Ethiopia, a landlocked state in the Horn of Africa, is one of the most ancient countries in the world. Whereas most African states are far less than a century old, Ethiopia has been an independent country since ancient times. A monarchial state for most of its history, the Ethiopian dynasty traces its roots to the 10th century BC. When Africa was divided up by European powers at the Berlin Conference, Ethiopia was one of two states that retained its independence. Ethiopia was one of only three African members of the League of Nations, and after a brief period of Italian occupation, Ethiopia became a charter member of the United Nations. When other African nations received their independence following World War II, many of them adopted the colors of Ethiopia’s flag, and Addis Ababa (the capital city) became the location of several international organizations focused on Africa. In 1974, the dynasty led by Haile Selassie was overthrown. Since then, Ethiopia has been a secular state with a variety of governmental systems. Today, Addis Ababa is still the site of the headquarters of the African Union and Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
Besides being an ancient country, Ethiopia is one of the oldest sites of human existence known to scientists today- having yielded some of humanity’s oldest traces, it may prove to be the place where homo sapiens originated. Ethiopia is the only African country with its own alphabet. Ethiopia has the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Africa. Ethiopia was one of the first Christian countries in the world, having officially adopted it as the state religion in the 4th century. The country is also famous for its Olympic gold medallists, rock-hewn churches and as the place where the coffee bean originated.
Education in Ethiopia
Education in Ethiopia has been dominated by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church for many centuries until secular education was adopted in the early 1900s. Beginning in 1974 the government tried to reach the rural areas, offering rural education in their own languages starting at the elementary level. The sequence of general education in Ethiopia is six years of primary school, four years of lower secondary school and two years of higher secondary school.
Full name: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Population: 85.2 million (UN, 2008)
Capital: Addis Ababa
Area: 1.13 million sq km (437,794 sq miles)
Major languages: Amharic, Oromo, Tigrinya, Somali
Major religions: Christianity, Islam
Life expectancy: 52 years (men), 54 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 Birr = 8 cents USD
Main exports: Coffee, hides, oilseeds, beeswax, sugarcane
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