Seyum Mangasha - Biography - Commander of The Army of Tigre

Commander of The Army of Tigre

From October 1935 to February 1936, as Ras during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, Seyum Mangasha commanded the Army of Tigre. When General Emilio De Bono initially invaded Ethiopia, he was ordered to stay a day's march away from the advancing Italians. Ras Seyum and forces under his command played significant roles in the Ethiopian Christmas Offensive, the First Battle of Tembien, and the Second Battle of Tembien. On March 31, after his Army of the Tigre had already been anhilated, he stood with Emperor Haile Selassie at the Battle of Maychew.

While many chose to flee into exile, Ras Seyum stayed and fought the Italian invaders briefly, but finally surrendered and submitted to the Italians during the Italian occupation of Ethiopia. He spent much of his time under "house arrest" in Addis Ababa. But Ras Seyum Mangasha also played a small part in the liberation of Ethiopia during World War II. He was technically on the side of the Italians when the East African Campaign started. However, on April 18, 1940, Ras Seyum Mangasha approached Emperor Haile Selassie to change sides and the two were able to reconcile. Ras Seyum Mangasha was able to retain his position as Shum of western Tigre Province. Emperor Haile Selassie held Ras Seyum in very deep regard, and depended on him as a senior advisor. He was a member of the Crown Council from 1945 until his death.

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