August 11, 2010
Ethiopia is a country completely surrounded by land, and positioned in the northeast region of Africa. Formally known as Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, it is the second most populated country in Africa. As of 2009 the population is estimated to be greater than 79.2 million people, and ranked the tenth largest by area with 1,100,000 km per square inch. Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, and Kenya are located on the outskirts of Ethiopia. There are eighty different languages used in Ethiopia. Afar, Berta, Oromo, and Somali are the main languages used in this country, but Amharic is the language most spoken in Ethiopia (Britannica, 2010).
The climate in Ethiopia is tropical with periods of heavy rainfall to dry desert weather. Elevated terrains have a temperature of 60 degrees and below while the lower terrains are approximately 80 degrees. Addis Ababa, the capital, has a yearly temperature of 60.8 degrees Fahrenheit. During the night the temperature drops to 44-50 degrees Fahrenheit, so a light coat may be needed. Ethiopia has three seasons: the dry season, called bega, is from September to February, although the coolest weather is in December or January. Next is a brief period of rain known as belg, which is from March to April. May is mostly arid then precedes a lengthy rain period during June, July, and August called the kremt (Britannica, 2010). Ethiopia is called a third world country because of its poverty rate. The economy relies on agriculture, which makes up 45% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and 85% of their employment. Repeated droughts, deforestation, soil erosion, and overgrazing has affected terrains, however there is enough land for farmers to cultivate. Coffee is an important export and was sold oversees in 2006 for $350 million, but with the decreased prices cultivators are selling other crops to bring in money (Britannica, 2010). History
Ethiopia is known for being one of the oldest self-governing countries in Africa to be occupied by people. It is believed that the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon’s son from the Bible created the Ethiopian kingdom. The Christian religion was first introduced during the fourth century by missionaries from Syria and Egypt, but not long after the Europeans slowly severed the Ethiopians from their Christianity. In 1493 the Portuguese began to speak with the Ethiopians to persuade them to become Roman Catholic and to also reinforce their power over the Indian Ocean. Later on a disagreement between those for and against Catholicism resulted in the removal of all foreign missionaries. In the 1700s, no one was able to control Ethiopia for 100 years because of the competitiveness of the leaders. This period finally ended in 1869 when the ruler Tewodros brought most of the leaders together. The uniting force enabled the successor Yohannes to overpower the Dervish and Sudanese attacks. Under the rule of Menelik II, Ethiopia was able to conquer Italy at the Battle of Adwa in 1869. This battle is the first triumph of an African country over a provincial command (Henze, 2000). In 1930 Emperor Haile Selassie governed the country, but in 1936 he was ostracized from his kingdom when the Italians attacked and inhabited Ethiopia. Haile Selassie petitioned to the League of Nations, but no one responded and he had to escape to the United Kingdom (UK). He was not able to return to his empire until five years later when the Ethiopian patriotic resistance forces overpowered the Italians. Haile Selassie’s sovereignty ended in 1974 and a temporary committee of soldiers called the Derg took over and established a communist government with a militant approach. These soldiers killed fifty nine people of imperial descent-generals and ministers included. After two of his predecessors were killed, Major Mengistu took over as chief of state and Derg leader. His autocratic ruling and tyranny, plus a food shortage...