Posted by Stephanie Baker on
Ethiopia (play /?i?θi?o?pi?/) (Ge'ez: ????? ??ty???y?), officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa, and is the most populous landlocked country in the world. 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. Ethiopia is the second-most populous nation on the African continent, with over 84,320,000 inhabitants, and the tenth largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2. Its capital, Addis Ababa, is known as "the political capital of Africa."
Ethiopia is one of the oldest sites of human existence known to scientists. It may be the region from which Homo sapiens first set out for the Middle East and points beyond. Ethiopia was a monarchy for most of its history until the last dynasty of Haile Selassie ended in 1974, and the Ethiopian dynasty traces its roots to the 2nd century BC. Alongside Rome, Persia, China and India, the Kingdom of Aksum was one of the great world powers of the 3rd century and the first major empire in the world to officially adopt Christianity as a state religion in the 4th century. During the Scramble for Africa, Ethiopia was the only African country beside Liberia that retained its sovereignty as a recognized independent country, and was one of only four African members of the League of Nations. Ethiopia then became a founding member of the UN. When other African nations received their independence following World War II, many of them adopted the colors of Ethiopia's flag, and Addis Ababa became the location of several global organizations focused on Africa. Ethiopia is one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement, G-77 and the Organisation of African Unity. Addis Ababa is currently the headquarters of the African Union, the Pan African Chamber of Commerce, UNECA and the African Standby Force.
The ancient Ge'ez script is widely used in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian calendar is seven to eight years behind the Gregorian calendar. The country 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. The majority of the population is Christian while a third of it is Muslim. Ethiopia 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 resided in Ethiopia until the 1980s. The country is also the spiritual homeland of the Rastafari movement. There are 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ethiopia.
Despite being the major source of the Nile, Ethiopia underwent a series of famines in the 1980s, exacerbated by adverse geopolitics and civil wars. The country has begun to recover, and it now has the biggest economy by GDP in East Africa and Central Africa. Ethiopia follows a federal republic political system and EPRDF has been the ruling party since 1991.
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