Ethiopia, country on the Horn of Africa. The country lies completely within the tropical latitudes and is relatively compact, with similar north-south and east-west dimensions. The capital is Addis Ababa (“New Flower”), located almost at the centre of the country. Ethiopia is the largest and most populated country in the Horn of Africa. With the 1993 secession of Eritrea, its former province along the Red Sea, Ethiopia became landlocked.
Ethiopia country profile
Ethiopia is Africa's oldest independent country and its second largest in terms of population. Apart from a five-year occupation by Mussolini's Italy, it has never been colonised.
It has a unique cultural heritage, being the home of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church - one of the oldest Christian denominations - and a monarchy that ended only in the coup of 1974.
It served as a symbol of African independence throughout the continent's colonial period, and was a founder member of the United Nations and the African base for many international organisations.
Drought and civil conflict left Ethiopia in a state of turmoil under a Marxist dictatorship from the fall of the monarchy until 1991, when the long authoritarian rule of Meles Zenawi brought a degree of stability.
Since 2018, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has launched a campaign of political liberalisation at home and sought to end disputes with Ethiopia's neighbours, in particular Eritrea.
President: Sahle-Work ZewdeParliament elected Sahle-Work Zewde as the Ethiopia's first woman president in October 2018.
Ms Sahle-Work, an experienced diplomat, promised to work to make gender equality a reality at her swearing-in to the largely ceremonial post.
She took office a week after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appointed a cabinet with half the posts taken by women.
Prime minister: Abiy AhmedAbiy Ahmed was chosen to lead the ruling Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front coalition after the unexpected resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in 2018.
The new leader pledged to try to end longstanding tensions with neighbouring Eritrea, and within months the two countries declared that the state of war between them was over.
Mr Abiy also pledged to bring more transparency to government and reconciliation to a country that had been torn by protests since 2015.
He is Ethiopia's first leader from the Oromo ethnic group, which has been at the centre of anti-government protests since 2016.
The prime minister faced the first major challenge to his political course in a coup attempt in Amhara State in June 2019. The army chief and governor of Amhara State were killed in putting down the coup.
Another challenge arose in late 2020, when tensions with Tigray region led the federal government to send in troops after an unsanctioned regional election.
Some key dates in Ethiopia's history:
4th century - Christianity becomes the state religion.
1855-1868 - Reign of Emperor Tewodros II, who lays the foundation for the modern Ethiopian state.
1896 - Invading Italian forces are defeated by Ethiopians at Adwa.
1935-1941 - Italy deposes Emperor Haile Selassie and annexes Ethiopia, before being driven out by British, Commonwealth and Ethiopian forces.
1962 - Haile Selassie annexes Eritrea, which becomes an Ethiopian province.
1974 - Haile Selassie overthrown in military coup after government fails to deal with famine.
1977-79 - Thousands are killed in "Red Terror" orchestrated by Marxist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam.
1984-85 - Another serious famine devastates much of the country.
1991 - Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front deposes Mengistu. Meles Zenawi establishes stability and achieves considerable economic progress in his 19-year authoritarian rule.
1993 - Eritrea becomes independent.
1999-2000 - Ethiopian-Eritrean border war.
2018 - Abiy Ahmed becomes prime minister and launches reform programme at home. Ends state of war with Eritrea.Parliament elects Sahle-Work Zewde as Ethiopia's first woman president, and first female head of state since Empress Zawditu (1928-1930).
2019 June - Army chief Seare Mekonnen and Amhara State Governor Ambachew Mekonnen killed while putting down coup attempt against the federal government.
2020 November - Tensions with Tigray region after a state election deemed unconstitutional escalate as the federal government sends in troops.
ETHIOPIA - A nation of festivals
Ethiopia is a country full of vibrant and colourful festivals. The biggest, Timket, is a three-day annual festival that honours the baptism of Jesus Christ in the river Jordan. Today the priests remove the ‘Tabots’ (replicas of the Ark of Covenant) from each church and march to the nearest water source, where the communal baptism takes place. The procession is accompanied by thousands of locals dressed in dazzling white traditional dress that contrasts with the colours of the ceremonial robes and sequined velvet umbrellas of the priests.