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Culture Ethiopia

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Ethiopia : Discover the country's culture



Ethiopia and Eritrea - Lonely Planet Guide 2004.


- "Addis Ababa", Alemayehu Eshete.

- "Hagere", Aster Aweke.

- "Ethiopiques Vol.20 Either/Orchestra, Live in Addis", Ethiopiques.

Ethiopia : Discover the country's history

Historical dates

Ethiopia is the cradle of one of the oldest civilisations. In fact, it is in the ancient city of Abyssinia that Lucy was discovered in 1963.
1500 B.C.. Sabeans of Arabia blend in with the native people.
500 B.C.. Birth of Aksoum Kingdom.
320 A.D. Ezana is converted to Christianity after being put on the throne.
7th century. Beginning of Islam.
10th Century. Pagan revolts. Collapse of the Kingdom of Aksum.
1137 The Zagwes come to power. There will be chased away in 1270 by Yekouno Amlak, who fights against non-Christian populations.
16th century. The troops of Imam Ahmad Gran dominate on the side of Negus and slow down the expansion of Islam.
1632. King Sousneyos converts to Catholicism. This raises discontentment and he is forced to abdicate. His son, Fasilidas, comes to power, bans Catholicism and drives the Jesuits out. During that time, Muslims expand over the Ethiopian continent.
1855. Theodoros II takes office. He commits suicide.
1872. Johannes IV, chef of Tigray, comes to power. He is killed.
1889. Menelik succeeds him. Expansion policy of the territory. He abdicates and his nephew takes over, he is dethroned in 1916. 1916.
1896.Menelik beats the Italian troops in Adwa.
2nd August 1930. The son of Harar's governor, Negus Nagast, king of the kings, Haile Selassie I.
1935. Italy invades Ethiopia.
1936. Addis-Ababa's downfall. Ethiopia belongs to Italy and the King of Italy proclaims himself Emperor of Ethiopia. Haile Selassie calls for international help, but gets no answer.
1974. Army rebellion.
1977. Haile Mariam Mengistu, a Marxist-Leninist, is elected President of the Council of Ministers, and of the Military Council. Repressive regime. agrarian reforms, elimination of populations' illiteracy. He faces up to the rebellions in Tigray and Eritrea and to the war against Somalia.
1984-1985. A large drought kills thousands of people and displaces many others.
1987. Supported by the USSR, Mengistu turns Ethiopia into a people's democratic republic. USSR collapses and Mengistu seeks exile to Zimbabwe in 1991. A "National Conference" is in charge of managing and launching the country towards an economic liberalisation.
1993. Independent Eritrea is recognized. Ethiopia does no longer has an opening onto the sea.
1998. Eritrea and Ethiopia confront each other despite several attempts to appeasement by the UN Security Council.
2000. Signature by Addis Ababa's government of a peace plan. This plan provides for a military deployment along the border shared by the two countries.
This attempt is once again in vain since the two countries cannot enforce the plan.
2005. The retiring Revolutionary Democratic Popular Front of Ethiopia won the absolute majority of the seats at the Ethiopian Parliament during the legislative elections, on May 5th. The retiring Prime Minister is Meles Zenawi, in power since 1991.

Ethiopia : Stay up to date on the country's holidays and events


January:Orthodox Christmas - Timket (Coptic Epiphany): on the occasion of this sacred ceremony, the Christians of Ethiopia celebrate the baptism of Christ , and priests take the Tables of Law from churches and bring them to the Sacred Water. This procession is followed by believers who dance, sing and feast until late into the night.
2nd March: Adowa Battle (between the Italian administrator of Ethiopia and Emperor Menelik II).
1st May: May Day
5th May: Patriots' Day.
28th May: National Day. End of the military Regime.

27th September: Meskel - Discovery of the True Cross.