In 1991, the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), armed with Kalashnikov rifles and tanks, entered Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, announcing that it was liberating Eritrea from Ethiopian rule. The thirty-years’ war between the Eritrean nationalist front and the Ethiopian government has been termed the long struggle (gedli). Right after winning the war, in 1991, the EPLF was on the world stage, struggling to establish a new political order in Eritrea, replacing the Ethiopian regime that had ruled from 1952 to 1991. This had included a ten-year federation (1952–1961) and thirty years of direct rule (1962–1991).
This collection of essays is derived from the special issue of Africa Today 60 (Winter 2013), https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/africatoday.60.issue-2 which focused on Postliberation Eritrea and the challenges of the country’s strategy of nation-state formation in an era marked by global flows. The editor wishes to thank the contributors—Milena Belloni, Georgia Cole, Dan Connell, Gaim Kibreab, Mirjam van Reisen, Magnus Treiber, and Michael Woldemariam—who provided supplementary material to this edited volume in commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of Eritrea’s liberation.