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group of Italian possessions in East Africa in the period 1936-41. It comprised Ethiopia (annexed by Italy on May 9, 1936, and was proclaimed a part of Italian East Africa that June 1) together with the Italian colonies of Eritrea, now part of Ethiopia, and Italian Somaliland, now part of the Somali Democratic Republic. Italy's king, Victor Emmanuel III, was named emperor. British forces overran the area between January and November 1941.