/ee'thee oh"pee euh/, n.
1. Formerly, Abyssinia. a republic in E Africa: formerly a monarchy. 58,732,577; 409,266 sq. mi. (1,060,000 sq. km). Present boundaries include Eritrea. Cap.: Addis Ababa.
2. Also called Abyssinia. an ancient region in NE Africa, bordering on Egypt and the Red Sea.

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Introduction Ethiopia -
Background: Unique among African countries, the ancient Ethiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule, one exception being the Italian occupation of 1936-41. In 1974 a military junta, the Derg, deposed Emperor Haile SELASSIE (who had ruled since 1930) and established a socialist state. Torn by bloody coups, uprisings, wide- scale drought, and massive refugee problems, the regime was finally toppled by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), in 1991. A constitution was adopted in 1994 and Ethiopia's first multiparty elections were held in 1995. A two and a half year border war with Eritrea ended with a peace treaty on 12 December 2000. Geography Ethiopia
Location: Eastern Africa, west of Somalia
Geographic coordinates: 8 00 N, 38 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 1,127,127 sq km water: 7,444 sq km land: 1,119,683 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Land boundaries: total: 5,328 km border countries: Djibouti 349 km, Eritrea 912 km, Kenya 861 km, Somalia 1,600 km, Sudan 1,606 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: tropical monsoon with wide topographic-induced variation
Terrain: high plateau with central mountain range divided by Great Rift Valley
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Denakil Depression - 125 m highest point: Ras Dejen 4,620 m
Natural resources: small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash, natural gas, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 9.9% permanent crops: 0.65% other: 89.45% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 1,900 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: geologically active Great Rift Valley susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; frequent droughts Environment - current issues: deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water shortages in some areas from water- intensive farming and poor management Environment - international party to: Biodiversity, Climate
agreements: Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban
Geography - note: landlocked - entire coastline along the Red Sea was lost with the de jure independence of Eritrea on 24 May 1993; the Blue Nile, the chief headstream of the Nile, rises in T'ana Hayk (Lake Tana) in northwest Ethiopia People Ethiopia -
Population: 67,673,031 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 47.2% (male 16,098,191; female 15,879,065) 15-64 years: 50% (male 17,005,387; female 16,801,536) 65 years and over: 2.8% (male 854,023; female 1,034,829) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.64% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 44.31 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 18.04 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.11 migrant(s)/1,000 population note: repatriation of Ethiopians who fled to Sudan for refuge from war and famine in earlier years is expected to continue for several years; some Sudanese and Somali refugees, who fled to Ethiopia from the fighting or famine in their own countries, continue to return to their homes (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/ female total population: 1.01 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 98.63 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 44.21 years female: 45.09 years (2002 est.) male: 43.36 years
Total fertility rate: 6.94 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 10.63% (1999 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ 3 million (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 280,000 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun: Ethiopian(s) adjective: Ethiopian
Ethnic groups: Oromo 40%, Amhara and Tigre 32%, Sidamo 9%, Shankella 6%, Somali 6%, Afar 4%, Gurage 2%, other 1%
Religions: Muslim 45%-50%, Ethiopian Orthodox 35%-40%, animist 12%, other 3%-8%
Languages: Amharic, Tigrinya, Oromigna, Guaragigna, Somali, Arabic, other local languages, English (major foreign language taught in schools)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 35.5% male: 45.5% female: 25.3% (1995 est.) Government Ethiopia -
Country name: conventional long form: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia conventional short form: Ethiopia local short form: Ityop'iya former: Abyssinia, Italian East Africa local long form: Ityop'iya Federalawi Demokrasiyawi Ripeblik abbreviation: FDRE
Government type: federal republic
Capital: Addis Ababa Administrative divisions: 9 ethnically-based states (kililoch, singular - kilil) and 2 self- governing administrations* (astedaderoch, singular - astedader); Adis Abeba* (Addis Ababa), Afar, Amara, Binshangul Gumuz, Dire Dawa*, Gambela Hizboch, Hareri Hizb, Oromiya, Sumale (Somali), Tigray, YeDebub Biheroch Bihereseboch na Hizboch (Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region)
Independence: oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world - at least 2,000 years
National holiday: National Day (defeat of MENGISTU regime), 28 May (1991)
Constitution: ratified December 1994; effective 22 August 1995
Legal system: currently transitional mix of national and regional courts
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President GIRMA Woldegiorgis (since 8 October 2001) head of government: Prime Minister MELES Zenawi (since NA August 1995) cabinet: Council of Ministers as provided for in the December 1994 constitution; ministers are selected by the prime minister and approved by the House of People's Representatives elections: president elected by the House of People's Representatives for a six-year term; election last held 8 October 2001 (next to be held NA October 2007); prime minister designated by the party in power following legislative elections election results: GIRMA Woldegiorgis elected president; percent of vote by the House of People's Representatives - 100%
Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of the House of Federation or upper chamber (108 seats; members are chosen by state assemblies to serve five-year terms) and the House of People's Representatives or lower chamber (548 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote from single- member districts to serve five-year terms) elections: last held 14 May 2000 (next to be held NA May 2005) note: irregularities and violence at a number of polling stations necessitated the rescheduling of voting in certain constituencies; voting postponed in Somali regional state because of severe drought election results: percent of vote - NA%; seats - OPDO 177, ANDM 134, TPLF 38, WGGPDO 27, EPRDF 19, SPDO 18, GNDM 15, KSPDO 10, ANDP 8, GPRDF 7, SOPDM 7, BGPDUF 6, BMPDO 5, KAT 4, other regional political groupings 22, independents 8; note - 43 seats unconfirmed
Judicial branch: Federal Supreme Court (the president and vice president of the Federal Supreme Court are recommended by the prime minister and appointed by the House of People's Representatives; for other federal judges, the prime minister submits to the House of People's Representatives for appointment candidates selected by the Federal Judicial Administrative Council) Political parties and leaders: Afar National Democratic Party or ANDP [leader NA]; All-Amhara People's Organization or AAPO [HAILU Shawel]; Amhara National Democratic Movement or ANDM [ADDISU Legesse]; Bench Madji People's Democratic Organization or BMPDO [leader NA]; Benishangul Gumuz People's Democratic Unity Front or BGPDUF [leader NA]; Ethiopian Democratic Party or EDP [ADMASSU Gebeyehu]; Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front or EPRDF [MELES Zenawi] (an alliance of ANDM, OPDO, SEPDF, and TPLF); Gedeyo People's Revolutionary Democratic Fund or GPRDF [leader NA]; Gurage Nationalities' Democratic Movement orGNDM [leader NA]; Kafa Shaka People's Democratic Organization or KSPDO [leader NA]; Kembata, Alabaa and Tembaro or KAT [leader NA]; Oromo Liberation Front or OLF [DAOUD Ibsa Gudina]; Oromo National Congress or ONC [MERERA Gudina]; Oromo People's Democratic Organization or OPDO [JUNEDI Sado]; Sidamo People's Democratic Organization or SPDO [leader NA]; South Ethiopia People's Democratic Front or SEPDF [KASSU Yilala]; South Omo People's Democratic Movement or SOPDM [leader NA]; Tigrayan People's Liberation Front or TPLF [MELES Zenawi]; Walayta, Gamo, Gofa, Dawro, and Konta People's Democratic Organization or WGGPDO [leader NA]; dozens of small parties Political pressure groups and Council of Alternative Forces for
leaders: Peace and Democracy in Ethiopia or CAFPDE [BEYANE Petros]; Southern Ethiopia People's Democratic Coalition or SEPDC [BEYANE Petros] International organization ACP, AfDB, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-24, G-
participation: 77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNU, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (observer) Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador KASSAHUN Ayele chancery: 3506 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008 FAX: [1] (202) 686-9551 telephone: [1] (202) 364-1200 Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador Tibor
US: P. NAGY, Jr. embassy: Entoto Street, Addis Ababa mailing address: P. O. Box 1014, Addis Ababa telephone: [251] (1) 550666 FAX: [251] (1) 551328
Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of green (top), yellow, and red with a yellow pentagram and single yellow rays emanating from the angles between the points on a light blue disk centered on the three bands; Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa, and the three main colors of her flag were so often adopted by other African countries upon independence that they became known as the pan-African colors Economy Ethiopia
Economy - overview: Ethiopia's poverty-stricken economy is based on agriculture, which accounts for half of GDP, 85% of exports, and 80% of total employment. The agricultural sector suffers from frequent drought and poor cultivation practices, and as many as 4.6 million people need food assistance annually. Coffee is critical to the Ethiopian economy with exports of some $260 million in 2000. Other important exports include qat, live animals, hides, and gold. The war with Eritrea in 1999-2000 and recurrent drought have buffeted the economy, in particular coffee production. In November 2001 Ethiopia qualified for debt relief from the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Under Ethiopia's land tenure system, the government owns all land and provides long-term leases to the tenants; the system continues to hamper growth in the industrial sector as entrepreneurs are unable to use land as collateral for loans. Despite this limitation, strong growth is expected to continue in the near term as good rainfall, the cessation of hostilities, and renewed foreign aid and debt relief push the economy forward.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $46 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 7.3% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $700 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 52.3% industry: 11.1% services: 36.6% (2000 est.) Population below poverty line: 64% (1996) Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: 3%
percentage share: highest 10%: 33.7% (1995) Distribution of family income - Gini 40 (1995)
index: Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6.8% (2001 est.)
Labor force: NA Labor force - by occupation: agriculture and animal husbandry 80%, government and services 12%, industry and construction 8% (1985)
Unemployment rate: NA%
Budget: revenues: $1.8 billion expenditures: $1.9 billion, including capital expenditures of $600 million (2002 est.)
Industries: food processing, beverages, textiles, chemicals, metals processing, cement Industrial production growth rate: 6.7% (2001 est.) Electricity - production: 1.63 billion kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 1.84% hydro: 98.16% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 1.516 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: cereals, pulses, coffee, oilseed, sugarcane, potatoes, qat; hides, cattle, sheep, goats
Exports: $442 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Exports - commodities: coffee, qat, gold, leather products, oilseeds
Exports - partners: Germany 18%, Japan 11%, Djibouti 11%, Saudi Arabia 8% (2000 est.)
Imports: $1.54 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Imports - commodities: food and live animals, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, machinery, motor vehicles, cereals, textiles
Imports - partners: Saudi Arabia 25%, US 9%, Italy 7%, Russia 4% (2000 est.)
Debt - external: $5.3 billion (2001 est.) Economic aid - recipient: $308 million (FY00/01)
Currency: birr (ETB)
Currency code: ETB
Exchange rates: birr per US dollar (end of period) - 8.455 (December 2001), 8.3140 (December 2000), 8.3140 (2000), 8.1340 (1999), 7.5030 (1998), 6.8640 (1997) note: since 24 October 2001 exchange rates are determined on a daily basis via interbank transactions regulated by the Central Bank
Fiscal year: 8 July - 7 July Communications Ethiopia - Telephones - main lines in use: 231,900 (2000) Telephones - mobile cellular: 17,800 (2000)
Telephone system: general assessment: open wire and microwave radio relay system; adequate for government use domestic: open wire; microwave radio relay; radio communication in the HF, VHF, and UHF frequencies; two domestic satellites provide the national trunk service international: open wire to Sudan and Djibouti; microwave radio relay to Kenya and Djibouti; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Pacific Ocean) Radio broadcast stations: AM 8, FM 0, shortwave 1 (2001)
Radios: 15.2 million (2002) Television broadcast stations: 1 plus 24 repeaters (2002)
Televisions: 682,000 (2002)
Internet country code: .et Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2002)
Internet users: 20,000 (2002) Transportation Ethiopia -
Railways: total: 681 km (Ethiopian segment of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad) narrow gauge: 681 km 1.000-m gauge note: in 1998, Djibouti and Ethiopia announced plans to revitalize the century-old railroad that links their capitals and since then Ethiopia has expended considerable effort to repair and maintain the lines; in 2001, Ethiopia and Sudan agreed to build a line from Ethiopia to Port Sudan (2000 est.)
Highways: total: 24,145 km paved: 3,290 km unpaved: 20,855 km (1998)
Waterways: none
Ports and harbors: none; Ethiopia is landlocked and was by agreement with Eritrea using the ports of Assab and Massawa; since the border dispute with Eritrea flared, Ethiopia has used the port of Djibouti for nearly all of its imports
Merchant marine: total: 9 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 81,933 GRT/101,287 DWT ships by type: cargo 5, container 1, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 2 (2002 est.)
Airports: 86 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 14 over 3,047 m: 3 2,438 to 3,047 m: 5 1,524 to 2,437 m: 5 914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2001) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 72 over 3,047 m: 2 2,438 to 3,047 m: 4 1,524 to 2,437 m: 11 914 to 1,523 m: 33 under 914 m: 22 (2001) Military Ethiopia -
Military branches: Ethiopian National Defense Force (Ground Forces, Air Force, militia, police) note: Ethiopia is landlocked and has no navy; following the secession of Eritrea, Ethiopian naval facilities remained in Eritrean possession Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age (2002 est.) Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 14,925,883 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 7,790,977 (2002
service: est.) Military manpower - reaching males: 703,625 (2002 est.)
military age annually: Military expenditures - dollar $800 million (FY00)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 12.6% (FY00)
GDP: Transnational Issues Ethiopia - Disputes - international: most of the southern half of the boundary with Somalia in the Ogaden region is a provisional administrative line; in the Ogaden, regional states have established a variety of conflicting relationships with the Somali Transitional National Government in Mogadishu, feuding factions in Puntland region, and the economically stabile break- away "Somaliland" region; Ethiopia agreeed in 2002 to demarcate its entire boundary with Sudan; Eritrea and Ethiopia have expressed general approval of the April 2002 arbitration commission ruling re- delimiting the boundary, the focus of their 1998-2000 war; United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) will monitor activities within the 25-km wide temporary security zone in Eritrea until demarcation and de-mining are complete
Illicit drugs: transit hub for heroin originating in Southwest and Southeast Asia and destined for Europe and North America as well as cocaine destined for markets in southern Africa; cultivates qat (khat) for local use and regional export, principally to Djibouti and Somalia (legal in all three countries)

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officially Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia formerly Abyssinia

Country, eastern Africa.

It is situated on the Horn of Africa, the continent's easternmost projection. Area: 437,794 sq mi (1,133,882 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 67,673,000. Capital: Addis Ababa. The people are about one-third Amhara and one-third Oromo, with the balance mostly Tigray, Afar, Somali, Saho, and Agew. Languages: Amharic, Oromo. Religions: Ethiopian Orthodoxy, Islam, animism. Currency: birr. The landlocked country is mountainous in the north, with lowlands to the east and west. The central Ethiopian Plateau is split by the Great Rift Valley, which divides the eastern and western highlands. The climate is temperate in the highlands, which are mainly savanna, and hot in the arid lowlands. Excessive lumbering has led to severe erosion; this, along with periodic droughts, has led to food shortages. The country's once abundant wildlife has been decimated; many species are endangered. Ethiopia is one of the world's poorest countries. Agriculture is mainly for subsistence, with cereals the main crop. Livestock is also important. Coffee is the main export, followed by hides and skins. A new republic was established in 1995; it has two legislative houses, the chief of state is the president, and the head of government is the prime minister. Ethiopia, the Biblical land of Kush, was inhabited from earliest antiquity and was once under ancient Egyptian rule. Geez-speaking agriculturalists established the kingdom of Daamat in the 2nd millennium BC. After 300 BC they were superseded by the kingdom of Aksum, whose king Menilek I, according to legend, was the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Christianity was introduced in the 4th century AD and became widespread (see Ethiopian Orthodox Church). Ethiopia's prosperous Mediterranean trade was cut off by the Muslim Arabs in the 7th–8th centuries, and the area's interests were directed eastward. Contact with Europe resumed in the late 15th century with the arrival of the Portuguese. Modern Ethiopia began with the reign of Tewodros II, who began the consolidation of the country. In the wake of European encroachment, the coastal region was made an Italian colony in 1890, but under Emperor Menilek II the Italians were defeated and ousted in 1896. Ethiopia prospered under his rule, and his modernization programs were continued by Emperor Haile Selassie in the 1930s. In 1936 Italy again gained control of the country and held it as part of Italian Africa until 1941, when it was liberated by the British. Ethiopia incorporated Eritrea in 1952. In 1974 Haile Selassie was deposed, and a Marxist government, plagued by civil wars and famine, controlled the country until 1991. In 1993 Eritrea gained its independence, but border conflicts with it and neighbouring Somalia continued in the 1990s.

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▪ 2009

1,127,127 sq km (435,186 sq mi)
(2008 est.): 78,254,000
Addis Ababa
Chief of state:
President Girma Wolde-Giyorgis
Head of government:
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi

      After several years of political turmoil following the 2005 national and regional elections in Ethiopia, domestic politics returned somewhat to normal in 2008. Most of the political detainees (mainly members of opposition political parties and several journalists), who in June 2007 had been tried and found guilty of various crimes, had since been pardoned and released. Civil society activists Netsanet Demissie and Daniel Bekele submitted a pardon request and were freed in March 2008.

      The Ethiopian economy was projected to grow at the vibrant rate of 8.4% in 2008, though this was down from 11.4% in 2007. Most exports came from the agricultural sector, particularly coffee (exports grew by 40% in 2008), tea, spices, cereals, pulses, oilseeds, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Whereas tourism and other aspects of the economy continued to grow in 2008, inflation and rising prices on consumer goods strained the government's ability to meet local demand. Urban citizens continued to particularly experience the impact of rising prices on staples such as grains, cereals, and cooking oil, which led the government to introduce some price controls.

      The World Bank and many bilateral donors resumed assistance to to Ethiopia, though donors remained concerned about human rights and regional conflicts. It was a difficult year for Ethiopia's poor, at least 5 million of whom were considered chronically food insecure and expected to need food assistance; an additional 10 million people were suffering temporary food insecurity owing to droughts and floods. Violence at the local level and serious incidents of human rights abuses were noted throughout 2008, especially, as in previous years, in the Oromiya and Somali regions.

      Long-delayed local elections were held in April. The ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) won the vast majority of the seats. By-elections were also held for seats that had been won in 2005 by the opposition but never filled (members had refused to take them). Most of these seats were also won by the EPRDF. Credible reports of harassment and intimidation of candidates and voters in key constituencies and the absence of impartial monitors led most to consider the elections lacking in legitimacy. In addition, after the release from prison in 2007 of most of the political leadership, the various political opposition parties fragmented substantially. Caretaker governments in the two largest cities, Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa, were replaced by permanent elected administrations. A restrictive press law was passed by the parliament over objections by members of the opposition, and a highly controversial law regulating civil society organizations was tabled as well.

      The border dispute with Eritrea continued throughout 2008 with little change. The UN Security Council ended its peacekeeping mission (UNMEE) in July, but some feared the possibility of a return to war. In December 2006 Ethiopia had launched a coordinated air and ground war inside Somalia, and thousands of Ethiopian troops were estimated to still be inside Somalia supporting the Transitional Federal Government against insurgents. Eritrean and Ethiopian support to opposing sides in Somalia continued unchecked.

Lahra Smith

▪ 2008

1,127,127 sq km (435,186 sq mi)
(2007 est.): 76,512,000
Addis Ababa
Chief of state:
President Girma Wolde-Giyorgis
Head of government:
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi

      The release on July 20, 2007, of many of the country's high-profile political detainees signaled the possible return to normal politics in Ethiopia. Following disputed parliamentary elections in May 2005, journalists and opposition leaders, mainly from the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), had been held in detention. Although most of the detainees were found guilty in June of having committed various crimes, Pres. Girma Wolde-Giyorgis pardoned 38 of them. The pardon restored the political rights of the CUD leaders to vote and stand for election. Two civil social activists, Netsanet Demissie (founder and director of the Organization for Social Justice in Ethiopia) and Daniel Bekele of ActionAid, were the only two defendants to mount a defense. The two were convicted and given two-and-a-half-year prison sentences in December; they had already served more than two years, however, and their supporters hoped that they would soon be released. Thousands of others were being detained elsewhere throughout the country. Meanwhile, the major urban centres of Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa remained headed by caretaker administrations while their elected officials spent most of the year in prison.

 Under the Julian calendar, in use in Ethiopia, September 12 marked the New Year and the start of the new millennium for the country. The long-awaited national census was completed in most areas in May and June, though counts in the Somali and Afar regions were postponed until November.

       Inflation and ballooning consumer prices throughout 2007 put a strain on efforts to meet demands for economic development. Price increases on basic consumer products, including grains, cereals, and cooking oil, were nearly 100% in some cases. The Ethiopian economy grew at a rate of 6.3% in 2007, up from 5.9% in 2006. Most exports came from the agricultural sector, notably coffee, tea, spices, cereals, pulses, oil seed, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. In addition, tourism was expanding rapidly.

      The World Bank continued to withhold direct budgetary support to the government and instead directed funds to the local level through its Protection of Basic Services program. Despite generally good harvests and improvements in markets and infrastructure, at least 7.3 million Ethiopians were considered in need of food assistance.

      Localized incidents of conflict and violence continued to occur periodically, as did reports of human rights violations, particularly in the Oromiya and Somali regions. In April armed members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) attacked a Chinese-run oil rig in eastern Ethiopia, killing 77 people (68 Ethiopians and 9 Chinese). The Ethiopian government reportedly blocked food aid to large parts of the Somali region and committed war crimes, which led a UN fact-finding mission in September to determine that the government and ONLF rebels were both responsible for human rights violations and that there was potential for a humanitarian crisis unless more was done to provide local communities with food and medicine.

      The border dispute with Eritrea persisted with little change, and the UN Security Council extended the mandate of its peacekeeping mission until 2008. In addition, Ethiopia and Eritrea supported opposing sides in the war in Somalia, feeding speculation that a regional war was possible, even likely.

Lahra Smith

▪ 2007

1,127,127 sq km (435,186 sq mi)
(2006 est.): 74,778,000
Addis Ababa
Chief of state:
President Girma Wolde-Giyorgis
Head of government:
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi

      Political tensions arising from the disputed May 2005 elections continued in 2006 to undermine previous gains in political freedom and economic development in Ethiopia. Ten members of the main opposition alliance, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy, who did not take their seats in the House of People's Representatives when it convened were arrested in late 2005 and remained in jail in 2006. By August there were 76 high-level detainees on trial, including 14 journalists and 3 civil-society activists. They were charged with crimes ranging from “outrage against the constitution or constitutional order,” high treason, and “attempted genocide.” Thousands of those detained across the country were released periodically throughout 2006, often with no charges filed. In December former dictator (1977–91) Mengistu Haile Mariam was convicted of genocide for his role in the “Red Terror” campaign, in which thousands of students and intellectuals were killed. In May the ruling party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, signed a cooperation agreement with the two main opposition political parties that did take their seats in the parliament, the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces and the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement. An investigation into the 2005 disturbances ordered by the House of People's Representatives (lower chamber of the parliament) found that 193 civilians and 6 policemen died in the incidents. Several members of the inquiry commission who cited government interference were seeking asylum abroad.

      The international donor community suspended direct budgetary support to Ethiopia shortly after the November 2005 disturbances that left at least 80 dead. The government had to resort to borrowing to make up for this loss in funds. During the summer of 2006, the World Bank, the largest donor to Ethiopia, released $215 million to support a program for the protection of basic services. The Ethiopian economy grew at a rate of 5.4%, down from 8.7% in 2005, with 80% of its exports coming from the agricultural sector, particularly coffee, cereals, pulses, animal hides and skins, flowers, and khat.

      A major drought in the spring and flash flooding in August left millions vulnerable. The East Africa drought—which extended throughout the pastoral areas of southeastern Ethiopia and into Kenya, Djibouti, and Somalia—affected 1.7 million in Ethiopia. Serious flooding in August in the eastern and southern parts of the country around Dire Dawa, South Omo, and Amhara regions resulted in the death of some 647 people and the displacement of 135,000. An additional 40,000 people remained homeless in Gambella region following months of conflict. Hostilities between Guji and Borena communities in the wake of changes to administrative boundaries in Oromiya and Somali regional states claimed at least 100 lives in June and displaced more than 80,000.

      The border dispute with Eritrea continued throughout 2006, and the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea was extended through January 2007. The stalemate between the two countries was generally stable. Ethiopia's increasingly visible involvement in the situation in Somalia represented a widening of its role in the region and resulted in the escalation of a war of words between Ethiopia and Eritrea. In July, Ethiopia—a supporter of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development peace process and the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia—began moving troops into western Somalia to bolster the Baidoa-based government of Somali Pres. Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, and it was reported to have thousands of trained forces on the Ethiopian side of the border. On December 24 Ethiopia launched a coordinated air and ground war in Somalia. The U.S. signaled its approval for the action.

Lahra Smith

▪ 2006

1,127,127 sq km (435,186 sq mi)
(2005 est.): 73,053,000
Addis Ababa
Chief of state:
President Girma Wolde-Giyorgis
Head of government:
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi

      Turnout was high for parliamentary elections held in Ethiopia on May 15, 2005. Voters returned the ruling party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front to power, albeit with a much-reduced majority. Opposition parties went from 12 seats in the parliament to 176 and won every constituency in the capital, Addis Ababa. Announcement of the election results was delayed for eight weeks owing to complaints of irregularities from more than half of the country's electoral constituencies. The elections themselves were delayed for over two months in the Somali region owing to security concerns. European election observers noted that the polling was marked by irregularities. The outcome of the elections and accusations of fraud led to massive protests in Addis Ababa. As a result of clashes between protesters and security forces, 38 people were confirmed dead, hundreds injured, and 3,000 arrested. The United Kingdom temporarily froze aid to Ethiopia in protest against the violent crackdown. Further riots in early November over alleged election fraud left at least 23 more people dead.

      In September 43 members of the opposition political party, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), were arrested in the Amhara region for “violent activities aimed at subverting the constitutional order.” The CUD did not take its 109 seats in the parliament at the start of the session in protest against alleged government vote-rigging in the election. Clashes between Oromo and Somali groups continued throughout 2005 in the Oromiya region and led to the deaths of more than 70 people and the internal displacement of thousands.

      Economically, Ethiopia posted an estimated growth rate of 7.3% and had an excellent harvest. Food aid was still needed for the acutely undernourished, however. Historically, most of Ethiopia's GDP revenue came from agriculture, the primary export crop being coffee. Low world coffee prices over the past five years prompted a diversification into the production of flowers, vegetables, and khat for the export market. Ethiopia was one of 18 countries that benefited from 100% multilateral debt relief of loans from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the African Development Bank in a deal agreed to by the Group of Eight finance ministers in June 2005.

      The border dispute resulting from the 1998–2000 war with Eritrea continued without resolution. Ethiopia rejected the 2002 ruling of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission, which was created by the 2000 Algiers Peace Agreement. The UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) noted continued violence along the border. The UN Security Council extended the mandate of UNMEE until March 2006 and called upon Ethiopia to accept fully the ruling of the boundary commission. As further conflict threatened Somalia, Ethiopia gave political and military support to Somali Pres. Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed. Ethiopia benefited from an economic relationship with the self-declared republic of Somaliland that included access to the port of Berbera for exports. Ethiopia welcomed the peace agreement between northern and southern Sudan, anticipating that it would help put an end to ethnic violence along the Sudanese border with Ethiopia and increase trade between the two countries.

Sandra F. Joireman

▪ 2005

1,133,882 sq km (437,794 sq mi)
(2004 est.): 67,851,000
Addis Ababa
Chief of state:
President Girma Wolde-Giyorgis
Head of government:
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi

      Ethiopia had a bumper harvest in 2004 as a result of good rains, but an estimated three million people still needed food assistance as drought affected the harvest in the Somali region and the northern highland plateau areas. A controversial resettlement scheme was launched to move people from drought-prone areas to the west of the country, where there was more regular rainfall. Approximately 300,000 people had been moved since the scheme began.

      Foreign affairs were dominated by the ongoing diplomatic crisis with Eritrea. The border demarcation between Ethiopia and Eritrea necessitated by the 1998–2000 war between the two countries was still not finalized, and tensions remained high. Ethiopia rejected the border determined by the UN Boundary Commission because it was unhappy with the award of the town of Badme to Eritrea. Ethiopia called for further talks to resolve the crisis, but Eritrea wanted the demarcation to occur first. The United Nations Mission in Eritrea and Ethiopia (UNMEE), which policed the border between the two countries, was renewed. Relations with Kenya remained good despite a low-level conflict along the Kenya-Ethiopia border. The important rail line between Addis Ababa and the Red Sea port in Djibouti was to be privatized following a two-year transition period. Port access was also an important factor in continued positive Ethiopian relations with the breakaway (from Somalia) Republic of Somaliland, which controlled the port of Berbera. Ethiopia expressed an interest in rejoining the Inter Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) talks on the status of Somalia after an absence that prevented any further diplomatic movement. The Sudan and Yemen joined with Ethiopia in announcing a pact to fight terrorism in the Horn of Africa and to crack down on Islamic militants.

      Domestically, preparation for parliamentary elections scheduled for May 2005 began with the training of election officers and voter-education programs. Clashes in the Gambela region of western Ethiopia between the Anyuak people and representatives of the Ethiopian state displaced 51,000 people and led to up to 500 deaths.

      Ethiopia reported an economic growth rate of 11.6% from August 2003 to July 2004, thanks to better rains. Low world coffee prices persisted, and Ethiopian coffee farmers began to replant some of their land from coffee to khat, a mild addictive stimulant traded throughout East Africa. Ethiopia reached the completion point under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative of the World Bank and IMF. With completion, Ethiopia would receive both bilateral and multilateral debt relief of about $3.3 billion. The United States pledged to back Ethiopia's move to join the World Trade Organization. The U.S. also granted Ethiopia $18 million as part of its global initiative to fight AIDS. HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in Addis Ababa fell from a peak of 24% of the population in 1995 to 11% in 2003.

Sandra F. Joireman

▪ 2004

1,133,882 sq km (437,794 sq mi)
(2003 est.): 66,558,000
Addis Ababa
Chief of state:
President Girma Wolde-Giyorgis
Head of government:
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi

      Several natural disasters beset Ethiopia in 2003, the most notable of which was a drought, the worst in decades. The ensuing famine affected more than 15 million people in Ethiopia, most severely those living in the southeast and the northern highlands. The famine was expected to worsen if the drought continued. The government began a voluntary resettlement program, moving some peasants from the worst-affected regions in the north to areas in the south, and substantial international humanitarian contributions were received. A malaria epidemic and widespread incidence of waterborne illnesses compounded the suffering. Flooding in the south in May forced thousands to leave their homes and resulted in the deaths of more than 100 people.

      The border demarcation that had been agreed upon at the conclusion of the border war with Eritrea in 2000 was delayed twice during 2003 as Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi protested the decision to place the town of Badme within Eritrea. It was expected that the border would not be formally established until sometime in 2004. A UN peacekeeping force numbering 1,500 troops remained deployed in the border area, and its mandate was extended until the border demarcation was completed. Relations with Eritrea remained strained; the two countries had not had face-to-face meetings over the border issue since the 2000 cessation of hostilities. Ethiopia's relations with Somalia also continued to be tense, as the transitional government of Somalia accused Ethiopian troops of border violations. The U.S. forgave Ethiopia's bilateral debt and was providing Ethiopian troops with antiterrorist and counterterrorist training. U.S. Special Forces set up a base in nearby Djibouti through which all counterterrorism efforts in the Horn of Africa were being channeled. Ethiopia joined the U.S.-U.K. coalition in the war in Iraq.

      The International Monetary Fund forecast Ethiopia's 2003 economic growth rate at 6.7%, but the final figure would depend on the course of the drought. International coffee prices remained low, and it was likely that the drought would drive Ethiopia's important coffee revenues lower still. In some areas farmers started to pull up their coffee plants and replace them with khat, a mildly narcotic, drought-resistant plant.

      In domestic politics, the opposition focused on a new law that would allow the government to intervene in regional affairs in times of emergency and on a controversial new press law that was criticized as imposing excessive restrictions on media content. In both cases the opposition parties decried government attempts to centralize power. The United Ethiopian Democratic Forces, led by Beyene Petros, was formed in September and was the largest opposition coalition.

      An important fossil discovery in the Afar region in June provided exciting new evidence about the origins of Homo sapiens. The fossils, called Idaltu—“elder” in the Afar language—were estimated to be 160,000 years old and provided further evidence of man's having evolved in Africa before migrating into Europe and Asia. (See Anthropology and Archaeology: Anthropology. (Anthropology and Archaeology ))

Sandra F. Joireman

▪ 2003

1,133,882 sq km (437,794 sq mi)
(2002 est.): 67,673,000
Addis Ababa
Chief of state:
President Girma Wolde-Giyorgis
Head of government:
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi

      Foreign affairs dominated politics in Ethiopia in 2002. In April the border demarcation between Ethiopia and Eritrea was finalized. The Ethiopian government was not completely satisfied, because the decision placed the town of Badme in Eritrea. An interpretation was requested, but the petition was dismissed. Popular dissatisfaction was manifested in a large street demonstration organized by the Ethiopian Democratic Party. The United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea was to remain in place along the border between the two states until de-mining could be accomplished and the border was properly marked. Prisoners still held from the war by both sides remained a point of contention between the two states. In May there was an apparent incursion into Somali territory by Ethiopian troops, though the Ethiopian government denied the charges.

      Several outbreaks of violence in the south of the country left more than 100 people dead. Clashes broke out in March between the Sheko and Mezhenger (Majang) people and other ethnic communities that had settled in the area over control of the local administration. The Sheko-Mezhenger party believed that it had won more seats than it was allocated following the December 2001 elections. After a demonstration in Tepi, violence broke out, which led to a month of reprisal killings against the Sheko and Mezhenger people in which the death toll of all parties reached at least 128. At least 15 people, including two policemen, were killed in Awasa in May when police opened fire on demonstrators protesting a decision to move the regional capital of the Southern region elsewhere. Sporadic violence also occurred throughout the year in the Oromo region owing to rebel activity by the Oromo Liberation Front. On September 12 the Tigray Hotel was bombed for a second time, killing 5 people and injuring 38.

      Taye Wolde-Semayat, former president of the Ethiopian Teachers' Association, who was jailed on charges of armed conspiracy in 1996, was released in May. Amnesty International considered him to have been a prisoner of conscience.

      International coffee prices fell to a 40-year low in the first part of 2002. Coffee was Ethiopia's largest export, and this was bad news for an economy that had been growing at a rate of only about 2% for a few years. Drought affected the grain harvest in the highlands, and by year's end famine was looming in the northeastern Afar region, where rains failed for a second year. The drought, in combination with ethnic clashes between the Afar, Kereyu, Ittu, and Issa peoples, had left 500,000 people displaced, while an estimated 8,000,000 people were reported to be in need of food aid, a number that was expected to almost double by early 2003. Both the Ethiopian government and the UN World Food Programme made pleas for international food aid in response to the crisis.

Sandra F. Joireman

▪ 2002

1,133,882 sq km (437,794 sq mi)
(2001 est.): 65,892,000
Addis Ababa
Chief of state:
Presidents Negasso Gidada and, from October 8, Girma Wolde-Giyorgis
Head of government:
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi

      Local elections were held across Ethiopia in February and March 2001. Woreda (county) elections in February resulted in the overwhelming victory of the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition. Criticisms that the elections were not free and fair led to an opposition boycott of the March kebele (township) elections, which the EPRDF also won handily.

      Beginning on April 18, student protests over the right to form a union and opposition to police presence on the Addis Ababa University campus led to one of the worst incidents of civil disturbance in Ethiopian history. In an effort to dispel the protesters, police stormed the university dormitories, killing between 30 and 41 students. There were hundreds of additional casualties, and 3,000 more students were detained in army camps for several weeks. The university was closed for several weeks and many students chose not to return when it reopened. Additionally, some university students sought refuge in Djibouti and Kenya.

      Almost immediately following the riots, there was a critical split in the ruling Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) faction within the EPRDF coalition. The split emerged over the government's anticorruption agenda as well as the capitalist path being taken by the government of Meles Zenawi—a sharp break from the previous Marxist-Leninist ideology of the party. The 12 TPLF members who opposed the Meles regime were purged from the party and held under house arrest. Shortly thereafter, Kinfe Gebremedhin, the head of the Ethiopian Federal Security and Immigration Authority, was shot dead by a military officer as he walked out of an officers club in Addis Ababa. Kinfe had been a strong supporter of the Meles government.

      In further fallout from the party split, Pres. Negasso Gidada aligned himself with the splinter group of the TPLF and was ousted from the leadership of his party, the Oromo People's Democratic Organization, though he maintained his position as federal president until his term was up in September. In October Girma Wolde-Giorgis was elected by parliament as the second president. The year ended with a much-weakened EPRDF regime.

      The economy grew at a brisk 6.5% in 2001, favoured by a good harvest and the end of the violent conflict with Eritrea, which was estimated to have cost the Ethiopian state $2.9 billion. International coffee prices remained low, however, and farmers in the south of the country were affected. Ethiopia benefited from a canceling of 67% of its $430 million debt to Paris Club countries under the World Bank's HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) program.

      Despite the end of active fighting, tensions with Eritrea remained high as both countries rejected the temporary security zone (TSZ) proposed by the United Nations in an attempt to demarcate the border between the two states. UN troops remained fully deployed in the TSZ, and the UN chose not to renew its arms embargo against Ethiopia. Ethiopian troops were involved in border skirmishes with both Kenya and Somalia. Relations with Djibouti remained good in spite of a significant increase in port fees for Ethiopian exports.

Sandra F. Joireman

▪ 2001

1,133,882 sq km (437,794 sq mi)
(2000 est.): 64,117,000
Addis Ababa
Chief of state:
President Negasso Gidada
Head of government:
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi

      The year 2000 began with a standoff in Ethiopia's border war with Eritrea. Both countries used the lull in the fighting to train troops and purchase military supplies. Disagreements over the Organization of African Unity's peace initiative—specifically, how the disputed areas would be governed once a cease-fire took effect—led to a breakdown of peace talks in May. Ethiopia was adamant that the countries return to the status quo prior to May 1998, when the war began. Preempting any further negotiations, the Ethiopian army launched an offensive on May 12. The army pushed deep into the territory held by Eritrea and within two weeks had reclaimed all contested land. Immediately following the offensive, the UN Security Council voted to ban sales and deliveries of all arms and military equipment to both countries for 12 months. A cease-fire between the two countries was signed on June 18. The UN established a mission to monitor the cease-fire and deployed 4,200 troops in a buffer zone between the two countries while the border was being demarcated. Relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea remained strained, with Eritrea accused of holding several thousand Ethiopian citizens in camps and forcibly repatriating as many as 20,000 Ethiopian citizens. On December 12, however, the two nations signed a comprehensive peace pact that effectively ended the conflict.

      The military offensive on May 12 was immediately followed by elections for the national legislature on May 14. A national dialogue regarding issues of land tenure and economic development was evident in the campaigning. Voter-registration difficulties were noted in determining which people of Eritrean descent should be counted as citizens and allowed to vote. The detention of political candidates in the southern areas of Ethiopia was also reported. The governing Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front was predicted to win a majority of the 548 seats, and it did so easily, facing no opposition in approximately half the contests.

      Drought threatened to turn to famine early in the year as the belg, or small rains, failed for the third consecutive year. Conditions were particularly bad in the Somali region of the Ogaden, where many children, older people, and livestock died. The potential for famine dissipated, however, owing to government and international response and in spite of the relative insecurity of the area. The main rainy season arrived on time, alleviating much of the threat of famine in the country for the upcoming year.

      The real economic growth rate for 1999 was 0%. International coffee prices continued to decline, which resulted in decreased foreign exchange revenue. Military spending drained government resources in the early part of the year. The International Monetary Fund and the U.S. had discontinued aid to Ethiopia because of excessive military spending; in September, however, the World Bank agreed to resume its program, and other donors were expected to follow the Bank's lead. The government reported significant growth in the small industry sector in response to ongoing market reforms.

Sandra F. Joireman

▪ 2000

1,133,882 sq km (437,794 sq mi)
(1999 est.): 59,680,000
Addis Ababa
Chief of state:
President Negasso Gidada
Head of government:
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi

      The border war between Eritrea and Ethiopia, which had begun in 1998 in a dispute over about 640 sq km (250 sq mi) of land near Badme in northern Tigre, expanded in 1999. The conflict quickly spread to two other fronts, Zala Ambessa (where the fighting encompassed the main road link between Eritrea and Ethiopia) and the port city of Assab, which had previously been the export point of much of Ethiopia's important coffee crop. By 1999 fighting on these three fronts had led to a total of 50,000 deaths, the number swollen by the Ethiopian army's fighting techniques—trench warfare and assault on enemy positions using human waves. Fighting was sporadic throughout the year, alternating with intermittent progress on the peace process.

      Ethiopia continued to expel Eritrean nationals, and the number of Eritreans who had left, either forcibly or voluntarily, rose to 80,000. The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia began auctioning off the assets of expelled Eritreans who left debts behind them. In an attempt to destabilize Ethiopia, Eritrea was funneling money and arms to the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), to al-Ittihad al-Islam, a Muslim group that advocated the secession of the Ogaden area, and to Somali warlord Hussein Aydid. The conflict infected other parts of the Horn of Africa, as Ethiopian forces pursued OLF rebels into both Kenya and Somalia and attacked Aydid's troops inside the Somali border. Ethiopian relations with Djibouti remained strong, if only because all Ethiopian exports were now passing through the port there.

      The peace initiative under the aegis of the Organization of African Unity moved ahead. Both parties agreed that the United Nations would demarcate the border, but Ethiopia had yet to sign the technical arrangements document for a final settlement. The major stumbling blocks were agreement on troop withdrawal, interim administrations in conflict areas, and compensation for deportees and other war victims.

      In domestic politics, the Special Prosecutor's Office pursued the trials of persons accused of crimes under the regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam. By 1999 all of the accused had been indicted and arraigned. Following constitutional guidelines, national elections were scheduled for May 14, 2000; the current government was believed to have an overwhelming advantage.

      The economic growth rate for 1998 was 6%, but the effects of continued growth were mitigated by massive government expenditures for defense. Weaker international coffee prices led to a decline in foreign exchange earnings for 1999, which put the country in a precarious economic position. Overall, there was an exceptional grain harvest in 1998–99, but international food aid was still needed owing to a shortage of rain in some areas and the large number of people displaced from their farms by the border conflict. As the privatization of state-owned industries continued, the International Monetary Fund resumed lending to Ethiopia under a structural-adjustment program. Many of the smaller state-owned industries had already been sold off, but some 100, including textile- and food-manufacturing operations, remained in government hands.

Sandra F. Joireman

▪ 1999

      Area: 1,133, 882 sq km (437,794 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 58,390,000

      Capital: Addis Ababa

      Chief of state: President Negasso Gidada

      Head of government: Prime Minister Meles Zenawi

      In 1998 Ethiopia's economic growth appeared to be slowing. In part this was due to heavy rains that in 1997 had damaged crops, which thus led to food shortages. At the beginning of 1998, because of unresolved tariff issues, fertilizers needed for the stimulation of agricultural production languished on ships docked at the Eritrean port of Assab. Economic problems were exacerbated by the escalating border tensions between Ethiopia and Eritrea in the middle of the year. It was, therefore, projected that the economy would grow by only about 3%, down from the more than 5% a year earlier. This trend, however, did not seem to have affected Ethiopia's primary export commodity, coffee, which accounted for more than 60% of the country's exports. In fact, the coffee sector was thriving under recently introduced free-market conditions.

      Foreign private investors were slow to be drawn to Ethiopia, in part because of the government's cautious approach to economic liberalization. International donors continued to pressure the government, especially on the need for land reform. As of 1998, the nation's constitution stipulated that land was the sole property of the state and the people of Ethiopia.

      Its deteriorating relations with Eritrea compounded Ethiopia's economic difficulties. In November 1997 Eritrea issued its own currency, the nakfa, which was initially pegged to the Ethiopian birr at a rate of 1:1. At that time almost 70% of Eritrea's trade was with Ethiopia, and Eritrea seemed to have assumed that the two countries would utilize their respective currencies to trade with each other. Ethiopia, however, countered by proposing that future trade between the two countries be in hard currency. This dispute wreaked havoc on both economies.

      Relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia erupted in war in early May. The event that triggered the conflict was a skirmish between Ethiopian policemen and alleged armed invaders from Eritrea in the northwestern town of Badame, Tigre. This was a part of a border zone that had long been disputed between the two nations. Armed conflict continued in the region for more than a month, until negotiators from Rwanda and the United States issued a peace proposal. The proposal called for Eritrea to withdraw from the Badame region, to be followed by international mediation. This initiative failed, however, and by late summer both countries were on a firm war footing. By that time more than 14,000 Eritrean residents of Ethiopia, accused of sedition, had been expelled, and about 6,000 residents of Eritrea had been similarly evicted.

      Because of the problems with Eritrea, Ethiopia began to utilize the port of Djibouti for its imports. The government claimed that Djibouti was superior to Assab because it could handle a higher volume of traffic. In support of this expanded relationship, the road between Dire Dawa and Djibouti was upgraded, and there were plans to do the same with the rail system. Eritrea accused Djibouti of taking sides with Ethiopia and broke off diplomatic relations with Djibouti in November.


▪ 1998

      Area: 1,133,882 sq km (437,794 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 58,733,000

      Capital: Addis Ababa

      Chief of state: President Negasso Gidada

      Head of government: Prime Minister Meles Zenawi

      In 1997 Ethiopia continued to receive high marks from the international community for its progress toward achieving good government. Among Ethiopians, however, there existed widespread disaffection with such government policies as land reform and ethnic federalism. The economy was on a course to grow at an annual rate approaching 7%, the most dynamic sector being agriculture, with a growth rate of nearly 15%. Drought returned to Tigre and the Ogaden regions, however, and this could negatively affect the country's economic progress.

      Donor nations seemed most impressed with Ethiopia's attacks on official corruption. Early in the year the former prime minister and minister of defense, Tamirat Layne, remained under house arrest. Along with some business associates, he had been arrested late in 1996 on allegations of corruption. Later in 1997, 261 members of the executive committee of the city government were sacked on allegations and charges of incompetence and corruption. Many observers believed, however, that corruption continued to be rampant and that government rhetoric and periodic action had done little to address it adequately. Nevertheless, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank vigorously supported Ethiopia's efforts at economic reform, expressing concern only over the pace of the action. For example, foreign private investment in the economy remained weak, and the move toward privatization continued to be slow.

      Rights to both rural and urban property were an ongoing source of tension between the government and some segments of the population. Early in the year farmers in the Amhara regional state protested against the state's agrarian reforms. They claimed discrimination based upon whether families had owned property under the imperial regime or whether individuals had been granted a certain amount of property for their support of the deposed regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam. People falling into either of those categories could claim only one hectare (2.47 ac) of rural land, while those who supported the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) were allowed to own up to three hectares. Farmers were particularly incensed by the fact that EPRDF soldiers had been used to confiscate some rural property.

      In the cities confusion persisted over compensation for nationalized property. The government announced that it intended to sell 18,000 properties that had been nationalized under the previous regime. It was not clear, however, what formula would be used to compensate the previous owners.

      Armed opposition to the regime continued, particularly in areas where the Oromo Liberation Front and the Somali-based al-Ittihad movement were active, but attacks on government troops were sporadic. There were also occasional bomb and grenade attacks aimed at destabilizing the government, mostly in Addis Ababa. Nonmilitarized opposition tended to be ineffective, as the EPRDF had all but co-opted or suppressed civilian opposition parties.

      On the diplomatic front Ethiopia attempted to play the role of statesman. It moderated its rhetoric against The Sudan and attempted to broker talks aimed at reuniting Somalia. At the same time, it continued to quietly support the activities of the National Democratic Alliance, a united front of northern and southern Sudanese engaged in political and military efforts to depose the Islamic fundamentalist regime in that country.


      This article updates Ethiopia, history of (Ethiopia).

▪ 1997

      The landlocked republic of Ethiopia is situated in the Horn of northeastern Africa. Area: 1,133,882 sq km (437,794 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 56,713,000. Cap.: Addis Ababa. Monetary unit: birr, with (Oct. 11, 1995) a free rate of 6.00 birr to U.S. $1 (9.45 birr = £1 sterling). President in 1996, Negasso Gidada; prime minister, Meles Zenawi.

      Domestically, 1996 was a year of consolidation following the creation of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in 1995. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi remained in office, with former prime minister Tamirat Layne serving as deputy prime minister and minister of defense. The coalition of regional ethnic parties, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, continued to monopolize power at both the central and regional levels, and a number of human rights violations were reported, both by external monitoring agencies and by the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO). Many of those concerned suspected members of the Oromo Liberation Front in western Ethiopia, who were reported to have disappeared or died in custody. EHRCO reported in July that more than 100 people had "disappeared," a figure denied by the government. A number of journalists were imprisoned for publishing "mendacious reports."

      Trials of some 70 leading members of the regime ousted in 1991 (many of them in absentia) resumed in late September after a two-month recess. Evidence was given regarding the murder of former emperor Haile Selassie in 1975, the summary execution of 60 leading figures of his government in November 1974, and the torture and execution of numerous dissidents and opponents of the regime. Former leader Mengistu Haile Mariam remained in Zimbabwe, where an Ethiopian whose family had suffered under his rule attempted to assassinate him; the cost of maintaining Mengistu was reported to be causing concern to the Zimbabwean government. Meanwhile, some 1,700 junior former officials of his regime remained in prison without charge or trial.

      The economy continued to be buoyant, with a 6% rise in the gross national product reported for 1995 following an excellent harvest. The resulting fall in food prices was the main factor in a 5.7% decline in retail price levels. The main rains for 1996 were exceptionally heavy over most of the country and raised expectations that Ethiopia might at last achieve its long-sought self-sufficiency in basic foodstuffs. The World Bank announced the cancellation of $250 million of Ethiopia's $270 million debt to the organization; however, total debts of about $4 billion remained outstanding, 10% of this being commercial debt and the remainder evenly divided between debts to individual countries and debts to international agencies.

      Relations with Eritrea remained good, but relations with The Sudan deteriorated. Three Egyptians found guilty of having attempted to assassinate Egyptian Pres. Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa with Sudanese connivance in June 1995 were sentenced to death, and Ethiopia pressed for more stringent UN sanctions against The Sudan as a supporter of international terrorism. Ethiopia asserted its right to utilize Nile River waters originating in its territory, in disregard of an agreement on their use between Egypt and The Sudan. A number of bomb explosions in Addis Ababa and elsewhere and the attempted assassination of Transport Minister Abdul Mejid Hussein (an ethnic Somali) were blamed by the government on an Islamic fundamentalist Somali organization. In August Ethiopian aircraft attacked the organization's bases in Somalia. (CHRISTOPHER S. CLAPHAM)

      This article updates Ethiopia, history of (Ethiopia).

▪ 1996

      The landlocked republic of Ethiopia is in the Horn of northeastern Africa. Area: 1,133,882 sq km (437,794 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 55,053,000. Cap.: Addis Ababa. Monetary unit: birr, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a free rate of 5.80 birr to U.S. $1 (9.17 birr = £ 1 sterling). Presidents in 1995, Meles Zenawi (interim) and, from August 22, Negasso Gidada; prime ministers, Tamirat Layne (acting) and, from August 22, Meles Zenawi.

      The new constitution approved in December 1994 retained the key features of the draft presented earlier in 1994 to the Constituent Assembly, including the right of all peoples within Ethiopia to self-determination, including secession from the country. Uniquely among African constitutions, it instituted a largely ceremonial presidency, vesting executive power in the prime minister elected by the National Assembly. Assembly elections were held in May in most of the country but were postponed to June in the east. They were, however, boycotted by the four major opposition groupings and contested by only three small opposition parties. The conduct of the elections was reported by foreign observers to have been fair, but there was little challenge to the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a multiethnic grouping whose constituent parties won 493 of the 548 seats. Only in Addis Ababa, where 10 of the 23 seats were won by independents, was government control seriously contested.

      The new Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was formally established on August 22. The new president, Negasso Gidada, was a Christian Oromo from the Welega region of western Ethiopia who had served as minister of information in the outgoing transitional government. The outgoing president, Meles Zenawi, became prime minister and head of government. The 17-member Council of Ministers was carefully selected to reflect the ethnic balance of the country, with four each for Oromo and Amhara, two each for Tigray (including the prime minister) and Gurage, and one each for five smaller groups.

      New regional assemblies were also elected in May and June and were likewise controlled by the EPRDF. The transfer of powers from the central government to the regions increasingly became a reality. For example, in the large Oromo region surrounding Addis Ababa, Oromifa increasingly replaced Amharic as the language of administration. A number of leading members of Meles Zenawi's Tigray People's Liberation Front were posted back to Tigray.

      The trials of members of the former regime charged with serious human rights abuses, which had been adjourned until May 1995 to allow both sides to prepare their cases, were further postponed until later in the year. Attempts to secure the extradition of the ousted dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam from his refuge in Zimbabwe were unsuccessful. At the same time, alleged human rights abuses by the new regime, though not remotely approaching those committed by the old one, continued to attract international attention. There was some harassment of journalists, though the press continued to be more independent than under previous governments, and Amnesty International condemned the arrest in June of five opposition politicians on what it described as "slender and dubious evidence of conspiracy."

      The government's standing in Africa was reflected in the election of Meles Zenawi as chairman of the Organization of African Unity in June. Relations with Eritrea, which had separated from Ethiopia in 1993, continued to be close, but those with the Islamist military regime in The Sudan deteriorated rapidly. Ethiopia accused The Sudan of complicity in the attempted assassination of Pres. Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in Addis Ababa in June; it subsequently ordered the reduction of the Sudanese diplomatic staff from 15 to 4, denied Sudan Airways landing rights in Addis Ababa, and closed the Sudanese consulate at Gambela in southwestern Ethiopia.

      The economy grew by about 5.4% in 1994, supported by continuing aid inflows and a boom in world coffee prices. Progress was made on privatizing 144 state-owned businesses, half of those being transferred to their employees. Following the 1994 harvest, an overall food deficit of one million tons of grain was estimated for 1995, 85% of this being met from food aid and the remainder from commercial purchases. (CHRISTOPHER S. CLAPHAM)

      This updates the article Ethiopia, history of (Ethiopia).

▪ 1995

      The landlocked republic of Ethiopia is in the Horn of northeastern Africa. Area: 1,133,882 sq km (437,794 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 53,384,000. Cap.: Addis Ababa. Monetary unit: birr, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a free rate of 5.40 birr to U.S. $1 (8.60 birr = £ 1 sterling). Interim president in 1994, Meles Zenawi; acting prime minister, Tamirat Laynie.

      The draft constitution for the "Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia" was approved by the transitional Council of Representatives in May 1994 for submission to the Constituent Assembly, which was elected in June. In keeping with the doctrine of ethnic federalism espoused by the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), it stated that "sovereignty resides in the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia" rather than in the people as a whole and granted each nation, nationality, or people rights of self-determination up to and including secession.

      The Constituent Assembly elections were held on June 5 except in the Somali-inhabited Ogaden and Dire Dawa regions, where they were postponed. Despite attempts at mediation by the Carter Presidential Center in the U.S., the major opposition parties, notably including the All Amhara People's Organization (AAPO), the Oromo Liberation Front, and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), boycotted the elections, leaving the field open for the numerous ethnically based parties affiliated with the EPRDF. In the Afar region the opposition Afar Liberation Front won two seats, but elsewhere EPRDF candidates won all the seats except for 14 that went to independents, 10 of them in Addis Ababa. According to government figures, between 60% and 80% of eligible voters registered in most regions, and between 81% and 94% of those voted; members of the formerly ruling Workers' Party of Ethiopia and of the armed forces under the previous regime were not permitted to participate. Although the conduct of the elections was generally peaceful and well-organized, the verdict of independent observers as to whether the results fairly represented the wishes of the Ethiopian people was expressed in guarded terms.

      Human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, expressed increasing concern over conditions in the country. Beginning in January 1994 leading members of ONLF were arrested, and several of them were killed or died in military custody. In Addis Ababa several journalists disappeared or were detained, and several hundred demonstrators were arrested outside the High Court on September 20 while protesting against the imprisonment of AAPO leader Asrat Woldeyes. In the Oromo-inhabited area of western Ethiopia, a large number of people were arrested on September 6 while attending the funeral of an elderly businessman who had been killed by government forces. These incidents reinforced growing uncertainty both within the country and abroad over the sincerity of the government's commitment to opening a democratic government.

      In mid-December the Supreme Court began proceedings against deposed dictator Lieut. Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam and 66 other former officials, 21 of whom, including Mengistu (who fled to Zimbabwe), would be tried in absentia. The charges included genocide and crimes against humanity and included allegations that the junta had ordered the murders of 1,905 persons, including Emperor Haile Selassie, who, the court said, was "strangled on Aug. 26, 1975, in his bed most cruelly." The Mengistu regime was said to have manipulated and withheld international famine-aid supplies in order to suppress dissent. Thousands of other ex-officials in the communist regime were expected to stand trial later on lesser charges.

      Following poor rains and pest infestations in 1993, there were food shortages in much of the country and, although widespread famine did not occur, the government Relief and Rehabilitation Commission reported more than 5,000 famine-related deaths in southwestern Ethiopia in April and May, and by mid-June more than seven million people were dependent on relief food. The main July-September 1994 rains were good in most of the country, however, and indicated a likely improvement in the food situation after the December harvest. Other areas of the economy appeared to be improving in response to the encouragement of a free-market policy, and the World Bank announced a major commitment in support of the economic reform program in 1994-95. (CHRISTOPHER S. CLAPHAM)

      This updates the article Ethiopia, history of (Ethiopia).

▪ 1994

      The landlocked republic of Ethiopia is in the Horn of northeastern Africa. Area: 1,133,882 sq km (437,794 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 52,078,000. Cap.: Addis Ababa. Monetary unit: birr, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a par value of 5 birr to U.S. $1 (free rate of 7.60 birr = £1 sterling). Interim president in 1993, Meles Zenawi; acting prime minister, Tamirat Laynie.

      The Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) regime installed in 1991 remained in power in 1993 but under conditions of increasing strain. On January 4 a demonstration by Addis Ababa University students, protesting a visit by UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to discuss independence for the northern region of Eritrea, was violently dispersed; though the government acknowledged only one death, eyewitness accounts put the number much higher. Eritrea became independent in May. The university was closed and its president and vice presidents dismissed. In April more than 40 members of the university's academic staff were also summarily dismissed, including several of the most noted scholars. During the same month, members of five parties representing various southern peoples were expelled from the Council of Representatives (the interim legislature established in 1991); in March in Paris they had participated in a conference with exiled opposition leaders that had issued a statement critical of the regime. The president of the opposition All Amhara People's Organization, Asrat Woldeyes, was jailed on charges of inciting violence.

      Despite these incidents, the government attempted to convince its external backers, notably the United States, that its program for multiparty constitutional democracy was still on course. A constitutional commission was established in April, and a constitutional symposium attended by numerous foreign speakers was held in May. However, the national legislative elections that had been promised for 1993 were postponed. Some 400 officials of the former regime of Lieut. Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam, imprisoned since 1991, were released on bail, but the expected trials of leading figures in that regime, which had been guilty of massive human rights violations, were again deferred. A critical U.S. Department of State report on human rights in Ethiopia in 1992 drew attention to violations by the EPRDF and also by other movements, including the Oromo Liberation Front and the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Oromia.

      Although there was no serious challenge to the regime's control, violent clashes between EPRDF forces and opposition movements took place in several parts of the country. Opposition came from Amharas in the former Gonder region; Oromos in Harerge, Welega, and western Shoa; and Somalis in the Ogaden. There were also protests against ill-treatment of people in Sidamo by the EPRDF. The EPRDF forces, dominated by the Tigre People's Liberation Front (TPLF), appeared to be increasingly overstretched, and the first hints of dissension within the previously tightly disciplined TPLF emerged in August, when several members were jailed on corruption charges; this was widely interpreted as an attempt to muzzle dissent over the government's political strategy.

      Although some four million Ethiopians continued to depend on relief aid, good rains in 1992 and generally settled political conditions helped prevent any famine emergency, except in the Somali-inhabited Ogaden, which was affected both by floods and by the conflicts in Somalia. Market-oriented agricultural policy reforms also encouraged peasant farmers, although the government continued to postpone a decision on the vital issue of land ownership. Some 44,000 Ethiopian refugees were repatriated from Kenya in March, while fighting in Djibouti in July led some 50,000 Djiboutians to seek refuge in Ethiopia. In figures issued late in 1992, nearly 4,000 cases of AIDS were reported; actual numbers were thought to exceed 20,000, however, with several hundred thousand people estimated to be infected with HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus.


      This updates the article Ethiopia, history of (Ethiopia).

* * *

Amharic  Ītyop'iya,  
Ethiopia, flag of landlocked country on the Horn of Africa. It shares frontiers with Eritrea to the north, Djibouti to the northeast, Somalia to the east, Kenya to the south, and The Sudan to the west and northwest. Its total area is 437,794 square miles (1,133,882 square kilometres). Lying completely within the tropical latitudes, the country is relatively compact, with similar north-south and east-west dimensions. The capital is Addis Ababa (“New Flower”), located almost at the centre of the country.

      Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world. Its territorial extent has varied over the millennia of its existence. In ancient times (Aksum) it remained centred around Aksum, an imperial capital located in the northern part of the modern state, about 100 miles (160 kilometres) from the Red Sea coast. The present territory was consolidated during the 19th and 20th centuries as European powers encroached into Ethiopia's historical domain. Ethiopia became prominent in modern world affairs first in 1896, when it defeated colonial Italy in the Battle of Adwa, and again in 1935–36, when it was invaded and occupied by fascist Italy. Liberation during World War II by the Allied powers set the stage for Ethiopia to play a more prominent role in world affairs. Ethiopia was among the first independent nations to sign the Charter of the United Nations, and it gave moral and material support to the decolonization of Africa and to the growth of Pan-African cooperation. These efforts culminated in the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (African Union) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, both of which have their headquarters in Addis Ababa.

      Ethiopia's prominence in Africa and elsewhere faded during the 17-year (1974–91) rule of the Derg, a Marxist regime that brought the country to the verge of disaster with civil wars aggravated by famine and starvation. With yet another provisional government at the helm, its political future and economic prospects remain uncertain.

The land


      Ethiopia's (Ethiopia) topography, one of the most rugged in Africa, is built on four geologic formations. Rocks of Precambrian origin (more than 540 million years in age) form the oldest basal complex of Ethiopia, as they do in most of Africa. The Precambrian layer is buried under more recent geologic formations—except in parts of northern, western, and southern Ethiopia, where there are exposed rock layers of granite and schist. Geologic processes of the Mesozoic Era (245 to 66.4 million years ago) contributed sedimentary layers of limestone and sandstone, most of which have been either eroded or covered by volcanic rocks. Younger sedimentary layers are found in northern Ethiopia and on the floors of the Rift Valley (East African Rift System). Lava flows from the Tertiary and Quaternary periods (from 66.4 million years ago to the present) have formed basaltic layers that now cover two-thirds of Ethiopia's land surface with a thickness ranging from about 1,000 feet (300 metres) to almost 10,000 feet. The Rift Valley forms a spectacular graben (a massive tectonic trough) running right down the middle of the country from the northern frontier with Eritrea to the southern border with Kenya.

      Although Ethiopia's complex relief defies easy classification, five topographic features are discernible. These are the Western Highlands, Western Lowlands, Eastern Highlands, Eastern Lowlands, and Rift Valley. The Western Highlands are the most extensive and rugged topographic component of Ethiopia. The most spectacular portion is the North Central massifs; these form the roof of Ethiopia, with elevations ranging from 15,157 feet (4,620 metres) for Mount Ras Dejen (or Dashen), the highest mountain in Ethiopia, to the Blue Nile and Tekeze river channels 10,000 feet below.

      The Western Lowlands stretch north-south along the Sudanese border and include the lower valleys of the Blue Nile, Tekeze, and Baro rivers. With elevations of about 3,300 feet, these lowlands become too hot to attract dense settlement.

      The Rift Valley is part of the larger East African Rift System. Hemmed in by the escarpments of the Western and Eastern Highlands, it has two distinct sections. The first part is in the northeast, where the valley floor widens into a funnel shape as it approaches the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. This is a relatively flat area interrupted only by occasional volcanic cones, some of which are active. The Denakil Plain, in which a depression known as the Kobar Sink drops as low as 380 feet below sea level, is found here. High temperatures and lack of moisture make the northeastern Rift Valley unattractive for settlement. The southwest section, on the other hand, is a narrow depression of much higher elevation. It contains Ethiopia's Lakes Region, an internal drainage basin of many small rivers that drain into Lakes Abaya, Abiyata, Awasa, Langano, Shala, Chamo, and Ziway. Together these lakes have more than 1,200 square miles (3,108 square kilometres) of water surface. The upper Rift Valley is one of the most productive and most settled parts of Ethiopia.

      The Eastern Highlands are much smaller in extent than the Western Highlands, but they offer equally impressive contrast in topography. The highest peaks are Mount Batu, at 14,127 feet, and Mount Chilalo, at 13,575 feet. The Eastern Lowlands resemble the long train of a bridal gown suddenly dipping from the narrow band of the Eastern Highlands and gently rolling for hundreds of miles to the Somalian border. Two important regions here are the Ogaden and the Hawd. The Shebele and Genale rivers cross the lowlands, moderating the desert ecology.

      Ethiopia has three principal drainage systems. The first and largest is the western system, which includes the watersheds of the Blue Nile (Blue Nile River) (known as the Abay in Ethiopia), the Tekeze, and the Baro rivers. All three rivers flow west to the White Nile in The Sudan. The second system is the Rift Valley internal drainage system, composed of the Awash River, the Lakes Region, and the Omo River. The Awash flows northeast to the Denakil Plain before it dissipates into a series of swamps and Lake Abe at the border with Djibouti. The Lakes Region is a self-contained drainage basin, and the Omo flows south into Lake Rudolf, on the border with Kenya. The third system is that of the Shebele (Shebeli River) and Genale rivers (Jubba River). Both of these rivers originate in the Eastern Highlands and flow southeast toward Somalia and the Indian Ocean. Only the Genale (known as the Jubba in Somalia) makes it to the sea; the Shebele (in Somali, Shabeelle) disappears in sand just inside the coastline.

      The soils of Ethiopia can be classified into five principal types. The first type is composed of euritic nitosols and andosols and is found on portions of the Western and Eastern Highlands. These soils are formed from volcanic material and, with proper management, have medium to high potential for rain-fed agriculture. The second group of soils, eutric cambisols and ferric and orthic luvisols, are found in the Simen plateau of the Western Highlands. They are highly weathered with a subsurface accumulation of clay and are characterized by low nutrient retention, surface crusting, and erosion hazards. With proper management, they are of medium agricultural potential.

      The third group of soils is the dark clay soils found in the Western Lowlands and at the foothills of the Western Highlands. Composed of vertisols, they have medium to high potential for both food and agriculture but pose tillage problems because they harden when dry and become sticky when wet. Some of the rich coffee-growing regions of Ethiopia are found on these soils.

      The fourth group is composed of yermosols, xerosols, and other saline soils that cover desert areas of the Eastern Lowlands and the Denakil Plain. Because of moisture deficiency and coarse texture, they lack potential for rain-fed agriculture. However, the wetter margins are excellent for livestock, and even the drier margins respond well to irrigation. The fifth soil group is lithosols found primarily in the Denakil Plain. Lack of moisture and shallow profile preclude cultivation of these soils.

      Soil erosion is a serious problem in Ethiopia. Particularly in the northern provinces, which have been settled with sedentary agriculture for millennia, population density has caused major damage to the soil's physical base, to its organic and chemical nutrients, and to the natural vegetation cover. Even on the cool plateaus, where good volcanic soils are found in abundance, crude means of cultivation have exposed the soils to heavy seasonal rain, causing extensive gully and sheet erosion.

      Because Ethiopia is located in the tropical latitudes, its areas of lower elevation experience climatic conditions typical of tropical savanna or desert. However, relief plays a significant role in moderating temperature, so that higher elevations experience weather typical of temperate zones. Thus, average annual temperatures in the highlands are about 61° F (16° C), while the lowlands average about 82° F (28° C).

      There are three seasons in Ethiopia. From September to February is the long dry season known as the bega; this is followed by a short rainy season, the belg, in March and April. May is a hot and dry month preceding the long rainy season (kremt) in June, July, and August. The coldest temperatures generally occur in December or January (bega) and the hottest in March, April, or May (belg). However, in many localities July has the coldest temperatures because of the moderating influence of rainfall.

      Ethiopia can be divided into four rainfall regimes. Rain falls year-round in the southern portions of the Western Highlands, where annual precipitation may reach 80 inches (2,000 millimetres). Summer rainfall is received by the Eastern Highlands and by the northern portion of the Western Highlands; annual precipitation there may amount to 55 inches. The Eastern Lowlands get rain twice a year, in April–May and October–November, with two dry periods in between. Total annual precipitation varies between 20 and 40 inches. The driest of all regions is the Denakil Plain, which receives less than 20 inches and sometimes none at all.

Plant and animal life
      Ethiopia's natural vegetation is influenced by four biomes. The first is savanna, which, in wetter portions of the Western Highlands, consists of montane tropical vegetation with dense, luxuriant forests and rich undergrowth. Drier sections of savanna found at lower elevations of the Western and Eastern Highlands contain tropical dry forests mixed with grassland. The second biome is mountain vegetation; comprising montane and temperate grasslands, this covers the higher altitudes of the Western and Eastern Highlands. The third biome, tropical thickets and wooded steppe, is found in the Rift Valley and Eastern Lowlands. The fourth biome is desert steppe vegetation, which covers portions of the Denakil Plain.

      Ethiopia has had a rich variety of wildlife that in some cases has been reduced to a few endangered remnants. Lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, rhinoceroses, and wild buffalo are rarities, especially in northern Ethiopia. The Rift Valley, the Omo River valley, and the Western Lowlands contain remnants of big-game varieties. Smaller game varieties such as foxes, jackals, wild dogs, and hyenas are found abundantly throughout the country.

      Uniquely Ethiopian and among the most endangered species are the walia ibex of the Simen Mountains, the mountain nyala (a kind of antelope), the Simien jackal, and the gelada monkey. They are found in the Western and Eastern Highlands in numbers ranging from a few hundred for the walia ibex to a few thousand for the others. More abundant varieties found in the lowlands include such antelopes as the oryx, greater kudu, and waterbuck, various types of monkeys including the black-and-white colobus (known as guereza in Ethiopia and hunted for its beautiful long-haired pelt), and varieties of wild pig. In order to protect remaining species, the government has set aside 20 national parks, game reserves, and sanctuaries covering a total area of 21,320 square miles—about 5 percent of the total area of Ethiopia.

Settlement patterns
      With only about 12 percent of the population urbanized, most Ethiopians live in scattered rural communities. In order to reduce traveling distance, homesteads are generally scattered to be near farm plots. Buildings vary between circular and rectangular styles and are constructed of materials readily found within the environment. Roofs are mostly thatched, although some well-to-do farmers opt for corrugated steel tops.

      Modern urban centres in Ethiopia include the national capital of Addis Ababa and such regional centres as Dire Dawa (in the east), Jima (south), Nekemte (west), Dese (north-central), Gonder (northwest), and Mekele (north). Addis Ababa, founded by Menilek II in 1886, brought an end to the custom of “roving capitals” practiced by earlier monarchs. After World War II, “Addis” obtained the lion's share of investments in industry, social services, and infrastructure, so that it became the most attractive place for young people to seek opportunity.

The people (Ethiopia)
      Ethiopians are ethnically diverse, but it is not helpful to attempt to distinguish among peoples by physical criteria alone. The most important differences are cultural, particularly in language and religion.

      Ethiopia is a mosaic of about 100 languages that can be classified into four groups—Semitic, Cushitic, Omotic, and Nilotic. The Semitic languages are spoken primarily in the northern and central parts of the country; they include Geʿez (Geʿez language), Tigrinya (Tigrinya language), Amharic (Amharic language), Gurage, and Hareri. Geʿez, the ancient language of the Aksumite empire, is used today only for religious writings and worship in the Ethiopian Orthodox church. Tigrinya is native to the northern province of Tigray. Amharic is one of the country's principal languages and is native to the central and northwestern provinces. Gurage and Hareri are spoken by relatively few people in the south and east.

      The most important Cushitic languages are Oromo, Somali, and Afar. Oromo, together with Amharic, is one of the two most-spoken languages in Ethiopia; it is native to the western, southwestern, southern, and eastern areas of the country. Somali is dominant among inhabitants of the Ogaden and Hawd, while Afar is most common in the Denakil Plain.

      The Omotic languages, chief among which is Walaita, are not widespread, being spoken mostly in the densely populated areas of the extreme southwest. The Nilotic (Nilotic languages) language group is native to the Western Lowlands, with Kunama (Kunama languages) speakers being dominant.

       Christianity was introduced to Ethiopia in the 4th century, and the Ethiopian Orthodox church (called Tewahdo in Ethiopia) is one of the oldest Christian sects in the world. The church has long enjoyed a dominant role in the culture and politics of Ethiopia, counting more than half of all Ethiopians (including most of the Amhara and Tigray) among its adherents and having served as the official religion of the ruling elite until the demise of the monarchy in 1974. It also has served as the repository of Ethiopia's literary tradition and its visual arts. The core area of Christianity is in the highlands of northern Ethiopia, but its influence is felt in the entire country.

      Islām was introduced in the 7th century and is now practiced by more than one-quarter of Ethiopians. It is most important in the outlying regions, particularly in the Eastern Lowlands, but there are local concentrations throughout the country. Traditionally, the status of Islām (Islāmic world) has been far from equal with that of Christianity. However, the emperor Haile Selassie gave audiences to Muslim leaders and made overtures in response to their concerns, and under the Derg even more was done to give at least symbolic parity to the two faiths. Nevertheless, the perception of Ethiopia as “an island of Christianity in a sea of Islām” has continued to prevail among both highland Ethiopians and foreigners. There are now some concerns among highlanders that fundamentalist Muslim movements in the region and in neighbouring countries may galvanize sentiments for a greater role of Islām in Ethiopia.

      About one-tenth of Ethiopians are animists (animism) who worship a variety of African deities. They are primarily located in the Western Lowlands and speak a variety of Nilotic languages, such as Kunama.

      Judaism (Jew) has long been practiced in the vicinity of the ancient city of Gonder. Most of the Ethiopian Jews—who call themselves Beta Israel but also have been known as Falasha—have relocated to Israel (see Researcher's Note).

The economy
      Under Emperor Haile Selassie (reigned 1930–74), Ethiopia's economy enjoyed a modicum of free enterprise. The production and export of cash crops such as coffee were advanced, and import-substituting manufactures such as textiles and footwear were established. Especially after World War II, tourism, banking, insurance, and transport began to contribute more to the national economy. The Derg regime, which ruled from 1974 to 1991, nationalized (nationalization) all means of production, including land, housing, farms, and industry. Faced with uncertainties on their land rights, the smallholding subsistence farmers who form the backbone of Ethiopian agriculture became reluctant to risk producing surplus foods for market. Food shortages, already made serious by drought and civil war, worsened, and famine continued until the Derg finally collapsed. Under the present regime, which is essentially extracted from a rebel faction, land is still state-owned and is tenurable only by leasing from the government. In addition, an uncertain political climate has precluded significant internal or external investment in the country's economy. Ethiopia therefore remains among the poorest countries in the world.

      Ethiopia's most promising resource is its agricultural land. Although soil erosion, overgrazing, and deforestation have seriously damaged the plateaus, nearly half the potentially cultivable land is still available for future use. Most of the reserve land is located in parts of the country that have favourable climatic conditions for intensive agriculture. In addition, Ethiopia is the richest country in Africa in number of livestock, including cattle. With better management of grazing lands and breeding, livestock raising has the potential to meet the demands of internal as well as export markets.

      Ethiopia has many large rivers, but, with the exception of the Awash, they have yet to be exploited fully for hydroelectric power and irrigation. The role of minerals in Ethiopia's economy is also small. Only gold and platinum are of significance. However, there are potentials for copper, potash, lead, manganese, aluminum, chromium, cobalt, sulfur, and many others.

      Agriculture contributes almost half of Ethiopia's gross domestic product (GDP). There are three types of agricultural activity. The first (and by far the most important) is the subsistence smallholder sector, which produces most of the staple grains such as teff, wheat, barley, and oats (on the cooler plateaus) and sorghum, corn (maize), and millet (in warmer areas) and pulses such as chickpeas, peas, beans, and lentils. Farm plots are very small, ranging from 3 to 6 acres (1.2 to 2.5 hectares).

      The second type of agriculture is cash-cropping. Products include coffee, oilseeds, beeswax, qat (a stimulant leaf), and sugarcane. Coffee, which is native to Ethiopia, is the single most important export.

      Subsistence livestock raising, the third agricultural activity, is important in the peripheral lowlands of Ethiopia. Large herds may be kept by a family as it migrates each season in search of grazing and water.

      Fish is not a major item in the diet of highland Ethiopians (except during Lent for Christians). Favourite species are harvested from freshwater lakes and rivers in the highlands and the Rift Valley. Most of the fish sold locally is produced by small operators whose scale of operation and technology is inadequate for export production.

Mining and quarrying
      Compared to its potential, this sector contributes very little to the country's economy (less than 1 percent of its GDP). Gold is mined at Kibre Mengist in the south and platinum at Yubdo in the west. Also important are rock salt from the Denakil Plain and quarried building materials such as marble.

      Modern manufacturing contributes only about 7 percent to the GDP of Ethiopia. Products are primarily for domestic consumption. Among the most important are processed foods and beverages, textiles, tobacco, leather and footwear, and chemical products. Cottage industry and small enterprises are more important than industrial manufacturing in offering nonfarm employment and in producing a variety of consumer goods—for example, furniture, farming and construction implements, utensils, woven fabric, rugs, leathercrafts, footwear, jewelry, pottery, and baskets. Some of these products reach the tourist market. The size of the cottage industry is not known exactly, but government estimates put it at 4 percent of GDP.

      Energy is derived primarily from firewood and charcoal. Ethiopia's long dependence on these sources has contributed to the depletion of its trees and to the erosion of its soil. Hydroelectricity, the most important source of power for industries and major cities, is generated at three stations on the Awash, two on the Blue Nile or its tributaries, and one on the Shebele. However, these represent only a small fraction of Ethiopia's potential.

      A refinery at the Eritrean port of Aseb supplies Ethiopian motor vehicles and trains with gasoline and diesel fuel. Ethiopia itself does not extract petroleum.

      Before the Derg's nationalization of banks and insurance companies, financial institutions were among the best-run and best-managed establishments in Ethiopia. The National Bank of Ethiopia is the country's central bank and is also responsible for regulatory functions. The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia is the largest commercial bank, with branches throughout the country. The Agricultural and Industrial Development Bank provides loans primarily for agricultural and livestock development; it also directs small amounts toward investment in manufacturing.

      Ethiopia's exports are almost entirely agricultural. Coffee (coffee production) alone is responsible for more than 50 percent of foreign-exchange earnings; other exported products are hides and skins, oilseeds, and vegetables. Major export destinations are the United States, western Europe, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. Manufactures, especially machinery and transport equipment, account for almost three-quarters of the value of imports; food products and fuels are also important. With more being spent on imports than is earned from exports, Ethiopia's balance of payments has been negative for many years.

      Among the more successful developments in Ethiopia has been the road system. During the brief Italian occupation of 1935–41, highways were opened up linking Addis Ababa to the provinces, and after World War II the Imperial Highway Authority opened new feeder roads to isolated localities. Road construction and maintenance slowed during the decade of civil war in the 1980s. With the secession of Eritrea, Ethiopia no longer has direct access to the Red Sea ports of Aseb and Mitsiwa. This loss has placed greater importance on the railway between Addis Ababa and Djibouti, which was originally built by a French company between 1897 and 1917.

      Ethiopia's air transport system has enjoyed a success unparalleled in Africa. The internal network of Ethiopian Airlines (a state-owned but independently operated carrier) is well developed, connecting major provincial capitals and locations of tourist interest. Its international network provides excellent service to Africa, Europe, and Asia. Bole International Airport, near Addis Ababa, serves other African and European airlines and is also an acknowledged centre for pilot training and aircraft maintenance.

      Although tourism was curtailed during the period of Derg rule, Ethiopia can once again realize the tourist potential of such historical wonders as the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, the antiquities at Aksum, and the Gonder castles. Of equal attraction are Ethiopia's diverse peoples, their intriguing cultures, and the natural beauty of their land.

Administration and social conditions

      Ethiopia's ancient system of feudal government experienced significant changes under Haile Selassie I, who carefully grafted onto the traditional governing institutions a weak parliament of appointed and elected legislators, a judiciary with modernized civil and criminal codes and a hierarchy of courts, and an executive cabinet of ministers headed by a prime minister but answerable to himself. The Derg took power in 1974 and promised to bring revolutionary change to Ethiopia. Promulgating itself as the Provisional Military Administrative Council (PMAC) and later as the Workers' Party of Ethiopia (WPE), the Derg instituted a Soviet-style government with a state president and a house of deputies that were answerable to a revolutionary council with a politburo at the top. In May 1991 the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) entered the capital. The EPRDF introduced a temporary constitution called the National Charter, created an 87-member assembly known as the State Council, and proceeded to form a cabinet for the Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE). The TGE endorsed the secession of Eritrea, realigned provincial boundaries in an attempt to create ethnic homogenates, demobilized the national armed forces, and suspended the courts and enforcing agencies.

      Ethiopia maintains two educational systems. The traditional system is rooted in Christianity and Islām. Christian education at the primary level is often conducted by clergy in the vicinity of places of worship. Higher education, with emphasis on traditional Christian dogma, is still run by most major centres of worship, the most prominent being monasteries in the northern and northwestern provinces. Graduation from these centres leads to a position within the priesthood and church hierarchy.

      Modern education was an innovation of the emperors Menilek II (reigned 1889–1913) and Haile Selassie I (1930–74), who established an excellent, but limited, system of primary and secondary education. In addition, colleges of liberal arts, technology, public health, building, law, social work, business, agriculture, and theology were opened in the 1950s and '60s. In 1961 Haile Selassie I University (now Addis Ababa University) was created to centralize the administration of higher education in the country. The Derg expanded primary education and gave university designation to the Agricultural College in Alemaya near Harer and to the Medical College in Gonder. Nevertheless, with only about 40 percent of the primary, 15 percent of the secondary, and 1 percent of the tertiary age groups enrolled, Ethiopia's educational system is still grossly inadequate.

Health and welfare
      Ethiopia's health-care system includes primary health centres, clinics, and hospitals. Only major cities have hospitals with full-time physicians, and most of the hospitals are in Addis Ababa. With some 30,000 people per physician, access to modern health care is very limited. Fewer than 60 percent of births are attended by health staff, and infant mortality is approximately 130 per 1,000 live births. Life expectancy at birth is 47 years.

      Most health facilities are government-owned. Hopes of increasing the number of Ethiopian doctors suffered during the Derg era, when many either left the country or failed to return from specialized training abroad. Two medical schools continue to produce general practitioners and a few specialists, but the scale of output does not match the rising demand. Under the Derg, health facilities deteriorated from lack of maintenance and from shortages of equipment and drugs. Widespread use of traditional healing continues to be important, including such specialized occupations as bonesetting, midwifery, and minor surgery (including circumcision).

Cultural life
      The cultural heritage of Ethiopians resides in their religions, languages, and extended families. All major language and religious groups have their own cultural practices (which also vary by geographic location); however, there are commonalities that form strong and recognizable national traits. Most Ethiopians place less importance on artifacts of culture than they do on an idealized ethos of cultural refinement as reflected in a respect for human sanctity, the practice of social graces, and the blessings of accumulated wisdom. Religion provides the basic tenets of morality. The invocation of God is often all that is needed to seal agreements, deliver on promises, and seek justifiable redress. Hospitality is reckoned the ultimate expression of grace in social relations. Old age earns respect and prominence in society, especially because of the piety, wisdom, knowledge, prudence, and altruism that it is supposed to bestow.

      The influence of the Ethiopian Orthodox church on the national culture has been strong. Easter (Amharic: Yetinsa-e Be-al, or Fassika), Christmas (Yelidet Be-al, or Genna), and the Finding of the True Cross (Meskel) have become dominant national holidays. In an effort to reduce the dominance of the Christian church, both the Derg and the current regime have elevated the status of Islām (Islāmic world). Major Islāmic holidays include ʿĪd al-Fiṭr (ending the fast of Ramaḍān) and ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā (ending the period of pilgrimage to Mecca).

Assefa Mehretu


From prehistory to the Aksumite kingdom
      That life is of great antiquity in Ethiopia is indicated by the Hadar remains, a group of skeletal fragments found in the lower Awash River valley. The bone fragments belong to Australopithecus afarensis, an apelike creature that lived about four million years ago and may have been an ancestor of modern humans.

      Sometime between the 8th and 6th millennia BC, pastoralism and then agriculture developed in northern Africa and southwestern Asia, and, as the population grew, an ancient tongue spoken in this region fissured into the modern languages of the Afro-Asiatic (Afro-Asiatic languages) (formerly Hamito-Semitic) family. This family includes the Cushitic (Cushitic languages) and Semitic languages now spoken in Ethiopia. During the 2nd millennium BC, cereal grains and the use of the plow were introduced into Ethiopia from the region of the Sudan, and a people speaking Geʿez (a Semitic language) came to dominate the rich northern highlands of Tigray. There, in the 7th century BC, they established the kingdom of Daʾamat. This kingdom dominated lands to the west, obtaining ivory, tortoiseshell, rhinoceros horn, gold, silver, and slaves and trading them to South Arabian merchants.

      After 300 BC, Da'amat deteriorated as trade routes were diverted eastward for easier access to coastal ports. Subsequent wars of aggrandizement led to unification under the inland state of Aksum, which, from its base on the Tigray Plateau, controlled the ivory trade into the Sudan, other trade routes leading farther inland to the south, and the port of Adulis on the Gulf of Zula. Aksum's culture comprised Geʿez (Geʿez language), written in a modified South Arabian alphabet, sculpture and architecture based on South Arabian (Arabia, history of) prototypes, and an amalgam of local and Middle Eastern dieties. Thus, evidence exists of a close cultural exchange between Aksum and the Arabian peninsula, but there are no scholarly grounds for the common belief that South Arabian immigrants actually peopled and created Aksum, even if many of them visited or even came to live there. Nevertheless, the ancient cultural exchange across the Red Sea became enshrined in Ethiopian legend in the persons of Makeda—the Queen of Sheba (Sheba, Queen of)—and the Israelite king Solomon. Their mythical union was said to have produced Menilek I, the progenitor of Ethiopia's royal dynasty.

      By the 5th century Aksum was the dominant trading power in the Red Sea. Commerce rested on sound financial methods, attested to by the minting of coins bearing the effigies of Aksumite emperors. In the anonymous Greek travel book Periplus Maris Erythraei, written in the 1st century AD, Adulis is described as an “open harbour” containing a settlement of Greco-Roman merchants. It was through such communities, established for the purposes of trade, that the monophysite Christianity of the eastern Mediterranean reached Ethiopia during the reign of Emperor Ezanas (c. 303–c. 350). By the mid-5th century, monks were evangelizing among the Cushitic-speaking Agew people to the east and south.

      At its height, Aksum extended its influence northward to the southernmost reaches of Egypt, westward to the Cushite kingdom of Meroe, southward to the Omo River, and eastward to the spice coasts on the Gulf of Aden. Even the South Arabian kingdom of the Himyarites (Ḥimyar), across the Red Sea in what is now Yemen, came under the suzerainty of Aksum. In the early 6th century, Emperor Caleb (Ella-Asbeha; reigned c. 500–534) was strong enough to reach across the Red Sea in order to protect his coreligionists in Yemen against persecution by a Jewish prince. However, Christian power in South Arabia ended after 572, when the Persians invaded and disrupted trade. They were followed 30 years later by the Arabs, whose rise in the 7th and 8th centuries cut off Aksum's trade with the Mediterranean world.

The Zagwe (Zagwe Dynasty) and Solomonid dynasties (Solomonid Dynasty)
      As Christian shipping disappeared from the Red Sea, Aksum's towns lost their vitality. The Aksumite state turned southward, conquering adjacent, grain-rich highlands. Monastic establishments moved even farther to the south—for example, a great monastery was founded near Lake Hayk in the 9th century. Over time, one of the subject peoples, the Agew (Agau), learned Geʿez, became Christian, and assimilated their Aksumite oppressors to the point that Agew princes were able to transfer the seat of the empire southward to their own region of Lasta. Thus the Zagwe dynasty appeared in Ethiopia. Later ecclesiastical texts accused this dynasty of not having been of pure “Solomonid” stock (i.e., not descended from the union of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba), but it was in the religious plane that the Zagwe nonetheless distinguished themselves. At the Zagwe capital of Roha, Emperor Lalibela (reigned c. 1185–1225) directed the hewing of 11 churches out of living rock—a stupendous monument to Christianity, which he and the other Zagwes fostered along with the Ethiopianization of the countryside.

      The church hierarchy, however, continued to view the Zagwes with distaste, favouring instead the Amhara princes of northern Shewa, who claimed legitimacy as the avatars of the Aksumite dynasty. When Shewa's king Yekuno Amlak rebelled in 1270, he was supported by an influential faction of monastic churchmen, who condoned his regicide of Emperor Yitbarek and legitimated his descent from Solomon. The genealogy of the new Solomonid dynasty was published in the early 14th century in the Kebra Negast (“Glory of the Kings”), a pastiche of legends that related the birth of Menilek I, associated Ethiopia with the Judeo-Christian tradition, and provided a basis for Ethiopian national unity through the Solomonid dynasty, Shewan culture, and the Amharic language. Well-armed ideologically, the Ethiopian state was prepared for a struggle impending in its eastern and southern provinces, where Christianity was being pushed back by the forces of Islām (Islāmic world).

      Islāmic missionary preaching had led to the conversion of many pagan people living on the peripheries of Ethiopian rule. In the late 13th century, various Muslim sultanates on Ethiopia's southern border fell under the hegemony of Ifat, located on the eastern Shewan Plateau and in the Awash valley. Early in his reign (1314–44), the Ethiopian emperor Amda Tseyon marched southward, where he established strategic garrisons and divided jurisdictions into gults, or fiefs, whose holders paid an annual tribute. His heavy taxation of exports, especially of gold, ivory, and slaves that were transshipped from Ifat to Arabia, resulted in several rebellions led by Muslim sultans. Amda Tseyon and his successors replied with brutal pacification campaigns that carried Solomonid power into the Awash valley and even as far as Seylac (Zeila) on the Gulf of Aden.

      Aggrandizement into non-Christian areas eventually stimulated an internal reform and consolidation of the Christian state. As heads of the church, Solomonid monarchs actively participated in the development of religious culture and discipline by building and beautifying churches, repressing pagan practices, and promoting the composition of theological and doctrinal works. Such close connection between church and state inevitably brought conflict. Because of the role played by the monasteries in the accession of the Solomonid dynasty, many of them had been given perpetual title to considerable landed benefices. Such power allowed the monasteries at times to intervene in disputes over succession to the Solomonid throne and even openly to fight the reigning monarch. On the other hand, the monk Abba Ewostatewos (c. 1273–1352) preached isolation from corrupting state influences and a return to Biblical teachings—including observance of the Judaic Sabbath on Saturday in addition to the Sunday observance, an idea deeply held by the rural masses. The great emperor Zara Yakob (reigned 1434–68) conceded the latter point in 1450 at the Council of Mitmak, but he also initiated severe reforms in the church, eliminating abuses by strong measures and executing the leaders of heretical sects. Zara Yakob also conducted an unsuccessful military campaign to annihilate the Beta Israel, or Falasha, a group of Agew-speaking Jews who practiced a non-Talmudic form of Judaism.

      Zara Yakob valued national unity above all and feared Muslim encirclement. In 1445 he dealt Ifat such a crushing military defeat that hegemony over the Muslim states passed to the sultans of Adal, in the vicinity of Harer. About 1520 the leadership of Adal was assumed by Aḥmad ibn Ibrāhīm al-Ghāzī (Aḥmad Grāñ), a Muslim reformer who became known as Sahib al-Fath (“the Conqueror”) to the Muslims and Aḥmad Grāñ (“Ahmad the Left-Handed”) to the Christians. Aḥmad drilled his men in modern Ottomon tactics and led them on a jihad, or holy war, against Ethiopia, quickly taking areas on the periphery of Solomonid rule. In 1528 Emperor Lebna Denegel was defeated at the battle of Shimbra Kure, and the Muslims pushed northward into the central highlands, destroying settlements, churches, and monasteries. In 1541 the Portuguese, whose interests in the Red Sea were imperiled by Muslim power, sent 400 musketeers to train the Ethiopian army in European tactics. Emperor Galawdewos (reigned 1540–59) opted for a hit-and-run strategy and on February 21, 1543, caught Aḥmad in the open near Lake Tana and killed him in action. The Muslim army broke, leaving the field and north-central Ethiopia to the Christians.

The Age of the Princes
      Meanwhile, population pressures had mounted among the Oromo, a pastoral people who inhabited the upper basin of the Genalē (Jubba) River in what is now southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. Oromo society was based upon an “age-set” system known as gada, in which all males born into an eight-year generation moved together through all the stages of life. The warrior classes (luba) raided and rustled in order to prove themselves, and in the 16th century they began to undertake long-distance expeditions into the recently depopulated Ethiopian Plateau, stopping only when blocked by physical obstacles or by military might. By 1600 the Oromo had spread so widely in Ethiopia that Emperor Sarsa Dengel (reigned 1563–97) limited his government to what are now Eritrea, the northern regions of Tigray and Gonder, and parts of Gojam, Shewa, and Welo. These constituted an easily defensible, socially cohesive unit that included mostly Christian, Semitic-speaking agriculturalists. The church continued to rail against the Oromo threat and exhorted its flock to restore Ethiopia to its ancient domains, but the Monophysite faith soon found itself facing a different kind of threat from Roman Catholicism.

      Following close upon the Portuguese musketeers were missionaries who, sent by the Jesuit founder St. Ignatius of Loyola, sought to convert Ethiopia to the Western church. The most successful of these was the Jesuit Pedro Páez; (Páez, Pedro) his personal authority and eminent qualities were such that Emperor Susenyos (reigned 1607–32) was persuaded to accept the doctrine of the dual nature of Christ and to notify the pope of his acceptance. This apostasy attracted the elites but repulsed the masses and the monks, and Susenyos was forced to abdicate in favour of his son Fasilides (reigned 1632–67).

      Fasilides established a new capital at Gonder, a trading centre north of Lake Tana that connected the interior to the coast. At its height about 1700, the city supported the arts and educational, religious, and social institutions as well as Beta Israel craftspeople, Muslim traders, and a large Oromo population of farmers, day labourers, and soldiers. In order to protect Orthodox Christendom from the pagan Oromo, who were moving into southern Tigray and southeastern Gonder province, the monarchy turned to a newly assimilated Oromo aristocracy. Eventually the emperors at Gonder became little more than local magnates protected by Oromo generals. Meanwhile, agricultural development in the Gībē River basin was leading to the formation of Oromo states just south of Shewa, the Gonga people were developing their own states in the Kefa highlands on the west bank of the Omo River, and a line that claimed Solomonid descent was returning northern Shewa to Amhara rule. By the reign of Emperor Tekle Haimanot I (1706–08), little was left of the central government. The Zamana Masafent (“Age of the Princes”), 150 years of feudal anarchy, had commenced.

      For most Ethiopians, life during the Age of the Princes was difficult. Everyone had a niche in society, few moved from class to class, and practically nobody questioned the social order. As armies traversed the highlands, ruining the countryside and forcing farmers off the land and onto the field of battle, the self-sufficient rural economy of the north broke down. The balance of power shifted southward to untouched Shewa, which prospered in the growing trade of the Gībē states. Shewa's self-proclaimed king, Sahle Selassie (reigned 1813–47), and his successors expanded southward, so that by 1840 they controlled most of Shewa to the Awash River and enjoyed suzerainty as far south as Guragē.

      To the north, Kassa (Tewodros II) Hailu was ending the Age of the Princes. After serving as a mercenary in Gojam, Kassa returned to his native Kwara in the western lowlands, where he prospered as a highwayman and built a good, small army. By 1847 he monopolized the lowlands' revenues from trade and smuggling, forcing Gonder's leading magnates to integrate him into the establishment. Finally, in April 1853 at Takusa, Kassa defeated Ras (Prince) Ali, the last of the Oromo lords. After consolidating his rule over Tigray to the north, Kassa was crowned Emperor Tewodros II on February 9, 1855. Later that year he marched south and forced the submission of Shewa.

Tewodros II, Yohannes IV, and Menilek II
      Although Tewodros' first years were marked by attempts at social justice, his effort to establish garrisons nationwide lost the allegiance of the already heavily taxed peasantry, and he alienated parish clergy by nationalizing “excess” church land. Such political ineptitude gave heart to the regional aristocrats, who returned to conspiracy. The emperor held Ethiopia together only through coercion, and in 1861, finally understanding his conundrum, he conceived a bold foreign policy to regain popular support. In 1862 Tewodros offered Britain's Queen Victoria an alliance to destroy Islām. The British ignored the scheme, and, when no response came, Tewodros imprisoned the British envoy and other Europeans. This diplomatic incident led to an Anglo-Indian military expedition in 1868. Sir Robert Napier (Napier, Robert Napier, 1st Baron), the commander, paid money and weapons to Kassa, a dejazmatch (earl) of Tigray, in order to secure passage inland, and on April 10, on the plains below Āmba Maryam (or Mekʾdela), British troops defeated a small imperial force. In order to avoid capture, Tewodros committed suicide two days later.

      The Tigrayan Kassa took the imperial crown as Yohannes IV on January 21, 1872. After ejecting two Egyptian armies from the highlands of Eritrea in 1875–76, Yohannes moved south, forcing Shewa's king Menilek (Menilek II) to submit and to renounce imperial ambitions. Yohannes thus became the first Ethiopian emperor in 300 years to wield authority from Tigray south to Guragē. He then sought to oust the Egyptians from coastal Eritrea, where they remained after the Mahdists had largely taken over the Sudan, but he was unable to prevent Italy from disembarking troops at Mitsiwa (now Massawa) in February 1885. In order to weaken the emperor, Rome tried to buy Menilek's cooperation with thousands of rifles; the Shewan king remained faithful to Yohannes but took the opportunity in January 1887 to incorporate Harer into his kingdom. Meanwhile, Yohannes repulsed Italian forays inland, and in 1889 he marched into the Sudan to avenge Mahdist attacks on Gonder. On March 9, 1889, with victory in his grasp, he was shot and killed at Metema.

      Menilek declared himself emperor of Ethiopia on March 25, and at Wichale (or Ucciali, as the Italians called it) in Tigray on May 2 he signed a treaty of amity and commerce granting Italy rule over Eritrea. The Italian version of Article XVII of the Treaty of Wichale (Wichale, Treaty of) made Rome the medium for Ethiopia's foreign relations, whereas the Amharic text was noncommital. Learning that Rome had used the mistranslation to claim a protectorate over all of Ethiopia, Menilek first sought a diplomatic solution; meanwhile, during 1891–93, he sent expeditions south and east to obtain gold, ivory, musk, coffee, hides, and slaves to trade for modern weapons and munitions. In December 1895, after two years of good harvests had filled Ethiopia's granaries, Menilek moved his army into Tigray.

      Rome believed that as few as 35,000 soldiers could control Ethiopia, but it was proved wrong on March 1, 1896, at the Battle of Adwa (Adwa, Battle of), where General Oreste Baratieri led 14,500 Italian troops on a poorly organized attack against Menilek's well-armed host of some 100,000 fighters. The Italian lines crumbled, and at noon retreat was sounded. The emperor retired into Ethiopia to await negotiations, and on October 26, 1896, he signed the Treaty of Addis Ababa, which abrogated the Treaty of Wichale.

      Menilek subsequently directed the Solomonid state into areas never before under its rule. Between 1896 and 1906 Ethiopia expanded to its present size, taking in the highlands, the key river systems, and a buffer of low-lying arid or tropical zones around the state's central core. Revenues from the periphery were used to modernize the new capital of Addis Ababa, to open schools and hospitals, and to build communication networks. Menilek contracted with a French company to construct a railway between Addis Ababa and Djibouti, thus spurring the exploitation of the country's produce by foreign merchants in cooperation with the ruling elites.

The reign of Haile Selassie I
      As Menilek aged, he appointed a cabinet to act for his grandson and heir designate, Iyasu, a son of the Oromo ruler of Welo. Upon the emperor's death in 1913, Iyasu took power in his own right. Seeking a society free of religious and ethnic divisions, he removed many of Menilek's governors and integrated Muslims into the administration, outraging Ethiopia's Christian ruling class. During World War I, Iyasu dallied with Islām and with the Central Powers in the hope of regaining Eritrea. After the Allies formally protested, Addis Ababa's aristocrats met, accused Iyasu of apostasy and subversion, and deposed him on September 27, 1916.

      Iyasu was replaced by Menilek's daughter, Zauditu. Since it was considered unseemly for a woman to serve in her own right, Ras Tafari, the son of Ras Makonnen and a cousin of Menilek, served as Zauditu's regent and heir apparent. The prince developed a modern bureaucracy by recruiting the newly educated for government service. He also engineered Ethiopia's entry into the League of Nations in 1923, reasoning that collective security would protect his backward country from aggression. To brighten Ethiopia's external image, he hired foreign advisers for key departments and set about abolishing slavery—a process in which he was helped by Ethiopia's transition to a market economy.

      By 1928, when Zauditu named Tafari king, the economy was booming, thanks mainly to the export of coffee. In the countryside, local officials built roads and improved communications, facilitating the penetration of traders and entrepreneurs. Ethiopians remained in charge of the economy, since Tafari forced foreigners to take local partners and maintained tight control over concessions.

      On April 1, 1930, Zauditu died and Tafari declared himself emperor. He was crowned Haile Selassie I (“Strength of the Trinity”; his baptismal name) on November 2. In July 1931 the emperor promulgated a constitution that enshrined as law his prerogative to delegate authority to an appointed and indirectly elected bicameral parliament, among other modern institutions. During 1931–34 Haile Selassie instituted projects for roads, schools, hospitals, communications, administration, and public services. The combined effect of these projects was to open the country to the world economy. By 1932 revenues were pouring into Addis Ababa from taxes applied to 25,000 tons of coffee exported each year.

      Haile Selassie's success convinced Italy's ruler Benito Mussolini (Mussolini, Benito) to undertake a preemptive strike before Ethiopia grew too strong to oppose Italian ambitions in the Horn of Africa. After an Ethiopian patrol clashed with an Italian garrison at the Welwel oasis in the Ogaden in November–December 1934, Rome began seriously preparing for war. Haile Selassie continued to trust in the collective security promised by the League of Nations (Nations, League of). Only on October 2, 1935, upon learning that Italian forces had crossed the frontier, did he order mobilization. During the subsequent seven-month Italo-Ethiopian War, the Italian command used air power and poison gas to separate, flank, and destroy Haile Selassie's poorly equipped armies. The emperor went into exile on May 2, 1936.

      For five years (1936–41) Ethiopia was joined to Eritrea and Italian Somaliland to form Italian East Africa. During this period Italy carried out a program of public works, concentrating especially on highways and on agricultural and industrial development. Resistance to the occupation continued, however. The Italians dominated the cities, towns, and major caravan routes, while Ethiopian patriots harried the occupiers and sometimes tested the larger garrison towns. When Italy joined the European war in June 1940, the United Kingdom recognized Haile Selassie as a full ally, and the emperor was soon in Khartoum to help train a British-led Ethiopian army. This joint force entered Gojam on January 20, 1941, and encountered an enemy quick to surrender. On May 5 the emperor triumphantly returned to Addis Ababa. Ignoring the British occupation authorities, he quickly organized his own government.

      In February 1945 at a meeting with U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Haile Selassie submitted memoranda stressing the imperative for recovering Eritrea and thereby gaining free access to the sea. In 1948 and again in 1949, two commissions established by the wartime Allies and by the United Nations reported that Eritrea lacked national consciousness and an economy that could sustain independence. Washington, wishing to secure a communications base in Asmara (Asmera) and naval facilities in Massawa—and also to counter possible subversion in the region—supported Eritrea's federation with Ethiopia. The union took place in September 1952.

      During the 1950s Ethiopia's coffee sold well in world markets. Revenues were used to centralize the government, to improve communications, and to modernize urban centres. In November 1955 the emperor promulgated a revised constitution, which permitted parliament to authorize finances and taxes, to question ministers, and to disapprove imperial decrees. The constitution also introduced an elected lower house of parliament, a theoretically independent judiciary, separation of powers, a catalog of human rights, and a mandate for bureaucratic responsibility to the people. At the same time, the emperor retained his power of decree and his authority to appoint the government. Among his ministers, he subtly established competing power factions—a stratagem that had the ultimate effect of retarding governmental cooperation, economic development, and bureaucratic modernization.

      Some educated officials concluded that the country would move ahead only when the imperial regime was destroyed. In December 1960, while the emperor was abroad, members of the security and military forces attempted a coup d'état. The coup rapidly unraveled, but not before the nation's social and economic problems were described in radical terms. Even then, the emperor ignored the coup's significance; in February 1961 he began to name a new government that reflected the status quo ante by depending on the landowning military, aristocracy, and oligarchy for authority. Haile Selassie showed himself unable to implement significant land reform, and as a result progressives and students opposed the regime. The monarchy gradually lost its credibility, especially as it became embroiled in intractable conflicts in Eritrea and with Somalia.

      Somalia's independence in 1960 stimulated Somali nationalists in Ethiopia's Ogaden to rebel in February 1963. When Mogadishu joined the fighting, the Ethiopian army and air force smashed its enemy. Mogadishu's consequent military alliance with the Soviet Union upset the regional balance of power, driving up Ethiopia's arms expenditures and necessitating more U.S. assistance. Meanwhile, an insurrection in Eritrea, which had begun in 1960 mainly among Muslim pastoralists in the western lowlands, came to attract highland Christians disaffected by the government's dissolution of the federation in 1962 and the imposition of Amharic in the schools. At the same time, an increasingly radical student movement in Addis Ababa identified Haile Selassie as an agent of U.S. imperialism and his landowning oligarchs as the enemy of the people. Under the motto of “land to the tiller,” the students sought to limit property size and rights, and, by fostering the Leninist notion that nationalities had the right to secede, they gave strength and ideological justification to the Eritrean rebellion.

      By the early 1970s one-third of Ethiopia's 45,000 soldiers were in Eritrea, and others were putting down tax rebellions in Balē, Sīdamo, and Gojam. In January 1974 there began a series of mutinies led by junior officers and senior noncommissioned officers, who blamed the imperial elites for their impoverishment and for the country's economic and social ills. For the government, the situation was greatly worsened by drought and famine in the overpopulated and overfarmed north, the denial of which became an international scandal. In June representatives of the mutineers constituted themselves as the Coordinating Committee (Derg) of the Armed Forces, Police, and Territorial Army. Major Mengistu Haile Mariam, of Harer's Third Division, was elected chairman. The Derg proceeded to dismantle the monarchy's institutions and to arrest Haile Selassie's cronies, confidantes, and advisers. It then campaigned against the old and senile emperor, who was deposed on September 12, 1974. In November, after a shootout among members of the Derg, as many as 60 leaders of the old regime were executed. The new government issued a Declaration of socialism on December 20, 1974.

Socialist Ethiopia
      The Derg borrowed its ideology from competing Marxist (Marxism) parties, one of which, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party (EPRP), believed so strongly in civilian rule that it undertook urban guerrilla war against the military rulers. During the ensuing anarchy, Mengistu seized complete power as head of state. He then undertook class warfare against the EPRP, as a result of which thousands of Ethiopia's best-educated and idealistic young people were killed or exiled. At this moment of weakness, in May and June 1977, Somalia's army advanced into the Ogaden. Moscow (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) labeled Mogadishu the aggressor and diverted arms shipments to Ethiopia, where Soviet and allied troops trained and armed a People's Militia, provided fighting men, and reequipped the army. Unable to entice the United States into resupplying its troops, Somalia withdrew in early 1978. Mengistu quickly shifted troops to Eritrea, where, by year's end, the secessionists were pushed back into mountainous terrain around Nakʾfa.

      Mengistu sought to transform Ethiopia into a command (command economy) state led by a disciplined and loyal party that would control virtually every organ of authority. To this end a land-reform (land reform) proclamation of 1975 transferred ownership of all land to the state and provided allotments of no more than 25 acres (10 hectares) to individual peasants who farmed the land themselves. Extensive nationalization of industry, banking, insurance, large-scale trade, and extra dwellings completed the reforms and wiped out the economic base of the old ruling class. To implement the reforms, adjudicate disputes, and administer local affairs, peasants' associations were organized in the countryside and precinct organizations (kebellay) in the towns. In 1984 the Workers' Party of Ethiopia was formed, with Mengistu as secretary-general, and in 1987 a new parliament inaugurated the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, with Mengistu as president.

      Despite initial expectations, farmers failed to generate the high yields expected from the land reform, mainly because the equitable distribution of land among the members of peasants' associations led to smaller plots, overcultivation, land degradation, and declining harvests. In order to feed Ethiopia's cities and the army, the government tried to force the peasants' associations to deliver grain at below-market prices—a disastrous policy that led to a horrific famine in 1984. With one-sixth of Ethiopia's people at risk of starvation, Western nations made available enough surplus grain to end the crisis by mid-1985. Donors were not so forthcoming for a mammoth population resettlement program that proposed to move people from the drought-prone and crowded north to the west and south, where supposedly surplus lands were available. The Mengistu regime handled the shift callously and did not have the necessary resources to provide proper housing, tools, medical treatment, or food for the 600,000 refugees (refugee) it moved. Resources were also lacking for a related villagization program, which had the putative aim of concentrating scattered populations into villages where they might receive modern services. As late as 1990 most villages lacked the promised amenities because of resource-draining civil strife in the north.

      By 1985–86 the government was embattled throughout most of Eritrea and Tigray, but Mengistu simply stepped up recruitment and asked Moscow for more arms. In December 1987 the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) broke through the Ethiopian lines before Nakʾfa and continued to wage successful war with weapons captured from demoralized government troops. In early 1988 the EPLF began to coordinate its attacks with the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which had long been fighting for the autonomy of Tigray and for the Marxist purity of the Ethiopian revolution. The Soviets refused to ship more arms, and in February 1989 a series of defeats and a worsening lack of weaponry forced the government to evacuate Tigray. The TPLF then organized the largely Amhara Ethiopian People's Democratic Movement. Together, these two groups formed the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), and their forces easily advanced into Gonder and Welo provinces. The following year the EPLF occupied Massawa; this broke the Ethiopian stranglehold on supplies entering the country and demonstrated that the government no longer ruled in Tigray and Eritrea. Shortly thereafter, when the TPLF cut the Addis Ababa–Gonder road and put Gojam at risk, Mengistu announced the end of socialism.

      The peasantry immediately abandoned the regime's villages for their old homesteads, dismantled cooperatives, and redistributed land and capital goods. They ejected or ignored party and government functionaries, in several cases killing recalcitrant administrators. The regime was thus weakened in the countryside—especially in southern Ethiopia, where the long-dormant Oromo Liberation Front became active. By May 1991, with EPRDF forces controlling Tigray, Welo, Gonder, Gojam, and about half of Shewa, it was obvious that the army did not have sufficient morale, manpower, weapons, munitions, and leadership to stop the rebels' advance on Addis Ababa. Mengistu fled and on May 28 the EPRDF took power.

      The new government, led by a Tigrayan, the EPRDF chairman Meles Zenawi, claimed that it would democratize Ethiopia through recognition of the country's ethnic heterogeneity. No longer would the Ethiopian union be maintained by force; rather, it would be a voluntary federation of its many peoples. To this end the EPRDF and other political groups agreed to the creation of a transitional government that would engineer a new constitution and elections; to a national charter that recognized an ethnic division of political power; and to the right of nationalities to secede from Ethiopia (thus paving the way for Eritrea's legal independence).

      It soon became obvious that the new regime was weakening the central administration of Ethiopia in favour of strong, ethnically based regional governments whose ruling parties were intended to be affiliated politically and ideologically with the EPRDF. A new regional map reflecting the changes was issued in 1992. Some Ethiopians criticized the new ethnic units as similar to an antinational reorganization of Ethiopia drawn up by the Italians in 1936. The Amhara, identified by the EPRDF as colonizers, were particularly affronted by the apparent disunification of the country. The government fought back by denouncing Amhara leaders as antidemocratic chauvinists and by muzzling the press through application of a new law that theoretically guaranteed its freedom. In the provinces, the government did not bother to maintain even the guise of freedom: there, the suppression of anti-EPRDF forces, especially the Oromo Liberation Front, was so blatant as to be noticed by the members of an international team sent to observe regional elections in June 1992.

      Throughout 1992–93, the transitional government worked with donor governments and the World Bank to forge a structural adjustment program. This program devalued the Ethiopian currency, sharply reduced government intervention in the economy, and made it easier for foreign companies to invest in Ethiopia and repatriate their profits. However, the government refused to denationalize (and thereby capitalize) land and to return property confiscated by the Derg. The economy therefore remained stagnant, and yet another famine, stemming from a lack of national integration and the stifling overregulation of business—especially outside Addis Ababa—was signaled early in 1994. By midyear, 10 million people were reported to be at risk, largely in the north and east. The government called upon the international donor community for help, but, by failing to free the economy and thus failing to solve its chronic famine crisis, Ethiopia remained unable to finance its own development and to create the surplus needed to relieve its own population. In addition, it remained uncertain whether Meles's regime would be able to sustain Ethiopia as a state by building a democracy based on ethnic rights. If the rights of a large nationality, such as the Oromo, were to conflict with the needs of the state, the EPRDF authorities might face the political crisis by becoming even more authoritarian and antidemocratic. Such a possibility led many observers to believe that government by ethnicity was as impracticable as government by socialism.

Harold G. Marcus

Additional Reading

Edward Ullendorff, The Ethiopians: An Introduction to Country and People, 3rd ed. (1973, reprinted 1990), is a comprehensive study, beginning with the early explorers and their impressions of the country's people and culture and including discussions of such topics as geography, anthropology, history, culture, and daily life; although some of the quantitative information is dated, the book makes interesting reading. Mesfin Wolde-Mariam, An Introductory Geography of Ethiopia (1972), is an excellent introduction providing information on the physical attributes, economic activities, population characteristics, and history of the country, and his Rural Vulnerability to Famine in Ethiopia: 1958–1977 (1986), offers a valuable assessment, attempting to identify the human and natural causes of food insecurity and exploring various ways of detecting vulnerability to famine and the shortcomings of the state in alleviating the danger. Donald N. Levine, Wax & Gold: Tradition and Innovation in Ethiopian Culture (1965, reprinted 1986), offers a thorough and detailed study of the culture and ethos of the politically dominant Amhara, and his Greater Ethiopia: The Evolution of a Multiethnic Society (1974), explores cultural parallels and connections among the many different ethnic groups of the Ethiopian “mosaic.” Daniel Teferra, Social History and Theoretical Analyses of the Economy of Ethiopia (1990), combines discussions on the historical geography of Ethiopia's people and on the current challenges in economic development. Jonathan Baker, The Rural-Urban Dichotomy in the Developing World: A Case Study from Northern Ethiopia (1986), treats in detail the urban patterns in parts of the country. Edmond J. Keller, Revolutionary Ethiopia: From Empire to People's Republic (1988), deals with the political transformation of Ethiopia from its monarchist order to a people's republic. Mulatu Wubneh and Yohannis Abate, Ethiopia: Transition and Development in the Horn of Africa (1988), is an excellent survey from a variety of perspectives, with discussions of the geography and history and of the country's social, cultural, political, and economic patterns.Assefa Mehretu

Harold G. Marcus, A History of Ethiopia (1994), is the only modern general history of Ethiopia from Australopithecus afarensis to the fall of the Derg in 1991. Particular periods or events are covered in Taddesse Tamrat, Church and State in Ethiopia, 1270–1527 (1972), which remains the only scholarly account of the golden years of the Solomonid dynasty; Mohammed Hassen, The Oromo of Ethiopia: A History, 1570–1860 (1990), the first modern history of the Oromo; Mordechai Abir, Ethiopia: The Era of the Princes: The Challenge of Islam and the Re-unification of the Christian Empire, 1769–1855 (1968), a dated but still largely accurate synthesis of the Age of the Princes; Bahru Zewde, A History of Modern Ethiopia, 1855–1974 (1991), a scholarly and authentically Ethiopian view; Sven Rubenson, The Survival of Ethiopian Independence (1976), an account that details the internal reasons for Ethiopia's continued independence during the epoch of modern European imperialism; Christopher Clapham, Haile-Selassie's Government (1969), an analysis of Haile Selassie's highly developed monarchical and authoritarian state; and John W. Harbeson, The Ethiopian Transformation: The Quest for the Post-Imperial State (1988), a detailed account of the Mengistu years (1974–91) that argues against an Ethiopian revolution but for the notion of transformation.Harold G. Marcus

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Universalium. 2010.

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