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History, War of Independence

EPLF, Ethiopian revolution, Massawa, provisional government, civil strife

The dissolution of federation called forth a militant nationalist resistance from a people subjected to continued colonial domination. The Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF), founded in 1958, had proclaimed an armed struggle in September 1961 in favor of independence from Ethiopian control. The war with Ethiopia proved long and destructive. Since 1970, much of Eritrea has experienced famine conditions on several occasions, the result of drought and the disruption of war. Organizational and ideological differences produced splits and civil strife within the ELF, culminating in the late 1970s with the emergence of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) as a disciplined and effective military challenge to the Ethiopian government. Following the Ethiopian revolution of 1974, its new regime continued attempts to defeat the EPLF militarily, now with Soviet and Cuban assistance. Nevertheless, Ethiopian forces controlled only the main urban centers, and from 1980 the EPLF increasingly gained the upper hand. In 1990 the EPLF captured Massawa, and in the following year it took control of Asmara. Accepted internationally as a provisional government, the EPLF agreed to hold a referendum on independence that was also approved by the new Ethiopian government. The referendum in April 1993 provided a virtually unanimous vote in favor of independence. On May 28, 1993, the United Nations formally admitted Eritrea to its membership.

Article key phrases:

EPLF, Ethiopian revolution, Massawa, provisional government, civil strife, unanimous vote, armed struggle, referendum, new regime, ELF, upper hand, splits, United Nations, occasions, emergence, membership


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