ETHIOPIA: The horn of Africa
Ethiopia, the second oldest independent country in Africa, the oldest surviving Christian country in the world, and one of the oldest in the world.
The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is a country in the north-eastern part of Africa. Also known as the ‘‘Horn Of Africa.’’ It shares borders with Eritrea to the north, Djibouti to the northeast, Somaliland and Somalia to the east, Kenya to the south, South Sudan to the west, and Sudan to the northwest. With over 102 million inhabitants, Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world, and the second-most populous nation on the African continent, its capital, and largest city is Addis Ababa. What is believed to be the oldest remains of a human ancestor ever found, dated as being over five million years old, was discovered in the Awash Valley in Ethiopia? This beats the discovery of Lucy, a 3.2 million-year-old old skeleton, who was unearthed in the same area in 1974.
The Biblical writings record Makeda, the Queen of Sheba’s visit to Jerusalem, where she proved Solomon with hard questions. It went further because legends assert that King Menelik I, the founder of the Ethiopian empire, was the son of the Queen Makeda and King Solomon.
The Nubian country is known to be home to several notable historical sites, including, the Christian ark of the covenant, which was once housed there in the city of Axum, province of Tigray, brought there from Jerusalem by Menelik in the fourth century.
In the seventh century, the rise of Islam meant Ethiopia was then isolated from European Christianity. The Portuguese re-introduced contact with Ethiopia in the 1500’s primarily to strengthen their control over the Indian ocean and convert Ethiopia to Roman Catholicism. Series of religious conflict followed suit, which resulted in the expulsion of all foreign missionaries in the 1630s.
This period of the bitter conflict contributed to Ethiopian hostility towards foreign Christians, and Europeans which persisted until the twentieth century and remained a factor in Ethiopia’s isolation until the middle of the nineteenth century. From this period, the seventeenth century to the eighteenth century, there seemed to be no true central power in Ethiopia, this period became known as the ‘‘Era of the Princes’’, because it was characterised by the turmoil caused by local rulers competing against each other.
However, in 1869, Emperor Tewodros brought many of the princes together, and became a significant force of unifying unity amongst the Ethiopians, he was succeeded by Emperor Yohannes, who built upon the efforts made by Tewodros, as well as beating off invasion attempts made by the Sudanese, and Europeans.
Emperor Menelik II succeeded him, from 1889 to 1913, fending off the encroachment of European powers, Italy posed the greatest threat, having begun to colonize part of the land area which would become known as the colony of Eritrea, in the 1880s. in 1896, Ethiopia defeated Italy at the Battle of Adwa, which remains famous till today and thus puts Ethiopia on the African map of might, hence, making them known as the horn of Africa, and better known as the first victory of an African nation over a colonial power.
In 1916, the Christian nobility deposed the sitting king, Lij Iyassu, because of his Muslim sympathies, and made his predecessor’s daughter, King Menelik’s daughter, Zewditu, Empress, her cousin, Ras Tafari Makonnen, was appointed regent and successor to the throne, 1892-1975.
Zewditu died in 1930, after which the regent, adopting the name Haile Selassie, became emperor. Until he got deposed in 1974, and later strangled in the basement of his palace in august 1975.
The military took over control of the government, led by the Derg, a commission committee of soldiers.
In 1993, Eritrea sought for and got independence from Ethiopia, and in 1995, Ethiopia, held their first parliamentary election, with a new government being installed in august of that year.