The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Italian East Africa

A map of Italian East Africa in 1941
A Second World War map of Italian East Africa in 1941

Italian East Africa (Italian: Africa Orientale Italiana) was an Italian colony in Africa. It was conquered in the 1930s during Benito Mussolini's reign in Italy and lost at the end of the North African Campaign of World War II. The Second Italo-Abyssinian War played a key role in the absorption of Ethiopia into Italian East Africa.

It included conquered Ethiopia, Italian Somaliland and Eritrea. Occasionally Libya (at the time another Italian colony) was referred to as being part of Italian East Africa, but this was uncommon and perhaps misleading.

During the Second World War, the Italian army recruited many thousands of native Africans from the colony to fight against the British in the East African Campaign. However due to poor training, incompetent leadership and inadequate supplies and arms, Italian native troops were usually defeated in the face of the enemy.

Last updated: 05-15-2005 22:16:01