The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (Ityop'iya, Amharic ኢትዮጵያ) is a country situated in the Horn of Africa. It has one of the most extensive known histories as an independent nation on the continent. Unique among African countries, Ethiopia maintained independence during the Scramble for Africa, and continued to do so until 1936, when the Italian army invaded the country. British and Ethiopian troops defeated the Italians in 1941, and Ethiopia regained its sovereignty upon the signing of the Anglo-Ethiopian Agreement in December 1944.
|National motto: —|
|Prime Minister||Meles Zenawi|
- % water
| Ranked 26th |
| Ranked 16th|
|Independence||December 1944 (from the British) |
|Time zone||UTC +3|
|National anthem||Whedefit Gesgeshi Woude Henate Ethiopia (March Forward, Dear Mother Ethiopia)|
Table of contents
Main article: History of Ethiopia
In 1974, a pro-Soviet Marxist-Leninist military junta, the Derg, deposed Emperor Haile Selassie, who had ruled since 1930, and established a one-party socialist state. The ensuing regime suffered several bloody coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought, and massive refugee problem. It was eventually defeated in 1991 by the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a coalition of rebel forces. In 1993, the Province of Eritrea became independent from Ethiopia in an amicable separation following a referendum. In 1994, a constitution was adopted leading to Ethiopia's first multiparty elections in the following year. In May 1998, a dispute over the undemarcated border with Eritrea led to the Ethiopia-Eritrea War that lasted until June 2000. This has hurt the nation's economy but strengthened the ruling coalition.
- See also: Rulers and Heads of State of Ethiopia
|Politics 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, ensuring 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.
The Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was installed in August 1995. The first President was Negasso Gidada. The EPRDF-led government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has promoted a policy of ethnic federalism, devolving significant powers to regional, ethnically-based authorities. Ethiopia today has 9 semi-autonomous administrative regions that have the power to raise and spend their own revenues. Under the present government, Ethiopians enjoy greater political participation and freer debate than ever before in their history, although some fundamental freedoms, including freedom of the press, are, in practice, somewhat circumscribed.
Zenawi's government was re-elected in 2000 in Ethiopia's first multi-party elections. The incumbent President is Girma Wolde-Giorgis.
Ethiopia remains one of Africa's poorest states: many Ethiopians rely on food aid from abroad. Since 1991, Ethiopia has established warm relations with the United States and western Europe and has sought substantial economic aid from Western countries and World Bank. In 2004, the government began a drive to move more than two million people away from the arid highlands of the east, proposing that these resettlements would reduce food shortages .
See also:Foreign relations of Ethiopia
Main article: Regions of Ethiopia
Ethiopia is divided into 9 ethnically-based administrative regions (kililoch; singular – kilil):
- Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region, and
Main article: Geography of Ethiopia
Ethiopia is 1,127,127 km² in size, and is the major portion of the Horn of Africa, which is the eastern-most part of the African landmass. Within Ethiopia is a massive highland complex of mountains and dissected plateaus divided by the Great Rift Valley, which runs generally southwest to northeast and is surrounded by lowlands, steppes, or semidesert. The great diversity of terrain determines wide variations in climate, soils, natural vegetation, and settlement patterns. Elevation and geographic location produce three climatic zones: the cool zone above 2,400 meters where temperatures range from near freezing to 16°C; the temperate zone at elevations of 1,500 to 2,400 meters with temperatures from 16°C to 30°C; and the hot zone below 1,500 meters with both tropical and arid conditions and daytime temperatures ranging from 27°C to 50°C. The normal rainy season is from mid-June to mid-September (longer in the southern highlands) preceded by intermittent showers from February or March; the remainder of year generally dry.
Ethiopia is an ecologically diverse country. Lake Tana in the north is the source of the Blue Nile. It also has a large number of endemic species, notably the Gelada Baboon and the Ethiopian wolf (or Simien fox).
Main article: Economy of Ethiopia
After the 1974 revolution, the economy of Ethiopia was run as a socialist economy: strong state controls were implemented, and a large part of the economy was transferred to the public sector, including most modern industry and large-scale commercial agriculture, all agricultural land and urban rental property, and all financial institutions. Since mid-1991, the economy has evolved toward a decentralized, market-oriented economy, emphasizing individual initiative, designed to reverse a decade of economic decline. In 1993, gradual privatization of business, industry, banking, agriculture, trade, and commerce was underway.
Agriculture accounts for approximately 40 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), 80 percent of exports, and 80 percent of the labor force. Many other economic activities depend on agriculture, including marketing, processing, and export of agricultural products. Production is overwhelmingly of a subsistence nature, and a large part of commodity exports are provided by the small agricultural cash-crop sector. Principal crops include coffee, pulses (e.g., beans), oilseeds, cereals, potatoes, sugarcane, and vegetables. Exports are almost entirely agricultural commodities, coffee is the largest foreign exchange earner. Ethiopia's livestock population is believed to be the largest in Africa, and as of 1987 accounted for about 15 percent of the GDP.
Main article: Demographics of Ethiopia
The Axumite Kingdom was one of the first nations to officially adopt Christianity, when St. Frumentius of Tyre converted Ezana of Axum during the fourth century CE. Islam in Ethiopia dates back almost to the founding of the religion; Islamic tradition states that Bilal was from present-day Ethiopia. A small group of Jews, the Beta Israel, lived in Ethiopia for centuries, though most emigrated to Israel in the last decades of the 20th century. There are numerous indigenous African religions in Ethiopia.
Ethopia has many indigenous languages.
Main article: Culture of Ethiopia
In April 2005, the Axum obelisk, one of Ethiopia's religous and historical treasures, was returned to Ethiopia by Italy . Italian troops seized the obelisk in 1937 and took it to Rome. Italy agreed to return the obelisk in 1947.
|Date||English name||Local name||Remarks|
|January 7||Orthodox Christmas Day||Genna|
|January 19||Feast of Epiphany||Timket|
|February 2||Feast of the Sacrifice||Eid ul-Adha||varies; this date is for 2005|
|March 2||Adwa Day||Y'adowa B'al|
|April 21||Birthday of The Prophet Muhammad||Mawlid||varies; this date is for 2005|
|April 29||Orthodox Good Friday||Sikilet (Crucifixion)||varies; this date is for 2005|
|May 1||Orthodox Easter||Fasika||varies; this date is for 2005|
|May 2||Easter Monday (public holiday)||varies; this date is for 2005|
|May 5||Patriots' Day||Arbegnoch Qen|
|May 28||National Day||End of Derg Regime|
|September 11||Ethiopian New Year||Enkutatash|
|September 27||Finding of the True Cross||Meskel|
|November 3||End of Ramadan||Eid ul-Fitr||varies; this date is for 2005|
- http://www.ethiosearch.com Ethiopian search engine and web directory in Amharic and English with daily news, restaurant reviews, and more..
- http://www.amharicsoftwares.com Amharic software store – download free Unicode standard Geez software
- Nazret.com Ethiopian News Portal, Discussion Forum, Web Directory and Blog.
- University of Pennsylvania African Studies Center – Ethiopia page.
- Ethio Networks – Websites in Amharic (Ethiopian official language)
- Ethiopia at The Index on Africa – Ethiopia pages in the Index on Africa, the number 1 Gateway to Africa on the Web.
- Addis Tribune – Newspaper with a weekly online edition.
- Walta Information Center – News and information service.
- http://www.helmmagazine.com/ Helm Magazine – publication showcasing art, culture, fashion and talent from Ethiopia
- Ethiopundit – "Eclectic Ethiopian & Ethio-American Commentary"
- This article incorporates public domain text from the Library of Congress Country Studies.
- Pankhurst, Dr. Richard. "History of Northern Ethiopia – and the Establishment of the Italian Colony or Eritrea." Civic Webs Virtual Library. Accessed on March 25, 2005.
- This article incorporates information from The World Factbook, which is in the public domain.
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