Why Did Ethiopia and Liberia Remain Independent?

did-ethiopia-liberia-remain-independent Credit: Buena Vista Images/Stone/Getty Images

Neither Ethiopia nor Liberia remained completely independent. In 1936, Italy invaded Ethiopia and held it for five years as a colony. From its founding in 1820 until 1847, Liberia was governed as a colony by the American Colonization Society.

As early as the late 19th century, Italy sought to make Ethiopia its protectorate. In 1893, the Italians invaded but suffered a humiliating defeat. Ethiopia retained its independence through the rule of a succession of powerful emperors. However, in 1936, fascist Italy attacked again using artillery, armored vehicles, aircraft and mustard gas. This time, they managed to march into the capital, Addis Ababa, and declare the king of Italy the emperor of Ethiopia and Ethiopia part of Italian East Africa. In early 1941, the Allies invaded Ethiopia, and the Ethiopian emperor was restored to power.

Liberia, meaning "land of the free," was founded in 1820 by freed African-American slaves. Robert Finley began the American Colonization Society in 1816 to return American slaves to Africa. In all, about 12,000 blacks emigrated from the United States to Liberia during the society's existence. On July 26, 1847, the United States granted independence to the Republic of Liberia, according to History.com. It adopted a form of constitutional government modeled on that of the United States. After that time, Liberia managed to maintain its independence through the backing of the United States.