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Why did Eritrea become independent?

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  1. Introduction: One century and one year.
  2. Eritrea: A mosaic of cultures, a diverse society.
  3. The formation of Eritrea as an Italian colony.
  4. The Italian rule .
  5. The anti unionist movement, first impetus for Eritrean nationalism.
  6. Ethiopian colonisation: Catalyst for an Eritrean national consciousness.
  7. The EPLF or the emergence of a viable Eritrean nationalism.
  8. The United Nations: An instrument of the Cold War (1948-1952).
  9. Eritrea: A victim of the American strategy (1950-1974).
  10. One Great after the other (1974-1991).
  11. Eritrea and the Cold War: The end.
  12. Conclusion: Outlooks for the Eritrean nationalism.
  13. Bibliography.

In 1993, the whole world was impressed by the state-of-the-art independence of Eritrea. Everything seemed to have been done by the rules : a declaration of independence in 1991, a notification to the UN and a referendum two years later. Being the last war of independence of Africa, it is tempting to assume that Eritreans would learn the lessons from the past and present themselves from adopting an authoritarian, post-independence regime such as the FLN in Algeria. However, the current situation contradicts such an optimistic prediction : since 1993 the same president (Isaias Afewerki) and the same party (Popular Front for Democracy and Justice) are in power. There is indeed a national assembly, but since Eritrea's independence the elections have always been postponed. Eritrea is considered one of the worst countries concerning freedom of the press, and seems to contribute to destabilization in East Africa.

[...] Ibrahim Sultan fails in his attempt to federate the Muslim people of Eritrea because his movement is not able to cope with the socio economic contradictions within the Muslim and the whole Eritrean community. His strong ties with the Muslim part of the Eritrean population makes him sound dangerous to the Christians of Eritrea and even in its own religious Muslim group, he has to face the emergence of splinter groups which challenge its authority. The British ruler plays an important part in the split up of the Islamic league. [...]

[...] Whereas it had originally pledged for relations in the Horn of Africa to be smooth, Eritrea has soon become a vector of instability in Eastern Africa. For years, it has enabled south Sudan rebels to be supply with weaponry and has been a haven for Tigrean separatists in Ethiopia. Allegedly, Eritrean government may have given support to Darfur rebels and armed several Islamist groups in Central Somalia. But on the other hand, such activities can be seen as part of the nationalist impetus. [...]

[...] Eritrea experienced material progress in many areas before Ethiopia did so. Public administrated medical services, agricultural improvements, Italian flavoured public amenities, banks, good roads and a railway were established. The most important development during the period after 1890 was the growth of an Eritrean public administration. Local governments in the colony provided new district administrations to serve as links between the population and the central administration, particularly in the highlands. In other areas the ingenious was respected. Members of the Eritrean population were employed in the public service, particularly the police and public works. [...]

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