ethiopia history and culture

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Ethiopia is a country situated in an African peninsula also known as the “Horn of Africa”. It lies entirely within the tropical latitudes and is completely surrounded by land on all sides, hence, it comes under the category of Landlocked Countries. Ethiopia’s culture is very vast and diverse dating back to centuries. Its capital is Addis Ababa (“New Flower”), which is located nearly at the center of Ethiopia. It is the most populated and also the largest country in the African peninsula. Ethiopia became landlocked in 1993 after the separation of Eritrea, its former state along the Red Sea. Ethiopia’s cuisine belongs to the widely accepted cuisine of the African continent.

Ethiopia is considered to be thousands of years old and its territory has seen a lot of changes over the years. It is one of the world’s earliest countries. It was centered on Aksum in the early times. Aksum is about 100 miles from the Red Sea coast. When the European powers infiltrated Ethiopia’s historical domain in the 19th and 20th centuries, the present territory was united. Ethiopia defeated colonial Italy in 1986 in the Battle of Adwa, and once more in 1935-36, when fascist Italy invaded and occupied it. It was liberated during World War II by the Allied powers. Ethiopia became one of the first nations to sign the Charter of the United Nations. It also supported the decolonization of Africa and to the development of Pan-African cooperation.

History of Ethiopia


Ethiopia as the forefront of paleontology, Ethiopia, and its surrounding region is at the forefront of paleontology because of many important findings. Ethiopia is considered to be one of the initial sites from where the modern humans, the Homo sapiens originated. The reason for the paleontological importance of Ethiopia is that in 2019 a 300 centuries old Middle Stone-Age rock shelter was discovered in the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia. It was calculated to be at a height of more than 3000 meters. This came to know as the evidence of one of the earliest human civilizations. 

Islam and Ethiopia

During Muhammad’s Era

The Emperor of Aksum, Aṣḥama ibn Abjar was found to be open towards Muslims and gave shelter to many people of the faith, at the time of crisis. It was at that time that the Islamic Prophet and other Muslims came in touch with Ethiopia, initially.

Middle Ages

Zagwe Dynasty of Ethiopia

One of the most popular dynasties of that time was the Zagwe Dynasty. It is considered to have been ruling various parts of the country that later came to be known as Ethiopia. The dynasty seems to have lost control in the late 13th century.

Communist Era (1974-1991)

Derg overthrew Halie Selassie on 12 September 1974. Derg was a Soviet-backed Marxist–Leninist military dictatorship led by Mengistu Haile Mariam. A one-party communist state was formed by the new Provisional Military Administrative Council.

Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (1991- present)

In May 1995, the first multiparty election took place. EPRDF won that election. Meles Zenawi who was the president of the transitional government became the first Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The elected president was Negasso Giada.

Culture of Ethiopia

The naming system in Ethiopia

Ethiopians follow a different naming system than the Western system. The names of the father and grandfather are added to the children’s name consecutively.

Ethiopian Calendar

The Ethiopian calendar, also known as the Ge'ez calendar is the most extensively used calendar in Ethiopia. It is extracted from the Egyptian calendar.

Ethiopian Time

In Ethiopia, time is counted differently than many countries. The Ethiopian day begins at 06:00 as opposed to 00:00. 

Food of Ethiopia

Ethiopian food mostly consists of strong-flavored dishes both Veg and Non-Veg, which may be considered spicy by some ethnicities. It is served on the top of a huge long bread, which is made with the technique of fermentation. In Ethiopia, people using the dominant right hand to eat is considered as a good eating manner. In Ethiopian cuisines, utensils are scarcely used.

Music of Ethiopia

Music in Ethiopia is very diverse. All the ethnic groups of the country have their own unique sounds. Lyrics in songs mostly include views of friendship, romance, and patriotism.

Sports in Ethiopia

Football and long-distance running are the main sports in Ethiopia. Ethiopia established a national basketball team in the1940s.

Economy of Ethiopia

Ethiopia is considered to be one of the most firmly-growing economies in the world apart from the fact it is home to the second largest population of Africa. The country had a GDP of 54.8 billion USD, in 2014, with which the country is getting far ahead in the international market. In the last decade, the country’s economic growth rate has come up to 10.7%, which is a huge leap for a country like Ethiopia

Energy and Hydropower

In Africa, Ethiopia has one of the largest water reserves. It has more than 10 major rivers, including the Nile, which are flowing from its highlands. As of 2012, more than 80% of the country’s electricity generating capacity comes from hydroelectric plants.


More than 80% of the labor force of Ethiopia works in agriculture. The largest portion of the Ethiopian GDP is constituted by the service sector. Mostly agricultural commodities are exported. The largest foreign exchange earner is coffee.  As of 2011, the per capita GDP of Ethiopia has reached $357, according to UN estimates.

Transportation in Ethiopia

In 2012, Ethiopia had 58 airports and by 2016 the number rose to 61. The Government of Ethiopia completely owns Ethiopian airlines. The Aba Tenna Dejazmach Yilma International Airport and the Bole International Airport accommodate international flights. In the continent, it is one of the fastest-growing carriers.

Major Attractions in Ethiopia

World Heritage sites in Ethiopia  

Ethiopian cities have a lot of exciting attractions and festivals for tourists to explore. There is one natural conservation area and 8 cultural sites, in total Ethiopia has 9 UNESCO World Heritage attractions.

  • Aksum (1980)

The tourist town of Aksum is considered to be the historic capital of the Aksumite Empire. The Empire is dated till the 10th Century BCE and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 1980. At the height of about 2,131 meters from sea level, the site is located near the Mountains of Adwa.

  • Fasil Ghebbi, Gondar Region (1979)

Dating back to the 17th Century the Royal Enclosure was established by Emperor Fasil, to act as a fortress for the emperors of Ethiopia. The Architectural qualities are considered to be taken from the Nubian. The site was featured on the list in 1979.

  • Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town (2006)

The capital of the Harari region of eastern Ethiopia. The region is situated at a height of about 1,885 meters and falls around 500 km away from the national capital. The city is considered to be commercially successful due to its strategic location and the availability of ports. It was added to the list in 2006.

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