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Asmara (Asmera) Capital of Eritrea, ne Africa. Occupied by Italy in 1889, it was their colonial capital and the main base for the invasion of Ethiopia (1935–36). It was captured by the British in 1941 and, in the 1950s, the US built Africa's biggest military communications centre here. The city was absorbed by Ethiopia in 1952, and was the main garrison in the fight against Eritrean rebels seeking independence. In 1993 Asmara became the capital of independent Eritrea. Though ravaged by drought, famine and war, it began a strong recovery based on numerous light industries, including ceramics, footwear, and textiles. Pop. (1995) 431,000.