Published During the End of the Italo-Ethiopian War
Original antique map of northwestern Africa published by the Italian Ministry of War.
The map shows the southern Red Sea and the coastal and inland portions of Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan. Detail is extensive, showing topography, hydrography, towns, roads, and more. The inland part of the map are sparsely populated, with only the regions around the White and Blue Niles showing substantial population centers.
Italian interests in the region in 1896 were focused on the First Italo-Ethiopian War, which was about to end in a humiliating defeat for the European power. Italian Troops had initially invaded Ethiopia from Italian Eritrea following Menelik II's repudiation of the Treaty of Wuchale by initiating revolts in Eritrea.
Despite popular support for Ethiopia in Europe, which was recognized as a "civilized" nation, Italians invaded Tigray and Ethiopia in September 1895. Massive popular distaste of Italian policy allowed Ethiopia to muster an enormous army, which allowed for a rapid rebuttal of Italian advances. By January, Menelik II was already pushing Italian troops back into Tigray. The war would finish in the humiliating Battle of Adwa, where the Crispi government ordered Italian troops to attack a far superior army, believing there was no way they could lose a battle to an African nation. The Italian army would retreat, the Italian government would collapse, and Italian expansion into Ethiopia would be checked for four decades.