Ethiopia, Federal Democratic Republic of
- Kay Kaufman Shelemay
- and Cynthia Tse Kimberlin
Country in East Africa. Located in the northern highland plateau of the horn of Africa, it has an area of 1,104,300 km², and in July 2011 its population was estimated at 90,873,739 million.
Ethiopia was first mentioned by classical writers in the 2nd century ce as the kingdom of Aksum. The absence of written sources obscures historical events during the first millennium of the empire, but indigenous royal chronicles provide details from the 13th century onwards and trace periods of geographical expansion and consolidation. A distinctive aspect of Ethiopian history in the broader African context is its independent, non-colonial past, being occupied only briefly by Italy during World War II. (For the history and musical traditions of Eritrea, which was colonized by the Italians from the late 19th century and which achieved full sovereignty in 1993, see Eritrea.)
Ethiopia has always been a multi-ethnic empire with numerous languages, a range of belief systems and diverse cultural traditions. However, there has also been considerable contact between ethnic and religious groups. Christianity was established as the state religion in about 332 ...