Battle of Gura

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Battle of Gura
Part of Ethiopian–Egyptian War
Battle of Fort Gura (1884) - TIMEA.jpg
Depiction of the Battle of Gura
DateMarch 7–9, 1876
Gura, Hamasien, Eritrea (Mareb Melash region).
Result Ethiopian Empire victory
 Egypt  Ethiopia
Commanders and leaders
Khedivate of Egypt Isma'il Pasha
United States Civil War veterans including W.W. Loring
European mercenaries
Prince Hassan
Ethiopian Empire Yohannes IV
Ethiopian Empire Ras Alula


  • 10,000 riflemen?[6]
Casualties and losses
~3000?[7] Unknown

The Battle of Gura was fought on March 7–9, 1876 between the Ethiopian Empire and the Khedivate of Egypt near the town of Gura in Eritrea. It was the second and decisive major battle of the Ethiopian–Egyptian War.


The Egyptian army invaded the Ethiopian Empire from its coastal possessions in what is now Eritrea, and met that of Emperor Yohannes at Gundet on the morning of 16 November 1875. After the defeat at Gundet, the Egyptians sent a much larger, well-armed force to attempt a second invasion. This army moved to Gura plain, and made two forts there: "Gura" fort and "Khaya Khor" fort.


DYE(1880) p519 The Battle Field of Gura

After the Egyptians sallied out 5,000 men from Gura fort, they were surrounded and then routed at the hands of the defending Ethiopian army. News of this huge defeat was suppressed in Egypt for fear that it would undermine the government of the Khedivate. The victory helped Emperor Yohannes solidify his control over the Ethiopian Empire broadly, and control over the Mareb Melash specifically. He would appoint then Shaleqa Alula as the Ras of those areas of this region under imperial authority.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1], p. 68
  2. ^ Jesman, Czeslaw (1959). "Egyptian Invasion of Ethiopia". African Affairs. 58 (280): 75–81. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.afraf.a094619."The Emperor mobilised it at the last possible moment since Ethiopian troops lived off the land and Commissariat services were unknown to them. It was nlore of a tribal host travelling with women and children than an organised force. It numbered some hundred thousand. About 50,000 of them were combatant troops with perhaps ten thousand rifles. At no time were more than 15,000-20,000 Ethiopians in action at the same time owing to the nature of the battlefield" (80)
  3. ^ Dunn, John (1994). "For God, Emperor, and Country! The Evolution of Ethiopia's Nineteenth-Century Army". War in History. 1 (3): 278–299. doi:10.1177/096834459400100303."Gura, fought six months later, confirms the superior capabilities of the Ethiopian military. Here 13,000 Egyptian regulars, backed by significant artillery, were thrashed by Yohannis and his 60,000 men. Fought on 7-9 March 1876, it was the decisive battle of the war." (294)
  4. ^ Robinson, Arthur (1927). "The Egyptian-Abyssinian War of 1874-1876". Journal of the Royal African Society. 26 (103): 263–280. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.afraf.a100610."On November 6th and 7th the Egyptians were attacked by the Abyssinian army, which was estimated at 60,000 men, and surrounded. Most of the Abyssinians were armed with fire- arms, and although they had one field-gun, it is said to have had no effect in deciding the action." (275) The reliability of Robinson's information can be questioned, as field guns are mentioned in no other primary source, and nearly all sources agree that the Ethiopian force was not as armed with guns as Robinson asserts
  5. ^ Loring, Willaim (1884). A Confederate Soldier in Egypt. Dodd, Mead & Company. p. 410. ISBN 9781465534101.CS1 maint: location (link)"Within half a mile of Osman, and a mile and a half of our position, and in its immediate front, marshalled in barbarian splendor upon an elevated ridge, were the seated hosts of the foe, full 50,000 strongtheir banners and shields glittering in the declining sun, waiting the orders of their king, the ablest and most renowned African warrior of modern times, to move en masse across the valley." (410); "No man of sense can for a moment think this isolated battery, though it might have been supported to some extent by the small battalion of 400 men placed around the mountain, and so far from it as to not afford immediate support, could have beat back King John and his 50,000 men, with every possible advantage on their side, as already detailed"(412)
  6. ^ Dunn, 80
  7. ^ Erlich, Haggai (1996). A Political Biography of Ras Alula 1875 - 1897 (PhD). School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
  8. ^ Erlich, Haggai (1996). A Political Biography of Ras Alula 1875 - 1897 (PhD). School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Further reading[edit]

A Confederate Soldier in Egypt - W.W. Loring