The Italian colonial empire (Italian: Impero coloniale italiano), known as the Italian Empire (Impero italiano) between 1936 and 1943, began in Africa in the 19th century and comprised the colonies, protectorates, concessions and dependencies of the Kingdom of Italy. In Africa, the colonial empire included the territories of present-day Eritrea, Somalia, Libya, and Ethiopia; outside Africa, Italy possessed the Dodecanese Islands (following the Italo-Turkish War), Albania (a protectorate from 1917 to 1920 and from 1925 to 1939, when it was invaded and forced into a personal union with Italy), and some concessions in China, including in Tianjin.
Italian colonial empire
Impero coloniale italiano
• Purchase of Assab, in Eritrea
|1938||3,798,000 km2 (1,466,000 sq mi)|
|1941||3,824,879 km2 (1,476,794 sq mi)|
|History of Italy|
The Fascist government that came to power with dictator Benito Mussolini after 1922 sought to increase the size of the Italian empire and to satisfy the claims of Italian irredentists. Systematic "demographic colonization" was encouraged by the government, and by 1939, Italian settlers numbered 120,000-150,000 in Italian Libya and 165,000 in Italian East Africa.
During World War II, Italy allied with Germany in 1940 and occupied British Somaliland, western Egypt, Yugoslavia, Tunisia, parts of south-western France and Greece; however, it then lost those conquests and its African colonies to the invading allied forces by 1943. In 1947, Italy officially relinquished claims on its former colonies. Only the territory of Somalia was eventually turned into a UN trust territory under Italian administration until 1960.