The Greek historian Herodotus, of the fifth century BC, describes ancient Ethiopia in his writings, while the Bible\'s Old Testament records the Queen of Sheba\'s visit to
Remains of the Queen of Sheba’s palace can still be seen today in Axum, in the province of Tigray, northern
Missionaries from Egypt and Syria reached
This period of bitter conflict contributed to Ethiopian hostility towards foreign Christians and Europeans which persisted until the twentieth century and was a factor in Ethiopia\'s isolation until the middle of the nineteenth century.
From the 1700s, for roughly 100 years, there was no central power in Ethiopia. This \"Era of the Princes\" was characterised by the turmoil caused by local rulers competing against each other.
In 1869, Emperor Tewodros brought many of the princes together, and was a significant unifying force. He was succeeded by Emperor Yohannes, who built upon the efforts made by Tewodros, as well as beating off invasion attempts by the Dervish and the Sudanese.
Emperor Menelik II reigned from 1889 to 1913, fending off the encroachment of European powers. Italy posed the greatest threat, having begun to colonise part of what would become its future colony of
In 1896 Ethiopia defeated
In 1916, the Christian nobility deposed the sitting king, Lij Iyassu because of his Muslim sympathies and made his predecessor\'s, (King Menelik 11 1889 - 1913), daughter, Zewditu, Empress. Her cousin, Ras Tafari Makonnen (1892-1975) was appointed regent and successor to the throne.
In 1930 Zewditu died, and the regent - adopting the name Haileselassie - became Emperor.
In 1936 his reign was interrupted when Italian forces briefly invaded and occupied Ethiopia. Haileselassie then appealed to the League of Nations, but that appeal fell on deaf ears and he fled to exile in the
Haileselassie reigned until 1974 when he was deposed and a provisional council of soldiers (the Derg, meaning committee) seized power and installed a government which was socialist in name and military in style. Fifty nine members of the Royal Family and ministers and generals from the Imperial Government were summarily executed.
August 1975 Haile Selassie himself was strangled in the basement of his palace.
Major Mengistu Haile Mariam assumed power as head of state and Derg chairman after having his two predecessors killed. His years in office were marked by a totalitarian style government and the country\'s massive militarisation financed and supplied by the Soviet Union and assisted by Cuba.
The brutality of the regime over a period of 17 years - aided by droughts and famine - hastened the Derg\'s collapse.
Insurrections occurred throughout Ethiopia, particularly in the northern regions of Tigray and
In 1989, the Tigrayan People\'s Liberation front (TPLF) merged with the Amhara and Oromo liberation fronts (EPDM & OPDO) to form the Ethiopian Peoples\' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). In May 1991, the EPRDF forces advanced on Addis Ababa forcing Mengistu to flee to
In 1991, the Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE) was set up from the EPRDF and other political parties in the country with an 87 strong Council of Representatives and a transitional constitution.
Meanwhile, in May 1991, The Eritrean People\'s Liberation front (EPLF), led by Isaias Afworki assumed control of Eritrea after 30 years of struggle and established a provisional government. This ran
In Ethiopia, President Meles Zenawi and members of the TGE pledged to oversee the formation of a multi-party democracy.
June 1994 the election for a 548 member constituent assembly was held. This assembly adopted the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in December 1994.
In 1995 elections for the first parliament were held and the government was installed in August that year.
Below is an analysis of Ethiopia from the 2005 Index of Economic Freedom, The Heritage Foundation and TheWall Street Journal
Total area: 1,127,127 sq. km
GDP: $ 8.3 billion
GDP growth rate: 2.7%
GDP per capita: $123
Major exports: coffee, oil seeds, leather products
Export of goods and services: $ 1.8 billion
Major export trading partners: Djibouti 11.1 %,
Major imports: Consumer goods, petroleum and petroleum products, food, motor vehicles
Import of goods and services: $2.2 billion
Major import trading partners: Saudi Arabia 28.8%,
Foreign direct investment (net): $68 million
2005 Index of Economic Freedom, The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal