Nakfa, Tigrinya: ናቕፋ, is a town in the Northern Red Sea region of Eritrea. It is also the name of a sub region of Eritrea.

 Currency is named after the townEarly history

The Nakfa area has been inhabited since ancient times and became an administrative and commercial centre in the 1890s when the Italian colonial government established a post there and grew steadily. In the 1960s, following the incorporation of Eritrea into Ethiopia, the construction of a police post and Mosque in the town was funded by the government of Emperor Haile Selasie. The police presence made it the target of early attacks by the Eritrean Liberation Front and led to the Ethiopians establishing a military garrison there in 1967.[1]

Eritrean War of Independence

In 1977, after a six-month siege, the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front, EPLF, took Nakfa from the Ethiopians in its first major victory.[2] For the next decade it was to serve as the major base of the EPLF and was subjected to eight failed attempts by the Ethiopians to retake it, during which most of the town was destroyed, other than the mosque which served as a useful navigation beacon for Ethiopian bombers.[3] The EPLF dug itself in underground where it built hospitals, printing presses, factories, a radio station and a college and constructed rings of trenches and minefields.[4]


After Eritrean independence in 1991 the town became the provincial capital of the Sahel Province and there was investment in reconstruction and an airstrip was built. However, in 1995, with the reorganisation of administrative regions it lost that status. It nevertheless remains an important regional centre.[5]

^ Connell D & Killion T, Historical Dictionary of Eritrea, 2010, Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press, pp388-389 ^ Connell D, Against All Odds - A Chronicle of the Eritrean Revolution, 1997, Trenton, NJ: Red Sea Press, pp93-94 ^ Wrong M. I didn't do it for You - How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation, London: Forth Estate, p287 ^ Ibid. ^ Connell D & Killion T, ibid. p389
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