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Zaptié was the designation given to locally raised gendarmerie units in the Italian colonies of Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, Eritreamarker and Italian Somaliland between 1889 and 1942. The word "zaptié" was derived from Turkish, and the same title was given to mounted police recruited from the Turkish community in Cyprusmarker during the period of Britishmarker rule.

The Italian colonial governments in the territories listed above modelled the various zaptié constabulary forces on Italymarker's own carabinieri. The first of these units was raised in Eritrea in 1882, drawing from existing companies of basci bazuks (irregular troops).

Zaptié troopers were armed with 1874 model revolvers, cavalry carbines, and 1871 model sabres. Officers and some non-commissioned officers were Italian, but the rank and file were recruited from the colony in question. As an example, the Somali Zaptié Corps in 1927 numbered 1,500 Somali and 72 Italian personnel. Uniforms varied from colony to colony, but usually comprised fezs, red sashes and khaki or white clothing. A common feature was the white and red collar insignia of the carabinieri. In Italian Somaliland, the zaptié provided a ceremonial escort for the Italian Viceroy (Governor) as well as the territorial police.

Muntaz (corporal) Unatù Endisciau of the LXXII Zaptié (I° Gruppo Carabinieri) Battalion was the only "soldier of colour" to be awarded the Italian Gold Medal of Military Valor.

See also



Notes

  1. Articolo di Arnaldo Grilli sui primi due anni di Seconda guerra mondiale|16-09-2008.


References

  • "Le Uniformi dell" AOI (Somalia 1889-1941)" Priero Crocaini and Andrea Viotti.



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