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Battle of Amba Alagi (1895)

The Battle of Amba Alagi was the first in a series of battles between the Italian General Baratieri and Ethiopia's Emperor Menelik during the First Italo-Ethiopian War. Amba Alagi was one of Baratieri's forward positions; it was under the command of Major Toselli with 2,000 Eritrean Askari. On 7 December 1895, the Ras Makonnen, Ras Welle Betul and Ras Mengesha Yohannes commanded an assault of Menelik's vanguard that annihilated the Italians and killed Major Toselli.

Battle of Amba Alagi
Part of the First Italo-Ethiopian War
Ras Mekonnen Amba Alage 2.jpg
Ras Makonnen leading his troops to victory
Date7 December 1895
Result Ethiopian victory
 Italy  Ethiopia
Commanders and leaders
Kingdom of Italy Oreste Baratieri Ethiopian Empire Makonnen
Ethiopian Empire Welle Betul
Ethiopian Empire Mangesha Yohannes
2,350 Eritrean Askari and 2,000 Italians 30,000
Casualties and losses
1,300 Eritrean Askari; 20 Italians Unknown

However, the defeat at Amba Alagi did have a silver lining for Baratieri. Prime Minister Crispi's shocked cabinet agreed to advance another 20 million lire (£80,000) to ensure that a disaster could be stopped.[1]


  1. ^ Thomas Pakenham, The Scramble for Africa, (London: Abacus, 1992) p. 477

Coordinates: 12°59′39″N 39°30′13″E / 12.99417°N 39.50361°E / 12.99417; 39.50361