Portal:Ethiopia

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The Ethiopia Portal

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Ethiopia /ˌθiˈpiə/ (Ge'ez: ኢትዮጵያ ʾĪtyōṗṗyā), a landlocked state in the Horn of Africa, is one of the most ancient countries in the world. Officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, it is the second most populous nation in Africa with over 80.2 million people and the tenth largest by area. The capital is Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is bordered by Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Kenya to the south, Eritrea to the north and Sudan to the west.

Though most African countries are far less than a century old, Ethiopia has been an independent country since ancient times. A monarchical state for most of its history, the Ethiopian dynasty traces its roots to the 10th century BC. Besides being an ancient country, Ethiopia is one of the oldest sites of human existence known to scientists today—having yielded some of humanity's oldest traces, it might be the place where Homo sapiens first set out for the Middle East and points beyond. When Africa was divided up by European powers at the Berlin Conference, Ethiopia was one of only two countries that retained its independence. It was one of only three African members of the League of Nations, and after a brief period of Italian occupation, Ethiopia became a charter member of the United Nations. When other African nations received their independence following World War II, many of them adopted the colors of Ethiopia's flag, and Addis Ababa became the location of several international organizations focused on Africa.

The Modern Ethiopian state, and its current borders, are a result of significant territorial reduction in the north and expansion in the south, toward its present borders, owing to several migrations and commercial integration as well as conquests, particularly by Emperor Menelik II and Ras Gobena. In 1974, the dynasty led by Haile Selassie was overthrown as civil wars intensified. Since then, Ethiopia has been a secular state with a variety of governmental systems. Today, Addis Ababa is still the site of the headquarters of the African Union and UNECA. The country has one of the most powerful militaries in Africa. Ethiopia is the only African country with its own alphabet. Ethiopia also has its own time system and unique calendar, seven to eight years behind the Gregorian Calendar. It has the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Africa.

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Crater Lake
Credit: Hansueli Krapf

Crater Lake, Debre Zeyt, Ethiopia

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035 ONLF rebellion.JPG

The insurgency in Ogaden, waged by the separatist Ogaden National Liberation Front rebel group in Ethiopia's Somali region, began in 1995 and is ongoing. "The group's aims have varied over time from increased autonomy in Ethiopia to outright independence to joining a 'Greater Somalia'."[1] "[T]"he long-running conflict has been largely invisible [to the outside world] as Addis Ababa has restricted access to the region."[1]

The low-level guerrilla campaign was continuing, generally neglected by foreign media, until several high-profile ONLF attacks in the region in 2007, including the attack on the Chinese oil site at Abole and the attacks on Jigjiga and Dhagahbur. In response, Ethiopia launched a military crackdown in June 2007 in order to root out the rebels. The offensive was accompanied by high criticism and allegations of serious human rights abuses. The offensive was also allegedly linked to Ethiopia's involvement in Somalia. "One motive for Ethiopia's ouster of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) in December 2006 may have been to cut the links between the ONLF, the ruling Islamic Courts and Eritrea, including arms and logistical supply lines from Eritrea and Somalia to the ONLF in Ethiopia's eastern region."[2] (Read more...)

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Blue Nile Falls Ethiopia.jpg
Credit: Jialiang Gao

The Blue Nile Falls fed by Lake Tana near the city of Bahar Dar, Ethiopia forms the upstream of the Blue Nile.

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edit Amda Seyon (also Amde Tsiyon and other variants, Ge'ez ዐምደ ፡ ጽዮን ʿamda ṣiyōn, Amharic āmde ṣiyōn, "Pillar of Zion") was Emperor of Ethiopia (1314–1344; throne name Gebre Mesqel Ge'ez ገብረ ፡ መስቀል gabra masḳal, Amh. gebre mesḳel, "slave of the cross"), and a member of the Solomonic dynasty. According to the British expert on Ethiopia, Edward Ullendorff, "Amde Tseyon was one of the most outstanding Ethiopian kings of any age and a singular figure dominating the Horn of Africa in the fourteenth century." His conquests of Muslim borderlands greatly expanded Ethiopian territory and power in the region, maintained for centuries after his death. Amda Seyon asserted the strength of the newly (1270) installed Solomonic dynasty and therefore legitimized it. These expansions further provided for the spread of Christianity to frontier areas, sparking a long era of proselytization, Christianization, and integration of previously peripheral areas.

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  1. ^ a b Unrest Simmers In Ethiopia's Ogaden, Aljazeera English, April 15, 2008
  2. ^ [1]