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Field hospital in Massawa, Eritrea

Luigi Naretti1896-01-31/1896-12-31

Museum of Ethnography

Museum of Ethnography
Stockholm, Sweden

This photo was taken in 1896 in a field hospital in Massawa, Eritrea. It depicts Eritrean askari (soldiers) and some Italian officers. The soldiers were captured in a battle on March 1, 1896, between the invading Italian colonial army and Abyssinia (Ethiopia).

The Ethiopians won the battle and 2000 Eritrean soldiers who were in Italian service were killed and 800 were captured. As punishment for what the Ethiopians regarded as treason, the right hand and left foot of the captured were cut off. According to the Italian subtitle this was done at the monastery of Abba Garima east of Adwa, in the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia. Many of the captives died from their injuries.

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