Fascist Italy, Adowa and the Conquest of Abyssinia

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Most folks know of fascist Italy’s conquest of Ethiopia in the 1930’s. The conquering of Abyssinia was greeted in Rome with wild celebration culminating in Il Duce’s famous balcony speech from the Palazzo Venezia – “I have given you empire!”.

It was wildly celebrated because the war against Ethiopia was the second conflict between Italy and Abyssinia.

The First Italo-Abyssinia war occurred in 1895 – 1896 when Italy as we know it today was only 35 years old.  Italy, the least of the “great powers” was seeking her “place in the sun”.

The Italy of the late nineteenth century was barely a “nation”.  The northern cities of Turin and Milan cultivated the intellectual elite while south of Rome, Italy was a country of peasants and land owners. The intellectuals didn’t even speak the same language as the peasants. Millions of the destitute were illiterate. Malaria and cholera regularly…

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The Metropolitan Machinists’ Co | Spitalfields Life

The plethora of bicycle shops around Spitalfields today is not a new phenomenon as confirmed by this 1896 catalogue for The Metropolitan Machinists’ Co, yet another of the lost trades of Bishopsgate, reproduced courtesy of the Bishopsgate Institute…

Read original: The Metropolitan Machinists’ Co | Spitalfields Life.

Personal gifts from Mr Churchill – Untold lives blog


World War II propaganda poster featuring Winston Churchill ©De Agostini/The British Library Board Images Online

This week the 50th anniversary of the death of Winston Churchill is being commemorated.  There has been a flood of articles analysing his role in British history.  Untold Lives would like to highlight three little-known files in the India Office Records which show Mr Churchill’s generosity to men who had been his servants when he was a young officer in the British Army.

Churchill sailed for India with his regiment, the Queen’s Own Hussars, in October 1896.  He was stationed initially at Bangalore. In July 1943 the India Office set its administrative wheels in motion on behalf of Prime Minster Churchill who wished to send a personal gift of 100 rupees to his former servant Mr S Joshua. Mr Joshua was an inmate of the Friend-in-Need Society’s home in Bangalore.  Officials in London and India liaised to transfer the money through the Resident in Mysore to Mr Joshua after he had shown proof of his identity.  Churchill conveyed his thanks from Quebec where he was attending an Allied conference. He sent a cheque for £9 6s 9d made out to ‘Accountant-General India Office’ to cover to cost of the gift and a telegram to India.

Mr P Muniswamy wrote a letter to Churchill from Bangalore in December 1946 and again in May 1947 after he heard about the 100 rupees sent to Mr Joshua.  He claimed to be an ‘old old Servant’ who had worked for Churchill when he was stationed in India.  Churchill thought that he did remember   a servant of that name some 50 years earlier and asked the Private Secretary to…

via Personal gifts from Mr Churchill – Untold lives blog.