By | 01 Mar 2023 at 4:02 PM
Adwa Victory Day 2023: Date, History, Facts about Battle of Adwa

Adwa Victory Day is an Ethiopian national holiday celebrated annually on March 2. This day commemorates Ethiopia’s 1896 victory over Italy. After many years of conflict and warfare with Italy, Ethiopia was able to defeat Italian forces in the northern city of Adwa and secure victory. People pay homage to their ancestors who aided contemporary Ethiopians in securing their independence from European rule by taking to the streets, participating in parades, and telling old stories. This day is significant because it marks the celebration of Ethiopian independence.

The background of Adwa Victory Day

Adwa Victory Day represents African resistance to colonial powers. In the 19th century, Ethiopia, a country comprised of semi-independent kingdoms, came under the rule of Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II. Although most of Africa was already under colonial rule, Ethiopia was able to retain its independence due to its strong monarch and capable military.

Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia signed the Treaty of Wuchale with Italy for additional financial and military support in 1889. However, plans changed when it was discovered that the Italian and Ethiopian versions of the treaty contained significant differences. The Italians understood that the treaty would result in Ethiopia falling under Italian control.

This misunderstanding precipitated the First Italo-Ethiopian War in 1895. In the beginning of the war, the Italians enjoyed some success, but in the Battle of Adwa, the Ethiopian forces were able to completely defeat their opponents. The battle resulted in a decisive defeat for the Italians, who were forced to retreat to their home countries. The significance of the Battle of Adwa lies in the fact that it was the first time an African nation defeated a European colonial power. This resistance was viewed as the impetus for the Pan-African Movement, which spread across the entire African continent in the 20th century and freed it from colonial oppressors.

In an additional treaty signed in October 1896, Italy acknowledged Ethiopia’s independence. This was the Addis Ababa Treaty.

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In addition to traditional soldiers, the Ethiopian army included farmers, pastoralists, and women.

Due to its victory in the Battle of Adwa, Ethiopia is the only African nation that has never been colonised.

Italian soldiers occupied the southern border of Eritrea where the town of Adwa is located.

Ethiopians created their own liturgical language known as Geez.

The language spoken by the Ethiopians, Afrasian, is the ancestor of nearly all languages currently spoken in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia.


Year Date Day
2023 March 2 Thursday
2024 March 2 Saturday
2025 March 2 Sunday
2026 March 2 Monday
2027 March 2 Tuesday