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Eritrea (/ˌɛrɪˈtr.ə, -ˈtrə/; (About this soundlisten)), officially the State of Eritrea 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 toponym Eritrea 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.

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The Eritrean–Ethiopian War took place from May 1998 to June 2000 between Ethiopia and Eritrea, forming one of the conflicts in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea and Ethiopia — two of the world's poorest countries — spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the war, and suffered tens of thousands of casualties as a direct consequence of the conflict, which resulted in minor border changes.

According to a ruling by an international commission in The Hague, Eritrea broke international law and triggered the war by invading Ethiopia.

At the end of the war Ethiopia held all of the disputed territory and had advanced into Eritrea. After the war ended Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission, a body founded by the UN, established that Badme, the disputed territory at the heart of the conflict, belongs to Eritrea. As of 2009, Ethiopia still occupies the territory. (Read more...)

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Credit: Charles Fred

A group of men in Agordat, Eritrea.

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Isaias Afwerki in 2002.jpg

Isaias Afwerki (Tigrinya: ኢሳይያስ ኣፈወርቂ) is the first and current President of Eritrea, attaining that status after Eritrean independence from Ethiopia in 1993. Prior to that, he was the leader of the Eritrean People's Liberation Front, an armed movement determined to secure Eritrean independence.

He joined the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) in 1966 and in the following year he was sent to China to receive military training. He never spoke about his private life as discretion is an Eritrean's treasured culture. During which bitter power struggle erupted between Christian highlanders and Muslim low land settlers supported by the petrodollar from across the red sea. Four years later he was appointed a commander. Eventually he split from ELF (Eritrean Liberation Front) and joined a small group of combatants which became known as the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF). He next allied himself with other two groups that had splintered from the ELF earlier : PLF1, led by Osman Saleh Sabbe, and a group known as Obel. In 1976 he split from Sabbe's group after the latter signed a unity agreement with the ELF (the Khartoum Agreement)

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