Ethiopia, in the Horn of Africa, is a rugged, landlocked country split by the Great Rift Valley. With archaeological finds dating back more than 3 million years, it’s a place of ancient culture. Among its important sites are Lalibela with its rock-cut Christian churches from the 12th–13th centuries. Aksum is the ruins of an ancient city with obelisks, tombs, castles and Our Lady Mary of Zion church.
A major portion of Ethiopia lies on the Horn of Africa, which is the easternmost part of the African landmass. Its topography ranges from deserts along its eastern border, the Choke and Mandebo mountains ranges in its central core, and tropical forests in the southern reaches. Ethiopia is dominated by a vast highland complex of mountains, plateaus and lakes, all divided by the Great Rift Valley that’s surrounded by lowlands and steppes.
Not to be missed are the toothy-edged Simien Mountains to the northeast of Gonder, one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, and the hot and fascinating sulfur fumaroles and lunar-like landscape in the Danakil Depression near its border with Eritrea. Lake Tana in the north is the source of the Blue Nile. The highest point of Ethiopia is Ras Dejen at 14,928 ft (4,550 m); the lowest point of the country is the Afar Depression at −410 ft (-125 m).
Key cities in Ethiopia include Addis Ababa, DireDawa, Mekele, Nazret, Bahir Dar, Gondar, Dese, Hawassa, Jima, Bishoftu.
Historical, Cultural facts & Religion
Ancient Ethiopia reached its peak in the 5th century, then was isolated by the rise of Islam and weakened by feudal wars. Modern Ethiopia emerged under Emperor Menelik II, who established its independence by routing an Italian invasion in 1896.
Ethiopia is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country. Religion is a major influence in Ethiopian life. The Orthodox Church dominates the political, cultural, and social life of the population. It was the official religion of the imperial court and of the establishment until Haile Selassie was deposed in 1974.
Brief Country History
People have lived in Ethiopia for thousands of years. However, the first well-known kingdom in Ethiopia rose in the first century AD. By 100 AD a kingdom called Axum existed in Ethiopia. Axum traded with Rome, Arabia and India. Axum became Christian in the 4th century AD.
In 642 the Arabs conquered Egypt. In 698-700 they took Tunis and Carthage and soon they controlled all of the coast of North Africa. The Arabs were Muslims, of course, and soon the whole coast of North Africa converted to Islam. Ethiopia remained Christian but it was cut off from Europe by the Muslims.
In the Middle, Ages Ethiopia flourished. The famous church of St George was built about 1200. However, in the 16th century, Ethiopia declined in power and importance although it survived. At that time the Portuguese reached Ethiopia by sea.
In 1848 the emperor of Ethiopia imprisoned British subjects and the British sent an expedition to rescue them. The British then withdrew. However, in the late 19th century the Europeans divided Africa up between them. Soon all of Africa was in European hands except Liberia and Ethiopia. The Italians invaded Ethiopia in 1896 but they were defeated by the Ethiopians at the battle of Adwa.
In 1923 Ethiopia joined the League of Nations. Then in 1935 Italy invaded Ethiopia. The Italians behaved with great brutality using weapons like poison gas. They soon overran Ethiopia. However, in 1941 the British liberated Ethiopia. Emperor Haile Selassie was restored to his throne.
However, in 1974 Communists seized power in Ethiopia and the emperor was deposed and murdered. Led by Mengistu the Communists introduced a tyrannical regime. They murdered thousands of their opponents (although resistance continued to Eritrea). They also cause great suffering by forced deportations. Ethiopia also suffered terrible famines during the Communist era.
Fortunately, the Communist regime in Ethiopia was overthrown in 1991. In 1993 Eritrea became independent. In Ethiopia, a new constitution was introduced in 1994 and elections were held in 1995.
In the early 21st century the economy of Ethiopia grew rapidly. Although Ethiopia remains poor there is every reason to be optimistic about its future. Today the population of Ethiopia is 105 million.
Language (s) Written & Spoken
Of all the Cushitic languages, Oromo has the largest number of speakers. Though it is the official language of Ethiopia, only about 29% of the population speak Amharic, compared to the approximately 34% who speak Oromo. Amharic is a Semitic language and comes in right behind Arabic as the most spoken Semitic language.
Amharic is written left-to-right using a system that grew out of the Ge’ez script, called, in Ethiopian Semitic languages, Fidäl (ፊደል), “writing system”, “letter”, or “character” or abugida (አቡጊዳ), from the first four symbols, which gave rise to the modern linguistic term abugida.
Important Types of Commerce in Ethiopia
This economic sector makes up 46.6% of the GDP and provides opportunities for other economic activities such as marketing and processing. Other industries in the country include food processing, leather, cement, beverages, chemicals, textiles, and metals processing.
Language Services US and others will provide working with Ethiopia
Ethiopia is attracting foreign investors through its Foreign Direct Investment policy more than ever. The importance of translation and localization is increase at a rapid pace. Even though English is considered a primary language used in business and education translation is an important aspect to consider to reach the wider audience and localizing technical documentation, writing and editing sales and marketing literature, or editing Amharic software, copyright, trademark and patent applications, partnership and employment agreements, mergers, acquisitions and incorporations, trusts and wills.
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