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Historical Similarities between Ethiopia and Mexico: Battle of Adwa and 5 de Mayo

This March 2nd the People and Government of Ethiopia will celebrate the Battle of Adwa Victory Celebration. For that important reason I wish all Ethiopians a happy celebration.

In that context, let me share some historical similarities between the Battle of Adwa in Ethiopia and the Battle of Puebla or Cinco de Mayo in Mexico, respectively.

For my beautiful host country, the Battle of Adwa (የዐድዋ ጦርነት) represents the first victory over colonialism in Ethiopia (and Africa) in the XIX century when the Ethiopian forces led by Emperor Menelik defeated the Italian invading forces.

In the case of Mexico, on Cinco de Mayo, 1862, in the city of Puebla, in central Mexico, Mexican soldiers, along with the Zacapoaxtla indigenous people, defended their territory against the French Army of Napoleon III. French troops not only outnumbered Mexican soldiers but were better trained and much better equipped. Yet, the Mexican division, under the command of Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza, defeated France’s armed forces.

For both Ethiopians and Mexicans alike, the battles of Adwa and Puebla are reminders of the struggles that we have overcome, through committed and sustained work, to build independent countries with justice, peace and prosperity.

The friendship ties between Mexico and Ethiopia go back to 1936, when Mexico strongly condemned the invasion of Ethiopia at the League of Nations and supported its independence.

While embracing Ethiopian and Mexican history and values, Adwa and Cinco de Mayo is also an opportunity to celebrate and strengthen the friendship that binds the people of Ethiopia and Mexico.

Happy Adwa Victory Day! Long Live Ethiopia!

Victor M. Treviño is the Ambassador of Mexico in Ethiopia.