Ethiopia When most people think of Ethiopia, some think of a far away place in Africa with little to no technology, and sometimes even think of starving children clinging to life due to famine. Some people, when asked, know nothing about it. But Ethiopia is more than any of these; it is a country rich with history, culture, and beautiful scenery just waiting to be spotted. The first documented civilization in Ethiopia was a Christian kingdom known as the Semitic kingdom of Aksum. Sometimes and also known as Axum, it came into existence during the early Christian era in Africa. Despite the fact that many believe its origins lie in a Semitic kingdom of south Africa, “Aksum developed as a local power.”, according to Britannica. As it grew, it slowly gained more influence in trade which had a very negative impact on the kingdom of Meroe, leading to an eventual successful Aksumite invasion. As said by the Encyclopedia of Britannica, “During the 4th century the kings of Aksum were Christianized—thus becoming both politically and religiously linked to Byzantine Egypt.” This meant more opportunities for Aksum to expand. In 1896, Italy tried to invade Ethiopia in a conflict now known as the first Italo-Ethiopian war, or better known as the Battle of Adwa. After the death of their emperor at the time Yohannes IV, Italy gave the supplies and forces needed to help Sahle Meriam of Shewa to incorporate new kingdoms from Ethiopia under his own rule. Eventually he decided to leave his treaty with Italy, which ended in an Ethiopian victory. In 1984, Ethiopia experienced a famine due to things such as vast spending on their civil wars and a large drought that wiped out most of their crops for that year. After a long debate over if they would help or not due to Ethiopia’s complicated civil war status and rumors that the Ethiopian government was not doing enough in itself, the UK finally reached out and gave 5 million to their efforts, along with massive amounts of donations from other countries in the West. Since then, Ethiopia has been in conflicts with places such as Eritrea and Somalia. Despite these conflicts, the Ethiopian economy is good. Their gross domestic product for 2016 was 72.3 billion, 37 billion of which is covered by their vast import and export system. This is good, as they have valued trade as one of their main sources of income since the very beginning. This large gain of income is probably due to the tariff they place at most trading sites, which usually ” ranges from 0% to 35% with an average rate of 17 percent.”(Export.gov) . Their own currency is known as the Ethiopian birr, which was compared to the U.S dollar at 6.2 in 1996, and has slowly decreased in value to the point where the USD is now worth 27.3141ETB. Their population is around 106,065,697 according to Worldometers, with a life expectancy of around 65. Ethiopia is a federal republic, as of their constitution that they adopted in 1995. This constitution recognizes their nine ethnic regions, with a legislative body that has three branches. All of the languages spoken in Ethiopia are recognized by the government, which actually total to around 77 local tongues and 88 languages overall. ” Of the 88 languages in the country, two are extinct while 86 are still living. Of the remaining 86 languages, five are almost extinct, eight are in danger of extinction, 14 are developing, 18 are vigorous, and 41 are institutional.” (World Atlas.). While these languages are recognized, Amharic is considered to be the government’s official language. Their highest power lies in the prime minister, currently Hailemariam Desalegn, who was sworn in in 2012. Ethiopia is also home to many religions, although as shown in their history they are dominantly Christian. Their religious make up, according to Commisceo Global; “Christian 60.8% (Orthodox 50.6%, Protestant 10.2%), Muslim 32.8%, traditional 4.6%, other 1.8%”. Possibly due to some of the teachings of many of the religions commonly found in Ethiopia, they have what most would call a ‘traditional’ view on the roles of men and women in their society. Men are the providers, as they are the ones who typically go to work or get involved in the community outside of their household. It is considered very abnormal for a man to do things such as cooking or cleaning or shopping, which are often considered the women’s job. This is established when they are children, as parents tend to be stricter towards their daughters and start them working in the kitchen or going shopping very early whilst the boys are given a more lenient childhood. They are also very against homosexuality, as the penalty for such a thing is up to 15 years in prison. They place high importance on things such as dining and dinner party traditions, such as offering coffee which is their national drink. To them, it is considered rude to do things such as rejecting the offer of coffee when visiting or eating with your left hand. As Ethiopia has a vast amount of culture and interesting information, it comes as no shock to most that it has become a very popular tourist location. “The country was visited by just over 900,000 tourists last year 2015 but 2016 is on track to surpass one million for the first time. Plans for 2020 are even more ambitious when they hope to welcome 2.5 million visitors … a far cry from the fewer than 200,000 that visited as recently as 2004.” (Foxe, “Ethiopia’s visitor numbers…” ) Tourism in Ethiopia has seen a boom partially due to it’s nine world heritage sights. There are also man-made sites such as the remains of the ancient city of Aksum, the chiseled rock churches of Lalibela, and the Fasil Ghebbi fortress in Gondar. It also has a variety of natural sites, including the Awash and Omo Rivers, and the Simien Mountains National Park. These sites are also home to animals such as the endangered Ethiopian wolves and walia ibex. The reason for this tourism could also be due to the opening Ethiopia Airways, which opened routes in 2015 in places such as Manila, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Dublin. It could also be appealing because of its beautiful location in general, as “Ethiopia is located in the Horn of Africa, which is the Easternmost part of Africa.” (World Atlas.) It has desserts out in the East, mountain ranges such as the Choke and Mancebo mountain ranges, and in the south it has tropical forests. It’s highest point is Ras Dejen, which is 14,928 ft., contrasting the lowest point of the Afar Depression at -410 ft., two places of which would also be great to go and visit for tourists. As most people could see very clearly, Ethiopia is a well rounded country in Africa. Despite its past with famine and war and a few strict cultural rules, it has beautiful landmarks and many different aspects that makes it it’s own unique country. With all of these facts in mind, Ethiopia is definitely proven to be a country rich with history, culture, and beautiful scenery. 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