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Friday, December 12, 2008

Wonderful Ethiopia

Ethiopia, the Country

Ethiopia is a beautiful country situated in the Northeastern part of Africa near the Red Sea, which is also known as �The Horn of Africa�. It is a country rich in culture, history and national pride, and is also called �The Cradle of Humanity�. The territory of Ethiopia measures 1,098,000 square kilometers and is slightly smaller than the state of Alaska. It is in Ethiopia where the great African river, The Blue Nile, has its source. It is among the 20 most populated countries in the world, 2nd most populous region in African, with a population of approximately 77 million. As well, it is one of the oldest countries in the world with a recorded history of over 3000 years and was the home of the Queen of Sheba. Seventeen years of civil war in Ethiopia, which lasted from 1974 until 1991, bankrupted the country and left millions of orphaned children.

Ethiopia is the homeland of one of the oldest Christian civilizations in the world. Christianity came to Ethiopia in the 3rd century A.D., and became the state religion in the 4th century. The Ethiopians were the first people in the world whose coins bore the image of the cross, in the 4th century, on the coins of King Ezana. The first abstract signs and symbols which were the beginning of the Ethiopian system of writing date back 10 thousand years.

Ethiopia is the product of many millennia of interaction among peoples in and around the Ethiopia highland region. Unique among African countries, the ancient Ethiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule, one exception being the Italian occupation of 1936-1941. In 1974 a military junta, the Derg, disposed Emperor Haile SELASSIE (who had ruled since 1930) and established a socialist state. Torn by bloody coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought, and massive refugee problems, the regime was finally toppled by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People�s Revolutionary Democratic Front, in 1991. A constitution was adopted in 1994 and Ethiopia�s first multiparty elections were held in 1995. A two and a half year border war with Eritrea ended with a peace treaty on December 12, 2000. Final demarcation of the boundary is currently on hold due to Ethiopian objections to an international commission�s finding requiring it to surrender sensitive territory.

The Ethiopian Flag

Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world that has no history of colonization. Upon their independence, many African countries adopted the colors of the Ethiopian flag - green, yellow and red - that became known as the Pan-African colors.

The official flag of Ethiopia consists of three equal and horizontal bands of green (top), yellow, and red with a yellow pentagram and single yellow rays emanating from the angles between the points on a light blue disk centered on the three bands.

The yellow pentagram on the blue disk, also known as the National Coat of Arms, is a symbol of the current government; it is intended to reflect the desire of the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia, as well as of its religious communities, to live together in unity and equality.

Prior governments had their own unique identifiers (National Coat of Arms) on the flag. For instance, the DERGUE had the Arma placed on the flag and the late Emperor Haile Sellassie had the Lion of Judah on the flag.

Although the National Coat of Arms has changed with the governments over the times - the green, the yellow and the red - has survived.

� Capital: Addis Ababa � Area: 1.13 million sq km (437,794 sq miles)

� Major languages: Amharic, Oromo, Tigrinya, Somali

� Major religions: Christianity, Islam

� Life expectancy: 46 years (men), 49 years (women) (UN)

� Monetary unit: 1 Birr = 100 cents

� Main exports: Coffee, hides, oilseeds, beeswax, sugarcane

� GNI per capita: US $110 (World Bank, 2005)

� Internet domain: .et

� International dialing code: +251

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