Ethiopia History

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History[edit | edit source]

Ethiopia has over 102 million inhabitants,and is the most populous landlocked country in the world and the second-most populous nation on the African continent. It occupies a total area of 420,000 sq mi.

Tracing its roots to the 2nd millennium BC, Ethiopia's governmental system was a monarchy for most of its history. In the first centuries AD, the Kingdom of Aksum maintained a unified civilization in the region, followed by the Ethiopian Empire circa 1137. During the late 19th-century Scramble for Africa, Ethiopia was one of two nations to retain its sovereignty from long-term colonialism by a European colonial power.

The country was occupied by Italy in 1936 and became Italian Ethiopia until 1941. Ethiopia was also the first independent member from Africa of the 20th-century League of Nations and the United Nations. In 1974, the Ethiopian monarchy was overthrown by the Derg, a communist military government backed by the Soviet Union. In 1987, the Derg established the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, but it was overthrown in 1991 by the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, which has been the ruling political coalition since.

The Ethiopian calendar, which is approximately seven years and three months behind the Gregorian calendar, co-exists alongside the Borana calendar. A majority of the population adheres to Christianity, mainly the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and P'ent'ay, whereas around a third follows Islam, primarily Sunni. A substantial population of Ethiopian Jews, known as Bete Israel, also resided in Ethiopia until the 1980s. Ethiopia is a multilingual nation with around 80 ethnolinguistic groups

In the 1970s and 1980s, Ethiopia experienced civil conflicts and communist purges, which hindered its economy. The country has since recovered and now has the largest economy in East Africa, having the largest population in the region.

Timeline[edit | edit source]

1624 - Abyssinian–Adal war was one of the first proxy wars in the region, as the Ottoman Empire and Portugal took sides in the conflict. When Emperor Susenyos I converted to Roman Catholicism years of revolt and civil unrest followed, resulting in thousands of deaths
1632 - The state religion was again to be the Ethiopian Orthodoxy and the Jesuit missionaries and other Europeans were expelled
1755 - 1855, Ethiopia experienced a period of isolation referred to as the Zemene Mesafint. The Emperors became figureheads, controlled by warlords
1855 - Ethiopian isolationism ended following a British mission that concluded an alliance between the two nations
1888 - 1892 About a third of the population died in the Great Ethiopian Famine
1935 - 1941 The independence of Ethiopia was interrupted by the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, beginning when it was invaded by Fascist Italy and Italian occupation of the country
1942 - Ethiopia had between two and four million slaves in the early 20th century, out of a total population of about eleven million
1975 - The new Provisional Military Administrative Council established a one-party communist state
1977 – 1978 Up to 500,000 were killed as a result of the Red Terror, from forced deportations, or from the use of hunger
1983 – 1985 Famine in Ethiopia affected around eight million people, resulting in one million dead
2017 - 400,000 were displaced by the Oromo-Somali clashes and more than 1.2 million people have been displaced by inter-ethnic violence in 2018

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