Italian Colonisation began with the purchase of the locality of Assab (situated at the southern part of Eritrea) by a Roman Catholic priest , namely Giuseppe Sapettoacting on behalf of a Genovese shipping company called "Rubattino" who bought the land from the Afar Sultanof Obock (a vessel of the Ottoman) in 1860. This was happened in the same year of the openning of Suez Canal. With the approval of the Italian Parliament and the king Umberto I of Italy ( later succeeded by his son Victor Emmanuel III), the Govt. of Italy bought the Rubattino company's holdings and expanded its possessions northward along the Red Sea coasttoward an beyond Massawa,encroaching on and quickly expelling previous "Egyptian" possessions but meeting stiffer resistance in the Eritrean highlands fro the invading army of the Emperor Yohannes IV of Ethiopia.
In many respects the Italians were just like the Germans, enthusiastic about gaining colonies of the continent of Africa in order to give themselves international status as well as prestige.The Italians were infact keen to gain an overseas empire to revive the greatness of the Roman Empire. But as the Great Britain and France already occupied a large area in Africa, the Italians got no space further to acquire.
The Eritrean Railway was built during Italian Colonialism
Eritrea was declared a territory of Italyon 1st. Jan. 1890 and the kingom of Italy was lasted during 1890 to 1941. At the twilight of the itlian colonial era ( late 1930s) about 1,00,000 Italian colonists settled in Eritrea, mainly in Asmara, the capital.
Between 1936 to 1941 dictator Benito Mussolini expanded the territory to include Ethiopia (the indepedent country) and Somaliland.
Italy, during its rule in Eritrea, developed the infrustructure, such as railway, transport, road facility etc. and also made considerable industrialisation. But when Italy was defeated by allied forces in 1941 in WWII , Eritrea came in the hands of British administration and in the peace treaty of Feb. 1947,Italy had to surrender all her colonies including Eritrea.