This paper by ILPI’s affiliate Abdulkader S. Mohammad investigates the historical and socio-political background of Eritrean nationalism and dismantles the myth of a unique Eritrean national identity: It explores the emergence of nationalism during the British Military Administration (1941–52) and its inconsistency.
Eritrea is a multi-lingual state at the Horn of Africa that was occupied by different colonial powers. Resistance arose in the nineteenth century as protest against Abyssinian hegemony and against colonial domination. Yet, nationalism was not a product of modernisation induced by Italy, which affected only limited segments of the society (highlanders). It developed only after the demise of Italian rule after 1941, when Eritrea witnessed democracy and press freedom under the British rule. However, due to ethnic frictions, nationalism was inconsistent and conflict-ridden.
Access the conference paper here.
Mohammad, AS 2014, 'Competing identities and the emergence of Eritrean nationalism between 1941 and 1952' in ECAS 2013, 5th European Conference on African Studies, African Dynamics in Multipolar-World, CEL, 2014, pp. 1376-1408.