The Solomon dynasty claims that Ethiopians were the descendants of King Menelik I who was the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. Traders from Saudi Arabia who settle din North Ethiopia by 500 B. C completely changed the culture and economy of Ethiopia. The Roman and Byzantine Empires considered Ethiopias red sea ports very important. In 341 A. D Coptic Christianity flourished in the region and became the state religion. By the 5th century ancient Ethiopia was at its peak but was left isolated by the spread of Islam. Emperor Menelik II modernized Ethiopia.
He routed the 1896 Italian invasion and established the countrys independence. Meneliks death followed disorders in the country and in 1917 his own daughter and his cousin Tafari were brought to the throne as regent and heir. The lion of Judah Haile Selassie outlawed slavery and centralized his realm. A constitution was created in 1931 and in 1955 was revised. In this constitution the emperor still had all power. Ethiopia was invaded by Fascist Itlay on Oct 3, 1935 which forced Haile Selassie into exile. It became an Italian colony. However, when British troops invaded Haile Selassie was allowed to come back to Addis Ababa.
Eritrea was included into Ethiopia in 1952. In 1974, the constitution was suspended and Ethiopia came under a military dictatorship. In 1991, the capital was seized by the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front and full control of Eritrea was taken up by the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front. In 1993, Eritrea gained full independence with a help of a referendum. Since then, both countries have fought over the exact demarcation of boundaries. An Islamic militia gained control of south of Ethiopia and Somalia in June 2006. Air strikes against the Islamic militia in mid December helped to regain Mogadishu.
In March 2007, 300 civilians were left dead because of the fighting between Somali and Ethiopian troops. The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is situated in the east central African region. It is bordered by Sudan on the west, Somalia and Djibouti on the east, Kenya by the south and Eritrea on the northeast. Ethiopia has high mountain ranges including the Ras Dashan which is the highest at 15,158 ft (4,620 m). In the northwest, the Blue Nile flows in a wide semicircle before reaching Sudan. In the northwest, lies the Lake Tana one of Ethiopias chief reservoirs. The largest city and capital of Ethiopia is Addis Ababa.
The geographic location and elevation of Ethiopia produces three climatic zones. The cold zone which is 7900 ft and above 2400 meters has freezing temperatures; the temperate zone which is elevated from 1500 to 2400 meters has temperatures ranging from 16 to 30 °C; the hot zone which lies below 1500 meters has arid and tropical conditions with temperatures of 27 to 50 °C at daytime. The Bale and Semien Mountains are the highest mountain ranges. The land lowest in Africa is found in Ethiopia called the Danakil Depression. Rainy season is usually from mid-June to mid-September.
In the southern highlands it lasts much longer. In February and March there are sporadic showers while the rest of year remains dry. There is much ecological diversity in Ethiopia. Deserts are found along the eastern border and in the south there are tropical forests. Many species of plants and animal are found in Ethiopia including the Ethiopian wolf, Walia Ibex and Gelada Baboon. Ethiopias real GDP in 2006 was estimated to be $13. 3 billion. The annual rate at which the economy was growing in 2006 was estimated to be 9. 6%, the per capita income was 130$ and inflation rate was almost 13%.
The natural resources of Ethiopia include natural gas, platinum, copper, gold and salt. The agriculture is 47% and Industry accounts for 12% of the GDP. Its main products are pulses, oilseeds, khat, meat, skins, hides, cereals and coffee. The types of industries in Ethiopia are textile, construction, processed foods, hydroelectric power and cement. In 2006, exports were carried out for $1. 1 billion and imports for $4. 1 billion. Remittances that came in Ethiopia amounted to 400 million. Almost 80% of the population works in Agriculture and the remaining 20% in commerce and industry.
The Head of state of Ethiopia is President Woldegiorgis Girma and the Prime minister is Meles Zenawi. The current government is cautiously working on economic reform which includes privatization of state run enterprises and validation of government regulation. These reforms have not attracted foreign investors. Ethiopia has a population of 77 million and grows annually by 2. 7%. The ethnic groups prevalent are Oromo, Wolaita, Afar, Amhara, Tigre, Somali, Sidama, Gurage and other nationalities. There are 40% Orthodox Christians and almost 50% Sunni Muslims.
Protestants take up 5% of the population and the rest are from indigenous beliefs. The official language is Amharic while Arabic, Guaragigna, English, Somali and Tigrinya are spoken as well. Almost 200 different dialects are spoken. The literacy rate of the country is 43%. The infant mortality rate is 93/1,000 live births. The Global HIV/Aids Programs has researched that there is only 1 doctor available for 100,000 people. Educated professionals leave the country for better salaries in the West. Although the Ethiopian government has raised national salaries to encourage people to stay however the salaries they receive in U. S are still 85 times more.
The Orthodox Church dominated the education in Ethiopia for several centuries but in the 1900s secular education was adopted. The government has tried its best to reach the rural areas with its school expansion schemes. Education now takes up more a significant portion of the budget. The general education sequence in Ethiopia is usually primary school for six years, lower secondary school for four years and higher secondary school for two years. Intermarriages are part of the Ethiopian culture. The Ethiopian people wear different types of clothing.
These include white cotton cloth worn by Christian highland peasants and the Jodhpur like trousers with a shamma (loose wrap) and a tight fitting shirt. The Muslims wear very colorful dresses. The people from Afar and Somalia wear long and bright colored cotton wraps. Ethiopian cuisine consists of different vegetable and meat side dishes and entrees. This is a thick stew best known as a wat which is served on top of sourdough flatbread called injera. Utensils such as spoon, forks and knives are not needed but instead food is scooped up by the injera. Another popular dish in Awlaelo and Agame is Tihlo.
Pork or shellfish is avoided in the cuisine of Traditional Ethiopia because of religious reasons. Groups of People usually eat from the same dish which is placed in the center of the table. Music in Ethiopia is as diverse and unique as the people found in the country. The music has a pentatonic modal system which has notes with long intervals in-between. It is heavily influenced by elements of Christian music, Muslim music and the folk music found in Sudan and Somalia. Some of the popular musicians are Ephrem Tamiru, Bizunesh Bekele, Mahmoud Ahmed etc.