Since Eritrean independence in 1991, Ethiopian nationalists have struggled with the idea of an independent Eritrea. This challenged what Emperor Menelik II’s wife put forth, “… that Ethiopia’s strength derived primarily from its political mythology …”1) Clearly this presented an existential threat to the Ethiopian state itself, and its ruling elites in particular. This likely brought forth memories of the “Era of Princes” wherein the various Ethiopian kingdoms fought constantly with one another for the Imperial throne. This lasted for nearly 100 years. Has we have explored int he previous pieces (part 1, part 2 and part 3), it is abundantly clear that as a fundamental question of both identity and control, the lands that now call themselves Eritrean were not a part of the either an Ethiopian kingdom or the Empire. Of course, the final piece of recognizing that the ports of Asseb and Massawa are Eritrean and wholly separate from Ethiopia comes by way of the third great war fought along the border.
Reid, Richard; “The Challenge of the past: The Quest for Historical Legitimacy in Independent Eritrea”; History of Africa; Vol. 28 (2001 ↩