Ethiopia is the oldest continuously identifiable nation in Africa.
The country is as large as France and Spain combined and has one of the richest histories on the African continent.
Addis Ababa: The capital was settled in 1886 and christened by Queen Taytu, consort of Menelik II. The population according to the last official census was over 3 million.
Towns: The second-largest town in Ethiopia is Dire Dawa, with a population of 306,000 in 1999. Gondar is the third-largest town, with a population of 142,328 in 1999.
People: The population of Ethiopia today is estimated to be approximately 77 million. Approximately 26 percent are under the age of 14 and almost half are under 34.
Religion: The major religions are Christianity (Ethiopian Orthodox Church) and Islam.
Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia, although English, Italian, French, and Arabic are fairly spoken. In areas outside of the larger cities and towns, indigenous languages are likely to be spoken – of which there are eighty-three, with some 200 dialects. The most common of these are Oromifa and Tigrigna.
Despite its proximity to the Equator, Ethiopia’s high altitude ensures a temperate, moderate, even chilly climate – certainly not tropical. There are two rainy seasons: the irregular short rains from late January to early March, and the long rains from June until mid-September.
Ethiopia is an independent republic operating under the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The President is the head of state, while the Prime Minister is the head of government.
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