The Italian colonial empire was created after the Kingdom of Italy joined other European powers in establishing colonies overseas during the "scramble for Africa". Modern Italy as a unified state only existed from 1861. By this time Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, Britain, and France had already carved out large empires over several hundred years. One of the last remaining areas open to colonisation was on the African continent. By the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Italy had annexed Eritrea and Somalia, and had wrested control of portions of the Ottoman Empire, including Libya, though it was defeated in its attempt to conquer Ethiopia. The Fascist government under Italian dictator Benito Mussolini which came to power in 1922 sought to increase the size of the empire further, which it did so via force or threat of force. Ethiopia was successfully taken, four decades after the previous failure, and Italy's European borders were expanded at the expense of its neighbours. Italy sided with Nazi Germany during World War II and initially enjoyed successes. However, Allied forces eventually captured Italian overseas colonies and by the time Italy itself was invaded in 1943, its empire had all but ceased to exist.
Facist Italian Empire