# Ethiopia

Coordinates: 9°00′N 38°42′E﻿ / ﻿9°N 38.7°E

Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Name in national languages
• Amharic: የኢትዮጵያ ፌዴራላዊ ዴሞክራሲያዊ ሪፐብሊክYe-Ītyōṗṗyā Fēdēralawī Dēmokirasīyawī Rīpebilīk Rippabliikii Federaalawaa Dimokraatawaa Itiyoophiyaa Jamhuuriyadda Dimuqraadiga Federaalka Itoobiya Ityoppiah Federalih Demokrasih Ummuno ናይኢትዮጵያ ፌዴራላዊ ዴሞክራሲያዊ ሪፐብሊክNay-Ítiyop'iya Fēdēralawī Dēmokirasīyawī Rīpebilīki
Anthem:
ወደፊት ገስግሺ ፣ ውድ እናት ኢትዮጵያ
(English: )
Capital
and largest city
9°1′N 38°45′E﻿ / ﻿9.017°N 38.750°E
Official languagesAfar
Amharic
Oromo
Somali
Tigrinya
Ethnic groups
(2007)
Religion
(2016)
Demonym(s)Ethiopian
GovernmentEthnofederalist (federal) parliamentary constitutional republic
Sahle-Work Zewde
Abiy Ahmed
Demeke Mekonnen
LegislatureFederal Parliamentary Assembly
House of Federation
House of Peoples' Representatives
Formation
10 August 1270
1855
1904
9 May 1936
31 January 1942
•  Derg military rule and overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie
12 September 1974
28 May 1991
21 August 1995
Area
• Total
1,104,300 km2 (426,400 sq mi) (26th)
• Water (%)
0.7
Population
• 2021 estimate
117,876,227 (12th)
• 2007 census
73,750,932
• Density
92.7/km2 (240.1/sq mi) (123rd)
GDP (PPP)2020 estimate
• Total
$278 billion (58th) • Per capita$2,772
GDP (nominal)2021 estimate
• Total
$91.514 billion (65th) • Per capita$974
Gini (2015) 35.0
medium
HDI (2019) 0.485
low · 173rd
CurrencyBirr (ETB)
Time zoneUTC+3 (EAT)
Driving sideright
Calling code+251
ISO 3166 codeET
Internet TLD.et

Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea and Djibouti to the north, Somaliland to the northeast, Somalia to the east, Kenya to the south, South Sudan to the west and Sudan to the northwest. Ethiopia has a total area of 1,100,000 square kilometres (420,000 sq mi) and over 117 million inhabitants and is the 12th-most populous country in the world and the 2nd-most populous in Africa. The national capital and largest city, Addis Ababa, lies several kilometres west of the East African Rift that splits the country into the African and Somali tectonic plates.

Ethiopian national identity is grounded in the long history of Christianity and Islam in the region, and independence from foreign rule since antiquity. Some of the oldest skeletal evidence for anatomically modern humans has been found in Ethiopia. It is widely considered as the region from which modern humans first set out for the Middle East and places beyond. According to linguists, the first Afroasiatic-speaking populations settled in the Horn of Africa region during the ensuing Neolithic era. Tracing its roots to the second millennium BC, the governmental system of Ethiopia was a monarchy for most of its history. Oral literature narrates the foundation of monarchy by King Solomon and Queen of Sheba, via its first king, Menelik I. The Kingdom of Aksum maintained a unified civilization in the region from the 1st century AD until its fall in the 10th century where "Ethiopians" was first coined during Ezana's reign in the 4th-century. The short-lived Agaw-ruled Zagwe dynasty lasted over three centuries until the last king was overthrown by the Abyssinian nobleman Yekuno Amlak. In 1270, he established the Ethiopian Empire, asserting its dynasty lineage from King Solomon and Queen of Sheba. In the Middle Ages, the empire began extending its territory southward, seizing several kingdoms of southwestern region, albeit challenged by Muslim polities such as the Sultanate of Ifat and its successor, the Adal Sultanate. This culminated in the Ethiopian–Adal war, in which Adal and its allies conquered much of Ethiopia. By the mid-16th century, with the help of Portugal, Ethiopia reconquered its territory. In mid-18th century, Ethiopia experienced decentralization known as Zemene Mesafint– regional lords mostly from Oromo and Tigray tribes partitioned into autonomy. Tewodros II managed to reinstate the empire in 1855, inaugurating modernization.

During the late 19th-century Scramble for Africa, Ethiopia was the only African nation to successfully defend itself against European colonization, defeating Italy at the Battle of Adwa. This also enabled it to establish its modern borders through extensive conquest of territories to the east, west and south. Ethiopia was the first independent African member of the League of Nations and the United Nations. In 1935, Italy, under Mussolini's Fascist regime invaded Ethiopia and annexed with the former colonies of Eritrea and Somaliland to become Italian East Africa, before liberation and a short period of military administration by British forces amidst World War II. During Italian rule, the government made steps to abolish the centuries-old practice of slavery, eventually doing so in 1942, and urbanization steadily increased.

Ethiopia was rapidly modernized under Emperor Haile Selassie. The later imperial shortcomings related to internal crisis and subsequent protests led the Emperor's deposition 1974 and the monarchy's abolition six months later by the Derg, a communist military government backed by the Soviet Union. Ethiopia then underwent 16 years of civil war between the Derg and Tigray-Eritrean separatist rebels as well as Somalia. In 1987, the Derg established People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, a civilianized government ruled under socialist republic. Prior to dissolution of the Soviet Union, it was overthrown by the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) on 28 May 1991, entering provisional government phase until formal government established in 1995. The EPRDF coalition, dominated by the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), marked as an authoritarian regime which brought the country into its current ethnicity-based federal system. The EPRDF coalition leadership was ended after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018, merging its parties into the new multi-ethnic Prosperity Party in 2019. Although Abiy's government initially reformed and liberated the country's politics, human rights violations, particularly ethnic unrest, heightened, sparking hostility between Abiy's government and TPLF members, leading to the ongoing Tigray War in 2020.

Ethiopia is a multiethnic state with 80 different ethnic groups. Christianity is the largest religion followed by Islam. Having differential biomes and climate throughout its regions, Ethiopia is considered as a megadiverse country in Africa. This sovereign state is a founding member of the UN, the Group of 24 (G-24), the Non-Aligned Movement, the G77 and the Organisation of African Unity. Addis Ababa is the headquarters of the African Union, the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Standby Force and many of the global NGOs focused on Africa.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Ethiopian Civil War and communist purges hindered its economy but it has since recovered and, as of 2010, has the largest economy by GDP in East Africa. However, it remains one of the world's poorest countries, facing poverty, hunger, corruption, weak infrastructure, poor respect for human rights, and limited access to health and education, with a literacy rate of only 49%, ranking it in the worst quartile on the Human Development Index.

## Etymology

The Greek name Αἰθιοπία (from Αἰθίοψ, Aithiops, "an Ethiopian") is a compound word, derived from the two Greek words, from αἴθω + ὤψ (aithō "I burn" + ōps "face"). According to the Liddell-Scott Jones Greek-English Lexicon, the designation properly translates as Burnt-face in noun form and red-brown in adjectival form. The historian Herodotus used the appellation to denote those parts of Africa South of the Sahara that were then known within the Ecumene (inhabitable world). Since the Greeks understood the term as "dark-faced," they divided the Ethiopians into two, those in Africa and those to the east from eastern Turkey to India. However, the Greek formation may be a folk etymology for the Ancient Egyptian term athtiu-abu, which means 'robbers of hearts'. This Greek name was borrowed into Amharic as ኢትዮጵያ, ʾĪtyōṗṗyā.

In Greco-Roman epigraphs, Aethiopia was a specific toponym for ancient Nubia. At least as early as c. 850, the name Aethiopia also occurs in many translations of the Old Testament in allusion to Nubia. The ancient Hebrew texts identify Nubia instead as Kush. However, in the New Testament, the Greek term Aithiops does occur, referring to a servant of the Kandake, the queen of Kush.

Following the Hellenic and Biblical traditions, the Monumentum Adulitanum, a third-century inscription belonging to the Aksumite Empire, indicates that Aksum's then ruler governed an area which was flanked to the west by the territory of Ethiopia and Sasu. The Aksumite King Ezana eventually conquered Nubia the following century, and the Aksumites thereafter appropriated the designation "Ethiopians" for their own kingdom. In the Ge'ez version of the Ezana inscription, Aἰθίοπες is equated with the unvocalized Ḥbšt and Ḥbśt (Ḥabashat), and denotes for the first time the highland inhabitants of Aksum. This new demonym was subsequently rendered as 'ḥbs ('Aḥbāsh) in Sabaic and as Ḥabasha in Arabic.

In the 15th-century Ge'ez Book of Axum, the name is ascribed to a legendary individual called Ityopp'is. He was an extra-Biblical son of Cush, son of Ham, said to have founded the city of Axum.

In English, and generally, outside of Ethiopia, this country was once historically known as Abyssinia. This toponym was derived from the Latinized form of the ancient Habash.

### Name in national languages

English is not an official language but is widely used in education and the law; In British English, "Ethiopia" is pronounced: /iːθiˈoʊpiə/

In the official federal languages, the country is called:

## History

### Prehistory

A Homo sapiens idaltu hominid skull

Several important finds have propelled Ethiopia and the surrounding region to the forefront of palaeontology. The oldest hominid discovered to date in Ethiopia is the 4.2 million year old Ardipithicus ramidus (Ardi) found by Tim D. White in 1994. The most well-known hominid discovery is Australopithecus afarensis (Lucy). Known locally as Dinkinesh, the specimen was found in the Awash Valley of Ethiopia's Afar Region in 1974 by Donald Johanson, and is one of the most complete and best preserved adult Australopithecine fossils ever uncovered. Lucy's taxonomic name refers to the region where the discovery was made. This hominid is estimated to have lived 3.2 million years ago.

Ethiopia is also considered one of the earliest sites of the emergence of anatomically modern humans, Homo sapiens. The oldest of these local fossil finds, the Omo remains, were excavated in the southwestern Omo Kibish area and have been dated to the Middle Paleolithic, around 200,000 years ago. Additionally, skeletons of Homo sapiens idaltu were found at a site in the Middle Awash valley. Dated to approximately 160,000 years ago, they may represent an extinct subspecies of Homo sapiens, or the immediate ancestors of anatomically modern humans. Archaic Homo sapiens fossils excavated at the Jebel Irhoud site in Morocco have since been dated to an earlier period, about 300,000 years ago, while Omo-Kibish I (Omo I) from southern Ethiopia is the oldest anatomically modern Homo sapiens skeleton currently known (196 ± 5 ka).

According to linguists, the first Afroasiatic-speaking populations arrived in the region during the ensuing Neolithic era from the family's proposed urheimat ("original homeland") in the Nile Valley, or the Near East. Other scholars propose that the Afroasiatic family developed in situ in the Horn, with its speakers subsequently dispersing from there.

In 2019, archaeologists discovered a 30,000-year-old Middle-Stone Age rock shelter at the Fincha Habera site in the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia at an elevation of 3,469 metres above sea level. At this high altitude humans are susceptible both to hypoxia and to extreme weather. According to a study published in the journal Science, this dwelling is proof of the earliest permanent human occupation at high altitude yet discovered. Thousands of animal bones, hundreds of stone tools, and ancient fireplaces were discovered, revealing a diet that featured giant mole rats.

Evidence of some of the earliest known stone-tipped projectile weapons (a characteristic tool of Homo sapiens), the stone tips of javelins or throwing spears, were discovered in 2013 at the Ethiopian site of Gademotta, and date to around 279,000 years ago. In 2019, further evidence of complex, Middle Stone Age, projectile weapons was found at Aduma, dated 100,000–80,000 years ago, in the form of points considered likely to belong to darts delivered by spear throwers.

### Antiquity

Around the 8th century BC, a kingdom known as Dʿmt was established in Tigray, in northern Ethiopia, and Eritrea. This polity's capital was located at Yeha, in northern Ethiopia. Most modern historians consider this civilization to be a native Ethiopian one, although in earlier times many suggested it was Sabaean-influenced because of the latter's hegemony of the Red Sea.

Other scholars regard Dʿmt as the result of a union of Afroasiatic-speaking cultures of the Cushitic and Semitic branches; namely, local Agaw peoples and Sabaeans from South Arabia. However, Ge'ez, the ancient Semitic language of Ethiopia, is thought to have developed independently from Sabaean, one of the South Semitic languages. As early as 2000 BCE, other Semitic speakers were living in Ethiopia and Eritrea where Ge'ez developed. Sabaean influence is now thought to have been minor, limited to a few localities, and disappearing after a few decades or a century. It may have been a trading or military colony in alliance with the Ethiopian civilization of Dʿmt or some other proto-Axumite state.

After the fall of Dʿmt during the fourth century BC, the Ethiopian plateau came to be dominated by smaller successor kingdoms. In the first century AD, the Kingdom of Aksum emerged in what is now Tigray and Eritrea. According to the medieval Book of Axum, the kingdom's first capital, Mazaber, was built by Itiyopis, son of Cush. Aksum would later at times extend its rule into Yemen on the other side of the Red Sea. The Persian prophet Mani listed Axum with Rome, Persia, and China as one of the four great powers of his era, during the 3rd century.

Around 316 AD, Frumentius and his brother Edesius from Tyre accompanied their uncle on a voyage to Ethiopia. When the vessel stopped at a Red Sea port, the natives killed all the travellers except the two brothers, who were taken to the court as slaves. They were given positions of trust by the monarch, and they converted members of the royal court to Christianity. Frumentius became the first bishop of Aksum. A coin dated to 324 shows that Ethiopia was the second country to officially adopt Christianity (after Armenia did so in 301), although the religion may have been at first confined to court circles; it was the first major power to do so.

Aksumite currency of the Axumite king Endubis, 227–35, at the British Museum. The inscriptions in Ancient Greek read "ΑΧΩΜΙΤΩ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ" ("KING OF AXUM") and "ΕΝΔΥΒΙΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ" ("KING ENDUBIS"), the Greek language was the lingua franca by that time so the Axumite kings used it in coins to simplify foreign trade.

The weakened Axumite dynasty came to an end in the 9th century when Yodit defeated the last king of the dynasty. Empress Yodit's reign, which lasted for 40 years, aimed to abolish Christianity (a religion first accepted by King Ezana of the Axumite dynasty) by burning down churches and crucifying people who remained faithful to the Orthodox Tewahedo church, which at the time was considered as the religion of the state. The Empress tried to force many people to change their religion and destroyed much historical heritage of the Axumite dynasty earning her the epithet of Yodit Gudit (in Amharic: ዮዲት ጉዲት a play on words approximating to Judith the Evil One). Her reign finally came to an end in 912 following her defeat by the first leader of the Zagwe dynasty. The reign of the Zagwe dynasty came to an end by the rise of Yekuno Amlak.

The first interaction that the Islamic prophet Muhammad had with Ethiopia was during the reign of Aṣḥama ibn Abjar, who was at the time the Emperor of Axum and gave refuge to several Muslims in the Kingdom of Aksum in 614 CE. According to other authors, Ashama may have been the same person as king Armah, or his father or son. Taddesse Tamrat records that the inhabitants of Wiqro, where the ruler is known as Ashamat al-Negashi, claim that his tomb is located in their village.

Muhammad's second interaction with Ethiopia was during the Expedition of Zaid ibn Haritha, when he sent Amr bin Umayyah al-Damri to the King of Ethiopia (then Abyssinia).

### Middle Ages

Dawit II (David II), nəgusä nägäst (Emperor) of Ethiopia (r. 1507–1540) and a member of the Solomonic dynasty

The Zagwe dynasty ruled many parts of present-day Ethiopia and Eritrea between the early 12th and late 13th centuries. The name of the dynasty is derived from the Cushitic-speaking Agaw of northern Ethiopia. From 1270 AD until the Zemene Mesafint (Age of Princes), the Solomonic dynasty governed the Ethiopian Empire.

In the early 15th century, Ethiopia sought to make diplomatic contact with European kingdoms for the first time since the Aksumite era. A letter from Henry IV of England to the Emperor of Abyssinia survives. In 1428, Yeshaq I sent two emissaries to Alfonso V of Aragon, who sent his own emissaries that failed to complete the return trip home to Aragon.

The first continuous relations with a European country began in 1508 with Portugal under Dawit II (Lebna Dengel), who had just inherited the throne from his father. In 1487, King John II of Portugal sent two emissaries to the Orient, Pero da Covilhã and Afonso de Paiva; Afonso would die on this mission.

### Aussa Sultanate

The Sultanate of Aussa or "Afar Sultanate" succeeded the earlier Imamate of Aussa. The latter polity had come into existence in 1577 when Muhammed Jasa moved his capital from Harar to Aussa (Asaita) with the split of the Adal Sultanate into the Sultanate of Aussa and the Sultanate of Harar. At some point after 1672, the Sultanate of Aussa declined and temporarily came to an end in conjunction with Imam Umar Din bin Adam's recorded ascension to the throne.

The Sultanate was subsequently re-established by Kedafu around the year 1734. It was thereafter ruled by his Mudaito Dynasty. The primary symbol of the Sultan was a silver baton, which was considered to have magical properties.

### Zemene Mesafint

Between 1769 and 1855, Ethiopia experienced a period of isolation referred to as the Zemene Mesafint or "Age of Princes". The Emperors became figureheads, controlled by regional lords and noblemen like Ras Mikael Sehul of Tigray, Ras Wolde Selassie of Tigray, and by the Yejju Oromo dynasty of the Wara Sheh, such as Ras Gugsa of Yejju. Prior to the Zemene Mesafint, King Iyoas had introduced the Oromo language (Afaan Oromo) at court, instead of Amharic.

Ethiopian isolationism ended following a British mission that concluded an alliance between the two nations, but it was not until 1855 that the Amhara kingdoms of northern Ethiopia (Gondar, Gojam, Shoa) were briefly united after the power of the Emperor was restored beginning with the reign of Tewodros II. Tewodros had been born in Begemder from a nobleman of Qwara, where the Qwara dialect of the Agaw language is spoken.

Upon his ascent, he began modernizing Ethiopia and recentralizing power to the Emperor. Ethiopia began to take part in world affairs once again. Tewodros II began a process of consolidation, centralisation, and state-building that would be continued by succeeding Emperors. This process reduced the power of regional rulers, restructured the Empire's administration, and created a professional army. These changes created the basis for establishing the effective sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Ethiopian state.

But Tewodros suffered several rebellions inside his empire. Northern Oromo militias, Tigrayan rebellions, and the constant incursion of Ottoman Empire and Egyptian forces near the Red Sea brought the weakening and the final downfall of Tewodros II. He killed himself in 1868 during his last fight with the British Expedition to Abyssinia at the Battle of Magdala.

After Tewodros' death, Tekle Giyorgis II was proclaimed Emperor but was defeated in the Battles of Zulawu (21 June 1871) and Adwa (11 July 1871).

The victorious Mercha Kassai was subsequently declared Yohannes IV on 21 January 1872. In 1875 and 1876, Turkish/Egyptian forces, accompanied by many European and American 'advisors', twice invaded Abyssinia but were initially defeated: once at the Battle of Gundet losing 800 men, and then in the second invasion, decisively defeated by Emperor Yohannes IV at the Battle of Gura on 7March 1875, where the invading forces lost at least 3000 men by death or capture. At the council of Boru Meda in 1878, Yohannes came out with a decree that Ethiopian Muslims must accept Christianity or be banned. Those that refused were executed on the spot. Tens of thousands were killed and more left their land and belongings to flee to Harar, Bale, Arsi, Jimma, and even to Sudan. From 1885 to 1889, Ethiopia joined the Mahdist War allied to Britain, Turkey, and Egypt against the Sudanese Mahdist State. In 1887 Menelik king of Shewa invaded the Emirate of Harar after his victory at the Battle of Chelenqo. On 10 March 1889, Yohannes IV was killed by the Sudanese Khalifah Abdullah's army whilst leading his army in the Battle of Gallabat (also called Battle of Metemma).

### From Menelik II to Adwa (1889–1913)

The conquests of Emperor Yohannes IV, Negus Menelik and general Ras Alula in 1879–1889

Ethiopia in roughly its current form began under the reign of Menelik II, who was Emperor from 1889 until his death in 1913. From his base in the central province of Shewa, Menelik set out to annex territories to the south, east and west, areas inhabited by the Oromo, Sidama, Gurage, Welayta, and other peoples. He did this with the help of Ras Gobana Dacche's Shewan Oromo militia, which occupied lands that had not been held since Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi's war, as well as other areas that had never been under Ethiopian sovereignty. During the conquest of the Oromo, the Ethiopian Army carried out mass atrocities against the Oromo population including mass mutilation, mass killings and large-scale slavery. Some estimates for the number of people killed as a result of the conquest go into the millions. Large-scale atrocities were also committed against the Dizi people and the people of the Kaficho kingdom. Menelik's campaign against Oromos outside his army was largely in retaliation for centuries of Oromo expansionism and the Zemene Mesafint, a period during which a succession of Oromo feudal rulers dominated the highlanders. Chief among these was the Yejju dynasty, which included Aligaz of Yejju and his brother Ali I of Yejju. Ali I founded the town of Debre Tabor in the Amhara Region, which became the dynasty's capital.

Menelik was born from King Hailemelekot of Shewa and his mother Ejegayehu Lema Adeyamo who was a servant in the royal household. He had been born at Angolala in an Oromo area and had lived his first twelve years with Shewan Oromos with whom he thus had much in common. During his reign, Menelik II advanced road construction, electricity and education; the development of a central taxation system and the foundation and building of the city of Addis Ababa—which became the capital of Shewa Province in 1881. After he ascended to the throne in 1889, it was renamed Addis Ababa, the new capital of Abyssinia.

For his leadership, despite opposition from more traditional elements of society, Menelik II is heralded as a national hero. Menelik had signed the Treaty of Wichale with Italy in May 1889 in which Italy would recognize Ethiopia's sovereignty so long as Italy could control an area north of Ethiopia (now part of modern Eritrea). In return, Italy was to provide Menelik with weapons and support him as emperor. The Italians used the time between the signing of the treaty and its ratification by the Italian government to expand their territorial claims. This conflict erupted in the Battle of Adwa on 1March 1896 in which Italy's colonial forces were defeated by the Ethiopians.

About a third of the population died in the Great Ethiopian Famine (1888 to 1892).

### Haile Selassie I era (1916–1974)

Haile Selassie at his study at the palace

The early 20th century was marked by the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie (Ras Tafari). Haile Selassie I was born to parents with ethnic links to three of Ethiopia's Afroasiatic-speaking populations: the Oromo and Amhara, the country's two largest ethnic groups, as well as the Gurage. He came to power after Iyasu V was deposed, and undertook a nationwide modernization campaign from 1916, when he was made a Ras and Regent (Inderase) for the Empress Regnant, Zewditu, and became the de facto ruler of the Ethiopian Empire. Following Zewditu's death, on 2November 1930, he succeeded her as emperor. In 1931, Haile Selassie endowed Ethiopia with its first-ever Constitution in emulation of Imperial Japan's 1890 Constitution, through which the Central European model of unitary and homogenous ethnolinguistic nation-state was adopted for the Ethiopian Empire.

#### Italian annexation

The independence of Ethiopia was interrupted by the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, beginning when it was invaded by Fascist Italy in early October 1935, and by subsequent Italian rule of the country (1936–1941) after Italian victory in the war. During this time, Haile Selassie appealed to the League of Nations in 1935, delivering an address that made him a worldwide figure, and the 1935 Time Man of the Year. As the majority of the Ethiopian population lived in rural towns, Italy faced continued resistance and ambushes in urban centres throughout its rule over Ethiopia. Haile Selassie fled into exile in Fairfield House, Bath, England. Mussolini was able to proclaim Italian Ethiopia and the assumption of the imperial title by the Italian king Vittorio Emanuele III.

In 1937, the Italian massacre of Yekatit 12 took place, in which as many as 30,000 civilians were killed and many others imprisoned. This massacre was a reprisal for the attempted assassination of Rodolfo Graziani, the viceroy of Italian East Africa. The Italians employed the use of asphyxiating chemical weapons in their Ethiopian invasion. The Italians regularly dropped bombs throughout Ethiopia that carried mustard gas and debilitated the Ethiopian forces. On the whole, the Italians dropped about 300 tons of mustard gas as well as thousands of other artillery. This use of chemical weapons amounted to egregious war crimes.

Ras Seyoum Mengesha, Ras Getachew Abate and Ras Kebede Gubret with Benito Mussolini on 6February 1937 in Rome, Italy, after the Italian occupation of Ethiopia

The Italians made investments in Ethiopian infrastructure development during their rule over Ethiopia. They created the so-called "imperial road" between Addis Ababa and Massaua. More than 900 km of railways were reconstructed, dams and hydroelectric plants were built, and many public and private companies were established. The Italian government abolished slavery, a practice that existed in the country for centuries.

Following the entry of Italy into World War II, British Empire forces, together with the Arbegnoch (literally, "patriots", referring to armed resistance soldiers) restored the sovereignty of Ethiopia in the course of the East African Campaign in 1941. An Italian guerrilla warfare campaign continued until 1943. This was followed by British recognition of Ethiopia's full sovereignty, without any special British privileges, when the Anglo-Ethiopian Agreement was signed in December 1944. Under the peace treaty of 1947, Italy recognised the sovereignty and independence of Ethiopia.

On 26 August 1942, Haile Selassie issued a proclamation that removed Ethiopia's legal basis for slavery. Ethiopia had between two and four million slaves in the early 20th century, out of a total population of about eleven million.

#### Eritrea conflict

In 1952, Haile Selassie orchestrated a federation with Eritrea. He dissolved this in 1962 and annexed Eritrea, resulting in the Eritrean War of Independence. Haile Selassie played a leading role in the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963.

Opinion within Ethiopia turned against Haile Selassie owing to the worldwide 1973 oil crisis causing a sharp increase in gasoline prices starting on 13 February 1974. The high gasoline prices motivated taxi drivers and teachers to go on strike on 18 February 1974, and students and workers in Addis Ababa began demonstrating against the government on 20 February 1974. There were resulting food shortages, uncertainty regarding the succession, border wars and discontent in the middle class created through modernization. The feudal oligarchical cabinet of Akilou Habte Wolde was toppled, and a new government was formed with Endelkachew Makonnen serving as Prime Minister.

### The Derg era (1974–1991)

The Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party (EPRP) clashed with the Derg during the Red Terror

Haile Selassie's rule ended on 12 September 1974, when he was deposed by the Derg, a nonideological committee made up of military and police officers led by Aman Andom. After the execution of 60 former government and military officials including Aman in November 1974, the new Provisional Military Administrative Council now led by General Tafari Benti abolished the monarchy in March 1975 and established Ethiopia as a Marxist-Leninist state with itself as the vanguard party in a provisional government. The abolition of feudalism, increased literacy, nationalization, and sweeping land reform including the resettlement and villagization from the Ethiopian Highlands became priorities.

After internal conflicts that resulted in the execution of chairman Tafari Benti and several of his supporters in February 1977, and the execution of vice-chairman Atnafu Abate in November 1977, Mengistu Halie Mariam gained undisputed leadership of the Derg.

The Derg suffered several coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought and a huge refugee problem. In 1977, Somalia, which had previously been receiving assistance and arms from the USSR, invaded Ethiopia in the Ogaden War, capturing part of the Ogaden region. Ethiopia recovered it after it began receiving massive military aid from the Soviet bloc countries of the USSR, Cuba, South Yemen, East Germany, and North Korea. This included around 15,000 Cuban combat troops.

In 1976–78, up to 500,000 were killed as a result of the Red Terror, a violent political repression campaign by the Derg against various opposition groups most notably the Marxist–Leninist Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party (EPRP). The Red Terror was carried out in response to what the Derg termed the 'White Terror', a chain of violent events, assassinations, and killings carried out by what it called "petty bourgeois reactionaries" who desired a reversal of the 1974 revolution.

Ethiopian leader Mengistu Haile Mariam (in office 1977–1991) was sentenced to death in Ethiopia for crimes committed during his government. As of 2018, he lived in exile in Zimbabwe.

In 1987, the Derg dissolved itself and established the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (PDRE) upon the adoption of the 1987 Constitution of Ethiopia modelled on the 1977 Constitution of the Soviet Union with modified provisions.

The 1983–85 famine in Ethiopia affected around eight million people, resulting in one million dead. Insurrections against authoritarian rule sprang up, particularly in the northern regions of Eritrea and Tigray. The Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) merged with other ethnically based opposition movements in 1989, to form the coalition known as the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

Concurrently, under Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union began to retreat from building world communism towards glasnost and perestroika policies, marking a dramatic reduction in aid to Ethiopia from Socialist Bloc countries. This resulted in more economic hardship and the collapse of the military in the face of determined onslaughts by guerrilla forces in the north. The collapse of Marxism–Leninism in general, and in eastern Europe during the revolutions of 1989, coincided with the Soviet Union stopping aid to Ethiopia altogether in 1990. To garner international support Mengistu embraced a mixed economy and an end to one party rule but it was far too late to save his regime.

EPRDF forces advanced on Addis Ababa in May 1991, and the Soviet Union did not intervene to save the government side. Mengistu fled the country and was granted asylum in Zimbabwe, where he still resides.

In 2006, after a trial that lasted 12 years, Ethiopia's Federal High Court in Addis Ababa found Mengistu guilty of genocide in absentia. Numerous other top leaders of his government were also found guilty of war crimes. Mengistu and others who had fled the country were tried and sentenced in absentia. Numerous former officials received the death sentence and tens of others spent the next 20 years in jail, before being pardoned from life sentences.

### Federal Democratic Republic (1991–present)

In July 1991, the EPRDF convened a National Conference to establish the Transitional Government of Ethiopia composed of an 87-member Council of Representatives and guided by a national charter that functioned as a transitional constitution. In June 1992, the Oromo Liberation Front withdrew from the government; in March 1993, members of the Southern Ethiopia Peoples' Democratic Coalition also left the government. In April 1993, Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia after a national referendum. In 1994, a new constitution was written that established a parliamentary republic with a bicameral legislature and a judicial system.

Former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi at the 2012 World Economic Forum annual meeting

The first multiparty election took place in May 1995, which was won by the EPRDF. The president of the transitional government, EPRDF leader Meles Zenawi, became the first Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and Negasso Gidada was elected its president. In post-Derg Ethiopia's Constitution (promulgated in 1995), the EPRDF not only took over the Derg's Soviet-inspired promise of cultural and administrative autonomy for the country's over 80 ethnic groups, but also borrowed the right to independence (secession) from the Soviet Constitution. In this manner, an ethnoterritorial federal model of statehood was adopted for Ethiopia (as originally developed in the Central European empire of Austria-Hungary and in the interwar Soviet Union).

### Exports

Ethiopian Blessed Coffee branded bags in the USA. Coffee is one of Ethiopia's main exports.

Exports from Ethiopia in the 2009/2010 financial year totalled US$1.4 billion. Ethiopia produces more coffee than any other nation on the continent. "Coffee provides a livelihood for close to 15 million Ethiopians, 16% of the population. Farmers in the eastern part of the country, where a warming climate is already impacting production, have struggled in recent years, and many are currently reporting largely failed harvests as a result of a prolonged drought". Ethiopia Export Treemap from MITHarvard Economic Complexity Observatory (2014) Ethiopia also has the 5th largest inventory of cattle. Other main export commodities are khat, gold, leather products, and oilseeds. Recent development of the floriculture sector means Ethiopia is poised to become one of the top flower and plant exporters in the world. Cross-border trade by pastoralists is often informal and beyond state control and regulation. In East Africa, over 95% of cross-border trade is through unofficial channels. The unofficial trade of live cattle, camels, sheep, and goats from Ethiopia sold to Somalia, Djibouti, and Kenya generates an estimated total value of between 250 and US$300 million annually (100 times more than the official figure).

This trade helps lower food prices, increase food security, relieve border tensions, and promote regional integration. However, the unregulated and undocumented nature of this trade runs risks, such as allowing disease to spread more easily across national borders. Furthermore, the government of Ethiopia is purportedly unhappy with lost tax revenue and foreign exchange revenues. Recent initiatives have sought to document and regulate this trade.

With the private sector growing slowly, designer leather products like bags are becoming a big export business, with Taytu becoming the first luxury designer label in the country. Additional small-scale export products include cereals, pulses, cotton, sugarcane, potatoes, and hides. With the construction of various new dams and growing hydroelectric power projects around the country, Ethiopia also plans to export electric power to its neighbours.

Most regard Ethiopia's large water resources and potential as its "white oil" and its coffee resources as "black gold".

Ethiopia also has large mineral resources and oil potential in some of the less inhabited regions. Political instability in those regions, however, has inhibited development. Ethiopian geologists were implicated in a major gold swindle in 2008. Four chemists and geologists from the Ethiopian Geological Survey were arrested in connection with a fake gold scandal, following complaints from buyers in South Africa. Gold bars from the National Bank of Ethiopia were found by police to be gilded metal, costing the state around US\$17 million, according to the Science and Development Network website.

In 2011, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project was commenced. When completed, it will provide surplus energy in Ethiopia which will be available for export to neighbouring countries.

### Transport

Light rail in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Ethiopia has 926 km of electrified 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge railways, 656 km for the Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway between Addis Ababa and the Port of Djibouti (via Awash) and 270 km for the Awash–Hara Gebeya Railway between Addis Ababa and the twin cities of Dessie/Kombolcha (also via Awash). Both railways are either in trial service or still under construction as of August 2017. Once commissioned and fully operational in 2018/2019, both railways will allow passenger transport with a designated speed of 120 km/hour and freight transport with a speed of ~80 km/hour. Expected travel time from Addis Ababa to Djibouti City for passengers would be less than twelve hours and travel time from Addis Ababa to Dessie/Kombolcha would be around six hours.

Beyond the first 270 km of the Awash–Hara Gebeya Railway, a second construction phase over 120 km foresees the extension of this railway from Dessie/Kombolcha to Hara Gebeya/Woldiya. It is not clear, when this section will be built and opened. A third, northern 216 km long railway is also under construction between Mek'ele and Woldiya, but it is also not clear when this railway will be commissioned and opened. All railways are part of a future railway network of more than 5,000 km of railways, the National Railway Network of Ethiopia.

As the first part of a ten-year Road Sector Development Program, between 1997 and 2002 the Ethiopian government began a sustained effort to improve its infrastructure of roads. As a result, as of 2015 Ethiopia has a total (Federal and Regional) of 100,000 km of roads, both paved and gravel.

Ethiopia had 58 airports as of 2012, and 61 as of 2016. Among these, the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa and the Aba Tenna Dejazmach Yilma International Airport in Dire Dawa accommodate international flights.

Ethiopian Airlines, a member of the Star Alliance, is the country's flag carrier, and is wholly owned by the Government of Ethiopia. From its hub at the Bole International Airport, the airline serves a network of 102 international passenger, 20 domestic passenger, and 44 cargo destinations. It is also one of the fastest-growing carriers in the industry and continent.

## Demographics

Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world. Its total population has grown from 38.1 million in 1983 to 109.5 million in 2018. The population was only about nine million in the 19th century. The 2007 Population and Housing Census results show that the population of Ethiopia grew at an average annual rate of 2.6% between 1994 and 2007, down from 2.8% during the period 1983–1994. Currently, the population growth rate is among the top ten countries in the world. The population is forecast to grow to over 210 million by 2060, which would be an increase from 2011 estimates by a factor of about 2.5. According to UN estimations, life expectancy had improved substantially in recent years with male life expectancy reported to be 56 years and for women 60 years.

Ethnic groups in Ethiopia
Ethnic group Population
Oromo
25.4 (34.4%)
Amhara
19.9 (27.0%)
Somali
4.59 (6.2%)
Tigrayans
4.49 (6.1%)
Sidama
2.95 (4.0%)
Gurage
1.86 (2.5%)
Welayta
1.68 (2.3%)
Afar
1.28 (1.7%)
1.27 (1.7%)
Gamo
1.10 (1.5%)
Others
9.30 (12.6%)
Population in millions according to 2007 Census

Ethiopia's population is highly diverse, containing over 80 different ethnic groups, the four largest of which are the Oromo, Amhara, Somali and Tigrayans. According to the Ethiopian national census of 2007, the Oromo are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, at 34.4% of the nation's population. The Amhara represent 27.0% of the country's inhabitants, while Somalis and Tigrayans represent 6.2% and 6.1% of the population respectively. Other prominent ethnic groups are as follows: Sidama 4.0%, Gurage 2.5%, Welayta 2.3%, Afar 1.7%, Hadiya 1.7%, Gamo 1.5% and Others 12.6%.

Afroasiatic-speaking communities make up the majority of the population. Among these, Semitic speakers often collectively refer to themselves as the Habesha people. The Arabic form of this term (al-Ḥabasha) is the etymological basis of "Abyssinia," the former name of Ethiopia in English and other European languages. Additionally, Nilo-Saharan-speaking ethnic minorities inhabit the southern regions of the country, particularly in areas of the Gambela Region which borders South Sudan. The largest ethnic groups among these include the Nuer and Anuak.

In addition, Ethiopia had over 75,000 Italian settlers during the Italian occupation of the country. After independence, many Italians remained for decades after receiving full pardons from Emperor Selassie, as he saw the opportunity to continue modernization efforts. However, due to the Ethiopian Civil War in 1974, nearly 22,000 Italo-Ethiopians left the country. In the 2000s, some Italian companies returned to operate in Ethiopia, and many Italian technicians and managers arrived with their families, residing mainly in the metropolitan area of the capital.

In 2009, Ethiopia hosted a population of refugees and asylum seekers numbering approximately 135,200. The majority of this population came from Somalia (approximately 64,300 persons), Eritrea (41,700) and Sudan (25,900). The Ethiopian government required nearly all refugees to live in refugee camps.

### Languages

Languages of Ethiopia as of 2007 Census

Oromo (33.8%)
Amharic (29.3%)
Somali (6.3%)
Tigrinya (5.9%)
Sidamo (4.0%)
Wolaytta (2.2%)
Gurage (2.0%)
Afar (1.7%)
others (11.6%)

According to Ethnologue, there are 90 individual languages spoken in Ethiopia. Most people in the country speak Afroasiatic languages of the Cushitic or Semitic branches. The former includes Oromo language, spoken by the Oromo, and Somali, spoken by the Somalis; the latter includes Amharic, spoken by the Amhara, and Tigrinya, spoken by the Tigrayans. Together, these four groups make up about three-quarters of Ethiopia's population. Other Afroasiatic languages with a significant number of speakers include the Cushitic Sidamo, Afar, Hadiyya and Agaw languages, as well as the Semitic Gurage languages, Harari, Silt'e, and Argobba languages. Arabic, which also belongs to the Afroasiatic family, is likewise spoken in some areas.

Additionally, Omotic languages are spoken by Omotic ethnic minority groups inhabiting the southern regions. Among these idioms are Aari, Bench, Dime, Dizin, Gamo-Gofa-Dawro, Maale, Hamer, and Wolaytta.

Languages from the Nilo-Saharan family are also spoken by ethnic minorities concentrated in the southwestern parts of the country. These languages include Nuer, Anuak, Nyangatom, Majang, Suri, Me'en, and Mursi.

English is the most widely spoken foreign language, the medium of instruction in secondary schools and all tertiary education; federal laws are also published in British English in the Federal Negarit Gazeta including the 1995 constitution.

Amharic was the language of primary school instruction, but has been replaced in many areas by regional languages such as Oromiffa, Somali or Tigrinya. While all languages enjoy equal state recognition in the 1995 Constitution of Ethiopia and Oromo is the most populous language by native speakers, Amharic is the most populous by number of total speakers.

The various regions of Ethiopia and chartered cities are free to determine their own working languages. Amharic is recognised as the official working language of Amhara Region, Benishangul-Gumuz, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region, Gambela Region, Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa. Oromo language serves as the official working language and the primary language of education in the Oromia, Harar and Dire Dawa and of the Oromia Zone in the Amhara Region. Somali is the official working language of Somali Region and Dire Dawa, while Afar, Harari, and Tigrinya are recognized as official working languages in their respective regions. Recently the Ethiopian Government announced that Afar, Amharic, Oromo, Somali, and Tigrinya are adopted as official federal working languages of Ethiopia. Italian is still spoken by some parts of the population, mostly among the older generation, and is taught in some schools (most notably the Istituto Statale Italiano Omnicomprensivo di Addis Abeba). Amharic and Tigrinya have both borrowed some words from the Italian language.

### Script

Ethiopia's principal orthography is the Ge'ez script. Employed as an abugida for several of the country's languages, it first came into usage in the 6th and 5th centuries BC as an abjad to transcribe the Semitic Ge'ez language. Ge'ez now serves as the liturgical language of both the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Churches. During the 1980s, the Ethiopic character set was computerized. It is today part of the Unicode standard as Ethiopic, Ethiopic Extended, Ethiopic Supplement and Ethiopic Extended-A.

Other writing systems have also been used over the years by different Ethiopian communities. The latter include Bakri Sapalo's script for Oromo.

### Religion

Religion in Ethiopia (2007)

Islam (33.9%)
Catholicism (0.7%)
Judaism (0.7%)

Ethiopia has close historical ties with all three of the world's major Abrahamic religions. In the 4th century, the Ethiopian empire was one of the first in the world to officially adopt Christianity as the state religion. As a result of the resolutions of the Council of Chalcedon, in 451 the Miaphysites, which included the vast majority of Christians in Egypt and Ethiopia, were accused of monophysitism and designated as heretics under the common name of Coptic Christianity (see Oriental Orthodoxy). While no longer distinguished as a state religion, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church remains the majority Christian denomination. There is also a substantial Muslim demographic, representing around a third of the population. Ethiopia was the destination of the First Hegira, a major emigration in Islamic history. A town in the Tigray Region, Negash is the oldest Muslim settlement in Africa.

The subterranean rock-hewn Church of Saint George in Lalibela is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

According to the 2007 National Census, Christians make up 62.8% of the country's population (43.5% Ethiopian Orthodox, 19.3% other denominations), Muslims 33.9%, practitioners of traditional faiths 2.6%, and other religions 0.6%. The ratio of the Christian to Muslim population has largely remained stable when compared to previous censuses conducted decades ago. Sunnis form the majority of Muslims with non-denominational Muslims being the second largest group of Muslims, and the Shia and Ahmadiyyas are a minority. Sunnis are largely Shafi'is or Salafis, and there are also many Sufi Muslims there. The large Muslim population in the northern Afar region has resulted in a Muslim separatist movement called the "Islamic State of Afaria" seeking a sharia-compliant constitution.

Some critics asserted that the Haile Selassie regime had been fabricating the census to present Ethiopia as a Christian country to the outside world, stating that Islam made up 50% of the total population in 1991, based on the 1984 census commissioned by the Derg regime. Several Muslim observers and bloggers claim that Muslims are in the majority and disagree with the above census numbers, without providing factual data supporting their claims.

The Kingdom of Axum was one of the first polities to officially embrace Christianity, when Frumentius of Tyre, called Fremnatos or Abba Selama ("Father of Peace") in Ethiopia, converted Emperor Ezana during the fourth century. According to the New Testament, Christianity had entered Ethiopia even earlier, when an official in the Ethiopian royal treasury was baptized by Philip the Evangelist.

Orthodox priests dancing during the celebration of Timkat

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is part of Oriental Orthodoxy. It is by far the largest Christian denomination, although a number of P'ent'ay (Protestant) churches have recently gained ground. Since 1930, a relatively small Ethiopian Catholic Church has existed in full communion with Rome, with adherents making up less than 1% of the total population.

A mosque in Bahir Dar

Islam in Ethiopia dates back to the founding of the religion in 622 when a group of Muslims were counselled by Muhammad to escape persecution in Mecca. The disciples subsequently migrated to Abyssinia via modern-day Eritrea, which was at the time ruled by Ashama ibn-Abjar, a pious Christian emperor. Also, the largest single ethnic group of non-Arab Sahabah was that of the Ethiopians.[citation needed]

According to the 2007 Population and Housing Census, around 1,957,944 people in Ethiopia are adherents of traditional religions. An additional 471,861 residents practice other creeds. While followers of all religions can be found in each region, they tend to be concentrated in certain parts of the country. Christians predominantly live in the northern Amhara and Tigray regions, and are largely members of the non-Chalcedonian Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Those belonging to P'ent'ay predominate in the regions of Oromia and the SNNP (Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region). Muslims in Ethiopia predominantly adhere to Sunni Islam and generally inhabit eastern and northeastern areas; particularly the Somali, Afar, Dire Dawa and Harari regions. Practitioners of traditional religions mainly reside in the nation's far southwestern and western rural borderlands, in the SNNP, Benishangul-Gumuz and Gambela regions.

Until the 1980s, a substantial population of Beta Israel / ቤተ እስራኤል / ביתא ישראל (Ethiopian Jews) resided in Ethiopia. About 4,000 Jews, who claim to be one of the lost tribes of Israel are estimated to still live in Ethiopia, along with many more members of two related ethno-religious groups, the Falash Mura and the Beta Abraham. The Falash Mura are Beta Israel who, while identifying as Jews, adopted elements of Christianity due to missionary efforts, and now practice a syncretic form of Ethiopian Judaism mixed with Christianity; they number about 150,000 people. The Beta Abraham are regarded as a medieval offshoot of the Beta Israel, having incorporated elements of traditional African religion, and number about 8,000. While both still identify as Beta Israel, they exist outside the main community. The official Beta Israel community leaders tentatively accept the Falash Mura, and have requested they be allowed to migrate to Israel. The Beta Abraham have historically been shunned by most other communities, having had a reputation of being "sorcerers". In certain Ethiopian towns and villages such as Wolleka, near the Ethiopian city of Gondar, the concentration of Ethiopian-Jews is still significant but the US now has a significantly greater numbers of Ethiopian-Jews than that of Ethiopia.

Human rights groups have regularly accused the government of arresting activists, journalists and bloggers to stamp out dissent among some religious communities. Lengthy prison terms were handed to 17 Muslim activists on 3August 2015 ranging from seven to 22 years. They were charged with trying to create an Islamic state in the majority Christian country. All the defendants denied the charges and claimed that they were merely protesting in defence of their rights.

### Urbanization

Population growth, migration, and urbanization are all straining both governments' and ecosystems' capacity to provide people with basic services. Urbanization has steadily been increasing in Ethiopia, with two periods of significantly rapid growth. First, in 1936–1941 during the Italian occupation under Mussolini's fascist government, and then from 1967 to 1975 when the populations of urban areas tripled.

In 1936, Italy annexed Ethiopia, building infrastructure to connect major cities, and a dam providing power and water. This along with the influx of Italians and labourers was the major cause of rapid growth during this period. The second period of growth was from 1967 to 1975 when rural populations migrated to towns seeking work and better living conditions.

This pattern slowed due to the 1975 Land Reform program instituted by the government, which provided incentives for people to stay in rural areas. As people moved from rural areas to the cities, there were fewer people to grow food for the population. The Land Reform Act was meant to increase agriculture since food production was not keeping up with population growth over the period of 1970–1983. This program encouraged the formation of peasant associations, large villages based on agriculture. The legislation did lead to an increase in food production, although there is debate over the cause; it may be related to weather conditions more than the reform. Urban populations have continued to grow with an 8.1% increase from 1975 to 2000.

Largest cities or towns in Ethiopia
CSA (Urban population projection values of 2016)
Rank Name Region Pop. Rank Name Region Pop.

Gondar

Mek'ele
2 Adama Oromia 342,940 12 Shashamane Oromia 154,587
3 Gondar Amhara 341,991 13 Bishoftu Oromia 153,847
4 Mek'ele Tigray 340,858 14 Arba Minch SNNPR 151,013
5 Hawassa SNNPR 318,618 15 Hosaena SNNPR 141,352
6 Bahir Dar Amhara 297,794 16 Harar Harari 133,000
7 Dire Dawa Dire Dawa 285,000g 17 Dila SNNPR 119,276
8 Sodo SNNPR 253,322 18 Nekemte Oromia 115,741
9 Dessie Amhara 198,428 19 Debre Birhan Amhara 107,827
10 Jimma Oromia 186,148 20 Asella Oromia 103,522

#### Rural and urban life

Gondar skyline

Migration to urban areas is usually motivated by the hope of better lives. In peasant associations daily life is a struggle to survive. About 16% of the population in Ethiopia are living on less than one dollar per day (2008). Only 65% of rural households in Ethiopia consume the World Health Organization's minimum standard of food per day (2,200 kilocalories), with 42% of children under 5 years old being underweight.

Most poor families (75%) share their sleeping quarters with livestock, and 40% of children sleep on the floor, where nighttime temperatures average 5 degrees Celsius in the cold season. The average family size is six or seven, living in a 30 square metre mud and thatch hut, with less than two hectares of land to cultivate.

The peasant associations face a cycle of poverty. Since the landholdings are so small, farmers cannot allow the land to lie fallow, which reduces soil fertility. This land degradation reduces the production of fodder for livestock, which causes low milk yields. Since the community burns livestock manure as fuel, rather than plowing the nutrients back into the land, the crop production is reduced. The low productivity of agriculture leads to inadequate incomes for farmers, hunger, malnutrition and disease. These unhealthy farmers have difficulty working the land and the productivity drops further.

Although conditions are drastically better in cities, all of Ethiopia suffers from poverty and poor sanitation. However, poverty in Ethiopia fell from 44% to 29.6% during 2000–2011, according to the World Bank. In the capital city of Addis Ababa, 55% of the population used to live in slums. Now, however, a construction boom in both the private and the public sector has led to a dramatic improvement in living standards in major cities, particularly in Addis Ababa. Notably, government-built condominium housing complexes have sprung up throughout the city, benefiting close to 600,000 individuals. Sanitation is the most pressing need in the city, with most of the population lacking access to waste treatment facilities. This contributes to the spread of illness through unhealthy water.

Despite the living conditions in the cities, the people of Addis Ababa are much better off than people living in the peasant associations owing to their educational opportunities. Unlike rural children, 69% of urban children are enrolled in primary school, and 35% of those are eligible to attend secondary school.[clarification needed] Addis Ababa has its own university as well as many other secondary schools. The literacy rate is 82%.

Many NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) are working to solve this problem; however, most are far apart, uncoordinated, and working in isolation. The Sub-Saharan Africa NGO Consortium is attempting to coordinate efforts.

### Health

Declining child mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa and Ethiopia since 1950

The World Health Organization's 2006 World Health Report gives a figure of 1,936 physicians (for 2003), which comes to about 2.6 per 100,000. A brain drain associated with globalization is said to affect the country, with many educated professionals leaving Ethiopia for better economic opportunities in the West.

Ethiopia's main health problems are said to be communicable (contagious) diseases worsened by poor sanitation and malnutrition. Over 44 million people (nearly half the population) do not have access to clean water. These problems are exacerbated by the shortage of trained doctors and nurses and health facilities.

The state of public health is considerably better in the cities. Birth rates, infant mortality rates, and death rates are lower in cities than in rural areas due to better access to education, medicines, and hospitals. Life expectancy is better in cities compared to rural areas, but there have been significant improvements witnessed throughout the country in recent years, the average Ethiopian living to be 62.2 years old, according to a UNDP report. Despite sanitation being a problem, use of improved water sources is also on the rise; 81% in cities compared to 11% in rural areas. As in other parts of Africa, there has been a steady migration of people towards the cities in hopes of better living conditions.

There are 119 hospitals (12 in Addis Ababa) and 412 health centres in Ethiopia. Infant mortality rates are relatively high, as 41 infants die per 1,000 live births. Ethiopia has been able to reduce under-five mortality by two-thirds (one of the Millennium Development Goals) since 1990. Although this is a dramatic decrease, birth-related complications such as obstetric fistula affect many of the nation's women.

HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia stood at 1.1% in 2014, a dramatic decrease from 4.5% 15 years ago.[citation needed] The most affected are poor communities and women, due to lack of health education, empowerment, awareness and lack of social well-being. The government of Ethiopia and many international organizations like World Health Organization (WHO), and the United Nations, are launching campaigns and are working aggressively to improve Ethiopia's health conditions and promote health awareness on AIDS and other communicable diseases.

Ethiopia has a relatively high infant and maternal mortality rate. Although, Ethiopia did not meet the MDG target of reducing maternal mortality rate by two-thirds in 2015, there are improvements nonetheless. For instance, the contraception prevalence rate increased from 8.1% in 2000 to 41.8% in 2014, and Antenatal care service coverage increase from 29% to an astounding 98.1% in the same period.[citation needed] Currently, the maternal mortality rate stands at 420 per 100,000 live births.[citation needed] Only a minority of Ethiopians are born in hospitals, while most are born in rural households. Those who are expected to give birth at home have elderly women serve as midwives who assist with the delivery. The "WHO estimates that a majority of maternal fatalities and disabilities could be prevented if deliveries were to take place at well-equipped health centres, with adequately trained staff".

Community health care workers

The low availability of health-care professionals with modern medical training, together with lack of funds for medical services, leads to the preponderance of less-reliable traditional healers that use home-based therapies to heal common ailments.

One common cultural practice, irrespective of religion or economic status, is female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital cutting (FGC), a procedure that involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The practice was made illegal in Ethiopia in 2004. FGM is a pre-marital custom mainly endemic to Northeast Africa and parts of the Near East that has its ultimate origins in Ancient Egypt. Encouraged by women in the community, it is primarily intended to deter promiscuity and to offer protection from assault.

Ethiopia has a high prevalence of FGM, but prevalence is lower among young girls. Ethiopia's 2005 Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS) noted that the national prevalence rate is 74% among women ages 15–49. The practice is almost universal in the regions of Dire Dawa, Somali, and Afar. In the Oromo and Harari regions, more than 80% of girls and women undergo the procedure. FGC is least prevalent in the regions of Tigray and Gambela, where 29% and 27% of girls and women, respectively, are affected. According to a 2010 study performed by the Population Reference Bureau, Ethiopia has a prevalence rate of 81% among women ages 35 to 39 and 62% among women ages 15–19. A 2014 UNICEF report found that only 24% of girls under 14 had undergone FGM.

Male circumcision is also practised in the country, and about 76% of Ethiopia's male population is reportedly circumcised.

The Government of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia is signatory to various international conventions and treaties that protect the rights of women and children. Its constitution provides for the fundamental rights and freedoms for women. There is an attempt being made to raise the social and economic status of women through eliminating all legal and customary practices, which hinder women's equal participation in society and undermine their social status.

The National Mental Health Strategy, published in 2012, introduced the development of policy designed to improve mental health care in Ethiopia. This strategy mandated that mental health be integrated into the primary health care system. However, the success of the National Mental Health Strategy has been limited. For example, the burden of depression is estimated to have increased 34.2% from 2007 to 2017. Furthermore, the prevalence of stigmatizing attitudes, inadequate leadership and co-ordination of efforts, as well as a lack of mental health awareness in the general population, all remain as obstacles to successful mental health care.

## Education

Education in Ethiopia was dominated by the Orthodox Tewahedo Church for many centuries until secular education was adopted in the early 1900s. The current system follows school expansion schemes which are very similar to the system in the rural areas during the 1980s, with an addition of deeper regionalization, providing rural education in students' own languages starting at the elementary level, and with more budgetary financing allocated to the education sector. The sequence of general education in Ethiopia is six years of primary school, then four years of lower secondary school followed by two years of higher secondary school.

Access to education in Ethiopia has improved significantly. Approximately three million people were in primary school in 1994/95 but by 2008/09, primary enrolment had risen to 15.5 million – an increase of over 500%. In 2013/14, Ethiopia had witnessed a significant boost in gross enrolment across all regions. The national GER was 104.8% for boys, 97.8% for girls and 101.3% across both sexes.

The literacy rate has increased in recent years: according to the 1994 census, the literacy rate in Ethiopia was 23.4%. In 2007 it was estimated to be 39% (male 49.1% and female 28.9%). A report by UNDP in 2011 showed that the literacy rate in Ethiopia was 46.7%. The same report also indicated that the female literacy rate had increased from 27 to 39 per cent from 2004 to 2011, and the male literacy rate had increased from 49 to 59 per cent over the same period for persons 10 years and older. By 2015, the literacy rate had further increased, to 49.1% (57.2% male and 41.1% female).

## Culture

The Ethiopian culture is virtually composite, embedding multicultural society. The majority Afroasiatic-speaking people tradition is likely mixture of, and grown independently from neighboring or far away civilizations such as including other parts of Northeast Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, India, and Italy, while the minority Nilotic people closely linked to South Sudan and African Great Lakes region. Religion plays a pivotal role in their customs and lifestyles, and practices vary from ethnic groups.

### Naming

Ethiopians have a different naming system from the family name–based Western system. Children add the given names of their father and paternal grandfather consecutively to their own given name. For compatibility purposes, as is done in passports, the grandfather's given name is taken as a family surname, and a person's given name and their father's given name form the first names.

Everyone is addressed by their given name. In official situations, the prefixes Ato (አቶ) is used for men; Weyzero (ወይዘሮ) for married women; and Weyzerīt (ወይዘሪት) for unmarried women.

### Calendar

Model commemorating the Obelisk of Aksum's return to Ethiopia from Italy, showing the date of its departure and return according to the Ethiopian calendar

Ethiopia has several local calendars. The most widely known is the Ethiopian calendar, also known as the Ge'ez calendar, and written with the ancient Ge'ez script, one of the oldest alphabets still in use in the world. It is based on the older Alexandrian or Coptic calendar, which in turn derives from the Egyptian calendar. Like the Coptic calendar, the Ethiopian calendar has twelve months of exactly 30 days each plus five or six epagomenal days, which comprise a thirteenth month. The Ethiopian months begin on the same days as those of the Coptic calendar, but their names are in Ge'ez.

Like the Julian calendar, the sixth epagomenal day—which in essence is a leap day—is added every four years without exception on 29 August of the Julian calendar, six months before the Julian leap day. Thus, the first day of the Ethiopian year, 1Mäskäräm, for years between 1901 and 2099 (inclusive), is usually 11 September (Gregorian), but falls on 12 September in years before the Gregorian leap year. It is approximately seven years and three months behind the Gregorian calendar because of an alternate calculation in determining the date of the Annunciation of Jesus.

Another calendrical system was developed around 300 BC by the Oromo people. A lunar-stellar calendar, this Oromo calendar relies on astronomical observations of the moon in conjunction with seven particular stars or constellations. Oromo months (stars/lunar phases) are Bittottessa (Iangulum), Camsa (Pleiades), Bufa (Aldebarran), Waxabajjii (Belletrix), Obora Gudda (Central Orion-Saiph), Obora Dikka (Sirius), Birra (full moon), Cikawa (gibbous moon), Sadasaa (quarter moon), Abrasa (large crescent), Ammaji (medium crescent), and Gurrandala (small crescent).

### Time

Time in Ethiopia is counted differently from most countries. The Ethiopian day is reckoned as beginning at 06:00 as opposed to 00:00, coinciding with sunrise throughout the year. To convert between the Ethiopian clock and Western clocks, one must add (or subtract) six hours to the Western time. For example, 02:00 local Addis Ababa time is called "8 at night" in Ethiopia, while 20:00 is called "2 in the evening".[citation needed]

### Cuisine

Typical Ethiopian cuisine: injera (pancake-like bread) and several kinds of wat (stew)

The best-known Ethiopian cuisine consists of various types of thick meat stews, known as wat in Ethiopian culture, and vegetable side dishes served on top of injera, a large sourdough flatbread made of teff flour. This is not eaten with utensils, but instead the injera is used to scoop up the entrées and side dishes. Almost universally in Ethiopia, it is common to eat from the same dish in the middle of the table with a group of people. It is also a common custom to feed others in your group with your own hands—a tradition referred to as "gursha". Traditional Ethiopian cuisine employs no pork or shellfish of any kind, as both are forbidden in the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, Islamic and Jewish faiths.

Chechebsa, Marqa, Chukko, Michirra and Dhanga are the most popular dishes from the Oromo. Kitfo, which originated among the Gurage, is one of the country's most popular delicacies. In addition, Doro wot (ዶሮ ወጥ in Amharic) and Tsebehi derho (ጽብሒ ድርሆ in Tigrinya), are other popular dishes, originating from northwestern Ethiopia.[citation needed] Tihlo (ጥሕሎ)—which is a type of dumpling—is prepared from roasted barley flour and originated in the Tigray Region. Tihlo is now very popular in Amhara and spreading further south.

### Media

Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC), formerly known as ETV, is the government-owned national channel.

Kana TV is the most popular TV channel in Ethiopia. It is mainly known for dubbing foreign content into Amharic.

The most widely circulated newspapers in Ethiopia are Addis Fortune, Capital Ethiopia, Ethiopian Reporter, Addis Zemen[citation needed] (Amharic) and Ethiopian Herald[citation needed].

The sole internet service provider is the national telecommunications firm Ethio telecom. A large portion of users in the country access the internet through mobile devices. As of July 2016, there are around 4.29 million people who have internet access at their home as compared to a quarter of a million users a decade before that. The Ethiopian government has at times intentionally shut down internet service in the country or restricted access to certain social media sites during periods of political unrest. In August 2016, following protest and demonstration in the Oromia Region, all access to the internet was shut down for a period of two days. In June 2017, the government shut down access to the internet for mobile users during a period that coincided with the administration of Ethiopia's university entrance examination. Although the reason for the restriction was not confirmed by the government, the move was similar to a measure taken during the same period in 2016, after a leak of test questions.

### Music

Mahmoud Ahmed, an Ethiopian singer of Gurage ancestry (2005)

The music of Ethiopia is extremely diverse, with each of the country's 80 ethnic groups being associated with unique sounds. Ethiopian music uses a distinct modal system that is pentatonic, with characteristically long intervals between some notes. As with many other aspects of Ethiopian culture and tradition, tastes in music and lyrics are strongly linked with those in neighbouring Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti, and Sudan. Traditional singing in Ethiopia presents diverse styles of polyphony, (heterophony, drone, imitation, and counterpoint). Traditionally, lyricism in Ethiopian song writing is strongly associated with views of patriotism or national pride, romance, friendship, and a unique type of memoire known as 'Tizita'.

### Sport

The main sports in Ethiopia are track and field (particularly long distance running) and football. Ethiopian athletes have won many Olympic gold medals in track and field, most of them in long distance running. Abebe Bikila became the first athlete from a Sub-Saharan country to win an Olympic gold medal when he won the Marathon at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games in a world record time of 2:15:16. Haile Gebrselassie, Kenenisa Bekele, and Tirunesh Dibaba are all world-renowned long distance runners, each with multiple Olympic and World Championship gold medals. Letesenbet Gidey holds the world records in both the women's 5,000 metre and 10,000 metre run. Other notable Ethiopian runners are Mamo Wolde, Miruts Yifter, Derartu Tulu, Meseret Defar, Birhane Adere, Tiki Gelana, Genzebe Dibaba, Tariku Bekele, Gelete Burka, and Yomif Kejelcha.

As of 2012 and going into 2013, the current national Ethiopian national football team (nicknamed the Walayia Antelopes) made history by qualifying for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations and reached the last 10 African football teams in the last stage of qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Noted players include captain Adane Girma and top scorer Saladin Said.