Eritrean War of Independence

  • eritrean war of independence
    part of the ethiopian civil war, the cold war and the conflicts in the horn of africa
    eritrean independence war map.png
    military situation during the eritrean war of independence
    date1 september 1961 – 24 may 1991
    (29 years, 8 months and 4 weeks)
    location
    eritrea
    result

    decisive eritrean victory

    • overthrow of the people's democratic republic of ethiopia in eritrea by the eplf
    • cuban military withdrawal
    • eritrea gains independence from ethiopia in a referendum held in 1993
    • 10% of the eritrean population killed
    territorial
    changes
    independence of eritrea; ethiopia becomes a landlocked country.
    belligerents
    elf (1961–1981)
    supported by:
    • libya (until 1977)[1][2][3]
    •  cuba (until 1974)[1][4]
    •  syria[5][6]
    •  united states (1974–1981)[7]
    • iraq iraq[8][9]
    •  tunisia[10][11][12]
    •  saudi arabia[13][14]
    • somalia somalia[15]
    •  sudan[16]

    eplf (since 1970)

    supported by:
    •  china[17][18]
    •  united states (1991)[7]
    •  sudan[16]
    • libya (1977–1985)[1][2][3][19]
    • somalia somalia[15]
    •  syria[5][6]
    1961–1974
    • ethiopian empire
    supported by:
    •  united states [20][21][22]
    •  israel[23][24]

    1974–1991
    • derg (1974–1987)
    • pdre (1987–1991)
    •  cuba (from 1977)[25][26][27][28]
    supported by:
    •  soviet union (1974–1990)[25][29][30][31]
    •  south yemen[23] (1974–1990)
    •  israel (1990–1991)[23]
    •  north korea
    commanders and leaders
    • hamid idris awate 
    • abdella idris
    • isaias afewerki
    • mohammed said bareh
    • sebhat ephrem
    • petros solomon
    • gerezgher andemariam
    • woldeab woldemariam
    • ibrahim sultan ali
    • haile selassie (1961–1974)
    • aklilu habte-wold (1961–1974)
    • tafari benti (1974–1977)
    • mengistu haile mariam (1977–1991)
    • tariku ayne
    • addis tedla
    • cuba fidel castro
    strength
    100,000 (1990)
    20,000 soldiers(1975)
    230 soldiers (1963)
    300,000 (1985)
    41,000 soldiers (1975)
    cuba 3,000 soldiers (1984)
    casualties and losses
    • ~65,000 soldiers[32]
    • ~110,000 civilians[32]
    ~80,000 soldiers[33]

    the eritrean war of independence was a conflict fought between the ethiopian government and eritrean separatists from september 1961 to may 1991.

    eritrea was claimed by the ethiopian empire from 1947 after eritrea was liberated from italy's occupation since 1890 (both countries were part of italian east africa during world war ii). ethiopia and some of the predominantly christian parts of eritrea advocated for a union with ethiopia, while predominantly muslim and other areas of eritrea wanted a separate eritrean state. the united nations general assembly in an effort to satisfy both sides decided to federate eritrea with ethiopia in 1950, and eritrea became a constituent state of the federation of ethiopia and eritrea in 1952.[34] eritrea's declining autonomy and growing discontent with ethiopian rule caused an independence movement led by the eritrean liberation front (elf) in 1961, leading ethiopia to dissolve the federation and annex eritrea the next year.

    following the ethiopian revolution in 1974, the derg abolished the ethiopian empire and established a marxist-leninist communist state, bringing the eritrean war of independence into the ethiopian civil war and cold war conflicts. the derg enjoyed support from the soviet union, cuba, and other second world nations in fighting against eritrean separatists supported by the united states and various other nations. the eritrean people's liberation front (eplf) became the main separatist group in 1977, expelling the elf from eritrea, then exploiting the ogaden war to launch a war of attrition against ethiopia. the ethiopian government under the workers party of ethiopia lost soviet support at the end of the 1980s and were overwhelmed by eritrean separatists and ethiopian anti-government groups, allowing the eplf to defeat ethiopian forces in eritrea in may 1991.[35]

    the ethiopian people's revolutionary democratic front (eprdf), with the help of the eplf, defeated the people's democratic republic of ethiopia (pdre) when it took control of the capital addis ababa a month later.[36] in april 1993, the eritrean people voted almost unanimously in favour of independence in the ethiopia-supported eritrean independence referendum, with formal international recognition of an independent, sovereign eritrea later the same year.

  • background
  • revolution
  • war (1961–1991)
  • peace talks
  • recognition
  • see also
  • references
  • further reading

Eritrean War of Independence
Part of the Ethiopian Civil War, the Cold War and the conflicts in the Horn of Africa
Eritrean Independence War Map.png
Military situation during the Eritrean War of Independence
Date1 September 1961 – 24 May 1991
(29 years, 8 months and 4 weeks)
Location
Result

Decisive Eritrean victory

Territorial
changes
Independence of Eritrea; Ethiopia becomes a landlocked country.
Belligerents
ELF (1961–1981)
Supported by:

EPLF (since 1970)

Supported by:
1961–1974 Supported by:
1974–1991
Supported by:
Commanders and leaders
Strength
100,000 (1990)
20,000 soldiers(1975)
230 soldiers (1963)
300,000 (1985)
41,000 soldiers (1975)
Cuba 3,000 soldiers (1984)
Casualties and losses
  • ~65,000 soldiers[32]
  • ~110,000 civilians[32]
~80,000 soldiers[33]

The Eritrean War of Independence was a conflict fought between the Ethiopian government and Eritrean separatists from September 1961 to May 1991.

Eritrea was claimed by the Ethiopian Empire from 1947 after Eritrea was liberated from Italy's occupation since 1890 (both countries were part of Italian East Africa during World War II). Ethiopia and some of the predominantly Christian parts of Eritrea advocated for a union with Ethiopia, while predominantly Muslim and other areas of Eritrea wanted a separate Eritrean state. The United Nations General Assembly in an effort to satisfy both sides decided to federate Eritrea with Ethiopia in 1950, and Eritrea became a constituent state of the Federation of Ethiopia and Eritrea in 1952.[34] Eritrea's declining autonomy and growing discontent with Ethiopian rule caused an independence movement led by the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) in 1961, leading Ethiopia to dissolve the federation and annex Eritrea the next year.

Following the Ethiopian Revolution in 1974, the Derg abolished the Ethiopian Empire and established a Marxist-Leninist communist state, bringing the Eritrean War of Independence into the Ethiopian Civil War and Cold War conflicts. The Derg enjoyed support from the Soviet Union, Cuba, and other Second World nations in fighting against Eritrean separatists supported by the United States and various other nations. The Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) became the main separatist group in 1977, expelling the ELF from Eritrea, then exploiting the Ogaden War to launch a war of attrition against Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government under the Workers Party of Ethiopia lost Soviet support at the end of the 1980s and were overwhelmed by Eritrean separatists and Ethiopian anti-government groups, allowing the EPLF to defeat Ethiopian forces in Eritrea in May 1991.[35]

The Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), with the help of the EPLF, defeated the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (PDRE) when it took control of the capital Addis Ababa a month later.[36] In April 1993, the Eritrean people voted almost unanimously in favour of independence in the Ethiopia-supported Eritrean independence referendum, with formal international recognition of an independent, sovereign Eritrea later the same year.