The African country of Ethiopia enjoys the distinction of being the continent’s oldest independent country. The country could have also laid claim to the distinction of never being colonized if it wasn’t for Mussolini, who reigned over the country for a brief period of five years. Apart from being known for the above mentioned facts, Ethiopia is also known for its prolonged civil conflicts, droughts and famines. The country is also putting up with an issue in the form of a border war with neighboring Eritrea. Ethiopia is the second-most populous country in the continent of Africa. In terms of geographical area occupied (1,100,000 square kilometers), it is the tenth largest country in Africa. Ethiopia is surrounded by Sudan in the west, Somalia in the east, Kenya in the South and a hostile Eritrea in the north. The country, compared to its ‘peers’, is relatively old and can trace its roots back to the 10th century BC. It, in fact, is one of the oldest countries in the world. Read on to know more about this strong-willed African country, Ethiopia.
Interesting & Fun Facts About Ethiopia:
The country of Ethiopia is located west of Somalia, in Eastern Africa. The country, in size, is almost twice as big as the state of Texas.
Ethiopia experiences a tropical weather, with changes in weather depending on the topography of a particular location in the country.
The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is the official name of the country of Ethiopia. Addis Abba is the Capital of Ethiopia.
The official monetary unit of Ethiopia is known as the Birr. A single Birr is valued at a hundred cents.
Oromo, Tigrinya, Somali, and Amharic are the languages spoken all over Ethiopia.
Almost half of the Ethiopian population is believed to be Christian. Ethiopia was the first country to declare Christianity as its national religion and also the first country to mint coins with a Cross on them.
Ethiopia’s chief exports include sugarcane, beeswax, coffee, hides, and oilseeds.
After Christianity, the other major religion in Ethiopia is Islam. So that makes Christianity and Islam as the country’s two main religions.
Ethiopia is one of Africa’s faster growing non-oil economies and thrives on the success of its agriculture industry. The agriculture industry, however, is often dented by frequent droughts.
Meles Zenawi is the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. He owes his loyalties to the People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front and won the May 2010 elections to become the Prime Minister. This is Meles Zenawi’s fourth term in office.
Ethiopia, in the past, for many years was headed only by female rulers. A legend has it that even Alexander the Great stopped at the borders of Ethiopia because he did not want to risk being defeated by a woman.
Ethiopia has a unique way of counting the hours of the day, and even functions within the limits of a thirteen-month calendar.
The town of Dallol in Ethiopia has the world's highest average annual temperature of 34 °C.
The Mursi tribe, one of the fiercest tribes in Africa calls Ethiopia its home. The women of the tribe are famous for wearing lip plates. This was done to appear less attractive to slave traders, who were known to sell them in Western countries!
Read more: http://www.unp.me/f143/facts-about-ethiopia-95174/#ixzz1OySSvANc
Ethiopia is faced with extremely high poverty rates - almost half of the population live on less than 50 cents a day, and only 28% of rural households have access to clean water. Women in rural communities in Ethiopia are particularly disadvantaged. They suffer from few economic opportunities, low literacy levels and poor access to public services such as healthcare.
In Ethiopia 80% of the population derive their income from small scale agricultural and pastoral production. Drought and a lack of investment in training and equipment for farmers make it difficult to earn a living from agriculture.
Around 10 million people are at risk of starvation, however simple and practical support can transform the lives of poor farmers and herders.
Fast Facts About Ethiopia
Capital: Addis Ababa
Area: 437,600 square miles
Language: Amharic, Tigrinya, Orominga, Guaraginga,
Religion: Christian 60.8%, Muslim 32.8%,
traditional 4.6%, other 1.8%
Life Expectancy: 53
GNI per Capita: $280
Percentage of Population Living on Less than $1.25/day: 39
Literacy Percent: 50
Orphaned Children: 5,000,000
Physicians per 100, 000 people: 3
CIA—The World Factbook
National Geographic Atlas of the World
WHO Human Resources for Health
UNICEF—State of the World’s Children, 2010
Interesting Facts about Ethiopia – Trivia on the Firsts and the Greatest
Ethiopia is a country that is truly fascinating. Facts about Ethiopia or just mere trivia on the country are a pleasure and sometimes even amazing to read about. Who knew?
- Ethiopia is the only African country with its own alphabet.
- Ethiopia is the only country in the world with 13 months.
- In Ethiopia time is counted on the opposite side of the clock: 6 o’clock is said to be 12 o’clock, and at 16:00 Ethiopians say it is ’10 o’clock’.
- Ethiopia is one of only two countries in the world that have never been occupied. (The other one is Russia, in case you are asked). It managed to stay free by defeating the Italians … twice!
- Although Ethiopia was the first African state to join the League of Nations, it soon became apparent that ‘collective security’ would not be given to an African nation even after atrocities of ethnic cleansing and mass murders were evident after Italy invaded – everyone turned a blind eye and a deaf ear.
- Ethiopia was the birthplace of Pan-Africanism. The belief that Africa should unite and be the master of its own destiny was hailed by Emperor Hailesellasie I. It eventually led to the birth of the African Union of today.
- The hydroelectric dam that was built on the Tekeze River and was inaugurated in November 2009 is Africa’s tallest arch dam standing at 188 meters. Gilgel Gibe IV a dam that will be operational sometime in 2012/13 will be the tallest dam on the continent at 200+ meters.
- Ethiopia and Ethiopians are mentioned in many ancient books. The Bible is one of them. Ethiopia or Ethiopians are mentioned around 40 times in it. It is one of the few countries that are mentioned in both the Bible and the Koran. It is a country where the indigenous people are Christians, Muslims and Jews live together. It was the first country where Muslim prayers were held out of Arabia. Incidentally the first Muslim calls to prayer were done by an Ethiopian. And the first mosque to be built outside of Arabia was the Al Nejashi mosque in northern Ethiopia. When Mohammed and his followers were persecuted, they found solace in Ethiopia.
An Image from the Garima Gospels
- The very first and oldest illustrated book on Christianity is found in Ethiopia. This is in the form of a gospel that was written in 494 AD, colors and bindings still intact and was discovered in a monastery – ‘The Garima Gospels’. Abba Garima was a monk that arrived in Ethiopia from Constantinople in the fifth century; legend has it that he copied it in one day.
- Ethiopia has a long history of war, in Homer’s ‘The Iliad’ in the Trojan War, Memnon was an Ethiopian king. Ethiopia and Ethiopians are also mentioned in his other book ‘Odyssey’. The ancient Greek love for the Ethiopians does not end there; another Ethiopian is in Greek astronomy too. According to legend, Cassiopeia was the queen and consort of King Cepheus in Ethiopia. And long story short, after her death, Cassiopeia was immortalized as a star by Poseidon.
- The name ‘Candace’ is actually the name given to the line of Ethiopian Queens that ruled in ancient times.
- Ethiopia and Ethiopians are usually mentioned with the words ‘athlete’ and ‘athletics’. The first African to win a gold medal in the Olympics was Abebe Bikila in the 1960 Summer Olympic in Rome; he wan the marathon with a record time of 2:15:16.2 – an even amazing thing was the fact that he ran the whole race barefooted. In the next Olympics held in Tokyo in 1964, Abebe Bikila won the marathon with a world record time of 2:12:11:2.4. Making him the first athlete, and as of yet the only African, in history to win the marathon twice in back to back Olympics. As of date, the marathon world record holder is another amazing Ethiopian athlete, Haile Gebreselasie. He holds the record at 2:03:59.
- Ethiopia is the home of mankind. While the most famous ancestors of mankind are Lucy and Selam, archeological digs have and will continue to show that it was the valleys of Ethiopia that man came out of.
- Ethiopia is the homeland of coffee; it was discovered by a shepherd named Kaldi who noticed his goats prancing about restlessly after eating the leaves of the coffee plant. It is thought the word coffee was borrowed from the southern Ethiopian lands of Kaffa.
- The Mountain Nyala and the Walia Ibex are the two most famous animals that are endemic to Ethiopia. The others are the Semien Red Fox, The Chelada Baboon, Menilik’s Bushback, Wattled Ibis, Blue-winged Goose, Harwood’s Francolin, Rouget’s Rail, Spot-breasted Lapwing, White-collared Pigeon, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Black-winged Lovebird and Prince Ruspoli’s Turaco. In January, 2011 a new member was added to the ‘Endemic Ethiopian’ list – The African Wolf.
- Addis Ababa is the highest city in Africa. And many tourists mistakenly think that just because it is in Africa it is a hot place to be. It is amusing to see their reactions to the cold when they get off the plane at Bole International Airport as they shiver in Bermuda shorts and Hawaii shirts. The city was founded by Emperor Menilik II on the Entoto Mountain.
- The Danakil Depression (also known as the Afar Depression or the Afar Triangle) found in North Eastern Ethiopia is the year-round hottest place anywhere on earth.
- Amazingly, Ethiopians have a very impressive history when it comes to flying. The first African woman to fly was Wro. Assegedech Assefa. There is an argument that if it had not been for the Italian invasion in 1936, Wro. Mulumebet Emeru would have been the first licensed African to fly, but that she is the first to fly – the jury is still out on that one. The only jet fighter air-to-air shoot down by a female pilot is credited to Ethiopian Air Force Captain Aster Tolossa, who shot down her Ukrainian trainer who was flying for the Eritreans.
- The first car to reach Ethiopia was Emperor Menilik’s car (plate number D3130), in 1907. He was the first African Emperor, if not plain African, to actually drive a car.
This list will be added on as information is available. Ethiopia is a country with over 3,000 years of history. Any suggestions or additions are very welcome.