The term etiope – in Greek: “burnt face” – was used in ancient times to all Africans. The country’s other name, Abyssinia, is derived from the Arab habbash, which referred to one of the ethnic groups in Yemen who emigrated to Africa around the year 2000 BCE, the Ethiopian language, Ghezo, belongs to the Semitic tribe and is akin to Sabana.
Axum north of present-day Ethiopia reached its peak around the start of the Christian era. It was the center of trade between the Upper Nile – Nahr-an-Nil – and the Red Sea ports from which trade with Arabia and India was conducted. The prosperous and rich state gained great influence in present-day Yemen, but came into crisis in the 7th century because the trade routes were changed by the unification and expansion of the Arab people and the subsequent conquest of Egypt.
According to Countryaah, the conversion to Christianity among the Ethiopian ruling class in the 4th century was a relationship that further contributed to the country’s isolation. The subsequent expansion to the south, the abnormal development of the clergy, and the decline in trade initiated a feudal development that was in many ways similar to that of Western Europe. Up to the 16th century, one third of the land belonged to the “king of kings”, one third belonged to the monasteries and the rest belonged to the nobility and the rest of the population.
By the Red Sea, the Muslim population had a burgeoning trade economy, and this population now revolted. It prompted Ethiopians to seek contact with Europe again to seek help. It took almost a century for the aid to arrive, but in return it was effective: the Portuguese navy played a key role in the destruction of the Adal Sultanate (see Somalia ).
For a century and a half the rulers had concentrated their attention on the coastal areas. It gave the gala people – who are in the family with the Hausa people – the opportunity to gradually penetrate from the west until they formed the largest group in the population. The group gained so much influence that in 1755-69 a gala was emperor, before the ahmara aristocracy succeeded through intense work to get him deposed.
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1895 First Italian invasion
The situation remained somewhat unchanged until 1889, when Menelik II ascended the throne. He had been appointed heir in 1869 and had 20 years to gather with an English and Italian army and organize the administration in his own kingdom, Choa. The great efficiency was only temporary. In 1895, his former allies, the Italians, invaded the country on the pretext that previous agreements had not been complied with. During the decisive battle at Adua in 1896, 4,000 of the 10,000-man Italian army were killed. Until the liberation struggle in Algeria, it was the most serious European defeat in Africa.
Yet, during the diplomatic negotiations, Italy gained two areas that Ethiopia did not in fact control: Eritrea and the southern part of the Somali coast. In 1906, the foreign powers recognized the independence and territorial integrity of the country against obtaining a number of economic benefits in Abyssinia. This agreement saved the country from colonialism until 1936, when dictator Benito Mussolini invaded Ethiopia, exploiting the internal power struggles between Menelik’s heirs. The successor, Haile Selassie, asked for help from the League of Nations, but received no specific help.