Country Code: 231

Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (RDFE) (in Amharic: ኢትዮጵያ, Ityop’iya), formerly known as Abyssinia, is a landlocked country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second most populous country in Africa after Nigeria. It borders on the north with Eritrea, on the northeast with Djibouti, on the east with Somalia, on the south with Kenya and on the west with Sudan and South Sudan.

Ethiopia is the only case among African countries that has never been colonized, maintaining its independence during the partition of Africa, except for a period of five years (1936-1941), when it was under Italian occupation. It is also the second oldest nation in the world to adopt Christianity as the official religion after Armenia. However, it was the first kingdom to adopt Christianity, being a monarchy of Israelite origin. In addition, Ethiopia was a member of the League of Nations, signed the United Nations Declaration in 1942, founded the UN headquarters in Africa, was one of the 51 original members of that organization and is one of the founding members of the former Organization for African Unity and current African Union, during the government of negus Haile Selassie I. Its capital, as well as its largest and most populated city, is Addis Ababa. With the independence of Eritrea in 1993, Ethiopia lost its exit to the sea.


The historical origins of Ethiopia must be sought in the Kingdom of Aksum, which already existed in the second century BC. C. In the fourth century Christianity was introduced. The powerful kingdom began to decline after the defeat of Mecca (570) against the Arabs. In 1270 the Salomónida dynasty was established, which started the Ethiopian Empire. Between the XV and XVI centuries, the territory was reconquered. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the capital of the kingdom was moved to Gondar.

On January 21, 1872, Kassay the Tiger subjugated the entire territory except for Xoa, crowned in Aksum as negus and adopted the Christian name of John IV of Ethiopia. In 1884 the new emperor agreed with the English admiral Newet an agreement that assured him free trade in Massaua, but to occupy the Italians this population, Juan IV showed a hostile attitude towards the new colonizers.

The Italian army experienced some losses in Dogali, but on March 9, 1890 the Emperor John IV died in Metemmet. Due to the lack of coins in circulation during his reign, the use of foreign currencies was allowed throughout the territory. To guarantee their circulation, these pieces were countermarked with a circular punch containing the lion of Judah and its value. Different currencies of Austria, France and Spain are known with this curious brand.The nephew of Hassai, Mangascha, was dispossessed by Menelik II, who signed a pact with the Italians who had already occupied Karen and Asmara, territory was recognized with the name of Eritrea colony.

During the European partition of Africa in the 19th century, Ethiopia retained its independence; however, in 1895 the Italian invasion occurred, from his colony in Eritrea. In 1931 the emperor Haile Selassie rises to the throne, whose coronation was attended by Plutarco Elías Calles. In 1935, the Italian troops of Benito Mussolini invaded the country. The Ethiopian army, even with cavalry with spears and a few with rifles, were no match for the Italian army. The president of Mexico, Lázaro Cárdenas del Río, sent arms to Ethiopia, but the Italians finally conquered Ethiopia, and was renamed Abyssinia. In 1936, the territory officially becomes part of Italian Eastern Africa. During World War II, the Italian defeat in Africa returned the power to Haile Selassie I. In 1952, the UN approved the federation of Ethiopia and Eritrea, later converted into a democratic country.

Haile Selassie visited Japan, where he received the Emperor Hirohito, and Yugoslavia, where he was received by Marshal Tito.

In 1966 he received the president of France, Charles De Gaulle, because France had supported Ethiopia during the war.

By 1974, the Haile Selassie regime was facing great public discontent, exacerbated by military defeats at the hands of Eritrean guerrillas, and following a severe famine in the provinces of Wolo and Tigray, caused by the drought. These events unleashed a revolution led by low-ranking officers of the Army and promoted by leftist political groups, which ended with the overthrow of the emperor. He assumed the power of a Military Junta known as the Derg.

In 1977 he assumed control of the Derg Mengistu Haile Mariam, who established a socialist government. During this period the economy is socialized, it is aligned on the part of the Soviet bloc. Between 1975 and 1985, children enrolled in primary education increased from about 957,300 to about 2,450,000. Although, there were still variations among the regions in the number of students enrolled and there was a disparity in the enrollment of boys and girls. However, while the enrollment of the children had doubled, that of the girls had more than tripled in that period.

It suffers a terrible famine in 1984, due to a great drought, very common in the area as in 1970. In 1991 the People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is overthrown in the middle of a civil war.

In May 1991, Meles Zenawi, commanding the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, achieved an armed victory over Menghistu and was proclaimed president, beginning a period of political and social reforms that led him to abandon the socialist regime. The new war with Eritrea from 1997 to 2000 ended with the independence of Eritrea and, under the patronage of the UN and the OAU, the definitive peace was obtained.


According to the national census of 2018,23 Christians (Orthodox, Protestant and Catholic) represent 70.00% of the country’s population, Muslims 29.00% and traditional beliefs 1.0%. A part of Ethiopia believes in the Rastafarian and Haile Selassie I.

Christianity in Africa is often conceived as a European import that came with colonialism, but this is not the case in Ethiopia. The Kingdom of Aksum was one of the first countries to officially adopt Christianity, when San Frumencio de Tiro converted King Ezana during the 4th century. Many believe that the Gospel had entered Ethiopia even earlier, with the royal official described as baptized by Philip the Deacon in the Bible, in chapter 8 (verses 26-39) of the Acts of the Apostles. Today, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is by far the dominant one, although some Protestant churches have recently gained ground.

The name “Ethiopia” (in Hebrew Kush) is mentioned in the Bible several times and is in some way considered a sacred place.

Islam in Ethiopia exists since almost the foundation of religion: in the year 615, when a group of Muslims escaped on the advice of Muhammad from the persecution in Mecca and traveled to Ethiopia, which was ruled, according to Muhammad’s estimates, by a pious Christian king. In addition, Islamic tradition states that Bilal ibn Ribah, one of Muhammad’s most prominent companions, was from Ethiopia.

ˆ Back To Top