more moderate and pragmatic political line, attenuating the appeal to the Marxist ideology; however this did not initiate a substantial democratization process. In the regional context, the worsening of relations with Sudan favored the approach of Eritrea to the United States and Israel, who considered Sudan one of the reference centers of Islamic fundamentalism. In 1998 the tension with Ethiopia, originating from the dispute for a strip of territory along the border with Sudan, resulted in a very hard war, in a climate of heated nationalism. In 2000, a peace agreement was signed, but a new front opened in 2006 when Ethiopia sent troops to Somalia to support the government of Mogadishu against the Islamic militias, while in the following years the tension increased again along the border, until it exploded in 2012, later to an action by the Ethiopian army within the Eritrean borders. Only in July 2018 did Eritrea and Ethiopia sign a declaration of reconciliation in Asmara, followed in September by the peace agreement signed by Eritrean President I. Afewerki and Ethiopian Prime Minister A. Ahmed in Gidda (Saudi Arabia).

Eritrea History