country in the Horn of Africa

Ethiopia (Amharic: ኢትዮጵያ, ʾĪtyōṗṗyā audio speaker iconpronunciation , Afar: Itiyoophiyaa, Ge'ez: ኢትዮጵያ, Oromo: Itiyophiyaa, Somali: Itoobiya, Tigrinya: ኢትዮጵያ) is a country in the Horn of Africa. It has one of the longest and most well known histories as a country in Africa and the world. Ethiopia was one of the few countries in Africa that escaped the Scramble for Africa. It avoided being colonized until 1935, when it was invaded by the Italians under Benito Mussolini, who took over the country for a brief time. Ethiopia used to be called Abyssinia. The word "Ethiopia" is from the Greek word Αἰθιοπία (IPA: /ˌaitʰioˈpia/) meaning sun light burned face. It is the most populous landlocked country in the world. It lost its Red Sea ports when Eritrea gained independence in 1993.

Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Name in national languages
  • Ge'ez:ኢትዮጵያ
    Amharic:የኢትዮጵያ ፌዴራላዊ ዴሞክራሲያዊ ሪፐብሊክ
    yeʾĪtiyoṗṗiya Fēdēralawī Dēmokirasīyawī Rīpebilīk
    Oromo:Rippabliikii Federaalawaa Dimokraatawaa Itiyoophiyaa
    Somali:Jamhuuriyadda Dimuqraadiga Federaalka Itoobiya
    Afar:ityoppiah federalih demokrasih ummuno
    Tigrinya:ናይኢትዮጵያ ፌዴራላዊ ዴሞክራሲያዊ ሪፐብሊክ
    nayi'ītiyop'iya fēdēralawī dēmokirasīyawī rīpebilīki
ወደፊት ገስግሺ፣ ውድ እናት ኢትዮጵያ
(English: "March Forward, Dear Mother Ethiopia")
Location of Ethiopia
and largest city
Addis Ababa
9°1′N 38°45′E / 9.017°N 38.750°E / 9.017; 38.750
Official languagesAfar
Ethnic groups
62.8% Christianity
—43.5% Ethiopian Orthodoxy
—18.6% Pentay (Protestantism)
—0.7% Catholicism
33.9% Islam
2.6% Traditional faiths
0.7% Others / None[4]
GovernmentEthnofederalist[5] parliamentary constitutional republic
• President
Sahle-Work Zewde
Abiy Ahmed
Demeke Mekonnen
Tagesse Chafo
Meaza Ashenafi
LegislatureFederal Parliamentary Assembly
House of Federation
House of Peoples' Representatives
Formation of Ethiopia
• Dʿmt
c. 980 BCE
c. 100 CE
• Sovereignty restored
August 21, 1995
• Total
1,104,300[6] km2 (426,400 sq mi) (28th)
• Water (%)
• 2016 estimate
102,403,196[7] (13th)
• 2007 census
• Density
92.7/km2 (240.1/sq mi) (123rd)
GDP (PPP)2020 estimate
• Total
$272 billion[9] (58th)
• Per capita
GDP (nominal)2020 estimate
• Total
$96 billion[9] (61st)
• Per capita
Gini (2011)Negative increase 33.6[10]
HDI (2019)Increase 0.485[11]
low · 173rd
CurrencyBirr (ETB)
Time zoneUTC+3 (EAT)
Driving sideright
Calling code+251
ISO 3166 codeET


The idea of an Ethiopian nation became important with the Kingdom of Aksum in the 4th century A.D.[45] The Aksumite Kingdom was a mainly Christian state that at its biggest controlled what is now the Ethiopian Highlands, Eritrea, and the coastal regions of Southern Arabia.[45] The Aksumite Kingdom was responsible for the development of the religious movement that became the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.[45] However, the expansion of Islam in the 7th century caused the decline of the Aksumite Kingdom, and most of the lowland populations converted to Islam, while the highland people remained Christian.[45] Since the Aksumite people became divided between Christian highlands and Islamic lowlands, religious and tribal tensions and rivalries between the people intensified.[45] The Aksumite society changed into a loose confederation of city-states that maintained traditions and languages influenced by Aksum.[45]

Plain tricolour flag of Ethiopia without state symbolism on it, is the tradition flag of the Ethiopian People.

After the fall of Aksum due to declining sea trade from fierce competition by Muslims and changing climate, the power base of the kingdom migrated south and shifted its capital to Kubar (near Agew). They moved southwards because, even though the Axumite Kingdom welcomed and protected the companions of Prophet Muhammad to Ethiopia, who came as refugees to escape the persecution of the ruling families of Mecca and earned the friendship and respect of the Prophet. Their friendship deteriorated when South-Arabians invaded the Dahlak islands through the port of Adulis and destroyed it, which was the economic backbone for the prosperous Aksumite Kingdom. After a second golden age in the early 6th century[46] the Aksumite empire began to decline in the mid 6th century,[47] eventually ceasing its production of coins in the early 7th century. Around this same time, the Aksumite population was forced to go farther inland to the highlands for protection, abandoning Aksum as the capital. Arab writers of the time continued to describe Ethiopia (no longer referred to as Aksum) as an extensive and powerful state, though they had lost control of most of the coast and their tributaries. While land was lost in the north, it was gained in the south; and, though Ethiopia was no longer an economic power, it still attracted Arab merchants. The capital was moved to a new location, currently unknown, though it may have been called Ku'bar or Jarmi.[46]

Under the reign of Degna Djan, during the 10th century, the empire kept expanding south, and sent troops into the modern-day region of Kaffa,[48] while at the same time undertaking missionary activity into Angot and Amhara.

Local history holds that, around 960, a Jewish Queen named Yodit (Judith) or "Gudit" defeated the empire and burned its churches and literature. While there is evidence of churches being burned and an invasion around this time, her existence has been questioned by some western authors. Another possibility is that the Aksumite power was ended by a southern pagan queen named Bani al-Hamwiyah, possibly of the tribe al-Damutah or Damoti of the Sidama people. It is clear from contemporary sources that a female usurper did indeed rule the country at this time, and that her reign ended some time before 1003. After a short Dark Age, the Aksumite Empire was succeeded by the Agaw Zagwe dynasty in the 11th or 12th century (most likely around 1137), although limited in size and scope. However, Yekuno Amlak, who killed the last Zagwe king and founded the modern Solomonic dynasty around 1270 traced his ancestry and his right to rule from the last emperor of Aksum, Dil Na'od. It should be mentioned that the end of the Aksumite Empire didn't mean the end of Aksumite culture and traditions; for example, the architecture of the Zagwe dynasty at Lalibela and Yemrehana Krestos Church shows heavy Aksumite influence.[46]

Fearing of what recently occurred, Axum shifted its capital near Agew In the middle of the sixteenth century Adal Sultanate armies led by Harar leader Ahmed Gragn invaded the Ethiopian Highlands in what is known as the "Conquest of Habasha".[49] Following Gragn invasions the southern part of the Empire was lost to Ethiopia and scattered several groups like the Gurage people were cut off from the rest of Abyssinia. In the late sixteenth century the nomadic Oromo people penetrated the Abyssinian plains occupying large territories during the Oromo migrations.[50][51] Abyssinian warlords often competed with each other for dominance of the realm. The Amharas seemed to gain the upper hand with the accession of Yekuno Amlak of Ancient Bete Amhara in 1270, after defeating the Agaw lords of Lasta.

The Gondarian dynasty, which since the 16th century had become the centre of Royal pomp and ceremony of Abyssinia, finally lost its influence as a result of the emergence of powerful regional lords, following the murder of Iyasu I, also known as Iyasu the Great. The decline in the prestige of the dynasty led to the semi-anarchic era of Zemene Mesafint("Era of the Princes"), in which rival warlords fought for power and the Yejju Oromo እንደራሴ enderases ("regents") had effective control. The emperors were considered to be figureheads. Until a young man named Kassa Haile Giorgis also known as Emperor Tewodros brought end to Zemene Mesafint by defeating all his rivals and took the throne in 1855. The Tigrayans made only a brief return to the throne in the person of Yohannes IV in 1872, whose death in 1889 resulted in the power base shifting back to the dominant Amharic-speaking elite prior to Yejju Oromo and Tigrayan rule. His successor Menelik II an Emperor of Amhara origin seized power. League of Nations in 1935 reported that after the invasion of Menelik's forces into non Abyssinian-proper lands of Somalis, Harari, Southern Oromo, Sidama, Shanqellaetc., the inhabitants were enslaved and heavily taxed by the gebbar-feudal system leading to depopulation.[52]

Some scholars consider the Amhara to have been Ethiopia's ruling elite for centuries, represented by the Solomonic line of Emperors ending in Haile Selassie I. Marcos Lemma and other scholars dispute the accuracy of such a statement, arguing that other ethnic groups have always been active in the country's politics. This confusion may largely stem from the mislabeling of all Amharic-speakers as "Amhara" even though they were from a different ethnic group, and the fact that many people from other ethnic groups have adopted Amharic names. Another is the claim that most Ethiopians can trace their ancestry to multiple ethnic groups, including the last self-proclaimed emperor Haile Selassie I and his Empress Itege Menen Asfaw of Ambassel of having both Amhara and Oromo linage.[53]

Oromo migrations, occurred with the movement of a large pastoral population from the southeastern provinces of the Empire. A contemporary account was recorded by the monk Abba Bahrey, from the Gamo region. Subsequently, the empire organization changed progressively, with faraway provinces taking more independence. A remote province such as Bale is last recorded paying tribute to the imperial throne during Yaqob reign (1590-1607).

By 1607, Oromos were also major players in the imperial politics, when Susenyos I, raised by a clan through gudifacha(or adoption), took power. He was helped by fellow Luba age-group generals Mecha, Yilma and Densa, who were rewarded by Rist feudal lands, in the present-day Gojjam districts of the same name.

The reign of Iyasu I the Great (1682-1706) was a major period of consolidation. It also saw the dispatching of embassies to Louis XIV's France and to Dutch India. During the reign of Iyasu II (1730-1755), the Empire was strong enough to undertake a war on the Sennar Sultanate, where the emperor leading its army to Sennar itself, was afterwards forced to retreat upon defeat along the Setit river. Iyasu II also conferred the dignity of Kantibai of the Habab (northern Eritrea) after homage by a new dynasty.

The Wallo and Yejju clans of the Oromo people rise to power culminated in 1755, when Emperor Iyoas I ascended to the imperial throne in Gondar. They would be one of the major factions contending for imperial power during the ensuing Zemene Mesafint, starting from 1769, when Mikael Sehul, Ras of Tigray killed Iyoas I and replaced him with Yohannes II.

The establishment of modern Ethiopia was led by the Shawan people (which included both Amharas and Oromos), particularly Amhara emperors Tewodros II of Gondar, who governed from 1855 to 1868, Yohannis IV, who was from Tigray governed from 1869 to 1889 and managed to expand his authority into Eritrea, and Menelik II, who governed from 1889 to 1913 and repelled the Italian invasion of 1896.[45]

From 1874 to 1876, the Empire, under Yohannes IV, won the Ethiopian-Egyptian War, decisively beating the invading forces at the Battle of Gundet, in Hamasien province (in modern-day Eritrea). In 1887 Menelik king of Shewa invaded the Emirate of Harar after his victory at the Battle of Chelenqo.

Beginning in the 1890s, under the reign of the Emperor Menelik II, the empire's forces set off from the central province of Shoa to incorporate through conquest inhabited lands to the west, east and south of its realm. The territories that were annexed included those of the Western Oromo (non-Shawan Oromo), Sidama, Gurage, Wolayta, and Dizi. Among the imperial troops was Ras Gobena's Shewan Oromo militia. Many of the lands that they annexed had never been under the empire's rule, with the newly incorporated territories resulting in the modern borders of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia, unlike the rest of Africa, had never been colonized.[45] Ethiopia was accepted as the first independent African-governed state at the League of Nations in 1922.[45] Ethiopia was occupied by Italy after the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, but it was liberated by the Allies during World War II.[45]

After the war, Ethiopia annexed Eritrea.[54] However, ethnic tensions surged between the Amhara and the various ethnic groups of Eritrea, as well as Oromo, Somali, and Tigray peoples, in Ethiopia proper, each of whom had formed separatist movements dedicated to leaving Ethiopia.[54] After the overthrow of the Ethiopian monarchy by the Derg military junta, the country became aligned with the Soviet Union and Cuba after the United States failed to support it in its military struggle with Somali separatists in the Ogaden region.[54] After the end of military government in Ethiopia in 1993, Eritrea separated from Ethiopia.[54]

The Kingdom of Aksum, the first known kingdom of great power to rise in Ethiopia, rose during the first century AD. The Persian religious figure Mani listed Axum with Rome, Persia, and China as one of the four great powers of his time. It was in the early 4th century that a Syro-Greek castaway, Frumentius, was taken to the court and over time changed King Ezana to Christianity, making Christianity Ethiopia's religion. For this, he received the title "Abba Selama". At different times, including a time in the 6th century, Axum ruled most of modern-day Yemen just across the Red Sea.

The line of rulers of the actual Axumite kings ended around 950 AD when they were overthrown by the Jewish Queen Gudit;[55] then it was followed by the Zagwe dynasty for around 300 years. Around 1270 AD, the Solomonid dynasty came to control Ethiopia, claiming that they were related to the kings of Axum (though their claim was unscientific, they were even southern Ethiopia people, like from Shewa and such). They called themselves Neguse Negest ("King of Kings," or Emperor), basing their claims on their direct relation to king Solomon and the queen of Sheba.[56]

During the rule of Emperor Lebna Dengel, Ethiopia made its first good contact with a European country, Portugal in 1520. When the Empire was attacked by Somali General and Imam, Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi, Portugal responded to Lebna Dengel's request for help with 400 musketeers, helping his son Gelawdewos beat al-Ghazi and remake his rule. However, Jesuit missionaries over time offended the Orthodox faith of the local Ethiopians, and in the mid-17th century Emperor Fasilidos got rid of these missionaries. At the same time, the Oromo people began to question the Ethiopian Christian authorities in the Abyssinian territories, and wanted to keep their own religion.

All of this led to Ethiopia's isolation during the 1700s. The Emperors became figureheads, controlled by warlords like Ras Mikael Sehul of Tigray. But Amharic is the national language of Ethiopia. Ethiopian isolationism ended following a British mission that made friendship between the two nations; however, it was not until the reign of Tewodros II that Ethiopia began to take part in world matters once again.

In 1896 Italy was decisively defeated in the battle of Adwa by Emperor Menelik; an Amhara Emperor from the province of Shewa. This battle dispelled the notion that Europeans were superior and could not be defeated by a black army. It gave rise to the Pan African movement, and hope to other African countries who were conquered. This victory made Ethiopia the only African country to successfully repel a European power during the Scramble of Africa. In 1936 Italy again attacked, and succeeded in occupying Ethiopia until 1941. With British help the 5 year occupation ended and Emperor Haile Selassie regained the throne.

Revolutionaries overthrew and killed the emperor in 1974. The resulting civil war lasted until 1991. Eritrea became independent and later fought the Eritrean–Ethiopian War.


Total population
c. 114 million[source?]
Regions with significant populations
  United States460,000
  Saudi Arabia124,347 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
  Sudan60,734 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
  South Africa44,891 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
  Kenya36,889 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
  United Kingdom20,000[62]
  South Sudan12,786 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
  Djibouti12,323 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
  Netherlands9,451 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
  France8,675 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
  Yemen5,740 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
   Switzerland5,211 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
  Spain3,713 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
  Kuwait3,595 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
  Greece2,420 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
  Finland2,366 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
  Denmark2,136 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
  Somalia2,079 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
  Libya1,831 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
  Qatar1,667 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
  Egypt1,457 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
  Austria1,276 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
  Belgium1,143 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
  Uganda1,070 (Ethiopian-born)[58]
Amharic, Oromo, Somali, Tigrinya, Wolaytta, Gurage, Sidamo and other Languages of Ethiopia
Christian 62.8% (Ethiopian Orthodox 43.5%, Protestant 19.3% (e.g. P'ent'ay), Catholic 0.9%), Muslim 33.9%, Traditional 2.6%. Jewish 1%,[66]
Related ethnic groups
Eritreans, Djiboutians, Somalians (Somalis of Somalia), Horn Africans

Ethiopians are the native inhabitants of Ethiopia, as well as the global diaspora of Ethiopia. Ethiopians constitute several component ethnic groups, many of which are closely related to ethnic groups in neighboring Eritrea and other parts of the Horn of Africa.

Ethiopia's population is highly diverse with different languages and ethnic groups. Most of its people speak a Semitic or Cushitic language which are both part of the Afroasiatic language family, while others speak Nilo-Saharan languages. The Oromo, Amhara, Somali and Tigrayans make up more than three-quarters (75%) of the population, but there are more than 80 different ethnic groups within Ethiopia. Some of these have as few as 10,000 members.

Component EthnicitiesEdit

Component EthnicitiesEdit

Major ethnic groupsEdit






(1994) [68]


(2007) [69]

Number % Number %
Aari Omotic 155,002 0.29 290,453 0.29
Afar Afro-Asiatic 979,367 1.84 1,276,374 1.73
Agaw-Awi Afro-Asiatic 397,491 0.75 631,565 0.85
Agaw-Hamyra Afro-Asiatic 158,231 0.30 267,851 0.36
Alaba Afro-Asiatic 125,900 0.24 233,299 0.32
Amhara Afro-Asiatic 16,007,933 30.13 19,870,651 26.89
Anuak Nilotic 45,665 0.09 85,909 0.12
Arbore Afro-Asiatic 6,559 0.01 6,840 0.01
Argobba Afro-Asiatic 62,831 0.12 140,134 0.19
Bacha Nilo-Saharan 2,632 < 0.01
Basketo Omotic 51,097 0.10 78,284 0.11
Bench Omotic 173,123 0.33 353,526 0.48
Berta Nilo-Saharan 183,259 0.25
Bodi Nilo-Saharan 4,686 0.01 6,994 0.01
Brayle ???? 5,002 0.01
Burji Afro-Asiatic 46,565 0.09 71,871 0.10
Bena ???? 27,022 0.04
Beta Israel Afro-Asiatic 2,321 <0.01
Chara Omotic 6,984 0.01 13,210 0.02
Daasanach Afro-Asiatic 32,099 0.06 48,067 0.07
Dawro Omotic 331,483 0.62 543,148 0.74
Debase/ Gawwada Afro-Asiatic 33,971 0.06 68,600 0.09
Dirashe Afro-Asiatic 30,081 0.04
Dime Omotic 6,197 0.01 891 <0.01
Dizi Omotic 21,894 0.04 36,380 0.05
Donga Afro-Asiatic 35,166 0.05
Fedashe ???? 7,323, 0.01 3,448 < 0.01
Gamo Omotic 719,847 1.35 1,107,163 1.50
Gebato ???? 75 <0.01 1,502 < 0.01
Gedeo Afro-Asiatic 639,905 1.20 986,977 1.34
Gedicho ???? 5,483 0.01
Gidole Afro-Asiatic 54,354 0.10 41,100 0.06
Goffa Omotic 241,530 0.45 363,009 0.49
Gumuz Nilo-Saharan 121,487 0.23 159,418 0.22
Gurage Afro-Asiatic 2,290,274 4.31 1,867,377 2.53
Silt'e Afro-Asiatic 940,766 1.27
Hadiya Afro-Asiatic 927,933 1.75 1,284,373 1.74
Hamar Omotic 42,466 0.08 46,532 0.06
Harari Afro-Asiatic 21,757 0.04 31,869 0.04
Irob Afro-Asiatic 33,372 0.05
Kafficho Omotic 599,188 1.13 870,213 1.18
Kambaata Afro-Asiatic 499,825 0.94 630,236 0.85
Konta Omotic 83,607 0.11
Komo Nilo-Saharan 1,526 <0.01 7,795 0.01
Konso Afro-Asiatic 153,419 0.29 250,430 0.34
Koore Omotic 107,595 0.20 156,983 0.21
Kontoma Afro-Asiatic 0.4 48,543 0.05
Kunama Nilo-Saharan 2,007 <0.01 4,860 0.01
Karo Omotic 1,464 < 0.01
Kusumie ???? 7,470 0.01
Kwegu Nilo-Saharan 4,407 0.01
Male Omotic 46,458 0.09 98,114 0.13
Mao Omotic 16,236 0.03 43,535 0.06
Mareqo Afro-Asiatic[70] 38,096 0.07 64,381 0.09
Mashola Afro-Asiatic 10,458 0.01
Mere people ???? 14,298 0.02
Me'en Nilo-Saharan 52,815 0.10 151,489 0.20
Messengo ???? 15,341 0.03 10,964 0.01
Majangir Nilo-Saharan 21,959 0.03
Mossiye Afro-Asiatic 9,207 0.02 19,698 0.03
Murle Nilo-Saharan 1,469 < 0.01
Mursi Nilo-Saharan 3,258 0.01 7,500 0.01
Nao Omotic 4,005 0.01 9,829 0.01
Nuer Nilotic 64,534 0.12 147,672 0.20
Nyangatom Nilotic 14,201 0.03 25,252 0.03
Oromo Afro-Asiatic 21,080,318 32.15 25,489,024 34.49
Oyda Omotic 14,075 0.03 45,149 0.06
Qebena Afro-Asiatic[71] 35,072 0.07 52,712 0.07
Qechem ???? 2,740 0.01 2,585 < 0.01
Qewama ???? 141 <0.01 298 < 0.01
She Omotic 13,290 0.03 320 < 0.01
Shekecho Omotic 53,897 0.10 77,678 0.11
Sheko Omotic 23,785 0.04 37,573 0.05
Shinasha Omotic 32,698 0.06 52,637 0.07
Shita/Upo Nilo-Saharan 307 <0.01 1,602 < 0.01
Sidama Afro-Asiatic 1,842,314 3.47 2,966,474 4.01
Somali Afro-Asiatic 6,785,266 6.18 4,581,794 6.21
Surma Nilo-Saharan 19,632 0.04 27,886 0.04
Tigrinya[72] Afro-Asiatic 3,284,568 6.18 4,483,892 6.07
Tembaro ???? 86,510 0.16 98,621 0.13
Tsamai Afro-Asiatic 9,702 0.02 20,046 0.03
Welayta Omotic 1,269,216 2.39 1,707,079 2.31
Werji Afro-Asiatic 20,536 0.04 13,232 0.02
Yem Omotic 165,184 0.31 160,447 0.22
Zeyese Omotic 10,842 0.02 17,884 0.02
Zelmam Nilo-Saharan 2,704 < 0.01
Other/unknown 155,972 0.29 178,799 0.24
Somalian (Somalis of Somalia) 200,227 0.9
Sudanese 2,035 <0.01 10,333 0.01
Eritrean (Ethiopian people of Eritrean descent) 61,857 0.12 9,736 0.01
Kenyan 134 <0.01 737 <0.01
Djiboutian 367 <0.01 733 <0.01
Other foreigners 15,550 0.02
Total 53,132,276 73,750,932

Ethiopian diasporaEdit

National identityEdit

Ethiopian nationalism, also referred to as Ethiopianism, Ethiopianness (Amharic: ኢትዮጵያዊነት, Ityop̣p̣yawinnät), Pan-Ethiopian nationalism, or Ethiopian national identity, is a political principle of Civic Nationalism centered on the unification of Ethiopian identity asserting that Ethiopians are a nation and promotes the equality of all component ethnic groupsconstituting as one multi-ethnic and multicultural sovereign polity.

Usage, Origin, and DisputesEdit

The view espoused by Ethiopian nationalists is that Ethiopian civic nationalism (that it is multi-ethnic in nature and promotes multiculturalism among all component ethnic groups) is in contrast to and in opposition against ethno-nationalistsupremacism fueled by ethnic federalist policies introduced by the EPRDF in which Ethiopian nationalists claim that regional subdivisions of the state were segregatedaccording to ethnicity brought about by the partitioning and dissolution of traditionally multi-ethnic regions causing the internal displacement of people through internal population transfers.

However, there has been opposition to multi-ethnic Ethiopian civic nationalismfrom ethnic nationalist and separatists groups as seen in the surge of ethnic tensions between various Ethiopian ethnic groups and political parties most notably among the most populous ethnic groups in the country such as the Amhara, Oromo, Somali, and Tigray peoples, most of whom who have separatist movements among their ranks, and conflict between Ethiopia and various ethnic groups that make up the Eritrean population with Eritrean Provincial Separatists vying for and later accomplishing the independence of Eritrea(who had already formed their own region specific Eritrean Nationalism and national identity of the Eritreans which has keen similarities to that of Ethiopian civic nationalism because of its multi-ethnic nature). In the aftermath of the ShewanNeftenya period that occurred, as a result of feudal lords from Shewa settling in the southern regions, other ethnic groups assimilated into the royal court culture by adopting the Amharic language, Orthodox Christianity, and other aristocratic cultural traits. The Amhara culture-influenced royal court culture dominated throughout the eras of military and monarchic rule. Both peasant Amhara culture and Ethiopian Empire royal court culture have heavily influenced each other; this Ethiopian royal court culture (that influenced and was influenced by Amhara culture) but is separate from traditional peasant Amhara culture, dominated throughout the eras of military and monarchic rule. The difference between the average Amhara people (generally those of the peasant class) and high status royal court class (which was multi-ethnic but adopted the Amharic language) are described by Siegfried Pausewang says that "the term Amhara relates in contemporary Ethiopia to two different and distinct social groups. The ethnic group of the Amhara, mostly a peasant population, is different from a mixed group of urban people coming from different ethnic background, who have adopted Amharic as a common language and identify themselves as Ethiopians".Due to language and certain cultural similarities, the multi-ethnic ruling class of the military and monarchic era has erroneously been described as an Amhara ruling class, in addition to the questionable existence of an ethnic group known as the Amhara people during the time periods in question, has erroneously made the terms interchangeable (even within this article). Aspects of Ethiopian nationalism have been described as a political principle centered at unification of Ethiopian identity. The ideology was promulgated throughout ancient history, from Ethiopian Empire and the Dergrule.

For more than a century, Amhara ruling elite used this ideology to pursue an assimilation policy and consolidate power. The conflict started between Abyssinia, ruled by Amhara ethnic groups, and various subjugated ethnic groups such as Oromo, Sidama, and Tigray. In 1991 Eritrea achieved independence as the Derg collapsed and the TPLF assumed power and created an ethnic-federal state. The Amhara culture dominated throughout the eras of military and monarchic rule. Both the Haile Selassieand Derg governments relocated numerous Amharas into southern Ethiopia including the present-day Oromia Region, where they served in government administration, courts, church and even in schools, where Oromo texts were eliminated and replaced by Amharic. As a result of these steps, ethnic tensions surged against the Neftenya system where the Oromo, Somali, and Tigray peoples, each of whom had formed separatist movements such as the OLF, TPLF, ELF and ONLF struggled to leave the Ethiopian Empire, which led to the Ethiopian Civil War. Oromo ethnic nationalists and Ethiopian civic nationalists continue to have conflicting narratives over the status of Addis Ababa. Oromo ethnic nationalist claim that Addis Ababa should be ceded to Oromia Region and/or lead by Oromo people, while Ethiopian civic nationalists believe that it should stay as an independent city with leadership open to all people regardless of ethnicity. The Abyssinian elites perceived the Oromo identity and languages as hindrances to Ethiopian national identity expansion.

It originated from throughout ancient history, the Aksumite Empire was the first kingdom for their unified civilization and social integration to adopt the name "Ethiopia" under Ezana's reign in 4th century. For more than a century, Amhara ruling elite used the ideology to pursue an assimilation policy and consolidate power. Moreover, the notion of Ethiopian integrity was reinforced by Battle of Adwa, an important event where Ethiopia defied European colonization by defeating Italy in 1896.

The Second Italo-Ethiopian War and subsequent Italian occupation of Ethiopia appeared to be foreign aggression and civil war that leads to ethnic faction expressed by student movements. Following the abolition of monarchy and overthrow of Haile Selassie by communist military junta Derg in 1974, Ethiopia underwent several conflicts and civil wars that persists up to today, and the 1991 downfall of the Derg and the raise of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and its ethnic nationalist policies promoted continuum violence and thwarted the Ethiopian unity.

In 1991, the TPLF had gained almost complete control of the national government, leveraging its power to concentrate wealth and development into the Tigray Region. The hegemonic rule of the Tigray people in Ethiopia was in many ways a reaction to the predominance Amharas had in media and governance. The hegemonic rule of a few ethnic groups or in some cases, a single ethnic group has marginalized many groups within Ethiopia and has led to a cycle of violence and retribution. In the early 1990s, the TPLF believed that through an ethnic federalist state system, one in which regions were assigned and divided by the ethnic population, they could:

reduc[e] the inter-ethnic conflict that has divided Ethiopian society for centuries; promot[e] equitable material conditions in all areas of the country; and improv[e] the efficiency and effectiveness of public sector performance at the field level. They argued they could use political and administrative devolution to promote these objectives without threatening other important objectives, such as economic growth and political stability.

While these regions were not given "extensive sub-national control over technical policies, laws, regulations, and tax," their creation lent credibility to the different independence and ethnic nationalist movements around the country. For Ethiopian nationalists, this credibility has emboldened different groups, giving them more cohesion, whilst corroding national unity and notions of Pan-Ethiopianism. The increased autonomy of these groups contrasted with the increased repression by Tigray elites created a situation in which the ruling class was both empowering groups through greater ethnic cohesion, but transparently stifling their political will. As shown by the 2005 elections, the TPLF use of violent repression to subdue detractors of the ruling coalition only had the effect of radicalizing ethnic parties and increasing ethnic divisions. Many Ethiopian nationalists view the system of ethnic federalism as having made governing in Ethiopia a zero-sum game. To win power in Ethiopia is to deny any other ethnic group significant power. By expelling notions of Ethiopianism or multi-ethnic Ethiopian national identity from the national political dialogue, the TPLF has increased the ethnic breaks and created a system revolving around ethnic affiliation, devoid of political ideology. In 2015, after a master plan was unveiled to expand the boundaries of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa into Oromia in 2014, thousands of Oromo Youth Liberation Movement members took to the streets to demand increased political representation, an end to the TPLF-sponsored Master Plan, and avenues of dissent. Although the ruling party tried to blunt these protests through physical force, the protests only grew. Amharas "angered by an unfulfilled demand to retake control of some of their lands" launched protests consisting of mostly Oromos and Amharas (but also other Ethiopians) demanding proportional political representation and influence.After a 10-month state of emergency imposed by the TPLF, which saw the abdication of prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Abiy Amhed—was selected by the ruling EPDRF coalition as the next prime minister due to his mixed Oromo-Amhara ethnic ancestry with a preference for his Oromo identity. Since Abiy took power, he has taken up major reforms allowing back political dissidents, releasing some political prisoners, and liberalizing the economy. While his drive to reform and democratize the nation has garnered him support across the country, he still has not addressed the fundamental issues of the ethnic federalist system, which in the Pan-Ethiopians' opinion is the root cause for ethno-nationalist politics and tensions. Ethiopian nationalists believe that ethnic federalism must be ended to shift Ethiopian politics from ethnic patronage to ideology, it must be ended to induce national cohesion and blunt sectarian loyalty, and through the blunting of ethnic cohesion induce an era of unity and prosperity.

Abiy and the Prosperity Party have been seen as supporters of Ethiopian civic nationalism due to the merger of the Oromo Democratic Party with the ethnicity-based Amhara Democratic Party, Argoba People's Democratic Organization, Benishangul-Gumuz People's Democratic Unity Front, Ethiopian Somali People's Democratic Party, Gambela People's Democratic Movement, Afar National Democratic Party, Hareri National League, and the Southern Ethiopian People's Democratic Movementpolitical parties into the new multi-ethnic Prosperity Party, thus moving these predecessor parties away from their ethnic nationalist and pro-ethnic federalism past into a party that promotes Ethiopian national identity, and non-ethnicity based federalism. All of these goals are seen by opponents as steps towards taking political powers based on group rights away from the various ethnic groups. Proponents of the merger see it as a way to move Ethiopian politics and governmental administration away from ethnicity-based identity politics, supporting the individual rights of each person. This outlook more intensely mitigates rising ethnic nationalism, fosters national unity and solidarity, and creates inclusive democratic processinvolving political parties of several ethnic groups and regions that were once deemed too inferior by the Tigray People's Liberation Front-led Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front regime to be included in the one-party dominated coalition government or be full partakers in the collation's revolutionary democracy because of their largely pastoralist way of life.

Regions, zones, and districtsEdit

Before 1996, Ethiopia was divided into 13 provinces. Ethiopia now has ethnically based regional states, zones, districts, and neighborhoods.

There are nine regions, sixty-eight zones and two chartered cities. Ethiopia is further divided into 550 woredas and several special woredas.

The nine regions and two chartered cities (in italics) are:

Addis Ababa
Dire Dawa
Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region


Coffee sorting in Awasa

Coffee production is a longstanding tradition in Ethiopia.

Related pagesEdit


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