Ethiopia is a country in Africa. This nation is in the east of the continent in a region called the Horn of Africa. This country has several neighbours – Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya and Somalia.
This is the most mountainous country in Africa. It has many abysses hence the former name Abyssinia. The climate is hot. However, in the mountains it can be cool.
The Queen of Sheba ruled this land in Biblical times. She wed King Solomon. Jews came to Ethiopia millennia ago. They are Falasha Jews.
Christianity came to this nation in ancient times. Most Ethiopians are Christians. They are Coptic Christians. Their form of Christianity is the same as in Egypt. Copt and Egypt are etymologically linked. Egypt was called ”Gpt” by some. The Coptic Christians observe Jewish dietary laws. They refrain from pork. In church they speak a language called Ge’ez – men and women sit on opposite sides of the aisle. They all wear white prayer shawls and their day of worship is Saturday.
When Islam started the Muslims were persecuted in Arabia. Some of them sought refuge in Abyssinia. The King of Abyssinia gave them shelter. Islam spread to all the nearby countries. Muslims tried to conquer Abyssinia. But because of the mountains they could not.
In Medieval Europe people had heard of a Christian monarch in the Near East or Africa. They believed he was called Prester John.
Coffee is cultivated in this country. Because of the high altitude it grows very well. There is a town there named Kaffa. This may well be where the word coffee comes from.
The official language of Ethiopia is Amharic. The main ethnic group is the Amharas. There are several ethnic minorities with their own languages. Amharic has its own alphabet. It is the only written language in Africa to have its own alphabet.
The Amharas are Nilotic and not Bantu. So is their language.
Ethiopia fought her neighbours a lot. She conquered some Somali land – the Ogaden.
In the 19th century the country came into contact with the British Empire. A British ambassador was sent to Addis Ababa (New Flower) which is the Ethiopian capital. The Emperor of Ethiopia was Twedros (Theodore). He had a row with the ambassador and had him imprisoned. The British sent an expedition to free the ambassador. It cost a fortune and was very difficult owing to the mountains.
The British defeated the Ethiopians and rescued their man. Tewdros fought to defend his palace. He committed suicide as the British and Indians entered the palace. The British then withdrew – they could have easily annexed the land.
In the 1890s Italy conquered Eritrea which was the coastal region of Ethiopia. The Italians then tried to conquer the rest of Ethiopia. In 1896 they were defeated at the Battle of Adoua. Italy lost the war. It was unprecedented for a European country to be defeated by an African one.
In 1935 Italy invaded Abyssinia again. This time the Italians carried they day. They used poison gas. Italian occupation was brutal and there were many massacres.
In 1940 the Allies drove the Italians out of Abyssinia. The Emperor Haile Selassie was restored.
Selassie’s admirers in Jamaica founded a religion called Ras Tafari. This is after the man’s former title. Ras is like duke and Tafari is a city.
In the 1970s Marxist army officers overthrew Selassie. He was imprisoned and later slain. The new government tried to create a communist state. There were rebellions against them.
In the 1980s the country was ruled by a tyrant called Mengistu Haile Mariam. A horrific famine broke out. Concerts such as Live Aid were held to raise funds. A song called Feed the World do they know its Christmas time was sung. Many people were saved.
In the 1990s communism was overthrown. The country transitioned to democracy and capitalism.
This country has a cordial relationship with China. Many Chinese work there now.
The Ark of the Covenant is in Ethiopia. One monk guards it. Only he is allowed to see it.
The currency is the Birr.
The flag is red, yellow, green bars and a blue disc in the middle with a yellow symbol on it.
- Which continent is Ethiopia in?
- What is the former name of this nation?
- What is the landscape like?
- What is the climate like?
- What is the main religion of this country?
- What is the official language of Ethiopia?
- What is distinctive about Amharic?
- What is the main ethnic group of Ethiopia?
- What is the capital city?
- Draw the flag. Five marks.
- Which European country defeated this one in the 19th century?
- Which country lost the Battle of Adua?
- In which year did Italy successfully invade Abyssinia?
- Who was the Emperor of Ethiopia in the 1940s?
- Which religion worships Haile Selassie?
- What are Ethiopian Jews called?
- What is unusual about Ethiopian Christianity? Five marks.
- Who was the ruler of this country in the 1980s?
- What disaster struck the country in the 1980s?
- What holy artefact is in this country?
- Which Asian land does a lot of trade with this one?
- What is the currency?
- Name five neighbours of this country. Five marks.
- Would you like to visit this country? Five marks