Eritrea was Declared as the New Italian Colony
1 Jan, 1890
Italy declared the formation of its new colony of Eritrea on the Red Sea, taking territories the weakened Egyptians occupied and expanding to the central highlands. Eritrea got its name from the Erythraean Sea or Red Sea.
Italian map of the Colony of Eritrea
Italy declared the formation of its new colony of Eritrea as the Egyptian power on the lower Red Sea waned. The Italians had purchased land before the opening of the Suez Canal, the precursor to the era known as the “Scramble for Africa” by Europeans racing to colonize resource-rich territories in Africa. These acquisitions were private at the time of purchase from 1869 to 1880. In 1882, they were transferred to the Italian state.
The Italians expanded their occupation northward and further inland from Assab. There was no resistance by the Egyptians at Massawa, and protests made by the Turks and Ethiopians were ignored. In 1885 Italian troops landed at Massawa, Asseb, and other locations. Italian forces then gradually pushed from the eastern coastal plains where they had made their base in Massawa, up the eastern escarpments into the central highlands of current-day Eritrea.
Emperor Yohannes IV of Ethiopia initially opposed the Italian expansion but his successor Menelik II agreed for the Italians to take the land north of the river Mereb without any protest in exchange for weapons he needed to subdue his rivals to the throne.
Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia
Menelik signed the Treaty of Wuchale on May 2, 1889, recognizing Italian possession of territories from the Mereb river to the coasts of the Red Sea.
On January 1, 1890, the Italian colony of Eritrea was officially proclaimed. Eritrea got its name from the Erythraean Sea or the Red Sea.