Adwa Victory Day

Adwa Victory Day, celebrated on March 2nd annually, is a national holiday in Ethiopia. It commemorates the Ethiopian victory against Italy’s attempt to colonize the country at the Battle of Adwa in 1896.

Here are some key aspects of Adwa Victory Day:

  • Significance: This victory holds immense importance for Ethiopia as it was one of the few African nations to successfully resist European colonization during the era. It became a symbol of Ethiopian independence, national pride, and Pan-Africanism.
  • Celebrations: The day is marked by parades, cultural performances, music, and other festivities across the country, particularly in major cities like Addis Ababa and Adwa itself. Patriotic songs and artistic expressions become a prominent part of the celebrations.
  • Public holiday: As a national holiday, all schools, banks, government offices, and most businesses are closed on Adwa Victory Day. However, some essential services like healthcare facilities may remain operational.

Adwa Victory Day continues to be a significant event in Ethiopian history, representing the nation’s resistance against foreign domination and its enduring spirit of independence.

History of Adwa Victory Day

The Adwa Victory Day, celebrated annually on March 2nd, commemorates the Battle of Adwa in 1896, where Ethiopian forces decisively defeated an invading Italian army. This victory secured Ethiopia’s independence and became a powerful symbol of Pan-Africanism and resistance against colonialism.


  1. In the late 19th century, European powers were actively colonizing Africa.
  2. Italy, seeking to expand its colonial empire, had established a foothold in Eritrea, bordering Ethiopia.
  3. In 1889, Italy pressured Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia to sign the Treaty of Wuchale, which they mistranslated to grant them control over Ethiopia.
  4. When the deception was revealed, tensions escalated, culminating in the Battle of Adwa.

The Battle of Adwa:

  • On March 1, 1896, near the town of Adwa, a well-equipped and motivated Ethiopian army, estimated at around 100,000 strong, faced an Italian force of approximately 25,000.
  • The Ethiopians, under the leadership of Emperor Menelik II and Empress Taytu Betul, employed superior tactics and used their knowledge of the terrain to their advantage.
  • The Italians suffered a crushing defeat, with heavy casualties and the loss of most of their artillery.

Significance of the Adwa Victory:

  • The Battle of Adwa was a turning point in African history.
  • It marked the only decisive defeat of a European power by an African nation during the Scramble for Africa.
  • This victory not only secured Ethiopia’s independence but also inspired other African nations in their struggles against colonialism.
  • The Adwa Victory Day is a national holiday in Ethiopia, celebrated with parades, cultural performances, and patriotic music. It is also seen as a symbol of African pride and resilience.


  • The Adwa Victory Day holds significant meaning for the Pan-African movement, representing resistance against oppression and a celebration of African self-determination.
  • The legacy of Adwa continues to inspire people fighting for freedom and equality around the world.

Adwa Victory Day Timeline


  • 1400s: European nations begin making incursions into Africa, largely to facilitate the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
  • Late 19th century: European powers colonize most of Africa during the Scramble for Africa. Only Ethiopia and Liberia remain independent.


  • January: Italy defeats the Ethiopian army led by Ras Mengesha Yohannes in the Battle of Coatit.
  • December 7: Ethiopian forces under Ras Makonnen Wolde Mikael and Fitawrari Gebeyehu defeat an Italian force at the Battle of Amba Alagi.


  • March 1: The Battle of Adwa takes place near the town of Adwa. The Ethiopian army, led by Emperor Menelik II, decisively defeats the Italian forces commanded by General Oreste Baratieri.
  • March 2: The Italians begin their retreat from Ethiopia.


  • March 2 (every year): Ethiopia celebrates Adwa Victory Day, a national holiday commemorating the victory at Adwa.
  • Treaty of Addis Ababa (1896): Italy formally recognizes Ethiopia’s independence.
  • 1935-1941: Italy invades Ethiopia again, leading to the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. Ethiopia is occupied by Italy until the British defeat the Italians in World War II.

The Adwa Victory Day remains a significant symbol of Ethiopian national pride and resistance to colonialism. It also holds broader significance as a victory for African independence in the face of European expansion.

Also Read: All World Days

By Admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *