In the process of urbanisation experienced by Eritrea, between 1890 and 1941, under Italian colonialism a major role was played by the military component. Military priorities were crucial in determining lines of development in the early colonial urban planning in Eritrea as the criteria of military defensibility, rather than economic or functional priorities, had influenced significantly the main patterns of early colonial settlements in the region. The military factor was also important in determining the nature and extent of the interaction between colonial urban planning and Eritrean society. In this process a major role was played by Eritrean colonial troops, known as ascari. In virtue of their close relation with the colonial authority ascari became a sort of buffer between colonized and colonizers and, therefore, were partially involved in the colonial strategy aimed at reshaping the social and economic landscape of Eritrea. Ascari, were instrumental in the colonial attempt to set up the composite set of relations and strategies which constituted the colonial milieu. Urban history of colonial Eritrea represents one of the ideal subjects for the study of the development of the colonial society into which colonial soldiers were important actors as builders of social and territorial urban spaces.

From Warriors to Urban Dwellers: Ascaris and the Military Factor in the Urban Development of Colonial Eritrea

CHELATI DIRAR, UOLDELUL
2004-01-01

Abstract

In the process of urbanisation experienced by Eritrea, between 1890 and 1941, under Italian colonialism a major role was played by the military component. Military priorities were crucial in determining lines of development in the early colonial urban planning in Eritrea as the criteria of military defensibility, rather than economic or functional priorities, had influenced significantly the main patterns of early colonial settlements in the region. The military factor was also important in determining the nature and extent of the interaction between colonial urban planning and Eritrean society. In this process a major role was played by Eritrean colonial troops, known as ascari. In virtue of their close relation with the colonial authority ascari became a sort of buffer between colonized and colonizers and, therefore, were partially involved in the colonial strategy aimed at reshaping the social and economic landscape of Eritrea. Ascari, were instrumental in the colonial attempt to set up the composite set of relations and strategies which constituted the colonial milieu. Urban history of colonial Eritrea represents one of the ideal subjects for the study of the development of the colonial society into which colonial soldiers were important actors as builders of social and territorial urban spaces.
Éditions de l’EHESS
Internazionale
http://etudesafricaines.revues.org/index4717.html
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11393/36914
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