Ethiopia, officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the 2nd most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the 10th largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2. With its capital at Addis Ababa, it is also the most populous landlocked nation in the world.
Unique among African countries, the ancient Ethiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule with the exception of a short-lived Italian occupation from 1936-41. In 1974, a military junta, the Derg, deposed Emperor Haile SELASSIE (who had ruled since 1930) and established a socialist state.
Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world. What are believed to be the oldest remains of a human ancestor ever found, which have been dated as being some five million years old, were discovered in the Awash Valley in Ethiopia. This beats the discovery of "Lucy", a 3.2 million year old skeleton, who was unearthed in the same area in 1974.
The Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) is a political organization established in 1989 by member parties; Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and Ethiopian Peoples’ Democratic Movement (EPDM) currently known as the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM). Lately other parties joined the Party namely the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDP), and the Southern Ethiopia Peoples Democratic Movement (SEPDM), previously known as Southern Ethiopia Peoples Democratic Front (SEPDF).
A constitution was adopted in 1994, and Ethiopia's first multiparty elections were held in 1995. A border war with Eritrea late in the 1990's ended with a peace treaty in December 2000.
Ethiopia has its own ancient calendar. According to the beliefs of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, God created the world 5500 years before the birth of Christ and it is 1994 years since Jesus was born. Based on this timeline, we are in the year 7494 of the eighth millennium. These are referred to as Amete Alem in Amharic or "the years of the world". Era of the world dates from 5493 B.C.
Christianity was introduced to Ethiopia in the 4th century, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (called Tewahdo in Ethiopia) is one of the oldest organized Christian bodies in the world. The church has long enjoyed a dominant role in the culture and politics of Ethiopia, 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. More than two-fifths of Ethiopians follow the teachings of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. An additional one-fifth adhere to other Christian faiths, the vast majority of which are Protestant.
Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia and it is spoken most widely in the northwest and central part of the country. Tigrinya is mostly spoken in northern and northeastern Ethiopia. Tigré is spoken in the independent nation of Eritrea, formerly part of Ethiopia (Pankhurst 7-8).
Most Ethiopians are farmers and herders. But deforestation, drought, and soil degradation have caused crop failures and famine during the past few decades; seven million people face starvation.
Ethiopians have a very beautiful traditional coffee ceremony, its unimaginable for most Ethiopians to start a new day with out several cups of coffee. Coffee is the best drink an Ethiopian family offers to honor guests, as coffee ceremony is the best occasion for a get-together with neighbors and friends. Ethiopian coffee ceremony might have been crated with the discovery of coffee itself in its south western heartland, in particular place called “Kaffa” from which, many experts of the uniquely fragrant and relaxing bean believe, the firm coffee has originated and joined the international lexicon.
Ethiopia's poverty-stricken economy is based on agriculture, accounting for almost 50% of GDP, and 85% of total employment. The agricultural sector suffers from frequent drought and poor cultivation practices. Coffee is critical to the Ethiopian economy with exports of some $350 million in 2006, but historically low prices have seen many farmers switching to qat to supplement income.