Eritrea History

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The creation of modern-day Eritrea is a result of the incorporation of independent, distinct kingdoms and sultanates eventually resulting in the formation of Italian Eritrea. After the defeat of the Italian colonial army in 1942, Eritrea was administered by the British Military Administration until 1952. Following the UN General Assembly decision, in 1952, Eritrea would govern itself with a local Eritrean parliament but for foreign affairs and defense it would enter into a federal status with Ethiopia for a period of 10 years. However, in 1962 the government of Ethiopia annulled the Eritrean parliament and formally annexed Eritrea. In 1991, after 30 years of continuous armed struggle for independence, the Eritrean liberation fighters entered the capital city, Asmara, in victory.

Eritrea is a one-party state in which national legislative elections have never been held since independence. According to Human Rights Watch, the Eritrean government's human rights record is among the worst in the world. The Eritrean government has dismissed these allegations as politically motivated. The compulsory military service requires long, indefinite conscription periods, which some Eritreans leave the country to avoid. Because all local media is state-owned, Eritrea was also ranked as having the second-least press freedom in the global Press Freedom Index, behind only North Korea.


1517 - The Ottomans occupied all of northeastern present-day Eritrea for the next two decades
1572 - The 16th century marked the arrival of the Ottomans, who began making inroads in the Red Sea area
1889 - Italy proclaimed the establishment of the new colony of Italian Eritrea, a colony of the Kingdom of Italy
1922 - Benito Mussolini's rise to power in Italy brought profound changes to the colonial government in Italian Eritrea and it was enlarged with northern Ethiopia's regions and Italian Somaliland were merged with the just conquered Ethiopia in the new Italian East Africa administrative territory
1941 - Battle of Keren, the British expelled the Italians, and took over the administration of the country then the British placed Eritrea under British military administration until Allied forces could determine its fate
1941 - 1950 In the absence of agreement among the Allies concerning the status of Eritrea, British administration continued for the remainder of World War II
1961 - The Eritrean Liberation Front, waged an armed struggle for independence. The Eritrean parliament was dissolved in 1962
1961 - 1991 The Eritrean War for Independence went on for 30 years against successive Ethiopian governments until the Eritrean People's Liberation Front defeated the Ethiopian forces in Eritrea and helped a coalition of Ethiopian rebel forces take control of the Ethiopian capital
1994 - The Eritrean People's Liberation Front renamed itself the People's Front for Democracy and Justice as part of its transformation into Eritrea's ruling political party