Eritrea is a country in the Horn of Africa located on the Red Sea. A fact reflected in its name, which is an Italianized version of; 'Mare Erythraeum'. Which is Latin for Red Sea. The Red Sea was the route by which Christianity and Islam reached the area, and it was an important trade route that such powers as Turkey, Egypt, and Italy hoped to dominate by seizing control of ports on the Eritrean coast. Those ports promised access to the gold, coffee, and slaves sold by traders in the Ethiopian highlands to the south, and, in the second half of the 20th century, Ethiopia became the power from which the Eritrean people had to free themselves in order to create their own state. This continued for nearly three decades. Eritrea formally achieved its independence from Ethiopia on May 24, 1993.
Eritrea’s capital and largest city is Asmara (Asmera). Keren is the second largest city, in the mountains. Near to Keren is the Debre Sina monastery, one of the oldest monasteries in Eritrea. The majority of the population are Muslim. Eritrea has never held regional or local elections since 2004 and national and presidential elections since 1993. Eritrea has had only one president since 1993. President Afwerki Isaias has always expressed his disdain for western-style democracy.
Some interesting facts about Eritrea: Total area: 121,320 sq. km; Population (2014 est.): 6,380,803 (growth rate: 2.3%); birth rate: 30.69/1000; infant mortality rate: 38.44/1000; life expectancy: 63.51 Capital and largest city (2011 est.): Asmara, 712,000
Other large cities: the ports of Massawa, 30,700; and Assab(also spelled; Asseb), 56,300. The Monetary unit of Eritrea is: the Nakfa.