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Habesha (Ethiopian-Eritrean Pan-Ethnic Group)
goo.gl/oSXJTZ
Habesha (Ethiopian-Eritrean) Pan-Ethnic Unity Flag [Habesha Union Pan-Ethnic Flag]
Ethiopian children
Ethiopian school children in Amhara
Total population
38,250,000[1]
Regions with significant populations
Ethiopia Ethiopia 34,045,400
Eritrea Eritrea 3,620,500
Sudan Sudan 142,000
United States United States 127,000
Israel Israel 120,000 [2]
Somalia Somalia 58,000
Yemen Yemen 18,800
Languages

Ethiopian Semitic languages
Agaw · Amharic · Tigrinay Semitic Languages
Arabic · Hebrew Cushtic Languages
Oromo · Somali Indo-European Languages
English · French · Italian · Swedish Uralic Languages
Finnish

Religion

Christianity (Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church · Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church · Catholic · P'ent'ay/Protestant) Sunni Islam · Judaism

The Habesha people (Ge'ez: ሐበሻ Ḥabaśā, Amharic: (H)ābešā,Tigrinya: Ḥābešā, Arabic: الحبشة al-Ḥabašah), also known as Abyssinians or Cushites (Hebrew: כאשיטאס), are a population group inhabiting the Horn of Africa. They include various related ethnic groups in the Eritrean Highlands and Ethiopian Highlands who speak languages belonging to the South Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family. Members' cultural, linguistic, and in certain cases, ancestral origins trace back to the Kingdom of Dʿmt(usually vocalized Diʿamat) and the later Kingdom of Aksum.

The peoples referred to as "Habesha" today include the Amhara, the Gurage, the Tigre and the Tigray-Tigrinya. Together, the Amhara, Tigray and Gurage peoples make up about 35.5% of Ethiopia's population (c. 24.6 million Amhara, 5.5 million Tigray, 1.8 million Gurage), while the Tigrinya and Tigre combined make up 85% (55% plus 30%, respectively) of Eritrea's population (c. 5 of 5.9 million).[lower-alpha 1] In the broadest sense, the word Habesha may refer to anyone or everyone of Ethiopian and Eritrean heritage, although some do not identify with this association most do.[4] Habesha is a term that refers to people of Ethiopian and Eritrean heritage no matter their tribe/ethnicity, nationality, citizenship, whatever country they were born in, or whatever other culture they practice along with it.

Habesha, in modern times is used as a term of cultural pride and unity that is bigger than just the two countries of Ethiopia and Eritrea and even bigger than just the 80 to 90+ tribes/ethnicities recognized by the Ethiopian/Eritrean governments but spans around the world.

An older and less accepted definition used by most dictionaries, some older people, and foreigners, say that only peoples from Northern Ethiopia and Eritrea like the Amhara, Tigreans, Tigrinya, Tigre, Agew, and other Ethiopian Highlanders are the only Habeshas but most Millennials and Generation Z disagree with this old definition.

In both the modern and older definitions, #Habesha has always been a pan-ethnicity. It originally included 2 ethnic groups, 3-4 groups joined in later, then more and more joined in through cultural diffusion or sharing cultural ideas and practices with each other, forming a bigger culture.
☀[More information: @habesha_union]
Habesha is now a term of unity for all people of Ethiopian and Eritrean Heritage Around the World even if they are bi-racial or a citizen of another country other than Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Example:

Are you Habesha? Yes, Yes I am.

I’m Amhara, Gurage, Oromo, Beta Israel, Welayta (Wolayta), Tigre, Agew, Anuak, Ethiopian- American, Jewish, German-Ethiopian, Swiss-Eritrean, Swedish-Eritrean, Italian-Eritrean-Ethiopian, or etc

I'm Also from Ethiopia, Eritrea, USA (America), Canada, Sweden, Israel, Germany, or etc. [5][6][7]

The Habesha Union | ሐበሻ [8][9][10] Edit

Mission Statement: Edit

The Habesha Union (Stylized: Habesha Union | ሐበሻ:[💚💛❤️💙 @habesha_union]) was organized voluntarily online (on the internet) spreading awareness of Ethiopian-Eritrean Culture and limiting ethnic violence by promoting a pan-ethnic international identity. 

The Habesha Union also receives zero funding and is run voluntarily online.

Ethiopia Edit

Ethiopia (/ˌiːθiˈoʊpiə/; Amharic: ኢትዮጵያ, ʾĪtyōṗṗyā,  listen (help·info)), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (የኢትዮጵያ ፌዴራላዊ ዲሞክራሲያዊ ሪፐብሊክ, yeʾĪtiyoṗṗya Fēdēralawī Dēmokirasīyawī Rīpebilīk  listen (help·info)), is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea to the north and northeast, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south. With over 102 million inhabitants,[3] Ethiopia 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 1,100,000 square kilometres (420,000 sq mi), and its capital and largest city is Addis Ababa.[8]

Some of the oldest skeletal evidence for anatomically modern humans has been found in Ethiopia.[9] It is widely considered as the region from which modern humans first set out for the Middle East and places beyond.[10][11][12] According to linguists, the first Afroasiatic-speaking populations settled in the Horn region during the ensuing Neolithic era.[13] 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,[14][15][16][17]followed by the Ethiopian Empire circa 1137. During the late 19th-century Scramble for Africa, Ethiopia was one of the nations to retain its sovereignty from long-term colonialism by a European colonial power. Many newly-independent nations on the continent subsequently adopted its flag colours. Ethiopia was also the first independent member from Africa of the 20th-century League of Nations and the United Nations.[18] In 1974, the Ethiopian monarchy under Haile Selassie 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.

Ethiopia and Eritrea use the ancient Ge'ez script, which is one of the oldest alphabets still in use in the world.[19] 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). The country is the site of the Migration to Abyssinia and the oldest Muslim settlement in Africa at Negash. A substantial population of Ethiopian Jews, known as Bete Israel, also resided in Ethiopia until the 1980s.[20][21] Ethiopia is a multilingual nation with around 80 ethnolinguistic groups, the four largest of which are the Oromo, Amhara, Somali and Tigrayans. Most people in the country speak Afroasiatic languages of the Cushitic or Semitic branches. Additionally, Omotic languages are spoken by ethnic minority groups inhabiting the southern regions. Nilo-Saharan languages are also spoken by the nation's Nilotic ethnic minorities.

Ethiopia is the place of origin of the coffee bean. It was first cultivated at Kefa, one of the 14 provinces in the old Ethiopian administration. The nation is a land of natural contrasts, with its vast fertile west, its forests, and numerous rivers, and the world's hottest settlement of Dallol in its north. The Ethiopian Highlands are the largest continuous mountain ranges in Africa, and the Sof Omar Caves contains the largest cave on the continent. Ethiopia also has the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Africa.[22] Additionally, the country is one of the founding members of the UN, the Group of 24 (G-24), the Non-Aligned Movement, G-77 and the Organisation of African Unity. Its capital city Addis Ababa serves as the headquarters of the African Union, the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Standby Force, and many of the global NGOs focused on Africa. In the 1970s and 1980s, Ethiopia experienced civil conflictsand communist purges, which hindered its economy. The country has since recovered and now has the largest economy (by GDP) in East and Central Africa.[23][24][25] According to Global Fire Power, Ethiopia also has the 41st most powerful military in the world, and the third most powerful in Africa.[26]

Nomenclature[edit] Edit

The Greek name Αἰθιοπία (from Αἰθίοψ, Aithiops, 'an Ethiopian') is a compound word, derived from the two Greek words, from αἴθω + ὤψ (aitho "I burn" + ops "face"). According to the Perseus Digital Library, the designation properly translates as Burnt-facein noun form and red-brown in adjectival form.[27] The historian Herodotus used the appellation to denote the parts of Africa below the Sahara that were then known within the Ecumene (inhabitable world).[28] However, the Greek formation may be a folk etymology for the Ancient Egyptian term athtiu-abu, which means 'robbers of hearts'.[29]

In Greco-Roman epigraphs, Aethiopia was a specific toponym for ancient Nubia.[30] At least as early as c. 850,[31] the name Aethiopia also occurs in many translations of the Old Testament in allusion to Nubia. The ancient Hebrew texts identify Nubia instead as Kush.[32] However, in the New Testament, the Greek term Aithiops does occur, referring to a servant of Candace or Kandake, possibly an inhabitant of Meroë in Nubia.[33]

Following the Hellenic and Biblical traditions, the Monumentum Adulitanum, a third century inscription belonging to the Aksumite Empire, indicates that Aksum's then ruler governed an area which was flanked to the west by the territory of Ethiopia and Sasu. The Aksumite King Ezana would eventually conquer Nubia the following century, and the Aksumites thereafter appropriated the designation "Ethiopians" for their own kingdom. In the Ge'ez version of the Ezana inscription, Aἰθιόποι is equated with the unvocalized Ḥbštm and Ḥbśt (Ḥabashat), and denotes for the first time the highland inhabitants of Aksum. This new demonym would subsequently be rendered as ’ḥbs (’Aḥbāsh) in Sabaic and as Ḥabasha in Arabic.[30]

In the 15th-century Ge'ez Book of Aksum, the name is ascribed to a legendary individual called Ityopp'is. He was an extra-Biblical son of Cush, son of Ham, said to have founded the city of Axum.[34]

In English, and generally outside of Ethiopia, the country was once historically known as Abyssinia. This toponym was derived from the Latinized form of the ancient Habash.[35]

History[edit] Edit

Main article: History of Ethiopia

Further information: Ethiopian historiography

Prehistory[edit] Edit

Homo sapiens idaltu hominid skull

Several important finds have propelled Ethiopia and the surrounding region to the forefront of palaeontology. The oldest hominid discovered to date in Ethiopia is the 4.2 million year old Ardipithicus ramidus (Ardi) found by Tim D. White in 1994.[36] The most well known hominid discovery is Australopithecus afarensis (Lucy). Known locally as Dinkinesh, the specimen was found in the Awash Valley of Ethiopia's Afar Region in 1974 by Donald Johanson, and is one of the most complete and best preserved adult Australopithecinefossils ever uncovered. Lucy's taxonomic name refers to the region where the discovery was made. The hominid is estimated to have lived 3.2 million years ago.[37][38][39]

Ethiopia is also considered one of the earliest sites of the emergence of anatomically modern humans, Homo sapiens. The oldest of these local fossil finds, the Omo remains, were excavated in the southwestern Omo Kibish area and have been dated to the Middle Paleolithic, around 200,000 years ago.[40] Additionally, skeletons of Homo sapiens idaltu were found at a site in the Middle Awashvalley. Dated to approximately 160,000 years ago, they may represent an extinct subspecies of Homo sapiens, or the immediate ancestors of anatomically modern humans.[41] Homo sapiens fossils excavated at the Jebel Irhoud site in Morocco have since been dated to an earlier period, about 300,000 years ago.[42]

According to linguists, the first Afroasiatic-speaking populations arrived in the region during the ensuing Neolithic era from the family's proposed urheimat ("original homeland") in the Nile Valley,[13] or the Near East.[43] Other scholars propose that the Afroasiatic family developed in situ in the Horn, with its speakers subsequently dispersing from there.[44] Craniometric analysis of the Herto Homo sapiens idaltu skull found that the fossil was morphologically distinct from crania belonging to modern Afroasiatic-speaking groups from the Horn of Africa and Dynastic Egypt. The latter populations instead possessed Middle Eastern affinities. This suggests that the Afroasiatic-speaking groups settled in the area during a later epoch, having possibly arrived from the Middle East.[45]

Antiquity[edit] Edit

Main articles: Dʿmt and Kingdom of Aksum

Obelisk of Aksum

Around the 8th century BC, a kingdom known as Dʿmt was established in northern Ethiopia and Eritrea. The polity's capital was located at Yeha, in northern Ethiopia. Most modern historians consider this civilization to be a native Ethiopian one, although Sabaean-influenced because of the latter's hegemony of the Red Sea.[15]

Other scholars regard Dʿmt as the result of a union of Afroasiatic-speaking cultures of the Cushitic and Semitic branches; namely, local Agaw peoples and Sabaeans from South Arabia. However, Ge'ez, the ancient Semitic language of Ethiopia, is thought to have developed independently from Sabaean, one of the South Semitic languages. As early as 2000 BC, other Semitic speakers were living in Ethiopia and Eritrea where Ge'ez developed.[46][47] Sabaean influence is now thought to have been minor, limited to a few localities, and disappearing after a few decades or a century. It may have been a trading or military colony in alliance with the Ethiopian civilization of Dʿmt or some other proto-Aksumite state.[15]

Aksumite currency of the Aksumite king Endubis, 227–35, at the British Museum. The inscriptions in Ancient Greek read "ΑΧΩΜΙΤΩ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ" ("KING OF AXUM") and "ΕΝΔΥΒΙΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ" ("KING ENDUBIS"), the Greek language was the lingua francaby that time so the Axumite kings used it in coins to simplify foreign trade.

After the fall of Dʿmt during the fourth century BC, the Ethiopian plateau came to be dominated by smaller successor kingdoms. In the first century AD, the Kingdom of Aksum emerged in what is now northern Ethiopia and Eritrea. According to the medieval Book of Aksum, the kingdom's first capital, Mazaber, was built by Itiyopis, son of Cush.[34] Aksum would later at times extend its rule into Yemen on the other side of the Red Sea.[48] The Persian religious figure Manilisted Aksum with Rome, Persia, and China as one of the four great powers of his era, during the 3rd century.[49]

Around 316 AD, Frumentius and his brother Edesius from Tyre accompanied their uncle on a voyage to Ethiopia. When the vessel stopped at a Red Sea port, the natives killed all the travelers except the two brothers, who were taken to the court as slaves. They were given positions of trust by the monarch, and they converted members of the royal court to Christianity. Frumentius became the first bishop of Aksum.[50] A coindated to 324 shows that Ethiopia was the second country to officially adopt Christianity (after Armenia did so in 301), although the religion may have been at first confined to court circles; it was the first major power to do so.

As the Aksumite kingdom gradually declined, one of the earliest local Muslim states, the Makhzumi Sultanate, was established in the Shewa region. The polity was governed by the Makhzumi dynasty, which reigned over the province until it was deposed around 1280 by the Walashma dynasty.[51]

During Muhammad's era[edit] Edit

Main articles: Migration to Abyssinia, List of expeditions of Muhammad, and Hegira

The first interaction that the Islamic Prophet Muhammad had with Ethiopia was during the reign of Aṣḥama ibn Abjar, who was at the time the Emperor of Aksum and gave refuge to several Muslims in the Kingdom of Aksum in 614 AD.[52] According to other authors, Ashama may have been the same person as king Armah, or his father or son.[53] Taddesse Tamrat records that the inhabitants of Wiqro, where the ruler is known as Ashamat al-Negashi, claim that his tomb is located in their village.[54][55]

Muhammad's second interaction with Ethiopia was during the Expedition of Zaid ibn Haritha, when he sent Amr bin Umayyah al-Damri to the King of Ethiopia (then Abyssinia).[56]

Middle Ages[edit] Edit

Main articles: Zagwe dynasty and Ethiopian Empire

Dawit II (Lebna Dengel), Emperor of Ethiopia (r. 1507–1540) and a member of the Solomonic dynasty

The Zagwe dynasty ruled many parts of present-day Ethiopia and Eritrea between the early 12th and late 13th century. The name of the dynasty is derived from the Cushitic-speaking Agaw of northern Ethiopia. From 1270 AD until the Zemene Mesafint (Age of Princes), the Solomonic dynasty governed the Ethiopian Empire.[57]

In the early 15th century, Ethiopia sought to make diplomatic contact with European kingdoms for the first time since the Aksumite era. A letter from Henry IV of England to the Emperor of Abyssinia survives.[58] In 1428, Yeshaq I sent two emissaries to Alfonso V of Aragon, who sent return emissaries. They failed to complete the return trip.[59] The first continuous relations with a European country began in 1508 with Portugal under Dawit II (Lebna Dengel), who had just inherited the throne from his father.[60]

The castle of Fasilides

This proved to be an important development, for when the Empire was subjected to the attacks of the Adal Sultanate's general and imam, Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi (called "Grañ " "the Left-handed"), Portugal assisted the Ethiopian emperor by sending weapons and four hundred men, who helped his son Gelawdewos defeat Ahmad and re-establish his rule.[61]This Abyssinian–Adal war was also one of the first proxy wars in the region, as the Ottoman Empire and Portugal took sides in the conflict. When Emperor Susenyos Iconverted to Roman Catholicism in 1624, years of revolt and civil unrest followed, resulting in thousands of deaths.[62] The Jesuit missionaries had offended the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo faith of the local Ethiopians. In June 1632, Fasilides, Susenyos' son, declared the state religion again to be the Ethiopian Orthodoxy. He expelled the Jesuit missionaries and other Europeans.[63][64]

Aussa Sultanate[edit] Edit

Main articles: Sultanate of Aussa and Mudaito Dynasty

The Sultanate of Aussa or "Afar Sultanate" succeeded the earlier Imamate of Aussa. The latter polity had come into existence in 1577 when Muhammed Jasa moved his capital from Harar to Aussa (Asaita) with the split of the Adal Sultanate into the Sultanate of Aussa and the Sultanate of Harar. At some point after 1672, the Sultanate of Aussa declined and temporarily came to an end in conjunction with Imam Umar Din bin Adam's recorded ascension to the throne.[65]

The Sultanate was subsequently re-established by Kedafu around the year 1734. It was thereafter ruled by his Mudaito Dynasty.[66] The primary symbol of the Sultan was a silver baton, which was considered to have magical properties.[67]

Zemene Mesafint[edit] Edit

Main article: Zemene Mesafint

Emperor Tewodros II's rule is often placed as the beginning of modern Ethiopia, ending the decentralized Zemene Mesafint ("Era of the Princes").

Between 1755 and 1855, Ethiopia experienced a period of isolation referred to as the Zemene Mesafint or "Age of Princes". The Emperors became figureheads, controlled by warlords like RasMikael Sehul of Tigray, Ras Wolde Selassie of Tigray, and by the Yejju Oromo dynasty, such as Ras Gugsa of Yejju, which later led to 17th-century Oromo rule of Gondar, changing the language of the court from Amharic to Afaan Oromo.[68][69]

Emperor Yohannes IV led Ethiopian troops during the battles of Galabat, Gundetand Gura.

Ethiopian isolationism ended following a British mission that concluded an alliance between the two nations, but it was not until 1855 that Ethiopia was completely united and the power in the Emperor restored, beginning with the reign of Tewodros II. Upon his ascent, he began modernizing Ethiopia and recentralizing power in the Emperor. Ethiopia began to take part in world affairs once again.[citation needed]

But Tewodros suffered several rebellions inside his empire. Northern Oromo militias, Tigrayan rebellion, and the constant incursion of Ottoman Empire and Egyptian forces near the Red Sea brought the weakening and the final downfall of Tewodros II. He killed himself in 1868 during his last battle with the British Expedition to Abyssinia. Emperor Tewodros II was born in Begemder from a nobleman of Qwara, where the Qwara dialect of Agaw language is spoken.

After Tewodros' death, Tekle Giyorgis II was proclaimed Emperor. He was defeated in the Battles of Zulawu (21 June 1871) and Adua (11 July 1871). Kassai was subsequently declared Yohannes IV on 21 January 1872. In 1875 and 1876, Turkish/Egyptian forces, accompanied by many European and American 'advisors', twice invaded Abyssinia but were initially defeated: once at the Battle of Gundet losing 800 men, and then in the second invasion, decisively defeated by Emperor Yohannes IV at the Battle of Gura on 7 March 1875, where the invading forces lost at least 3000 men by death or captured.[70] From 1885 to 1889, Ethiopia joined the Mahdist War allied to Britain, Turkey, and Egypt against the Sudanese Mahdist State. On 10 March 1889, Yohannes IV was killed by the Sudanese Khalifah Abdullah's army whilst leading his army in the Battle of Gallabat (also called Battle of Metemma).[71]

From Menelik II to Adwa (1889–1913)[edit] Edit

Emperor Menelik II, former Governor of Shewa

Ethiopia in its roughly current form began under the reign of Menelik II, who was Emperor from 1889 until his death in 1913. From his base in the central province of Shewa, Menelik set out to annex territories to the south, east and west,[72] areas inhabited by the Oromo, Sidama, Gurage, Welayta, and other groups.[73] He did this with the help of Ras Gobana Dacche's Shewan Oromo militia, which occupied lands that had not been held since Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi's war, as well as other areas that had never been under Ethiopian sovereignty.[74] Menelik's campaign against Oromos outside his army was largely in retaliation for centuries of Oromo expansionism and the Zemene Mesafint, a period during which a succession of Oromo feudal rulers dominated the highlanders.[75] Chief among these was the Yejju dynasty, which included Aligaz of Yejju and his brother Ali I of Yejju. Ali I founded the town of Debre Tabor in the Amhara Region, which became the dynasty's capital.[76]

Ethiopia and other territories in Africa in 1843

Menelik was born from King Hailemelekot of Shewa and his mother Ejegayehu Lema Adeyamo who was a servant in the royal household.[77] He had been born at Angolala in an Oromo area and had lived his first twelve years with Shewan Oromos with whom he thus had much in common.[78]

During his reign, Menelik II made advances in road construction, electricity and education; the development of a central taxation system; and the foundation and building of the city of Addis Ababa—which became capital of Shewa Province in 1881. After he ascended to the throne in 1889, it was renamed as Addis Ababa, the new capital of Abyssinia. Menelik had signed the Treaty of Wichale with Italy in May 1889 in which Italy would recognize Ethiopia's sovereignty so long as Italy could control an area north of Ethiopia (part of modern Eritrea). In return, Italy was to provide Menelik with weapons and support him as emperor. The Italians used the time between the signing of the treaty and its ratification by the Italian government to expand their territorial claims. This conflict erupted in the Battle of Adwa on 1 March 1896 in which Italy's colonial forces were defeated by the Ethiopians.[73][79]

About a third of the population died in the Great Ethiopian Famine (1888 to 1892).[80][81]

Haile Selassie I era (1916–1974)[edit] Edit

Haile Selassie at his study at the palace

The early 20th century was marked by the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie ("Ras Tafari"). Haile Selassie I was born to parents from three of Ethiopia's Afroasiatic-speaking populations: the Oromo and Amhara, the country's two largest ethnic groups, as well as the Gurage. He came to power after Iyasu V was deposed, and undertook a nationwide modernization campaign from 1916, when he was made a Ras and Regent (Inderase) for the Empress Regnant, Zewditu, and became the de facto ruler of the Ethiopian Empire. Following Zewditu's death on 2 November 1930, he succeeded her as emperor.[citation needed]

The independence of Ethiopia was interrupted by the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, beginning when it was invaded by Fascist Italy in early October 1935, and Italian occupation of the country (1936–1941).[82] During this time, Haile Selassie appealed to the League of Nations in 1935, delivering an address that made him a worldwide figure, and the 1935 Time Man of the Year.[83] As the majority of the Ethiopian population lived in rural towns, Italy faced continued resistance and ambushes in urban centers throughout its occupation. Haile Selassie fled into exile in London and Mussolini was able to proclaim the Empire of Ethiopia and the assumption of the imperial title by the Italian king Vittorio Emanuele III, recognized by the countries belonging to the international organization of the League of Nations.[84]

In 1937, the Italian massacre of Yekatit 12 occurred. This was when there were imprisonments and massacre of Ethiopians. This was because of a failed attempt to assassinate the Viceroy of Italian East Africa Rodolfo Graziani.[citation needed]

The 1897 Ethiopian flag with the Lion of Judah

Following the entry of Italy into World War II, British Empire forces, together with the Arbegnoch (lit. "patriots", referring to armed resistance soldiers) restored sovereignty of Ethiopia in the course of the East African Campaign in 1941. An Italian guerrilla campaigncontinued until 1943. This was followed by British recognition of Ethiopia's full sovereignty, (i.e. without any special British privileges), with the signing of the Anglo-Ethiopian Agreement in December 1944.[85]

On 26 August 1942, Haile Selassie issued a proclamation that removed Ethiopia's legal basis for slavery.[86] Ethiopia had between two and four million slaves in the early 20th century, out of a total population of about eleven million.[87]

In 1952, Haile Selassie orchestrated the federation with Eritrea. He dissolved this in 1962 and illegally annexed Eritrea against the UN Federation Agreement, which resisted and finally won its war of independence. Haile Selassie played a leading role in the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963.[citation needed]

Opinion within Ethiopia turned against Haile Selassie I owing to the worldwide oil crisis of 1973. This oil crisis caused a sharp increase in gasoline prices starting on 13 February 1974; food shortages; uncertainty regarding the succession; border wars; and discontent in the middle class created through modernization.[88] The high gasoline prices motivated the taxi drivers and teachers to go on strike on 18 February 1974, and students and workers in Addis Ababa began demonstrating against the government on 20 February 1974.[89] The feudal oligarchial cabinet of Akilou Habte Wolde was toppled, and a new government was formed with Endelkachew Makonnen serving as Prime Minister.[90]

Derg era (1974–1991)[edit] Edit

See also: Ethiopia–Russia relations, Ethiopian Civil War, Eritrean War of Independence, and 1983–85 famine in Ethiopia

The Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party (EPRP) clashed with the Derg during the Qey Shibir

Haile Selassie's reign came to an end on 12 September 1974, when he was deposed by the Derg, a Soviet-backed Marxist–Leninist military dictatorship led by Mengistu Haile Mariam.[91] The new Provisional Military Administrative Council established a one-party communist state which was called People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in March 1975.[citation needed]

The ensuing regime suffered several coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought, and a huge refugee problem. In 1977, Somalia, which had been receiving assistance and arms from the USSR, invaded Ethiopia in the Ogaden War, capturing part of the Ogaden region. Ethiopia recovered it after it began receiving massive military aid from the USSR, Cuba, South Yemen, East Germany,[92] and North Korea. This included around 15,000 Cuban combat troops.[citation needed]

Between 1977–78, up to 500,000 were killed as a result of the Red Terror,[93] from forced deportations, or from the use of hunger as a weapon under Mengistu's rule.[88] The Red Terror was carried out in response to what the Derg termed as the White Terror, a chain of violent events, assassinations, and killings carried out by what it called "petty bourgeois reactionaries" who desired a reversal of the 1974 revolution.[94][95]

The 1983–85 famine in Ethiopia affected around eight million people, resulting in one million dead. Insurrections against Communist rule sprang up, particularly in the northern regions of Eritrea and Tigray. In 1989, the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front(TPLF) merged with other ethnically based opposition movements to form the coalition known as the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).[citation needed]

Flag of the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Concurrently, the Soviet Union began to retreat from building world communism under Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika policies, marking a dramatic reduction in aid to Ethiopia from Socialist Bloc countries. This resulted in more economic hardship and the collapse of the military in the face of determined onslaughts by guerrilla forces in the north. The collapse of socialism in general, and in Eastern Europe during the revolutions of 1989, coincided with the Soviet Union stopping aid to Ethiopia altogether in 1990. The strategic outlook for Mengistu quickly deteriorated.[citation needed]

In May 1991, EPRDF forces advanced on Addis Ababa and the Soviet Union did not intervene to save the government side. Mengistu fled the country and was granted asylum in Zimbabwe, where he still resides.[citation needed]

In 2006, after a trial that lasted 12 years, Ethiopia's Federal High Court in Addis Ababa found Mengistu guilty of genocide in absentia.[96] Numerous other top leaders of his regime were also found guilty of war crimes. Mengistu and others who had fled the country were tried and sentenced in absentia. Numerous former officials received the death sentence and tens of others spent the next 20 years in jail, before being pardoned from life sentences.[citation needed]

In July 1991, EPRDF convened a National Conference to establish the Transitional Government of Ethiopia composed of an 87-member Council of Representatives and guided by a national charter that functioned as a transitional constitution.[97] In June 1992, the Oromo Liberation Front withdrew from the government; in March 1993, members of the Southern Ethiopia Peoples' Democratic Coalition also left the government.[citation needed] In 1994, a new constitution was written that established a parliamentary republic with a bicameral legislature and a judicial system.[1]

Federal Democratic Republic (1991–present)[edit] Edit

See also: Eritrean independence referendum, 1993

Former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi at the 2012 World Economic Forumannual meeting

The 1st multiparty election took place in May 1995, which was won by the EPRDF.[98] The president of the transitional government, EPRDF leader Meles Zenawi, became Prime Minister, and Negasso Gidada was elected President.[99]

In May 1998, a border dispute with Eritrea led to the Eritrean–Ethiopian War, which lasted until June 2000 and cost both countries an estimated $1 million a day.[100] This had a negative effect on Ethiopia's economy,[101] but strengthened the ruling coalition.[citation needed]

Ethiopia's 3rd multiparty election on 15 May 2005 was highly disputed, with some opposition groups claiming fraud. Though the Carter Center approved the pre-election conditions, it expressed its dissatisfaction with post-election events. European Union election observers continuely accused the ruling party of vote rigging. The opposition parties gained more than 200 parliamentary seats, compared with just 12 in the 2000 elections. While most of the opposition representatives joined the parliament, some leaders of the CUD party who refused to take up their parliamentary seats were accused of inciting the post-election violence and were imprisoned. Amnesty International considered them "prisoners of conscience" and they were subsequently released.[102]

A coalition of opposition parties and some individuals was established in 2009 to oust the regime of the EPRDF in legislative elections of 2010. Meles' party, which has been in power since 1991, published its 65-page manifesto in Addis Ababa on 10 October 2009. The opposition won most votes in Addis Ababa, but the EPRDF halted counting of votes for several days. After it ensued, it claimed the election, amidst charges of fraud and intimidation.[103]

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development headquarters

Some of the eight member parties of the Medrek (Forum for Democratic Dialogue) include the Oromo Federalist Congress (organized by the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement and the Oromo People's Congress), the Arena Tigray (organized by former members of the ruling party TPLF), the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ, whose leader is imprisoned), and the Coalition of Somali Democratic Forces.[citation needed]

In mid-2011, two consecutively missed rainy seasons precipitated the worst drought in East Africa seen in 60 years. Full recovery from the drought's effects did not occur until 2012, with long-term strategies by the national government in conjunction with development agencies believed to offer the most sustainable results.[104]

Meles died on 20 August 2012 in Brussels, where he was being treated for an unspecified illness.[105] Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was appointed as a new prime minister until the 2015 elections,[106] and remained so afterwards with his party in control of every parliamentary seat.[107]

Protests broke out across the country on 5 August 2016 and dozens of protesters were subsequently shot and killed by police. The protesters demanded an end to human rights abuses, the release of political prisoners, a fairer redistribution of the wealth generated by over a decade of economic growth, and a return of Wolqayt District to the Amhara Region.[108][109][110] The events were the most violent crackdown against protesters in Sub-Saharan Africa since the Ethiopian regime killed at least 75 people during protests in the Oromia Region in November and December 2015.[111][112] Following these protests, Ethiopia declared a state of emergency on 6 October 2016.[113] The state of emergency was lifted in August 2017.[114]

On February 16, 2018, the government of Ethiopia declared a six-month nationwide state of emergency following the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.[115] Hailemariam is the first ruler in modern Ethiopian history to step down; previous leaders have died in office or been overthrown.[116] He said he wanted to clear the way for reforms.

Politics[edit] Edit

Main article: Politics of Ethiopia

See also: Rulers and Heads of State of Ethiopia, Foreign relations of Ethiopia, Ethiopian National Defense Force, and 2016 Ethiopian protests

Ethiopian embassy in Washington, D.C.

The politics of Ethiopia takes place in a framework of a federal parliamentary republic, whereby the Prime Minister is the head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government. Federal legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament. On the basis of Article 78 of the 1994 Ethiopian Constitution, the Judiciary is completely independent of the executive and the legislature.[117] The current realities of this provision are questioned in a report prepared by Freedom House.[118]

Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed Ali

According to the Democracy Index published by the United Kingdom-based Economist Intelligence Unit in late 2010, Ethiopia is an "authoritarian regime", ranking as the 118th-most democratic out of 167 countries.[119] Ethiopia has dropped 12 places on the list since 2006, and the latest report attributes the drop to the government's crackdown on opposition activities, media and civil society before the 2010 parliamentary election, which the report argues has made Ethiopia a de facto one-party state.

In July 2015, during a trip that then US President Barack Obama took to Ethiopia, he highlighted the role of the country in the fight against Islamic terrorism.[120] Obama was the first sitting United States president to visit Ethiopia.

Governance[edit] Edit

Main article: Government of Ethiopia

The election of Ethiopia's 547-member constituent assembly was held in June 1994. This assembly adopted the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in December 1994. The elections for Ethiopia's first popularly chosen national parliament and regional legislatures were held in May and June 1995. Most opposition parties chose to boycott these elections. There was a landslide victory for the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). International and non-governmental observers concluded that opposition parties would have been able to participate had they chosen to do so.

Addis Ababa's city hall

The current government of Ethiopia was installed in August 1995. The first President was Negasso Gidada. The EPRDF-led government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi promoted a policy of ethnic federalism, devolving significant powers to regional, ethnically based authorities. Ethiopia today has nine semi-autonomous administrative regions that have the power to raise and spend their own revenues. Under the present government, some fundamental freedoms, including freedom of the press, are circumscribed.[121]

Citizens have little access to media other than the state-owned networks, and most private newspapers struggle to remain open and suffer periodic harassment from the government.[121] At least 18 journalists who had written articles critical of the government were arrested following the 2005 elections on genocide and treason charges. The government uses press laws governing libel to intimidate journalists who are critical of its policies.[122]

Meles' government was elected in 2000 in Ethiopia's first-ever multiparty elections; however, the results were heavily criticized by international observers and denounced by the opposition as fraudulent. The EPRDF also won the 2005 election returning Meles to power. Although the opposition vote increased in the election, both the opposition and observers from the European Union and elsewhere stated that the vote did not meet international standards for fair and free elections.[121] Ethiopian police are said to have massacred 193 protesters, mostly in the capital Addis Ababa, in the violence following the May 2005 elections in the Ethiopian police massacre.[123]

Former Foreign Minister of Ethiopia Tedros Adhanom with former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

The government initiated a crackdown in the provinces as well; in Oromia state the authorities used concerns over insurgency and terrorism to use torture, imprisonment, and other repressive methods to silence critics following the election, particularly people sympathetic to the registered opposition party Oromo National Congress (ONC).[122] The government has been engaged in a conflict with rebels in the Ogaden region since 2007. The biggest opposition party in 2005 was the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD). After various internal divisions, most of the CUD party leaders have established the new Unity for Democracy and Justice party led by Judge Birtukan Mideksa. A member of the country's Oromo ethnic group, Ms. Birtukan Mideksa is the first woman to lead a political party in Ethiopia.

In 2008, the top five opposition parties were the Unity for Democracy and Justice led by Judge Birtukan Mideksa, United Ethiopian Democratic Forces led by Dr. Beyene Petros, Oromo Federalist Democratic Movementled by Dr. Bulcha Demeksa, Oromo People's Congress led by Dr. Merera Gudina, and United Ethiopian Democratic Party – Medhin Party led by Lidetu Ayalew. After the 2015 elections, Ethiopia lost its single remaining opposition MP;[124] there are now no opposition MPs in the Ethiopian parliament.[125]

Human rights[edit] Edit

Main article: Human rights in Ethiopia

Ethiopian general election, 2005. Only parties with more than 10 seats shown. Red: EPRDF Green: CUD Purple: UEDF Dark blue: SPDP Orange: OFDM Light blue: Others

Recent human rights violations include the killing of 100 peaceful protestors by direct government gunfire in the Oromo and Amhara regions in 2016.[126] The UN has called for UN observers on the ground in Ethiopia to investigate this incident,[127] however the EPRDF-dominated Ethiopian government has refused this call.[128] The protestors are protesting land grabs and lack of basic human rights such as the freedom to elect their representatives. The TPLF-dominated EPRDF won 100% in an election marked by fraud which has resulted in Ethiopian civilians protesting on scale unseen in prior post-election protests.[129]

Merera Gudina, leader of the Oromo People's Congress, said the East African country was at a "crossroads". "People are demanding their rights," he said. "People are fed up with what the regime has been doing for a quarter of a century. They're protesting against land grabs, reparations, stolen elections, the rising cost of living, many things. "If the government continue to repress while the people are demanding their rights in the millions that (civil war) is one of the likely scenarios," Merera said in an interview with Reuters.[129]

According to surveys in 2003 by the National Committee on Traditional Practices in Ethiopia, marriage by abduction accounts for 69% of the nation's marriages, with around 80% in the largest region, Oromiya, and as high as 92% in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region.[130][131] Homosexual acts are illegal in Ethiopia.[132]

Among the Omotic Karo-speaking and Hamer peoples in southern Ethiopia, adults and children with physical abnormalities are considered to be mingi, "ritually impure". The latter are believed to exert an evil influence upon others; disabled infants have traditionally been murdered without a proper burial.[133] The Karo officially banned the practice in July 2012.[134]

In 2013, the Oakland Institute released a report accusing the Ethiopian government of forcing the relocation of "hundreds of thousands of indigenous people from their lands" in the Gambela Region[135] The report describes the Ethiopian government's "plans to move over 1.5 million people" by the end of 2013, in order to allow foreign investors to develop the land for large scale industrial agriculture.[135] According to several reports by the organization, those who refused were the subject of a variety intimidation techniques including physical and sexual abuse, which sometimes led to deaths.[136][137][138] A similar 2012 report by Human Rights Watch also describes the Ethiopian government's 2010–2011 villagization program in Gambella, with plans to carry out similar resettlements in other regions.[139] The Ethiopian government has denied the accusations of land grabbing and instead pointed to the positive trajectory of the countries economy as evidence of the development program's benefits.[138]

Administrative divisions[edit] Edit

Main articles: Regions of Ethiopia, List of zones of Ethiopia, and Districts of Ethiopia

A map of Ethiopia's regions and zones

Before 1996, Ethiopia was divided into thirteen provinces, many derived from historical regions. The nation now has a tiered governmental system consisting of a federal government overseeing ethnically based regional states, zones, districts (woreda), and kebeles ("neighbourhoods").

Since 1996, Ethiopia has been divided into nine ethnically-based and politically autonomous regional states (kililoch, singular kilil ) and two chartered cities (astedader akababiwoch, singular astedader akababi ), the latter being Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa. The kililoch are subdivided into sixty-eight zones, and then further into 550 woredas and several special woredas.

The constitution assigns extensive power to regional states, which can establish their own government and democracy according to the federal government's constitution. Each region has at its apex a regional council where members are directly elected to represent the districts and the council has legislative and executive power to direct internal affairs of the regions.

Article 39 of the Ethiopian Constitution further gives every regional state the right to secede from Ethiopia. There is debate, however, as to how much of the power guaranteed in the constitution is actually given to the states. The councils implement their mandate through an executive committee and regional sectoral bureaus. Such elaborate structure of council, executive, and sectoral public institutions is replicated to the next level (woreda).

EtymologyEdit

Habesha is believed to be give rise to the term "Abyssinia" to refer to Amharic and Tigrinya speaking (mostly Christian) Ethiopians. [11]The modern term derives from the vocalized (Ge'ez: ሐበሣ Ḥabaśā), first written with a script that did not mark vowels as (Ge'ez: ሐበሠ ḤBŚ) or in "pseudo-Sabaic as ḤBŠTM".[12] The earliest known use of the term dates to the 2nd or 3rd century AD South Arabian inscription recounting the defeat of the Aksumite Negūs ("king") GDRT of Aksum and ḤBŠT.[13] The term "Habashat" appears to refer to a group of peoples, rather than a specific ethnicity. A Sabaean inscription describes an alliance between the Himyarite king Shamir Yuhahmid and Aksum under King `DBH in the first quarter of the 3rd century AD. They had lived alongside the Sabaeans, who lived across the Red Sea from them for many centuries:

"Shamir of dhū Raydān and Himyar had called in the help of the clans of Habashat for war against the kings of Saba; but Ilmuqah granted... the submission of Shamir of dhū Raydān and the clans of Habashat."[14]

The term "Habesha" was formerly thought by some scholars[12] to be of Arabic origin because the English name Abyssinia comes from the Arabic form. (Arabs used the word Ḥabaš, also the name of an Ottoman province comprising parts of modern-day Eritrea and Ethiopia).[15] South Arabian expert Eduard Glaser claimed that the hieroglyphic ḫbstjw, used in reference to "a foreign people from the incense-producing regions" (i.e. Punt, located in Eritrea and northeast Ethiopia) used by Queen Hatshepsut c. 1460 BC, was the first usage of the term or somehow connected. This claim was repeated by others; however, this etymology is not at all certain, given the large time difference in the usage of the terms.[12]

Eritrea Edit

Eritrea (/ˌɛrɪˈtreɪ.ə/ or /ˌɛrɪˈtriːə/;[9] Tigrinya: ኤርትራ,  listen (help·info)), officially the State of Eritrea,[10] is a country in the Horn of Africa, with its capital at Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast. The northeastern and eastern parts of Eritrea have an extensive coastline along the Red Sea. The nation has a total area of approximately 117,600 km2 (45,406 sq mi), and includes the Dahlak Archipelago and several of the Hanish Islands. Its toponymEritrea is based on the Greek name for the Red Sea (Ἐρυθρὰ Θάλασσα Erythra Thalassa), which was first adopted for Italian Eritrea in 1890.

Eritrea is a multi-ethnic country, with nine recognized ethnic groups in its population of around 5 million. Most residents speak languages from the Afroasiatic family, either of the Ethiopian Semitic languages or Cushitic branches. Among these communities, the Tigrinyas make up about 55% of the population, with the Tigre people constituting around 30% of inhabitants. In addition, there are a number of Nilo-Saharan-speaking Nilotic ethnic minorities. Most people in the territory adhere to Christianity or Islam.[11]

The Kingdom of Aksum, covering much of modern-day Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, was established during the first or second centuries AD.[12][13] It adopted Christianityaround the middle of the fourth century.[14] In medieval times much of Eritrea fell under the Medri Bahri kingdom, with a smaller region being part of Hamasien.

The creation of modern-day Eritrea is a result of the incorporation of independent, distinct kingdoms and sultanates (for example, Medri Bahri and the Sultanate of Aussa) eventually resulting in the formation of Italian Eritrea. After the defeat of the Italian colonial army, in 1942, Eritrea was administered by the British Military Administration until 1952. Following the UN General Assembly decision, in 1952, Eritrea would govern itself with a local Eritrean parliament but for foreign affairs and defense it would enter into a federal status with Ethiopia for a period of 10 years. However, in 1962 the government of Ethiopia annulled the Eritrean parliament and formally annexed Eritrea. But the Eritreans that argued for complete Eritrean independence since the ouster of the Italians in 1942, anticipated what was coming and in 1960 organized the Eritrean Liberation Front in opposition. In 1991, after 30 years of continuous armed struggle for independence, the Eritrean liberation fighters entered the capital city, Asmara, in victory.

Eritrea is a one-party state in which national legislative elections have been repeatedly postponed.[15] According to Human Rights Watch, the Eritrean government's human rights record is among the worst in the world.[16] The Eritrean government has dismissed these allegations as politically motivated.[17] The compulsory military service requires long, indefinite conscription periods, which some Eritreans leave the country in order to avoid.[18] Because all local media is state-owned, Eritrea was also ranked as having the least press freedom in the global Press Freedom Index.

Eritrea is a member of the African Union, the United Nations, and IGAD, and is an observer in the Arab League alongside Brazil, Venezuela, India and Turkey.[19]

Name Edit

During the Middle Ages, the Eritrea region was known as Medri Bahri ("sea-land"). The name Eritrea is derived from the ancient Greek name for the Red Sea (ἐρυθρὰ Θάλασσα erythra thalassa, based on the adjective ἐρυθρός erythros "red"). It was first formally adopted in 1890, with the formation of Italian Eritrea (Colonia Eritrea).[20] The territory became the Eritrea Governoratewithin Italian East Africa in 1936. After the defeat of the Italian colonial army In Eritrea in 1942 by the British Army, Eritrea was under the protectorate of the British Military Administration while the fate of the former colonies of Italy was being debated at the UN. In 1952 the UN adopted that Eritrea would be self-governing for domestic affairs through an elected Eritrean Parliament while trade, foreign affairs and defense would be handled in a federal status with the Government of Ethiopia. But in 1962, after a series of political machinations, the government of Ethiopia annulled the Eritrean Parliament and annexed Eritrea as one of the provinces of Eritrea. But the Eritrean people that had fought for independence since the defeat of the Italian colonial army was removed never doubted what the designs of the Ethiopian government were. Therefore, in 1960 they formed the Eritrean Liberation Front. And after 30 years of armed struggle, Eritrea gained its de facto independence in 1991. And following the 1993 referendum, and the name of the new state was defined as State of Eritrea in the 1997 constitution.[21]

History Edit

Main article: History of Eritrea

Prehistory Edit

At Buya in Eritrea, one of the oldest hominids representing a possible link between Homo erectus and an archaic Homo sapiens was found by Italian scientists. Dated to over 1 million years old, it is the oldest skeletal find of its kind and provides a link between hominids and the earliest anatomically modern humans.[22] It is believed that the section of the Danakil Depression in Eritrea was also a major player in terms of human evolution, and may contain other traces of evolution from Homo erectushominids to anatomically modern humans.[23]

Neolithic rock art in a Qohaitocanyon cave.

During the last interglacial period, the Red Sea coast of Eritrea was occupied by early anatomically modern humans.[24] It is believed that the area was on the route out of Africa that some scholars suggest was used by early humans to colonize the rest of the Old World.[24] In 1999, the Eritrean Research Project Team composed of Eritrean, Canadian, American, Dutch and French scientists discovered a Paleolithic site with stone and obsidian tools dated to over 125,000 years old near the Bay of Zula south of Massawa, along the Red Sea littoral. The tools are believed to have been used by early humans to harvest marine resources like clams and oysters.[25]

According to linguists, the first Afroasiatic-speaking populations arrived in the region during the ensuing Neolithic era from the family's proposed urheimat ("original homeland") in the Nile Valley.[26][27] Other scholars propose that the Afroasiatic family developed in situ in the Horn, with its speakers subsequently dispersing from there.[28]

Antiquity Edit

Punt Edit

Main article: Land of Punt

Queen Ati, wife of King Perahu of Punt, as depicted on Pharaoh Hatshepsut's temple at Deir el-Bahri.

Together with Djibouti, Ethiopia, northern Somalia, and the Red Sea coast of Sudan,[29] Eritrea is considered the most likely location of the land which the ancient Egyptians called Punt, first mentioned in the 25th century BC.[30] The ancient Puntites had close relations with Ancient Egypt during the rule of Pharaoh Sahure and Queen Hatshepsut.

This is confirmed by genetic studies of mummified baboons. In 2010, a study was conducted on baboon mummies that were brought from Punt to Egypt as gifts by the ancient Egyptians. The scientists from the Egyptian Museum and the University of California used oxygen isotope analysis to examine hairs from two baboon mummies that had been preserved in the British Museum. One of the baboons had distorted isotopic data, so the other's oxygen isotope values were compared to those of present-day baboon specimens from regions of interest. The researchers initially found that the mummies most closely matched modern baboon specimens in Eritrea and Ethiopia, which suggested that Punt was likely a narrow region that included eastern Ethiopia and all of Eritrea.[31] In 2015, isotopic analysis of other ancient baboon mummies from Punt confirmed that the specimens likely originated from an area encompassing the Eritrea-Ethiopia corridor and eastern Somalia.[32]

Ona Culture Edit

Excavations at Sembel found evidence of an ancient pre-Aksumite civilization in greater Asmara. This Ona urban culture is believed to have been among the earliest pastoral and agricultural communities in the Horn region. Artifacts at the site have been dated to between 800 BC and 400 BC, contemporaneous with other pre-Aksumite settlements in the Eritrean and Ethiopian highlands during the mid-first millennium BC.[33]

Additionally, the Ona culture may have had connections with the ancient Land of Punt. In a tomb in Thebes (Luxor) dated to the 18th dynasty reign of Pharaoh Amenophis II (Amenhotep II), long-necked pots similar to those that were made by the Ona people are depicted as part of the cargo in a ship from Punt.[34]

Gash Group Edit

Pre-Axumite monolithic columns in Qohaito.

Excavations in and near Agordat in central Eritrea yielded the remains of an ancient pre-Aksumite civilization known as the Gash Group.[35] Ceramics were discovered that were related to those of the C-Group (Temehu) pastoral culture, which inhabited the Nile Valleybetween 2500–1500 BC.[36] Some sources dating back to 3500 BC.[37] Shards akin to those of the Kerma culture, another community that flourished in the Nile Valley around the same period, were also found at other local archaeological sites in the Barka valley belonging to the Gash Group.[35] According to Peter Behrens (1981) and Marianne Bechaus-Gerst (2000), linguistic evidence indicates that the C-Group and Kerma peoples spoke Afroasiatic languages of the Berber and Cushitic branches, respectively.[38][39]

Kingdom of D'mt Edit

Main article: Dʿmt

Bronze oil lamp excavated at Matara, dating from the Kingdom of Dʿmt (1st century BCE or earlier).

Dʿmt was a kingdom that encompassed most of Eritrea and the northern frontier of Ethiopia. The polity existed during the 10th to 5th centuries BC. Given the presence of a massive temple complex at Yeha, this area was most likely the kingdom's capital. Qohaito, often identified as the town of Koloe in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea,[40] as well as Matara were important ancient Dʿmt kingdom cities in southern Eritrea.

The realm developed irrigation schemes, used plows, grew millet, and made iron tools and weapons. After the fall of Dʿmt in the 5th century BC, the plateau came to be dominated by smaller successor kingdoms. This lasted until the rise of one of these polities during the first century, the Kingdom of Aksum, which was able to reunite the area.[41]

Kingdom of Aksum Edit

Main article: Kingdom of Aksum

The Kingdom of Aksum's realm

The Kingdom of Aksum was a trading empire centered in Eritrea and northern Ethiopia.[42]It existed from approximately 100–940 AD, growing from the proto-Aksumite Iron Ageperiod around the 4th century BC to achieve prominence by the 1st century AD.

According to the medieval Liber Axumae (Book of Aksum), Aksum's first capital, Mazaber, was built by Itiyopis, son of Cush.[43] The capital was later moved to Aksum in northern Ethiopia. The Kingdom used the name "Ethiopia" as early as the 4th century.[12][13]

The Aksumites erected a number of large stelae, which served a religious purpose in pre-Christian times. One of these granite columns, the Obelisk of Aksum, is the largest such structure in the world, standing at 90 feet.[44] Under Ezana (fl. 320–360), Aksum later adopted Christianity.[45] In the 7th century, early Muslims from Mecca also sought refuge from Quraysh persecution by travelling to the kingdom, a journey known in Islamic history as the First Hijra. It is also the alleged resting place of the Ark of the Covenant and the purported home of the Queen of Sheba.[46]

The kingdom is mentioned in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea as an important market place for ivory, which was exported throughout the ancient world. Aksum was at the time ruled by Zoskales, who also governed the port of Adulis.[47] The Aksumite rulers facilitated trade by minting their own Aksumite currency. The state also established its hegemony over the declining Kingdom of Kush and regularly entered the politics of the kingdoms on the Arabian peninsula, eventually extending its rule over the region with the conquest of the Himyarite Kingdom.

Middle Ages Edit

Medri Bahri Edit

Main article: Medri Bahri

The Northern Red Sea Region, part of the Hamasien province of the medieval Medri Bahri kingdom.

After the decline of Aksum, the Eritrean highlands were under the domain of Bahr Negashruled by the Bahr Negus. The area was then known as Ma'ikele Bahr ("between the seas/rivers," i.e. the land between the Red Sea and the Mereb river).[48] It was later renamed under Emperor Zara Yaqob as the domain of the Bahr Negash, the Medri Bahri ("Sea land" in Tingrinya, although it included some areas like Shire on the other side of the Mereb, today in Ethiopia).[49] With its capital at Debarwa,[50] the state's main provinces were Hamasien, Seraeand Akele Guzai.

Turks briefly occupied the highland parts of Baharnagash in 1559 and withdrew after they encountered resistance and were pushed back by the Bahrnegash and highland forces. In 1578 they tried to expand into the highlands with the help of Bahr Negash Yisehaq who had switched alliances due to power struggle, and by 1589 once again they were apparently compelled to withdraw their forces to the coast. After that Ottomans abandoned their ambitions to establish themselves on the highlands and remained in the lowlands until they left the region by 1872.[51][52]

The Scottish traveler James Bruce reported in 1770 that Medri Bahri was a distinct political entity from Abyssinia, noting that the two territories were frequently in conflict. The Bahre-Nagassi ("Kings of the Sea") alternately fought with or against the Abyssinians and the neighbouring Muslim Adal Sultanate depending on the geopolitical circumstances. Medri Bahri was thus part of the Christian resistance against Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi of Adal's forces, but later joined the Adalite states and the Ottoman Empire front against Abyssinia in 1572. That 16th century also marked the arrival of the Ottomans, who began making inroads in the Red Sea area.[53]

James Bruce in his book published in 1805 reported Hadawi, the seat of Baharanagash, was part of the Tigré province of Abyssinia which was ruled by Ras Mikael Sehul at the time of his travel. The officer in Hadawi watched over the Naybe of Masawa (province of Turk's Habesh Eyalet), and starved him into obedience by intercepting his provisions, whenever the officer in Hadawi and the governor of Tigré found it necessary. Bruce also located Tigré between Red Sea and the river Tekezé and stated many large governments, such as Enderta and Antalow, and the great part of Baharhagash were on the eastern side of Tigré province.[54][55][56]

Aussa Sultanate Edit

Main article: Sultanate of Aussa

Flag of the Aussa Sultanate

At the end of the 16th century, the Aussa Sultanate was established in the Denkel lowlands of Eritrea.[57] The polity had come into existence in 1577, when Muhammed Jasa moved his capital from Harar to Aussa (Asaita) with the split of the Adal Sultanate into Aussa and the Sultanate of Harar. At some point after 1672, Aussa declined in conjunction with Imam Umar Din bin Adam's recorded ascension to the throne.[58] In 1734, the Afarleader Kedafu, head of the Mudaito clan, seized power and established the Mudaito Dynasty.[59][60] This marked the start of a new and more sophisticated polity that would last into the colonial period.[60]

Habesh Eyalet Edit

Main article: Habesh Eyalet

The Ottoman Empire in 1566, at its greatest extent in Eritrea.

By 1517, the Ottomans had succeeded in conquering Medri Bahri. They occupied all of northeastern present-day Eritrea for the next two decades, an area which stretched from Massawa to Swakin in Sudan.[53]

The territory became an Ottoman governorate (eyalet) known as the Habesh Eyalet. Massawa served as the new province's first capital. When the city became of secondary economical importance, the administrative capital was soon moved across the Red Sea to Jeddah. Its headquarters remained there from the end of the 16th century to the early 19th century, with Medina temporarily serving as the capital in the 18th century.[61]

The Ottomans were eventually driven out in the last quarter of the 16th century. However, they retained control over the seaboard until the establishment of Italian Eritrea in the late 1800s.[53]

Modern history Edit

Italian Eritrea Edit

Main article: Italian Eritrea

Map of Eritrea in 1896.

The boundaries of the present-day Eritrea nation state were established during the Scramble for Africa. In 1869[62] or ’70, the ruling Sultan of Raheita sold lands surrounding the Bay of Assab to the Rubattino Shipping Company.[63] The area served as a coaling station along the shipping lanes introduced by the recently completed Suez Canal. It had long been part of the Ottoman Habesh Eyalet centered in Egypt.[64] The first Italian settlers arrived in 1880.[63]

In the vacuum that followed the 1889 death of Emperor Yohannes IV, Gen. Oreste Baratieri occupied the highlands along the Eritrean coast and Italy proclaimed the establishment of the new colony of Italian Eritrea, a colony of the Kingdom of Italy. In the Treaty of Wuchale (It. Uccialli) signed the same year, King Menelik of Shewa, a southern Ethiopian kingdom, recognized the Italian occupation of his rivals' lands of Bogos, Hamasien, Akkele Guzay, and Serae in exchange for guarantees of financial assistance and continuing access to European arms and ammunition. His subsequent victory over his rival kings and enthronement as Emperor Menelek II (r. 1889–1913) made the treaty formally binding upon the entire territory.[65]

Coat of Arms of Italian Eritrea.

In 1888, the Italian administration launched its first development projects in the new colony. The Eritrean Railway was completed to Saati in 1888,[66] and reached Asmara in the highlands in 1911.[67] The Asmara–Massawa Cableway was the longest line in the world during its time, but was later dismantled by the British in World War II. Besides major infrastructural projects, the colonial authorities invested significantly in the agricultural sector. It also oversaw the provision of urban amenities in Asmara and Massawa, and employed many Eritreans in public service, particularly in the police and public works departments.[67] Thousands of Eritreans were concurrently enlisted in the army, serving during the Italo-Turkish War in Libya as well as the First and Second Italo-Abyssinian Wars.

An Asmara station on the Eritrean Railway (1938).

Additionally, the Italian Eritrea administration opened a number of new factories, which produced buttons, cooking oil, pasta, construction materials, packing meat, tobacco, hide and other household commodities. In 1939, there were around 2,198 factories and most of the employees were Eritrean citizens. The establishment of industries also made an increase in the number of both Italians and Eritreans residing in the cities. The number of Italians residing in the territory increased from 4,600 to 75,000 in five years; and with the involvement of Eritreans in the industries, trade and fruit plantation was expanded across the nation, while some of the plantations were owned by Eritreans.[68]

In 1922, Benito Mussolini's rise to power in Italy brought profound changes to the colonial government in Italian Eritrea. After il Duce declared the birth of the Italian Empire in May 1936, Italian Eritrea (enlarged with northern Ethiopia's regions) and Italian Somaliland were merged with the just conquered Ethiopia in the new Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana) administrative territory. This Fascist period was characterized by imperial expansion in the name of a "new Roman Empire". Eritrea was chosen by the Italian government to be the industrial center of Italian East Africa.[69]

British administration Edit

Through the 1941 Battle of Keren, the British expelled the Italians,[70] and took over the administration of the country.

The British placed Eritrea under British military administration until Allied forces could determine its fate.

In the absence of agreement amongst the Allies concerning the status of Eritrea, British administration continued for the remainder of World War II and until 1950. During the immediate postwar years, the British proposed that Eritrea be divided along religious lines and annexed to Sudan and Ethiopia.[citation needed] The Soviet Union, anticipating a communist victory in the Italian polls, initially supported returning Eritrea to Italy under trusteeship or as a colony.

Federation with Ethiopia Edit

Flag of Eritrea (1952–1961)

In the 1950s, the Ethiopian feudal administration under Emperor Haile Selassie sought to annex Eritrea and Italian Somaliland. He laid claim to both territories in a letter to Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Paris Peace Conference and at the First Session of the United Nations.[71] In the United Nations, the debate over the fate of the former Italian colonies continued. The British and Americans preferred to cede all of Eritrea except the Western province to the Ethiopians as a reward for their support during World War II.[72] The Independence Bloc of Eritrean parties consistently requested from the UN General Assembly that a referendum be held immediately to settle the Eritrean question of sovereignty.

Following the adoption of UN Resolution 390A(V) in December 1950, Eritrea was federated with Ethiopia under the prompting of the United States.[73] The resolution called for Eritrea and Ethiopia to be linked through a loose federal structure under the sovereignty of the Emperor. Eritrea was to have its own administrative and judicial structure, its own flag, and control over its domestic affairs, including police, local administration, and taxation.[71] The federal government, which for all practical purposes was the existing imperial government, was to control foreign affairs (including commerce), defense, finance, and transportation. The resolution ignored the wishes of Eritreans for independence, but guaranteed the population democratic rights and a measure of autonomy.

Independence Edit

Main article: Eritrean War of Independence

The wreath with the upright olive-branch symbol derived from the 1952 flag, which had a light blue background to honour the United Nations. The green color in the flag stands for the agriculture and livestock of the country, the blue stands for the sea, and the red for the blood shed in the fight for freedom.

In 1958, a group of Eritreans founded the Eritrean Liberation Movement (ELM). The organization mainly consisted of Eritrean students, professionals and intellectuals. It engaged in clandestine political activities intended to cultivate resistance to the centralizing policies of the imperial Ethiopian state.[74] On 1 September 1961, the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF), under the leadership of Hamid Idris Awate, waged an armed struggle for independence. In 1962, Emperor Haile Selassie unilaterally dissolved the Eritrean parliament and annexed the territory. The ensuing Eritrean War for Independence went on for 30 years against successive Ethiopian governments until 1991, when the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF), a successor of the ELF, defeated the Ethiopian forces in Eritrea and helped a coalition of Ethiopian rebel forces take control of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Following a UN-supervised referendum in Eritrea (dubbed UNOVER) in which the Eritrean people overwhelmingly voted for independence, Eritrea declared its independence and gained international recognition in 1993.[75] The EPLF seized power, established a one-party state along nationalist lines and banned further political activity. There have been no elections since.

Old Unified Ethiopian Empire (Ethiopia-Eritrea under both the Monarchy and Communist Derg Dictatorship) Edit

The Ethiopian Empire (Amharic: የኢትዮጵያ ንጉሠ ነገሥት መንግሥተ, Mängəstä Ityop'p'ya), also known as Abyssinia (derived from the Arabic al-Habash),[10] was a kingdom that spanned a geographical area in the current state of Ethiopia. It began with the establishment of the Solomonic dynasty from approximately 1270 until 1974, when the ruling Solomonic dynasty was overthrown in a coup d'état by the Derg.

Following the British occupation of Egypt in 1882, Ethiopia and Liberia were the only two African nations to remain independent during the Scramble for Africa by the European imperial powers in the late 19th century, though after the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, the Italian Empire established the Italian East Africa colony in the region after conquering the Ethiopian Empire. The country was one of the founding members of the United Nations in 1945.

In 1974, Ethiopia was one of only three countries in the world to have the title of Emperor for its head of state, together with Japan, which still has the Emperor as its nominal ruler, and Iran under the Pahlavi dynasty. It was the second-to-last country in Africa to use the title of Emperor; the only one later was the Central African Empire, which was implemented between 1976 and 1979 by Emperor Bokassa I.

The People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (PDRE) was the official name of Ethiopia from 1987 to 1991, as established by the Communist government of Mengistu Haile Mariam and the Workers' Party of Ethiopia (WPE). Its creation led to the dissolution of the Derg, the military junta formerly in charge of the country. A Marxist-Leninist one-party state with the WPE as supreme authority took its place, though the WPE's leadership was dominated by the surviving members of the Derg.

After five years of preparation, a socialist state was officially proclaimed in 1984, and the WPE was formed as the country's only legal party. It was a Marxist-Leninist vanguard party modeled on its counterparts in Europe. The PDRE officially came into existence on 22 February 1987, three weeks after the national referendum that approved the 1987 constitution, although the Derg remained in power as late as September, long after the 14 June general election that elected the members of the National Shengo (the legislature).[4]

The WPE was officially granted a monopoly of power as the "leading force in the state and society." The government was highly centralized and for all intents and purposes acted as merely a transmission belt for the party.

Throughout the PDRE's brief life, its authority was challenged not only by armed militants in Eritrea, which had been annexed to Ethiopia several decades earlier, but also by internal resistance groups, foremost of which was the Tigrayan Peoples' Liberation Front. The PDRE came to an end in May 1991, when Mengistu fled Ethiopia and military units of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front entered Addis Ababa.

Contents Edit

 [hide] 

  • 1Advances
    • 1.1Failures and collapse
  • 2Presidents
  • 3Prime Ministers
  • 4See also
  • 5References

Advances[edit] Edit

Following the demise of imperial rule, the feudal socioeconomic structure was dismantled through a series of reforms which also affected educational development. By early 1975, the government had closed Haile Selassie I University and all senior secondary schools, then deployed the approximately 60,000 students and teachers to rural areas to promote the government's "Development Through Cooperation Campaign". The campaign's purposes were to promote land reform and improve agricultural production, health, and local administration and to teach peasants about the new political and social order.[5]

Primary school enrollment increased from about 957,300 in 1974/75 to nearly 2,450,000 in 1985/86. There were still variations among regions in the number of students enrolled and a disparity in the enrollment of boys and girls. Nevertheless, while the enrollment of boys more than doubled, that of girls more than tripled. However many critics[who?] say most of the statistics provided by the PDRE are inaccurate since no neutral body or international organization was allowed to validate them and there was a political aim for the regime to appear productive in general. With most of the rebel controlled northern Ethiopia regions as well as parts of Somali and Oromo regions out of the government's control, most of its claims were not perceived to be comprehensive.[5]

The number of senior secondary schools almost doubled as well, with fourfold increases in Arsi, Bale, Gojjam, Gonder, and Wollo. The prerevolutionary distribution of schools had shown a concentration in the urban areas of a few administrative regions. In 1974/75 about 55 percent of senior secondary schools were in Eritrea and Shewa, including Addis Ababa. In 1985/86 the figure was down to 40 percent. Although there were significantly fewer girls enrolled at the secondary level, the proportion of females in the school system at all levels and in all regions increased from about 32 percent in 1974/75 to 39 percent in 1985/86.[5]

Among the PDRE's successes was the national literacy campaign. The literacy rate, under 10 percent during the imperial regime, increased to about 63 percent by 1984.[citation needed] In 1990/91 an adult literacy rate of just over 60 percent was still being reported in government as well as in some international reports. As with the 1984 data, it several wise to exercise caution with regard to the latest figure. Officials originally conducted the literacy training in five languages: Amharic, Oromo, Tigrinya, Wolaytta, and Somali. The number of languages was later expanded to fifteen, which represented about 93 percent of the population.[5]

A number of countries were generous in helping the PDRE meet its health care needs. Cuba, the Soviet Union, and a number of East European countries provided medical assistance. In early 1980, nearly 300 Cuban medical technicians, including more than 100 physicians, supported local efforts to resolve public health problems. Western aid for long-term development of Ethiopia's health sector was modest, averaging about US$10 million annually, the lowest per capita assistance in sub-Saharan Africa. The main Western donors included Italy and Sweden. The UN system led by UNDP and including such agencies as FAO, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNIDO, UNFPA and WHO, continued to extend assistance as they had to the Emperor's regime. In the early 1980s, at least one UNDP representative, a former minister in a Caribbean country, had the credibility to get access to Mengistu, and may have moderated his excesses in some instances. The World Bank also continued to provide assistance during his rule doubtless recognising the surprisingly conservative and prudent fiscal discipline the regime tried to follow.[5]

Failures and collapse[edit] Edit

Ethiopia had never recovered from the previous great famine of the early 1970s, which was the result of a drought that affected most of the countries of the African Sahel. The famine was also caused by an imbalance of population which was concentrated in the highland areas, which were free of malaria and trypanosomiasis. Both the Emperor's and Mengistu's regimes had tried to resettle people in the lowlands, but the Mengistu regime came in for heavy international criticism on the grounds that the resettlements were forced.[6]

There has been an approximately decade long cycle of recurrent droughts in this part of east Africa since earlier in the 20th century and by the late 1970s signs of intensifying drought began to appear. By the early 1980s, large numbers of people in central Eritrea, Tigray, Welo, and parts of Begemder and Shewa were beginning to feel the effects of renewed famine.[5]

A drought that began in 1969 continued as dry weather brought disaster to the Sahel and swept eastward through the Horn of Africa. By 1973 the attendant famine had threatened the lives of hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian nomads, who had to leave their home grounds and struggle into Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya, and Sudan, seeking relief from starvation. By the end of 1973, famine had claimed the lives of about 300,000 peasants of Tigray and Welo, and thousands more had sought relief in Ethiopian towns and villages.[5]

The PDRE's limited ability to lead development and to respond to crises was dramatically demonstrated by the government's reliance on foreign famine relief between 1984 and 1989. By 1983 armed conflict between the government and opposition movements in the north had combined with drought to contribute to mass starvation in Eritrea, Tigray, and Welo. Meanwhile, drought alone was having a devastating impact on an additional nine regions. This natural disaster far exceeded the drought of 1973-74, which had contributed to the downfall of Emperor Haile Selassie. By early 1985, some 7.7 million people were suffering from drought and food shortages. Of that number, 2.5 million were at immediate risk of starving.[5]

As it had in the past, in the mid-1980s the international community responded generously to Ethiopia's tragedy once the dimensions of the crisis became understood, although the FAO had been warning of food security problems for several years before the famine hit. Bilateral, multilateral, and private donations of food and other relief supplies poured into the country by late 1984. In 1987 another drought threatened 5 million people in Eritrea and Tigray. This time, however, the international community was better prepared to get food to the affected areas in time to prevent starvation and massive population movements. According to library of Congress studies, "many supporters of the Ethiopian regime opposed its policy of withholding food shipments to rebel areas. The combined effects of famine and internal war had by then put the nation's economy into a state of collapse."[5] Also according to Human Rights Watch's reports and research,[7] the counter-insurgency strategy of the PDRE

By the end of the 1980s, the Soviet Union had ramped down its support for Ethiopia. Combined with the growing trend toward greater democracy in Africa, this led the WPE to abandon its monopoly of power in 1990 and embrace a mixed economy. This move came too late to save the regime. In May 1991, with the EPRDF closing in on Addis Ababa from all sides, Mengistu fled into exile in Zimbabwe. The PDRE only survived him by a week before the rebels took the capital on May 28.

HistoryEdit

Ancient PeriodEdit

Throughout history, indigenous peoples had been interacting through population movement, warfare, trade, and intermarriage in the Horn of Africa region. The predominance of peoples spoke languages of the Afro-Asiatic family. The main branches represented were the Cushitic and the Semitic.[16] As early as the 3rd millennium BCE, the pre-Aksumites had begun trading along the Red Sea. They mainly traded with Egypt. Earlier trade expeditions were taken by foot along the Nile Valley. The Egyptians' main objective in the trade from the Arabian Peninsula region was to acquire myrrh, which the northern Horn of Africa region had in abundance (the Egyptians referred to this region as the Land of Punt).

The Kingdom of Aksum may have been founded as early as 300 BCE. Very little is known of the time period between the mid-1st millennium BCE to the beginning of Aksum's rise around the 1st century CE. Aksum is thought to be a successor kingdom of DʿMT, a kingdom in the early 1st millennium BC most likely centered at nearby Yeha.[17]

The Aksumite kingdom was located in Eritrea and in the northern Ethiopian province of Tigray. Aksum remained the capital until the 7th century. Its favorable location was near the Blue Nile basin and the Afar depression. The former is rich in gold and the latter in salt: both materials having a highly important use to the Aksumites. Aksum was accessible to the port of Adulis, Eritrea on the coast of the Red Sea. The people carried on trade relations with other nations, such as Egypt, India, and Arabia. Aksum’s "fertile" and "well-watered" location produced enough food for its population. Wild animals included elephants and rhinoceros.[18]

From its capital on the Tigray Plateau, Aksum commanded the trade of ivory with Sudan. It also dominated the trade route leading south and the port of Adulis on the Gulf of Zola. Its success depended on resourceful techniques, production of coins, steady migrations of Greco-Roman merchants, and ships landing at Adulis. In exchange for Aksum’s goods, traders bid many kinds of cloth, jewelry, metals and steel for weapons.

At its peak, Aksum controlled territories as far as southern Egypt, east to the Gulf of Aden, south to the Omo River, and west to the Nubian Kingdom of Meroë. The South Arabian kingdom of the Himyarites and also a portion of western Saudi Arabia was also under the power of Aksum. Their descendants include the present-day ethnic groups known as the Amhara, Gurage and Tigray peoples, the Biher-Tigrinya, and the Tigre of Eritrea.

Medieval PeriodEdit

Fasilides

Fasilides' Castle in Gondar, Amhara Region.

Some time in the early Middle Ages, the Amharic, Guragigna and Tigrinya languages began to replace Ge'ez, which eventually became extinct outside of religious litrugical use. Amhara warlords often competed for dominance of the realm with Tigrayan warlords. While many branches of the Imperial dynasty were from the Amharic-speaking area, a substantial number were from Tigray. The Amharas seemed to gain the upper hand with the accession of the so-called Gondar line of the Imperial dynasty in the beginning of the 17th century.

But, competition produced the semi-anarchic era of Zemene Mesafint ("Era of the Princes"), in which rival warlords fought for power and the Yejju Oromo  enderases ("regents") had effective control. The emperors were considered to be figureheads. The Tigrayans made only a brief return to the throne in the person of Yohannes IV, whose death in 1889 resulted in the power base shifting to the Amharic-speaking province of Shewa.

Some consider the Amhara to have been Ethiopia's ruling elite for centuries, represented by the line of Emperors ending in Haile Selassie I. Marcos Lemma and other scholars dispute the accuracy of such a statement, arguing that other ethnic groups have always been active in the country's politics. One possible source of confusion for this stems from the mislabeling of all Amharic-speakers as "Amhara", and the fact that many people from other ethnic groups have Amharic names. Another is the fact that most Ethiopians can trace their ancestry to multiple ethnic groups. The last self-proclaimed emperor, Haile Selassie I, identified as one of the Gurage people and his Empress, Itege Menen Asfaw of Ambassel, was of Oromo descent.[19] The expanded use of Amharic language was associated with its being the language of the court. As unrelated ethnic groups adopted its use, they were referred to under the broad category of "Amhara," no matter what their ethnic origin.

Modern PeriodEdit

After 51 years of Italian colonial rule, Eritrea was federated with Ethiopia in 1952. In 1962 Ethiopia annexed Eritrea. During the 1970s, the TPLF (Tigray People Liberation Front), representing the Tigray people, an ethnic group of Ethiopia, joined Eritreans in the war against the Derg. Eritreans achieved independence from Ethiopia on May 24, 1991 with the defeat of the Derg, and received international recognition in 1993. After the defeat of the Derg, the Tigray People's Front came to power in Ethiopia, where they continue as the dominant party in the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front.

LanguageEdit

Habesha people speak Ethiopian Semitic languages, including the classical language Ge'ez. The kingdom of DʿMT wrote proto-Ge'ez in Epigraphic South Arabian as early as the 9th century BCE; later, an independent script replaced it as early as the 5th century BCE.2

Ge'ez literature is considered to begin with the Christianization of Ethiopia and Eritrea and the civilization of Axum in the 4th century BCE during the reign of Ezana. While Ge'ez today is extinct and only used for liturgical purposes in the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, many related Ethiopian Semitic languages continue to be spoken such as Tigre, Tigrinya, Amharic, Harari, Gurage and Argobba. Some of these languages, such as Tigre, are traditionally written in the Arabic script.

ReligionEdit

ChristianityEdit

The Habesha empire centered in Axum and Adowa was part of the world in which Christianity grew. The
Ethiopian church

The Chapel of the Tablet at the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion is believed to house the original Ark of the Covenant

arrival of Christianity in Tigrayan and Eritrean lands happened about the same time that it arrived in Ireland. The Tigrayans and Eritreans, in fact, had been converted to Christianity hundreds of years before most of Europe. Many of their churches were cut into cliffs or from single blocks of stone, as they were in Turkey and in parts of Greece, where Christianity had existed from its earliest years. The church is a central feature of communities and of each family's daily life. Each community has a church with a patron saint.

Ethiopia has often been mentioned in the Bible. A well-known example of this is the story of the Ethiopian eunuch as written in Acts 8:27: "Then the angel of the Lord said to Philip, Start out and go south to the road that leads down from Jerusalem to Gaza. So he set out and was on his way when he caught sight of an Ethiopian. This man was a eunuch, a high official of the Kandake (Candace) Queen of Ethiopia(doesn't mean the present day of ethiopia) in charge of all her treasure."

The passage continues by describing how Philip helped the Ethiopian understand one passage of Isaiah that the Ethiopian was reading. After the Ethiopian received an explanation of the passage, he requested that Philip baptize him, which Philip obliged. Queen Gersamot Hendeke VII (very similar to Kandake) was the Queen of Ethiopia from the year 42 to 52. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church was founded in the 4th century by Syrian monks. Historically, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church have had strong ties with the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria appointing the archbishop for the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church. They gained independence from the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria in the 1950s, although the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church has recently reforged the link.


Ethiopian leather

This leather painting depicts Ethiopian Orthodox priests playing sistra and a drum.

A number of unique beliefs and practices distinguish Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity from other Christian groups; for example, the Ark of the Covenant is very important. Every Ethiopian church has a replica of the Ark. Also, the Ethiopian Church has a larger biblical canon than other churches.

Church services are conducted in Ge´ez, the ancient language of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Ge´ez is no longer a living language, its use now confined to religious contexts, occupying a similar place in Eritrean and Ethiopian church life to Latin in the Roman Catholic Church.

Other Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox practices include such things as fasting, prescribed prayers, and devotion to saints and angels. A child is never left alone until baptism and cleansing rituals are performed. Boys are baptized forty days after birth, whereas girls are baptized eighty days after birth.

Defrocked priests and deacons commonly function as diviners, who are the main healers. Spirit possession is common, affecting primarily women. Women are also the normal spirit mediums. A debtera is an itinerant lay priest figure trained by the Church as a scribe, cantor, and often as a folk healer, who may also function in roles comparable to a deacon or exorcist. Folklore and legends ascribe the role of magician to the debtera as well.

A number of Ethiopian Christians adhere to various forms of Pentecostalism or Anabaptism, collectively referred to as P'ent'ay.

Similarities to Judaism and IslamEdit

The Ethiopian church places a heavier emphasis on Old Testament teachings than one might find in the Roman Catholic or Protestant churches, and its followers adhere to certain practices that one finds in Orthodox or Conservative Judaism. [20]Ethiopian Christians, like some other Eastern Christians, traditionally follow dietary rules that are similar to Jewish Kashrut, specifically with regard to how an animal is slaughtered. Similarly, pork is prohibited, though unlike Kashrut, Ethiopian cuisine does mix dairy products with meat- which in turn makes it even closer to Islamic dietary laws (see Halal). Women are prohibited from entering the church during their menses; they are also expected to cover their hair with a large scarf (or shash) while in church, but contrary to popular belief and the actual practice of most other Christian denominations, it is not in the Old Testament that this is commanded, but rather in the New (1 Cor. 11). As with Orthodox synagogues, men and women are seated separately in the Ethiopian church, with men on the left and women on the right (when facing the altar). However, women covering their heads and separation of the sexes in the Church building officially is common to many Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Christians and not unique to Judaism. Ethiopian Orthodox worshippers remove their shoes when entering a church, in accordance with Exodus 3:5 (in which Moses, while viewing the burning bush, is commanded to remove his shoes while standing on holy ground). Furthermore, both the Sabbath (Saturday), and the Lord's Day (Sunday) are observed as holy, although more emphasis, because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, is laid upon the Holy Sunday.

IslamEdit

Harar mosque

Mosque in Harar

Islam in Ethiopia dates to 615. During that year, a group of Muslims were counseled by the Prophet Muhammad to escape persecution in Mecca and migrate to Abyssinia, which was ruled by, in Muhammad's estimation, a pious Christian king (al-najashi). Muhammad's followers crossed the Red Sea and sought refuge in the Kingdom of Aksum, possibly settling at Negash, a place in present-day Northern Ethiopia, Tigray Region. Moreover, Islamic tradition states that Bilal, one of the foremost companions of Muhammad, was from Ethiopia, as were many non-Arab Companions of Muhammad - in fact, Ethiopians were the single largest non-Arab ethnic group who were Muhammad's companions. Among these was Umm Ayman who was the care-taker of the Prophet Muhammad during his infancy, a woman that he referred to as "mother".[citation needed] Ethiopia was thus the earliest home outside of Arabia for the dispersal of the Islamic world faith. Ethiopia is almost evenly split between Orthodox Christians and Sunni Muslims.

Most of Ethiopia and Eritrea's Muslims are Sunni Muslims and much as in the rest of the Muslim world, the beliefs and practices of the Muslims of Ethiopia and Eritrea are basically the same: embodied in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. There are also Sufi orders present in Ethiopia. According to the 1994 census of Ethiopia (with similar numbers for the 1984 census), about half of its population is adherent of Islam and members of the Muslim community can be found throughout the country. Islam in Ethiopia is the predominant religion in the regions of Wollo, Ogaden, [Afar, Berta, Gurage, and the section of Oromia east of the Great Rift Valley, as well as in Jimma. Islam in Eritrea is the predominant religion of all the ethnic groups except for the Tigray-Tigrinya people, the Bilen people, and the Kunama people.

The most important Islamic religious practices, such as the daily ritual prayers (ṣalāt) and fasting (Arabic: صوم) ṣawm, (Amharic: ጾም ṣom) - used by local Christians as well) during the holy month of Ramadan, are observed both in urban centers as well as in rural areas, among both settled peoples and nomads. Numerous Ethiopian Muslims perform the pilgrimage to Mecca every year.

JudaismEdit

Judaism in Ethiopia is believed to date from very ancient times. Precisely what its early history was, however, remains obscure. The now dominant Coptic Ethiopian Church claims it originated from the visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon back in the 10th century BCE. This visit is mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures (I Kings 10:1), Sheba was a kingdom that stretched from Ethiopia to the south of the Yemen. Yemen is very close to Ethiopia across the Red Sea, and it has been recorded that modern Ethiopia has been heavily influenced by the ancient Sabean kingdom. Moreover, the details of the queen's visit, including the allege
Ethiopian jews

Ethiopian Jews

d theft of the Holy Ark as well as Solomon getting her pregnant with a child who established the "Solomonic" lineage in Ethiopia, as given in Christian Ethiopian tradition, were written in the Kebra Nagast the Ethiopian chronicle of its early history. The oldest known existing copies of the book date from as far back as 13th century. Jewish Ethiopians are mentioned in both the Torah Old Testament as well as the Christian New Testament. It is clear that the Jewish presence in Ethiopia dates back at least 2500 years.

The Jewish Pre-settlement Theory essentially states that starting around the 8th century BCE until about the 5th century BCE, there was an influx of Jewish settlers both from Egypt & Sudan in the north, and southern Arabia in the east.[citation needed] Whether these settlers arrived in great numbers is yet a matter of debate. What is certain, however, is that these settlers must have preceded the arrival of Christianity. Evidence for their presence exists not only in historical books, but also in material artifacts depicting ancient Jewish ceremonies. For instance the temple at Yeha (in Tigray province), which is said to have been erected in the 8th century BCE, is believed to be an architectural copy of other Jewish temples found in Israel and Egypt during the pre-Babylonian era (before 606 BCE).[citation needed] Another example is found on the monastery islands of Lake Tana (northern Gojjam), where several archaic stone altars, fashioned in the manner of Jewish sacrificial altars of pre-8th century BCE Israel, have been found not only preserved in good condition but also containing blood residue.[citation needed] The manner of the blood placed on the stone altars was found to be typical of a culture that strongly adhered to Mosaic Law.[citation needed]

The chief Semitic languages of Ethiopia also suggest an antiquity of Judaism in Ethiopia. "There still remains the curious circumstance that a number of Abyssinian words connected with religion -- Hell, idol, Easter, purification, alms -- are of Hebrew origin. These words must have been derived directly from a Jewish source, for the Abyssinian Church knows the scriptures only in a Ge'ez version made from the Septuagint"[21]

Beta Israel traditions claim that the Ethiopian Jews are descended from the lineage of Moses himself. Although the wife of Moses, Zipporah (Hebrew: צִפוֹרָה) is a Midianite (Arab), Numbers 12:1 gives a contrevoursial reference to her as a Cushite.  some of whose children and relatives are said to have separated from the other Children of Israel after the Exodus and gone southwards, or, alternatively or together with this, that they are descended from the tribe of Dan, which fled southwards down the Arabian coastal lands from Judaea at the time of the breakup of the Kingdom of Israel into two kingdoms in the 10th century BCE. (precipitated by the oppressive demands of Rehoboam, King Solomon's heir), or at the time of the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel in the 8th century BCE. Certainly there was trade as early as the time of King Solomon down along the Red Sea to the Yemen and even as far as India, according to the Bible, and there would therefore have been Jewish settlements at various points along the trade routes. There is definite archaeological evidence of Jewish settlements and of their cultural influence on both sides of the Red Sea well at least 2,500 years ago, both along the Arabian coast and in the Yemen, on the eastern side, and along the southern Egyptian and Sudanese coastal regions.

CuisineEdit

Ethiopian CuisineEdit

Ethiopian cuisine, characteristically consists of vegetable and often very spicy meat dishes, usually in the form of
Habesha woman filling coffee cups

Woman coffee farmer filling cups with coffee in Ethiopia

wat (also w'et or wot), a thick stew, served atop injera, a large sourdough flatbread,[22] which is about 50 cm in diameter and made out of fermented teff flour.[22] Ethiopians eat exclusively with their right hands, using pieces of injera to pick up bites of entrées and side dishes.[22] Utensils are rarely used with Ethiopian cuisine.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church prescribes a number of fasting periods, including Wednesdays, Fridays, and the entire Lenten season; so Ethiopian cuisine contains many dishes that are vegan.[23]

Eritrean CuisineEdit

Wat

Typical serving of wat

The main traditional food in Eritrean cuisine is
Kitcha

Fit-fit, or chechebsa, made with kitcha (unleavened bread), niter kibbeh (seasoned clarified butter) and berbere spice mixture is a typical breakfast food in Ethiopia and Eritrea

tsebhi (stew), served with injera, and hilbet (paste made from legumes; mainly lentil and faba beans). Eritrean and Ethiopian cuisine (especially in the northern half) are very similar, given the shared history of the two countries.

Eritrean cuisine strongly resembles those of neighboring Ethiopia and Somalia, except for the fact that Eritrean and Somali cooking tend to feature more seafood than Ethiopian cuisine on account of their coastal locations. A typical dish consists of injera accompanied by a spicy stew, which frequently includes beef, kid, lamb or fish. Eritrean dishes are also frequently "lighter" in texture than Ethiopian meals. They likewise tend to employ less seasoned butter and spices and more tomatoes, as in the tsebhi dorho delicacy. Additionally, owing to its colonial history, cuisine in Eritrea features more Ottoman and Italian influences than are present in Ethiopian cooking, including more pasta specials and greater use of curry powders and cumin. People in Eritrea likewise tend to drink coffee, whereas sweetened tea is preferred in Somalia. Christian Eritreans also drink sowa (a bitter fermented barley) and mies (a fermented honey beverage), while Muslim Eritreans abstain from drinking alcohol.

Notable Abyssinians or People of Abyssinian OriginEdit

Queen of Sheba
מלכת שבא
Queen of Sheba
An un-named monarch who ruled the Kingdom of Saba (Sheba according to Biblical sources) of some prominence who made the famous visit to King Solomon documented in Biblical sources. Her true ancestry is in debate between historians from Ethiopia and Yemen. Ethiopians, who call her Makeda claim that she was a native Cushite from Ethiopia while Arab and Islamic sources argue that she was a native South Arabian from Yemen. She could possibely be of mixed origin, as evidence exists for both claims.
Ezana
ዔዛና
Ezana coin

Ruler of the Axumite Kingdom (320s – c.360AD) located in present-day Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yemen, southern Saudi Arabia, northern Somalia, Djibouti, northern Sudan, and southern Egypt; he himself employed the style (official title) "king of Saba and Salhen, Himyar and Dhu-Raydan". Tradition states that Ezana succeeded his father Ella Amida (Ousanas) while still a child and his mother, Sofya served as regent.

Bilal ibn Rabah
بلال بن رباح
Bilal
A companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad who is the considered he first to call collective people to prayer. He was known for his beautiful voice and became the first muezzin. He was born a slave in Mecca of Ethiopian and Arab descent, his mother was a former Abyssinian princess who was captured in war and enslaved and his father was an Arab slave. He was considered one of the most trustable companions of Muhammad and remembered for his contribution to the religion of Islam.
Menelik II
ምኒልክ
Menelik II

Emperor of Ethiopia from 1889 to his death. At the height of his internal power and external prestige, the process of territorial expansion and creation of the modern empire-state had been completed by 1898. After defeating the Italians (which gained him his fame), he became the first black African king in modern history to engage in slavery of white European war captives held as slaves inside Ethiopia.|-

Lebna Dengel
ልብነ ድንግል
Dawit

Also known by Dawit II and Wanag Segad, was nəgusä nägäst (emperor) (1508–1540) of Ethiopia. A member of the Solomonic dynasty, he was the son of Emperor Na'od and Queen Na'od Mogasa. The important victory over Adal leader Mahfuz may have given Dawit the title "Wanag Segad", which is a combination of Ge'ez and Harari terms

Haile Selassie
ቀዳማዊ ኃይለ ሥላሴ
Haile

Ethiopia's regent from 1916 to 1930 and Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. He was the heir to a dynasty that traced its origins by tradition from King Solomon and Queen Makeda, Empress of Axum, known in the Abrahamic tradition as the Queen of Sheba. Haile Selassie is a defining figure in both Ethiopian and African history. Among the Rastafari movement, whose followers are estimated at between 200,000 and 800,000, Haile Selassie is revered as the returned messiah of the Bible, God incarnate

Zewditu I
ዘውዲቱ
Zewditu

Empress of Ethiopia from 1916 to 1930. The first female head of an internationally recognized state in Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries, her reign was noted for the reforms of Tafari Makonnen (later Emperor Haile Selassie I) and for her strong religious devotion.

Isaias Afwerki
ኢሳያስ ኣፍወርቂ
Afewerki

The first President of the State of Eritrea, a position he has held since its independence in 1993. He led the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) to victory in May 1991, thus ending the 30-year-old armed liberation struggle that the Eritrean people refer to as "Gedli".

Meles Zenawi
መለስ ዜናዊ አስረስ
Meles

Prime Minister of Ethiopia from 1995 until his death in 2012. From 1989, he was the chairman of the Tigrayan Peoples' Liberation Front (TPLF), and the head of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) since its formation in 1991. Before becoming a prime minister in 1995, he had served the president of the transitional government of Ethiopia from 1991 to 1995.

Liya Kebede
ሊያ ከበደ
Kebede

An Ethiopian born model, maternal health advocate, clothing designer and actress who has appeared three times on the cover of US Vogue. According to Forbes, Kebede was the eleventh-highest-paid top model in the world in 2007. Since 2005, Kebede has served as the WHO's Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

Tekle Haymanot
ተክለ፡ ሃይማኖት
Tekle

An Ethiopian monk who founded a major monastery in his native province of Shewa. He is significant for being the only Ethiopian saint popular both amongst Ethiopians and outside that country. According to Tesfaye Gebre Mariam, Tekle Haymanot "is the only Ethiopian saint celebrated officially in foreign churches such as Rome and Egypt." His feast day is August 17, and the 24th day of every month in the Ethiopian calendar is dedicated to Tekle Haymanot.

Pnina Tamano-Shata
פנינה תמנו-שטה
Prina

An Israeli lawyer, journalist and politician. A member of Yesh Atid, she was placed fourteenth on the party's list for the 2013 Knesset elections. As the party won 19 seats, she became the first Ethiopian-born woman to hold a Knesset seat. She is from the Bete Israel, Ethiopian Jews who claim in lost lineage from the ten tribes of northern Israel.

Abram Gannibal
Абра́м Ганниба́л
Abram Gannibal

Also known by Gannibal or Abram Petrov, an Imperial Russian general, military engineer, governor of Reval and nobleman of the Russian Empire. He was brought as an African slave of Eritrean descent and gift to Peter the Great in Russia. He is perhaps best known today as the great-grandfather of Alexander Pushkin, who wrote an unfinished novel about him, Peter the Great's Negro.

SourcesEdit

  1. Compound from the Ethiopian Semitic languages speakers and Central Cushitic languages speakers
  2. Ethiopian Population In Israel
  3. Miran, Jonathan (2009). Red Sea Citizens: Cosmopolitan Society and Cultural Change in Massawa. Indiana University Press. p. 282. ISBN 9780253220790. http://books.google.com/books?id=PMFVeWTWF0YC&lpg=PA282&pg=PA282#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved 2013-01-31.
  4. "About Us". Abesha.com. Archived from the original on 2007-08-06. http://web.archive.org/web/20070806011125/http://www.abesha.com/basic/AboutUsP.html. Retrieved 2007-08-22. "The name of this web page was chosen due to our desire to select a neutral and commonly shared term of reference for both Ethiopians and Eritreans. Since the site's inception, however, we have learned that many in Ethiopia do not associate with the term 'Habesha', as it excludes groups such as the Oromo, the Somali, and the many Southern Nationalities And Peoples. We have also learned that there are a number of Eritreans who do not refer to themselves as 'Habesha' such as Rashaidas, Kunamas and others."[better source needed]
  5. http://esango.un.org/civilsociety/showProfileDetail.do?method=showProfileDetails&profileCode=667518
  6. https://www.instagram.com/habesha_union/?hl=en
  7. https://habeshaunion.blogspot.com/
  8. https://www.instagram.com/habesha_union/?hl=en
  9. https://habeshaunion.blogspot.com/
  10. http://esango.un.org/civilsociety/showProfileDetail.do?method=showProfileDetails&profileCode=667518
  11. [1]
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Herausgegeben von Uhlig, Siegbert, Encyclopaedia Aethiopica: D-Ha. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2005. pp. 948.
  13. Munro-Hay, Stuart (1991). Aksum: A Civilization of Late Antiquity. Edinburgh University Press. p. 39. ISBN 0748601066.
  14. Munro-Hay, Aksum, p. 66.
  15. Munro-Hay, Aksum, p. 19.
  16. Munro-Hay, Aksum, p. 62
  17. Munro-Hay, Aksum, p. 4
  18. Pankhurst 1998, 22-3
  19. Emperor Haile Selassie I, Part 1, Official Ethiopian Monarchy Website.
  20. http://www.kebranegast.com Kebra Negast
  21. Monroe, Elizabeth (2001). The History of Ethiopia. London: Simon Publications. p. 40. ISBN 1-931541-62-0.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Javins, Marie. "Eating and Drinking in Ethiopia." Gonomad.com. Accessed July 2011.
  23. Paul B. Henze, Layers of Time: A history of Ethiopia (New York: Palgrove, 2000), p. 12 and note
  1. Author Jonathan Miran defines habesha as "'Abyssinian,' a common appellation of the Semitic-speaking people inhabiting the highlands of Ethiopia or Eritrea."[3]