addis ababa - Addis Ababa; addis ababa - Capital of Abyssinia. Standing among the Eutoto mts. at an alt. of over 8,000 ft,, 225 m. W. by S. of Harar, it consisted until recent years of villages and suburbs grouped round a royal palace, a scattered collection of unimposing buildings enclosed by walls. Founded in 1885, Addis Ababa ("new flower") was made the capital in 1896 by Menelek II, who planted extensive woods of eucalyptus in and around the town. A rly. from Addis Ababa to Jibuti in French Somaliland was completed in 1928. Under Haile Selassie parts of the town were considerably modernized, he himself building a new royal palace in the European style. On May 1, 1936, at the climax of the Italo-Abyssinian war, as Badoglio approached Addis Ababa at the head of a mechanized column, Haile Selassie fled from his capital and dangerous rioting broke out in the streets, resulting in damage by pillage and fire. The rly. station was occupied on May 3 by some 50 French citizens, who defended it with machine-guns. The Italians entered the town on May 5.
During the five years of Italian occupation many imposing buildings of modern European design transformed the appearance of the town, together with broad asphalted streets, Italian shops and cinemas, the premises of Fascist organizations, and new colonial offices. Sanitation, lighting, and other public services were greatly improved. During a Fascist ceremony at Addis Ababa in March, 1937, bombs were thrown, causing injuries to the viceroy, Graziani, as well as to the Archbishop of Addis Ababa. Severe punitive measures were taken officially, some 2,000 arrests being made; but unofficial reprisals on a large scale were also made by Italian workmen, who massacred a number of inhabitants indiscriminately. Graziani expelled many of those responsible for the massacre.
As Abyssinia was the first country to be liberated of those occupied by Fascist or Nazi forces, so Addis Ababa was the first capital to be liberated. It was recaptured by British and patriot forces on April 7, 1941, and the emperor re-entered the town in state on May 5, the fifth anniversary of its fall. Pop. about 150,000. See Abyssinia; East African Campaign; Haile Selassie.