The First Italo-Ethiopian War was fought between Italy and Ethiopia from 1895 to 1896. It originated from a disputed treaty that, the Italians claimed, turned the country into an Italian protectorate. Italy was supported by the 2 other triple alliance members Germany and Austria-Hungary. Much to their surprise, they found that Ethiopian ruler Menelik II, instead of being opposed by a number of his traditional enemies, was supported by them, therefore the Italian army, invading Ethiopia from Italian Eritrea in 1893, faced a more Northern Alliance than they expected.
Ethiopia was supported by Russia, an Orthodox Christian nation like Ethiopia[clarification needed] with military advisers, army training, and therefore the sale of weapons for Ethiopian forces during the war. Ethiopia was also supported diplomatically by France so as to stop Italy from becoming a colonial competitor. Full-scale war broke call in 1895, with Italian troops having initial success until Ethiopian troops counterattacked Italian positions and besieged the Italian fort of Meqele, forcing its surrender. Italian defeat happened after the Battle of Adwa, where the Ethiopian army dealt the heavily outnumbered Italians a decisive blow and made their retreat back to Eritrea. The Italians suffered about 7,000 killed with 3,000 taken prisoner (in addition, 1,200 Eritrean Ascari were killed while 800 were captured and later mutilated by the Ethiopians); Ethiopian losses are estimated at around 4,000 killed.