Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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Irma TADDIA, University of Bologna, Italy

The Italian Empire has been defined as a peculiar colonialism and Italian historians for a long period developed a colonial stereotype. Only recently, scholars succeeded to overcoming the previous vision, connecting Italian colonialism to the mainstream of international studies, including research promoted by African scholars. The Italian Imperial dream collapsed at early stage, following the military occupation of Ethiopia, owing to Italian decision to get involved in the Second World War in 1939. By 1941 the Allied troops had already occupied a large area of the Horn. In this paper, the author analyses the legacy of Italian politics, the different impact of Italian defeat and the role of independent Horn countries between 1941 and 1960. At the same time the international diplomacy developed an interaction between nationalism rooted on colonialism - Eritrea and Somalia - and the new hegemonic role of Ethiopia. The unpredictable end of Italian rule left no significant consequences for the former colonial authorities during the decolonisation process. Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia need to be treated in a peculiar context, the international context, and not mere as a case of colonial reliance.