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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Don't Know Much About Ethiopia!

As I assume you now know, we are in the process of trying to adopt from Ethiopia. While we are in the process we want to learn everything we can about the country. Being the history lover I am, I thought we should start at the beginning :) So here is a BRIEF history of Ethiopia. Please note that I am not an expert in Ethiopian history. We are reading as much as we can on the country, but are still (and always hope to be) learning :) So if there is an awesome fact you would like to add, check out the about me section of the blog and email me!

If you have gotten this far and are thinking oh how nice, but I am not reading history!! It is a quick timeline to skim through. When you talk about African history many people have no idea that major issues were/are going on in their lifetime. Many tend to think of wars etc as very far off, or a long time ago. So as you scroll the page, just check the dates on the left side :) Do me a favor a humor your history loving friend!!

I will do some follow-up posts with more information on Africa as well. There are a ton of books out there on Africa as a whole. One that was required reading for me in college, as well as for the kiddos in my school district when I was teaching, was "Guns, Germs, and Steel" By Jared Diamond. While some of his ideas are considered controversial and you many not agree with EVERYTHING he says, it is a great book to start a conversation on how things have or have not progressed in the world the way one might have thought depending on what century they lived :)

So take a second out of your busy day and ENJOY!!

-3.2 mya- 5 mya "Lucy" discovered in Awash valley. She is the earliest know homonoid that stood upright, adapted to living in open areas vs. just forests, and lived in groups.

-Middle Paleolithic period in East Africa is widely considered site of emergence for early homo sapiens

-300 BCE earliest records of Ethiopia are found in Egypt records.

-5th Century BCE Herodotus (Greek historian)  describes ancient Ethiopia in writings

-Old Testament describes Queen Sheba going to Jerusalem to meet with Solomon. This meeting produces a son -->King Menelik I, founder of the Ethiopian Empire. In Axum was the Palace of Queen Sheba as well as the Home of the Ark of the Covenant which was brought from Jerusalem by Menelik I. 

-4th Century CE, Christian Missionaries reach Ethiopia by way of Egypt and Syria. A variation on Coptic Christianity becomes the state religion in 341 CE. 

-7th Century CE, Rise and spread of Islam isolates Ethiopia from the spread of European Christianity. 

-1500's, Portuguese re-establish contact to convert people to Roman Catholicism. Note that they are MAINLY re-establishing contact to gain control over Indian Ocean Trade. Religious clashes start to occur which leads to all foreign missionaries to be expelled in the 1630's. 

-The result of the religious clashes and expulsion was an overall negative feeling towards Europeans and Christians until the 20th century. A more severe impact of the religious issues in the 1500 and 1600s was the overall isolation of Ethiopia. 

-1700-mid 1800's, "Era of Princes"--period of turmoil with no direct rule in ET. Continued competition for leadership caused long term instability and major unrest. 
            -1869--Emperor Tewodros brought most of the competing princes together. Emperor Yohannes succeeds him and continues on this pattern.
**This continues period of unification helps to fend off the invasions of the Dervish and the Sudanese!!

1889-1913--"Scramble for Africa"--Menelik II rules and fends off Europeans trying to colonize and carve up Africa, namely Italy (in this area). 

1896-major battle of Adwa, FAMOUS battle of 1st major successful battle of an African Nation over a colonial power (Italy)

1916--Christian nobility depose sitting king in ET due to his Muslim sympathies and made his predecessors daughter Empress. Her name was Zewditu, daughter of Menelik II

1930--Empress dies, the regent Haileselassie or Haile Selassie, takes power. He outlaws slavery. 

October 1, 1935, Italian forces invade and occupy Ethiopia. Haileselassie goes to League of Nations for help, but ends up getting no help and having to flee to the UK for safety. 
      Ethiopia is annexed to Eritrea, then an Italian Colony then to Italian Somaliland.
--Five years later Haileselassie comes back and used British and African forces to defeat Italians and rules until 1974.

1974--He is deposed by council of soldiers and a committee seizes power and creates a socialist government in name, but a militaristic government in reality. Major Mengistu "Head of State" takes power and rules for 17 years in a Totaliarian style. He orchestrates the "Red Terror" and thousands of governemtn opponents die. he also starts collective farming.
     --He maintains rule with use of a large military which is funded and provided by the Soviets and Cuba. 
     --These 17 years are plagued with famine and drought 

-People begin to revolt throughout Ethiopia. Major revolts occur in the Northern regions of Tigray and Eritrea. 

-1989, TPLF or Tigrayan People's Liberation Front merges with Amhara and Oromo Liberation Fronts to form the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front. 

-1991, EPRDF forces Mengistu to flee to Zimbabwe. 
A transitional government of Ethiopia is implemented along with other political parties. A council of representatives and transitional constitution are also created at this time. 

-May 1991, Eritrean People's Liberation Front assumes control of Eritrea after a 30 year struggle and establishes a provisional government. This runs until 1993 when the Eritreans vote for independence. 

Since Eritrea's independence there have been continued issues over the border. 

-1998, border clashes lead to war with 80,000 casualties. 

-December 2000, a formal peace agreement reached. UN supplies 4,000 peace keeping forces to patrol border. An international commission creates a new border line and Ethiopia disputes. 

Sources used: 
CIA world factbook

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