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About Ethiopia

Ethiopia is….old, old beyond imaginations, dating back to the very beginnings of mankind. It is also the land of Queen of Sheba, a place of legendary rulers, fabulous kingdoms in ancient histories.Mother Nature was in a playful mood when she created Ethiopia, the result is a land that varies greatly from one region to the next. With more than 80 languages and some 200 dialects, each ethnic group, preserves its own unique customs and traditions. You will find all the major religions of the world in Ethiopia. But for all the exotic variety, the people of Ethiopia are as one and there friendliness and hospitality.

 
 
 
 
 
Ethiopia, “the origin of mankind”

Ethiopia is the earliest known home of humankind. A skeleton of an older human ancestor Australopithecus Afarensis was discovered in 1974 in the Afar region. Anthropologists have established that the skeleton covering 40% of the human body had belonged to a twenty-years-old female that lived 3.5 million years ago. Registered by the United Nations Education, Science, and Culture Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage, the site of the discovery is called Hadar - situated 160 kilometers northeast of Addis Ababa. The skeleton is now found in the National Museum in Addis Ababa.

   
   

Ethiopian Calendar
In 1582 when the rest of the Christian world adopted the Gregorian calendar, Ethiopia stayed with the Julian calendar. With the passage of time, seven and a half years have somehow dissolved in the intervening centuries.

Unique Languages and writing
It is not only its calendar that differentiates Ethiopia from its neighbors. Alone in Africa, Ethiopia has its own script and notational system.

   


Religions

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the oldest Christian church in Africa. Christianity became the state religion in the Axumite Empire in 330 AD., even before Rome. Muslim refugees were given asylum in Ethiopia, established communities and were free to worship before Islam triumphed in its birthplace Arabia. 3000 years of Independence Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa with 3000 years of independence.

A proud, ancient and living history

Ethiopia has the most extensive historic sites in Sub - Saharan Africa. Experts estimate that perhaps as little as 5% of the total has so far been discovered and excavated. The oldest hominid remains (Australopithecus Ramidus, a new species, 4.4 million years old) were found here. In elevation, it ranges from 120 meters below sea level in harsh salt flats of the Danakil depression, to the 4624-meter peak of Ras Dashen in the Simien Mountains.

Ethiopia, well known to the ancient writers
Ethiopia was well known to the ancient writers. It is mentioned in the Bible more than 38 times by both Old Testament and New Testament writers. So, in accordance with the Biblical traditions of the ancient Israel, Ethiopia is described as the land of "CUSH" which was located by the "RIVER NILE" (Gen. 2: 13). The Septuagint (The Greek Translation) also describes it after the name of "ETHIOPIA" which has the same location.
Apart from the Biblical traditions, many historians knew Ethiopia and described its geographical location, referring towards the south of Egypt, which was populated by both Hamitic and Semitic stocks of people. According to the ancient Egyptian tradition, it was known as the "LAND OF PUNT" located at the end of the World, and they said "Land of Ghost."
Homer (Greek poet of the 8th century B.C.) knew of this historical land and its people, when he said "ETHIOPIA, THE LAND OF SUN BURNED FACE." He described inhabitants again, as "THE BLAMELESS RACE."
Herodotus (Greek historian, 485-25 B.C.) praised the nation of Ethiopia as " THE MOST JUST MEN".
The legal Source of Ethiopia starts the introduction of Judaism to Ethiopia is recorded in the KEBRE NEGEST (The Glory of the Kings). This book reflects heavily its focal point upon two historical events:
A. The birth of Menilek, Son of Solomon, King of Israel and the Queen Sheba of Ethiopia. (970-33 B.C.)
B. The Ark of the Covenant which was brought to Axum from Jerusalem by the Levites. (946-B.C. ?)
Apart from the Kebre Negest, there are vast reliable written sources which describe that Ethiopia had good relationship with the Nation of Israel. According to Biblical Sources, the relationship began in the time of Moses, which continues perpetually throughout the time of the New Testament era. (Numbers 12:1; I Kings 10:1-13; 2 Chron. 9:1-12; Mt. 12:42; Acts 8:27-39).
These sources start that next to the nation of Israel only Ethiopia knew, and confessed the Almighty God (The God of Abraham) and worshiped Him regularly. For example, The psalmist said: ETHIOPIA SHALL SOON STRETCH OUT HER HANDS UNTO GOD'S. (Ps. 67:31 68).
This witness affirms the earnest prayer of Ethiopia, which was based on her impeccable faith in the Almighty God. Even among the people of Israel, the Ethiopians seem to be more dear to the Almighty God than they. For example, Amos, the Prophet, bears witness of this truth, when he says: "ARE YOU NOT LIKE THE ETHIOPIANS TO ME, O PEOPLE OF ISRAEL?" (AM. 9:7).

To read more about Ethiopia - Library of Congress Country Studies