Ethiopia

Capital: Addis Ababa, Population: 102,4M, Currency: Ethiopian Birr

History

Ethiopia is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea to the north and northeast, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south. With over 102 million inhabitants, Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world, as well as the second-most populous nation on the African continent.

During the late 19th-century Scramble for Africa, Ethiopia was the only territory in Africa to defeat a European colonial power and retain its sovereignty. Many newly-independent nations on the continent subsequently adopted its flag colours. Ethiopia was also the first independent member from Africa of the 20th-century League of Nations and the United Nations. In 1974, the Ethiopian monarchy under Haile Selassie was overthrown by the Derg, a communist military government backed by the Soviet Union.

The early 20th century was marked by the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie ("Ras Tafari"). Haile Selassie appealed to the League of Nations in 1935, delivering an address that made him a worldwide figure, and the 1935 Time Man of the Year.

Mulatu Teshome Wirtu is an Ethiopian politician who has been President of Ethiopia since 7 October 2013. While serving as Ambassador to Turkey, he was elected as President of Ethiopia by a unanimous parliamentary vote.

Culture

  • Ethiopians have a different naming system to the family name-based Western system. Children add the given names of their father and paternal grandfather consecutively to their own given name. For compatibility purposes, as is done in passports, the grandfather's given name is taken as a family surname, and a person's given name and his/her father's given name form the first name.

  • Time in Ethiopia is counted differently from in many Western countries. The Ethiopian day is reckoned as beginning at 6 AM as opposed to 12 AM, concurrently with sunrise throughout the year.

  • As with many other aspects of Ethiopian culture and tradition, tastes in music and lyrics are strongly linked with those in neighboring Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti, and Sudan. Traditionally, lyricism in Ethiopian song writing is strongly associated with views of patriotism or national pride, romance, friendship, and a most unique type of memoire known as 'Tizita'.

Language

  • Most people in the country speak Afroasiatic languages of the Cushitic or Semitic branches. The former includes Oromiffa, spoken by the Oromo, and Somali, spoken by the Somalis; the latter includes Amharic, spoken by the Amhara, and Tigrinya, spoken by the Tigrayans. Together, these four groups make up about three-quarters of Ethiopia's population.

  • English is the most widely spoken foreign language, and is the medium of instruction in secondary schools. Amharic was the language of primary school instruction, but has been replaced in many areas by regional languages such as Oromiffa, Somali or Tigrinya.

  • Amharic is recognized as the official working language of the Federal Government.

Food

  • The best-known Ethiopian cuisine consists of various types of thick meat stews, known as wat in Ethiopian culture, and vegetable side dishes served atop injera, a large sourdough flatbread made of teff flour.

  • Almost universally in Ethiopia, it is common to eat from the same dish in the center of the table with a group of people. It is also a common custom to feed others in your group with your own hands—a tradition referred to as "gursha". Traditional Ethiopian cuisine employs no pork or shellfish of any kind, as they are forbidden in the Islamic, Jewish, and Ethiopian Orthodox faiths.

  • Chechebsa, marqa, chukko, michirra and dhanga are the most popular dishes from the Oromo. Kitfo, which originated among the Gurage, is one of the country's most popular delicacies. In addition, Doro wot is another popular food, originated from the Amhara people of northwestern Ethiopia.

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