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Crown Issues Medal to Mark Menelik’s Victory at Adwa

The Crown Council in 1996 struck a special medal to commemorate the great military victory which Emperor Menelik II won over the invading Italian forces a century before, in March 1896. This month, the Crown Council authorized the issuance of an additional number of the medals, to mark the 103rd anniversary of the Victory.

This time, however, there will be some subtle changes in the special “Adwa Medal”.

The first issuance of the Medal, in 1996, went to prominent Ethiopians — many of whom could not be named because of the fear at the time of political reprisal within Ethiopia — and to a list of major national leaders around the world, particularly including leaders in Africa and the Caribbean.

The original Adwa Medal is shown above, in its two forms: the Medal with Royal Riband (left), and the Medal with Diplomatic Riband (right). The front (obverse) and reverse of the medal in both instances is the same. The Royal Riband is a deep purple, with gold stripes at the side; the Diplomatic Riband is in the Ethiopian colors of red, yellow and green, with a black stripe down the center.

The obverse features a profile of Emperor Menelik, with the words “One Hundred Anniversary of the Battle of Adwa. March 2, 1896”, in English. The reverse features and Imperial Ethiopian Lion, facing left, with the inscription in Amharic and the date in the Ethiopian calendar.

A device — heraldically known as a “bezant” — is fixed to the center of the riband of the two forms of the Award, on which is the Imperial Ethiopian Lion, again facing to the left.

The Imperial Lion was placed facing left on the original form of the medal to signify that the Crown was in Exile and that the Ethiopian people were in distress. The new issuance of the Adwa Medal will show the Lion facing to the Right, to honour the dead and wounded of the current conflict and to show that they — with the Crown and the Ethiopian People — are once again united in their determination to restore Ethiopia’s greatness and progress, and the fact that the Crown is now, once again, on the march with the People.

The new Adwa Medal is being struck for the Crown by Bezant, the Official Maker of Orders, Decorations and Medals for the Crown Council.

Ethiopians to be Recognized: The Crown Council has said that it will soon issue the names of the first group of Ethiopians who would be recognized by the Award of the new Adwa Medal.

The Victory of Adwa medals are usually presented by the President of the Imperial Crown Council, Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie; or by the Viceroy (Enderassé^), His Imperial Highness Prince Bekere Fikre-Selassie, a great-grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie I.

Recipients of the new Awards of the Adwa Medal will be announced in the next Negarit.