Search this website:

This web page location:

home page  >   Africa  >   Ethiopia



Menelik II, Abyssinia, Addis Ababa, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, diverse population

Deeper web pages:

>  Land and Resources

>  Population

>  Economy

>  Government

>  History

Ethiopia, republic in northeastern Africa, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. A rugged country of tall mountains and arid deserts, Ethiopia has a diverse population, with more than 70 distinct ethnic and linguistic groups.

Known as Abyssinia until the 20th century, Ethiopia is the oldest independent nation in Africa. It was home to the powerful Christian kingdom of Aksum that flourished from around the first century ad. After the 1500s Ethiopia divided into a number of small kingdoms, which were reunified by Menelik II in the 1880s. Eritrea, which had been part of Ethiopia since the 1950s, broke away to become an independent nation in 1993.

Ethiopia is bounded on the northeast by Eritrea and Djibouti, on the east and southeast by Somalia, on the southwest by Kenya, and on the west and northwest by Sudan. The country is divided into nine regions, one for each of its main ethnic groups. Addis Ababa is Ethiopia’s capital and largest city.


For younger readers

Corona, Laurel. Ethiopia. Lucent, 2000. For readers in grades 5 to 8.

Fradin, Dennis B. Ethiopia. Children's Press, 1997. For middle school readers.

Gish, Steven. Ethiopia. Marshall Cavendish, 1996. For readers in grades 4 to 7.


Harbeson, John W. The Ethiopian Transformation: The Quest for the Post-Imperial State. Westview, 1988. Analysis of the nature of change in Ethiopia.

Korn, David A. Ethiopia, The United States and the Soviet Union. Southern Illinois University Press, 1987. Reviews political events of the early 1980s.

Marcus, Harold G. A History of Ethiopia. University of California Press, 1994. A history of Ethiopia from prehistoric times to the fall of the Mengistu government in 1991.

McCann, James C. People of the Plow: An Agricultural History of Ethiopia, 1800-1990. University of Wisconsin Press, 1995. This environmental and social history details how Ethiopian farmers have traveled from 19th-century plenty to 20th-century privation.

Pankhurst, Richard, and Denis Gerard. Ethiopia Photographed: Historic Photographs of the Country and its People Taken Between 1867 and 1935. Kegan Paul, 1997. Over 300 photographs illustrate life in Ethiopia between the British military expedition of 1867 to 1868 and the Italian invasion of 1935.

Wubneh, Mulatu, and Yohannis Abate. Ethiopia: Transition and Development in the Horn of Africa. Westview, 1987.


Keller, Edmond J., B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Professor of Political Science and Director of the James S. Coleman African Studies Center, University of California, Los Angeles. Author of Revolutionary Ethiopia: From Empire to People’s Republic. Coeditor of Africa in the New International Order: Rethinking State Sovereignty and Regional Security.

Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation.

Article key phrases:

Menelik II, Abyssinia, Addis Ababa, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, diverse population, largest city, regions, Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti, capital, Ethiopia, Kenya, Africa, century, west, east, country

Search this website: