The reason I chose to do a project review on The Battle of Adwa is because, I am from Ethiopia, and the battle has been a part of my upbrining, and it is a source of pride for my countrymen and me. The battle is not only crucial event for Ethiopian history, but also in African history as it is the first time an African country successfully defended against European invasion.
The battle of Adwa took place in the northern region of Ethiopia in March 1896, between Ethiopian forces led by emperor Menelik II and Italian forces led by General Oreste Baratieri. The battle lasted for a day, where Ethiopian forces achieved victory. However, the victory came at a heavy cost, with about 15,000 casualties out of 100,000 soldiers. In contrast, the Italians had 6,000 causalities and 3,000 prisoners out of 20,000. The Italian army was equipped with modern weapons, while the Ethiopians had outdated guns that were donated by the Italians to undermine the previous regime led by emperor Yohannes.
The digital history project I reviewed is based on the book “The Battle of Adwa: African Victory in the Age of Empire” by Raymond Jonas, which was published by Harvard university press in 2011. The digital history project was created by Jay Lockenour on May 1, 2012. Jay Lockenour was a professor from Temple university that was writing a new book called “New Books in Military History”. The project acts as an advertisement for the books, but also aims to inform and educate people about the Battle of Adwa and Ethiopian History.
The digital history project is a reliable resource for learning about the Battle of Adwa, as it uses digitized primary resources such as pictures, maps, and documents from that time, as well as print sources. However, there has not been any updates since the creation of the project. Upon visiting the website users are met with rotating pictures of significant events from the battle. The title is at the center of screen, with a brief description about the Battle of Adwa. At the bottom you have three options: features which provides information about, the places, terrain, everyday objects, the Adwa campaign, and a timeline of first contact between Ethiopia and Italy to the after the battle of Adwa. The second link is about the book written by Raymond Jonas, it includes the link to the book, a YouTube video of Jay Lockenour interviewing Raymond Jonas, and an audio like skill 6 about the book. The third link is sources, which provide the archival and printed sources.
In my opinion, the project’s main goal is to advertise the books of Raymond Jonas and Jay Lockenour, rather than to educate people about the Battle of Adwa. However, the project still serves as an educational resource, providing information about the significant part of African and world history. The battle of Adwa changed the prevailing belief that black people were inferior to Europeans/white people during the scramble for Africa. It demonstrated that the supposedly “lesser” people could defeat the supposed “superior” aggressors, making it an event that more people should know about. The project does not present a thesis or an argument; it simply provides information without analyzing or interpreting it.
The digital review is considered good because it provides information about the overall war, everyday objects such as the means of monetary trade, maps of places and terrains that are of significance to the battle, and a timeline of the war. One of the strengths of the project is its clear organization, with definitive sections on different aspects of the war such as maps, the war, and pictures from that time. The website is simple, easy to navigate, and easy to understand, making it accessible to a wider audience. Under the title of each category there are a few words that describe the category, making it easier to continue forward or change to a different category. In addition, I like how there is information, YouTube video and audio about the book the digital history project is based on.
One of the down sides of the website is too simple, there are no interactive aspects about the website. It just gives information but does nothing about boredom and interest of the user. People are more likely to remember information about history from an interactive site compared to a strictly information-based website. The project is also lacking when it comes to hyperlinks to related material or research. In addition, it is very hard to find related information about the creation date and creator of the digital project. One of the things the creators can do to make the website better is to make the maps and terrains interactive with the users. In addition, they can change the design and make it look like there was effort put into it. Overall, the digital history project was informative and educational about the battle of Adwa between Ethiopia and Italy. It shows the significance of the battle not only in Ethiopian history, but African history as well.
Lockenour, J. (2012, May 1). The Battle of Adwa. Battle of Adwa 1896. Retrieved April 12, 2023, from https://www.battleofadwa.org/content/features.html