Ethiopia, formerly Abyssinia, is a country in the East Africa. It shares its borders with Somalia. The Ethiopian Kingdom was founded in the 10th century (BC). Ethiopia is even documented in the King James Version of the Bible. Archaeologist have found the oldest known human ancestors in Ethiopia, including Ardipithecus Ramidus Kadabba (c. 5.8?5.2 million years old) and Australopithecus Anamensis (c. 4.2 million years old). Cushitic language speakers are believed to be the original inhabitants of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa. Unlike other African countries, Ethiopia remained independent until 1935, when Italy under Benito Mussolini invaded the country but only for a brief stint. The country had been governed by monarchies. This is the country, where Christianity first made its inroad in the African continent. When Islam found its way to its neighbours Somaliland, constant fighting ensued as more and more Ethiopians were recruited and converted into Islam.
Civil wars we very common in Ethiopia's existence in the 19th century. On Sept. 12, 1974, Haile Selassie was deposed, the constitution suspended, and Ethiopia proclaimed a Socialist state under a collective military dictatorship called the Provisional Military Administrative Council (PMAC), also known as the; 'Derg''. U.S. aid stopped, and Cuban and Soviet aid began. Lt. Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam became head of state in 1977. During this period Ethiopia fought against Eritrean secessionists as well as Somali rebels, and the government fought against its own people in a campaign called the; 'red terror'. Thousands of political opponents were killed. Mengistu remained leader until 1991, when his greatest supporter, the Soviet Union, dismantled itself. In May 2008, Ethiopia's Supreme Court sentenced Mengistu to death in absentia. He had lived in Zimbabwe since 1991. This was also the time when Italy first tried to invade Ethiopia, however, was defeated by Menelik's forces at Adwa on 1 March 1896. In 1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia until 1941, thus ending the independency of the only African country with the exception of Liberia. The very same year, the disposed Ethiopia ruler, Emperor Haile Selassie regained his throne. In 1963, Emperor Haile Selassie one of the founding members of the Organisation of African Unity. In 1991 the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) , a coalition of rebel organisations formed an interim government after disposing Meles Zenanwi, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.
A group called the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front seized the capital in 1991, and in May a separatist guerrilla organization, the Eritrean People's Liberation Front, took control of the province of Eritrea. The two groups agreed that Eritrea would have an internationally supervised referendum on independence. A border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea broke out in 1998 when Eritrean forces occupied disputed territory. Despite work toward reforming the nation's agriculture, continues to face problems of famine and widespread poverty. An election took place in April 1993 with almost unanimous support for Eritrean independence. Ethiopia accepted and recognized Eritrea as an independent state, within a few days. Sixty-eight leaders of the former military government were put on trial in April 1996 on charges that included genocide and crimes against humanity. Their ongoing confrontation with Eritrea did not help matters either, coupled with the drought of 2002. The two groups agreed that Eritrea would have an internationally supervised referendum on independence. Ethiopia accepted and recognized Eritrea as an independent state within a few days. Sixty-eight leaders of the former military government were put on trial in April 1996 on charges that included genocide and crimes against humanity.