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ETHIOPIA / ITALIAN INVASION OF ABYSSINIA: L’Africa orientale: Etiopia, Eritrea, Somalia Italiana. / Supplemento gratuito allegato al Mattino Illustrato.



A very rare patriotic propaganda map of Ethiopia and bordering lands created to celebrate Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War (1935-7), published in Naples by the new magazine ‘Il Mattino Illustrato’.


Colour print on glossy newsprint paper, printed on both sides, verso in monochrome (Very Good, overall bright and clean, some very light spotting and light wear along old folds), 72 x 59.5 cm (28.5 x 23.5 inches).


1 in stock


This rare work of patriotic propaganda celebrates Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War (October 1935 to February 1937).  To open the conflict, Mussolini sent a force of 200,000 men under General Rodolfo Graziani to invade the proud but technologically backward country, led by the famed King Halie Selassie.  Italy already controlled neighboring Eritrea and part of Somalia, and used the former to invade Ethiopia, hoping to create a grand colonial realm of Italian East Africa.  While the Ethiopians put up a brave fight, they were simply overwhelmed by the Italian’s modern war machine.  Italy succeeded in taking the cities and most of the countryside, although a determined Ethiopian guerilla movement remained.  Italy’s reign in Ethiopia would be short-lived, as it would be evicted from the country in 1941 by the British, during World War II.


In 1936, when the present map was made, Mussolini’s regime, and the Italian public, had reason to be optimistic about total victory in Ethiopia.  The present work was created by the Naples new magazine, Il Mattino Illustrato, as a special supplement, to both drum up support for the war (indeed, Naples was long a major staging point for the Italian military’s African ventures), as well as to sell copies.


The map on the recto depicts Eritrea, Somalia, and much of Ethiopia, presenting the topography and human geography in a glossy attractive manner, after cartography given to the magazine by Italy’s Istituto geografico militare, on a special license.  The Italian tricolore flags in the side margins were presumably meant to be cut out and placed upon the map to denote the locations of future Italian victories.


The verso of the map is a patriotic pageant of Italian military vigour on the Horn of Africa, featuring photographs of happy, energetic Italian troops in the field, along with the score of the war song, O vuluntario ll’Africa.


The map is seemingly very rare, as we cannot trace a reference to it, let alone the location of any other examples.  Its fragility must have led to a low survival rate.


References: N/A – No other examples traced.

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