Just a quickie today, to introduce installment seven of our thirty-part Summer Series of FREE articles (with online audio):
It’s a short one, perhaps because it deals with just a single year from the twentieth century. Not much can happen in a year, right?
Oh, except that the newish Italian state decided to invade the six-hundred-year-old Ottoman Empire, specifically the colonies that made up what is these days called Libya.
Why bother? you might be asking.
Well, firstly because the French had already grabbed the more interesting parts of the North African coastline. But also, I suppose, because that’s what European countries did in those days.
By 1911, the Brits had half the globe, the Spanish most of South America, the French owned big chunks of North Africa, as I mentioned, but also Southeast Asia.
The Belgians and the Germans contested Central Africa, the Dutch got sweaty in Indonesia, and even the Danes were at it – controlling Greenland, Iceland and the Faeroe Islands (and more besides). Not to forget Portugal, so Brazil, Mozambique, and so on.
So basically, everyone else had colonies and no one much in pre-WWI Italy could think of a good reason why they shouldn’t join in, too.
Poi, ‘Libya’ was just over the water, so handy. Having a colony there would give desperate Italians from the south some place to emigrate to that wasn’t the USA or South America, so providing willing settlers and a ready labour supply for Italian businesses.
Oh, and industrial successes in Italy’s center and north over the previous decades rather suggested that the Italian armed forces would have an advantage over the sclerotic Ottomans.
As I said, our article is short, but at the bottom of it there’s a link to the Wikipedia page on the Italo-Turkish war, which is hugely long! It’s nevertheless very interesting, and worth scrolling through, even just for the odd picture – there haven’t been many photos in the Summer Series so far, have there?
I read just the first few paragraphs, and was surprised to discover that this 1911-12 war saw the first use of airplanes and motor vehicles. Who knew? The first bomb was dropped from a plane by an Italian (onto unfortunate Turks). It was the size of an orange, apparently.
So there you go – 1911 – Italy was up-coming, thrusting, and more than ready to hurl explosives from the air if there was money or glory in it.
Here’s that link again:
(Episodes 1-6 of this series can be found on our History page. Scroll right down to the end to find them.)
Have you read/listened to Saturday’s bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news?
If so, you’ll have read/heard that this week they’re doing their bi-monthly appeal for donations.
EasyItalianNews.com offers three FREE bulletins each week of simplified news stories in Italian, with audio read by a native speaker. That’s approximately 25 hours of free listening practice each year!
This is only possible because a.) readers pay the bills (see who), and b.) because the editor and I work for free.
Why do generous people donate? Why do Stefi and I give hours of our time each and every week throughout the year?
I suppose it’s because they/we think the project is worth doing. And for me, personally, it’ll be because there was nothing like EasyItalianNews.com when I was trying to learn Italian, decades ago.
Moving to Italy with a pregnant wife, two more babies on the way, and no knowledge whatsoever of the language, I could have done with some help!
Years later, when I began learning Swedish, as a project to discuss with club members, and came across an ‘easy news’ site that the generous Swedish government was funding to help its huge wave of Syrian immigrants learn the language, it immediately crossed my mind that someone should do the same for Italian!
But nobody had, probably because there were no rivers of cash from the Italian government. As always, there are no resources for such things, just obstacles, unecessary costs, and ninety-nine types of tax.
So we decided to do it anyway.
The first ‘real’ bulletin came out the week after that, read by my son Tom, then aged just fifteen, sweet little lad that he was. It had pictures, too! And colors. See it here.
Eventually I got better at ASKING FOR MONEY (see?) and since then EIN has covered its costs, or even made a small profit.
The EasyItalianNews.com website stats say that there are 14255 ‘easy news’ subscribers, though I can’t tell you what percentage of them actually listen to and read each bulletin – it might be a quarter or a third of that fourteen thousand, who knows?
But that’s still going to be several thousand people around the world who are improving their Italian each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with the help of this project.
Well done to us! And to the many donors, of course, without whom this would have been dauntingly more expensive.