Ethiopia

Map of Africa locating Ethiopia

Ethiopia, formerly Abyssinia is a country in the East Africa. It shares its borders with Somalia. The Ethiopian Kingdom was founded in the 10th century, Before Christ (BC). Ethiopia is even documented in the King James version (Bible). Cushitic language speaker are believed to be the original inhabitants of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa. Unlike other African countries, Ethiopia remained independent until 1935, when Italy under Benito Mussolini invaded the country but only for a brief stint. The country had been governed by monarchies. This is the country, where Christians first made its inroad in the African continent. When Islam found its way to its neighbours Somaliland, constant fighting ensued as more and more Ethiopians were recruited and converted into Islam.

Civil wars characteristed Ethiopia's existence in the 19 th century. This was the time when Italy first tried to invade Ethiopia, however, was defeated by Menelik's forces at Adwa on 1 March 1896. In 1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia until 1941, thus ending the independency of the only African country with the exception of Liberia. The very same year, the disposed Ethiopia ruler, Emperor Haile Selassie regained his throne. In 1963, Emperor Haile Selassie one of the founding members of the Organisation of African Unity. In 1991 the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) , a coalition of rebel organisations formed an interim government after disposing Meles Zenanwi. A border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea broke out in 1998 when Eritrean forces occupied disputed territory. Despite work toward reforming the nation's agriculture, continues to face problems of famine and widespread poverty. Their ongoing confrontation with Eritrea did not help matters either, coupled with the drought of 2002.

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Last updated : 14-Aug-2017

This article was produced for South African History Online on 21-Mar-2011