Ethiopia, officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea to the north, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south. With over 86,000,000 inhabitants, Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world and the second-most populated nation on the African continent. It occupies a total area of 1,100,000 square kilometres (420,000 sq mi), and its capital and largest city is Addis Ababa.
Ethiopia is one of the oldest locations of human life known to scientists and is widely considered the region from which Homo sapiens first set out for the Middle East and points beyond. Tracing its roots to the 2nd millennium BC, Ethiopia was a monarchy for most of its history. Alongside Rome, Persia, China and India,the Kingdom of Aksum was one of the great world powers of the 3rd century. In the 4th century, it was the first major empire in the world to officially adopt Christianity as a state religion.
During the late 19th-century Scramble for Africa, Ethiopia was the only African country beside Liberia that retained its sovereignty as a recognized independent country. It was one of only four African members of the 20th-century League of Nations established following World War I. When other African nations gained their independence following World War II, many of them adopted the colors of Ethiopia’s flag. Addis Ababa became the base for several global non-profit organizations focused on Africa. In 1974, at the end of Haile Selassie I’s reign, Ethiopia became a federal republic ruled by a military junta known as the Derg, based on communism. In 1987 Mengistu established the Ethiopian People’s Democratic Republic which survived until being defeated by a coalition, loosely called the EPRDF. It had ruled since 1991.
Ethiopia is a multilingual and multiethnic society of around 80 groups, with the two largest being the Oromo and the Amhara, both of which speak Afro-Asiatic languages. Ethiopia’s ancient Ge’ez script, also known as Ethiopic, is one of the oldest alphabets still in use on the continent. The Ethiopian calendar, which is seven years and about three months behind the Gregorian calendar, co-exists alongside the Oromo calendar. The majority of the population is Christian and a third is Muslim; the country is the site of the first Hijra in Islamic history and the oldest Muslim settlement in Africa at Negash. A substantial population of Ethiopian Jews, known as Beta Israel, resided in Ethiopia until the 1980s but have since gradually emigrated to Israel. Ethiopia is also the spiritual homeland of the Rastafari movement. Nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites have been designated in the country.
Ethiopia is one of the founding members of the UN, the Non-Aligned Movement, G-77 and the Organisation of African Unity, with Addis Ababa serving as the headquarters of the African Union, the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, UNECA and the African Standby Force. Despite being located at the headwaters of the Nile, Ethiopia underwent a series of famines in the 1980s, exacerbated by civil wars and adverse geopolitics. The country has begun to recover, and it now has the largest economy by GDP in East Africa and Central Africa.
At 435,071 square miles (1,126,829 km2), Ethiopia is the world’s 27th-largest country, comparable in size to Bolivia. It lies between latitudes 3° and 15°N, and longitudes 33° and 48°E.
The major portion of Ethiopia lies on the Horn of Africa, which is the easternmost part of the African landmass. Bordering Ethiopia are Sudan and South Sudan to the west, Djibouti and Eritrea to the north, Somalia to the east and Kenya to the south. Within Ethiopia is a vast highland complex of mountains and dissected plateaus divided by the Great Rift Valley, which runs generally southwest to northeast and is surrounded by lowlands, steppes, or semi-desert. The great diversity of terrain determines wide variations in climate, soils, natural vegetation, and settlement patterns.
Ethiopia is an ecologically diverse country, ranging from the deserts along the eastern border to the tropical forests in the south to extensive Afromontane in the northern and southwestern parts. Lake Tana in the north is the source of the Blue Nile. It also has a large number of endemic species, notably the Gelada Baboon, the Walia Ibex and the Ethiopian wolf (or Simien fox). The wide range of altitude has given the country a variety of ecologically distinct areas, this has helped to encourage the evolution of endemic species in ecological isolation.
|In September 2010 the penetration rate was estimated at 30% over a population estimate of 90.8 million.
|Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation|