Capital city: Addis Ababa Population ( 2017): 105 million Surface area: 1.13 million sq km (437,794 sq miles) Languages: Amharic (official language) and Tigrinya, Oromigna, Guaraginga, Somali, Arabic. English is also the administrative language. Religion: Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, Muslim and Protestant Christianity Topography: Ethiopia has an elevated central plateau varying in height from 2,000 to 3,000 meters above sea level. There are around 25 mountains whose peaks reach over 4,000 meters in the North and the Centre of the country. The most famous Ethiopian river is the Blue Nile or Abay, which flows a distance of 1,450 kilometres from its source to join the White Nile in Khartoum. Currency: Ethiopian Birr (ETB) Time: GMT+3 Telephone code: +251 Electric supply: 220 Volts 50 cycles AC (Adapters can be easily found in all major cities) Life Expectancy: 63 years (men), 67 years (women) GDP (2019): $240.168 billion (total) GDP by sector (2015): Agriculture (47%), Industry (10.8%), Services (42.2%)
Ethiopia has a rich cultural heritage and incredible diversity both in its people and its landscapes.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is one of the oldest organised Christian bodies in the world and its heart is in the country’s mountainous north. In Lalibela, Ethiopia’s holiest city, you’ll find Ethiopia’s famous rock churches, some of which sit 40 feet beneath the ground.
Those looking for epic landscapes and incredible natural scenery will not be disappointed. The vast plateaus and craggy peaks of the Simien and Bale mountain ranges are breathtaking and home to much of Ethiopia’s wildlife, including the endangered Walia ibex, the Gelada Baboons and the elusive Ethiopian wolf.
The remarkable Danakil Depression is one of the lowest, hottest and driest places on Earth. Looking like something from another planet, its bubbling lava lakes, vast salt flats and hydrothermal fields in vivid greens, reds and yellows are unlike any other landscape on Earth. The landscape is enough to blow you away, but just as remarkable is the ability of the Afar people to adapt and be able to call this hostile setting home.
400 BC-2nd C AD
The Kingdom of Axum is born and it will become a regional rich trading power.
Coptic Christianity is introduced from Egypt
The Zagwe Dynasty rules over the northern highlands, introducing a sense of unity and stability
Conquer of much Ethiopia by the muslim leader Ahmad Gran
The regions of Amhara, Gojjam, Tijray & Shoa are conquered by Lij Kasa
Kasa becomes Emperor Tewodros II
Tewodros commits suicide to avoid capture after being defeated by a British expeditionary
The King of Shoa becomes Emperor Menelik II after the death of Yohannes IV while fighting Mahdist forces. Menelik signs a bilateral friendship treaty with Italy which is misunderstood as a protectorate. Addis Ababa becomes the capital of Ethiopia.
Italians invade Ethiopia and finally are defeated during the Battle of Adwa in their attempt to conquer the country.
Menelik II dies and is succeeded by his grandson Lij Iyasu.
Lij Iyasu is deposed and succeeded by Zawditu, Menelik’s daughter, who rules through a regent, Ras Tafari Makonnen.
Ras Tafari Makonnen, Haile Selassie, is crowned Emperor of Ethiopia.
Italian occupation. After an alliance with Britain by Emperor Haile Selassie I, Ethiopian and British forces drive Italian forces out of the country.
More than 200,000 people die in Wallo province as a result of famine.
The military led by General Teferi Benti push Haile Selassie out and the monarchy ends to establish a socialist state with Colonel Haile Mengistu as president after the death of Benti. During this period known as the “Red Terror” orchestrated by Mengistu, thousands of government opponents die.
Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front forces Mengistu to flee the country.
Eritrea becomes independent after a referendum.
Meles Zenawi assumes the post of Prime Minister.
A war between Ethiopia and Eritrea costs over 70,000 lives.
Ethiopian elections are celebrated in a tense environment with the final result being declared in favour of the ruling party.
Celebration of the new millennium according to the Coptic Orthodox Church Calendar.
After the death of Meles Zenawi, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hailemariam Desalegn takes over.
The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) wins the general election. Barack Obama becomes the first sitting US president to visit Ethiopia.
A state of emergency is declared after months of riots and violent anti-government protests
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigns in February and Dr Abiy Ahmed, an ethnic Oromo, becomes the new Prime Minister of Ethiopia. He soon starts to launch political reforms such as releasing political prisoners and declaring the end of the war between Ethiopian and Eritrea. He also appoints Sahle Wrok Zewde as first female Ethiopian President.
In March,an Ethiopian Airlines plane flying from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, Boeing 737, crashes southeast of Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board.
In June, a coup attempt against the federal government end up killing army chief Seare Mekonnen and Amhara State Governor Ambachew Mekonnen.
FACTS ABOUT ETHIOPIA
Become 7 years younger in the land of 13 months of sunshine.
Ethiopia is the only Christian country that still follows the Julian calendar and consequently it is seven years and eight months behind the rest of the Christian world (which follows the revised Gregorian calendar). Thus, the Ethiopian calendar consists of 13 months: 12 months of 30 days and another month of five (or six days in leap years) days duration.
If this can be confusing, you also need to know that Ethiopians measure time in cycles of 12 hours starting when the sun rises at 6 a.m.
The only country in Africa with its own alphabet
Even though there are more than 80 different languages spoken in Ethiopia, Amharic is the official language, a semiotic language descending from Ge’ez, the language of ancient Axum which is still used by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Amharic has its own alphabet, consisting of 209 symbols and 25 letter variants. Other regional languages such as Oromigna, Tigrinya and Arabic are also wide spoken, along with English, used in the administration and for secondary education.
Teff: one of the healthiest cereals
Teff is the grain cereal used to make the Ethiopian staple dish known as injera. It is believed to have originated between 4,000 and 1,000 years B.C. in Ethiopia. Teff is the smallest grain in the world and is becoming very popular among Western countries for being a great gluten-free energy source. Injerais a unique flatbread with a slightly spongy texture made out of teff flour and accompanied with different sorts of wot or stews and its eating ritual consists of taking a piece in your hand and using it to scoop the accompaniment.
Feel blessed by the coffee ceremony
It is believed that the Ethiopian highlands gathered the origin of the coffee plant. According to a legend, Kaldi, an Ethiopian shepherd, once discovered the properties of this stimulating plant after noticing that his goats became very active and awake after eating berries from a certain tree.
Nowadays the Ethiopian buna (“coffee” in Amharic) is popular worldwide. In fact, Ethiopia is the top coffee-producing country of Africa and Arabica beans are specially appreciated. The coffee ceremony is one of the most recognisable parts of its culture, offering this peculiar ritual during festivities, visits or as a daily routine for community or family meetings.
A melting pot of religious diversity
Ethiopia is considered as one of the oldest Christian nations in the World, adopting Christianity during the 4th Century. It is also claimed to be the home to the legendary Ark of the Covenant containing the 10 Commandments.
This relic is said to be kept in Axum and only one man is allowed to see it. Also, Ethiopia is the home of the Black Jews, known as Falashas or Beta Israel and Islam also appeared early in Ethiopia when Mohammed’s followers were persecuted and sought refuge in Abyssinia. Despite this melting pot of different religions, the country is known for its peaceful coexistence and respect.
The largest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in Africa
There are nine places in Ethiopia considered as UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Simien Mountains National Park is the only natural site while the others are listed as cultural sites, including the ruins of the city of Axum; the fortified historic route of Harar Jugol; the stonewalled terraces of Konso, (also known as the “natural New York village”); the lower valleys of both the Awash and the Omo River where the evidence of human evolution was found; the eleven rock-hewn churches of Lalibela;, and Tiya with its 32 carved stelae covered with indecipherable symbols.
Homeland of our ancestors
The Afar desert of Ethiopia, in the Middle Awash, is the early home of our human ancestors. According to the latest research, fossils of Homo gender have been found buried in the soil of this area. This is also the area where “Lucy”, one of the World’s most famous fossils, was also found. A visit to the National Museum of Addis Ababa will guide you through the history of humanity’s birthplace.
The spiritual land of the Rastafari movement
If you ever heard Rastafarians imploring Emperor Haile Selassie it is because they believed him to be the God incarnate, both divine and human. In fact, the name of the movement, Rastafarian, comes from Haile Selassie’s birth name: Ras Tafari, meaning “Prince Tafari”.
Shashemene, a small town lying 250 km South of Addis Ababa holds a peculiar Rastafarian community known as Jamaica.
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