Ethiopia is Africa’s oldest independent country and its second largest in terms of population. Apart from a five-year occupation by Mussolini’s Italy, it has never been colonised.
It has a unique cultural heritage, being the home of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church – one of the oldest Christian churches – and a monarchy that ended only in the coup of 1974.
It served as a symbol of African independence throughout the colonial period, and was a founder member of the United Nations and the African base for many international organisations.
Ethiopia has suffered periodic droughts and famines that lead to a long civil conflict in the 20th Century and a border war with Eritrea.
- FEDERAL DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA
- Capital: Addis Ababa
- Population 86.5 million
- Area 1.13 million sq km (437,794 sq miles)
- Major languagesAmharic, Oromo, Tigrinya, Somali
- Major religionsChristianity, Islam
- Life expectancy 58 years (men), 62 years (women)
- Currency Bir