“Eritrea at a Crossroads: A Narrative of Triumph, Betrayal and Hope”

Ch 2. The Making of Eritrea

Until the lion has his own historian, the tale of the hunt will always belong to the hunter.
~ An African Proverb

ኣንበሳ ናቱ ተራኺ ክሳብ ዚህሉዎ፡ እቲ ዛንታ ናይቲ ሃድን ወትሩ በቲ ሃዳናይ’ዩ ኪውነን።
– ኣፍሪቃዊ ምስላ

Chapter 2

The Making of Eritrea


This chapter presents a brief profile of the land and the people of Eritrea, taking a glimpse at the ancient history of the region, and asserts that the Eritreans, like other African peoples, existed in history before the moment of their contact with Europe and the Europeans. It provides a bird’s eye view of the evolution of the region’s pre-colonial and traces the matrix of constant invasions, pollution movements, migrations and intermingling that forged the mosaic of peoples, cultures and languages that make up Eritrea. It describes the reality of a fragmented territory from the decline of the Kingdom of Axum, through the centuries, to the advent of the European scramble for Africa and the colonial era.


The Making of Eritrea describes the Italian conquest and subjugation and unification of the territory into a single entity under colonial rule. It recounts the forging of the Eritrean State and the rise of an overarching distinctive Eritrean national identity as a product of the dialectics of colonialism and the resistance of the colonised. It highlights the crucial regional and global ramifications of Italy’s defeat in Eritrea, signifying the dismantling of Mussolini’s Africa Orientale Italiana and the paving of the way to the reversal of fortunes of Rommel’s Deutsch Afrika Korps, the German surrender in North Africa and the ultimate Allied victory in World War II. Further, it underscores that Eritrea, having served as the crucial battleground in the ‘great fight’ between the forces of global ‘fascism and liberal democracy’ on African soil as a significant cornerstone in the construction of the Allied victory, was abandoned and
betrayed by the Allied Powers.


 (PDF: Tigrinya ምዕራፍ 2)



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  1. I read this chapter careful. I think the material for early Eritrean history is a little out-dated in terms of content and perspective.
    1. Eritrean/Ethiopian Highland is one of possible location of independent agriculture revolution and there are only 8 locations in world and yemen is not one of them. This is according to peter bellwood: first farmers: the origins of agriculture societies
    2. According to latest archaeological evidence presented in https://www.amazon.com/Archaeology-Ancient-Eritrea-Peter-Schmidt/dp/1569022844
    “The Archaeology of Ancient Eritrea” published in 2007- the contribution/interaction from kingdom of Saba in Yemen is minimal and this notion or idea that Eritrean are a fusion of Yemeni and Horn African people people is just not accurate.. This point brought across from summary of the back of book “Classical era sites such as Qohaito, Matara, Keskese, and Adulis are discussed within the broader setting of other ancient places in Eritrea and the Horn, with the conclusion that local developments far outweighed foreign influences from places such as the kingdom of Saba in today s Yemen”
    We don’t have our own historian yet but we have archaeological evidence to help us paint a realistic picture instead of the material from 1950s or 1960s where most the book’s early eritrean history comes from..

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