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Friday 24th May
Ethiopia Information - Page 2
Fossils found in Ethiopia have made an important contribution to the study of human evolution. The most famous discovery was "Lucy" who belonged to a hominid species known as Australopithicus afarensis.

Axum, said to have been founded by a son of King Solomon, was one of the early kingdoms in the region.

The first contact with Europeans was with the Portuguese at the end of the fifteenth century.

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 made Ethiopia more accessible from the Mediterranean.

Ethiopia was invaded by Italy in 1935. In 1941 Mussolini's troops were defeated by the British, Commonwealth troops and the Ethiopian resistance.

In 1974 Ethiopia was overthrown in a military coup. Emperor Haile Selassie died in 1975. The military-controlled regime lasted for seventeen years.

War with Eritrea erupted in 1998 over a border dispute. A ceasefire was signed in June 2000.

Ethiopia experiences severe droughts affecting the agricultural sector.

Agriculture provides employment for a large percentage of the working population. Coffee is the main export crop. Other agricultural products include cereals, seeds and pulses, cotton, sugarcane, potatoes and cut flowers. Livestock is reared.

Industries are hydropower, mining, cement, metal processing, chemicals, leather, textiles, food processing and beverages.

The government has been keen to encourage foreign investment and tourism.

Ethiopia has a strong oral tradition; stories pass on history and culture.

The variety of traditional music and dance reflects the country's many ethnic groups. Cultural performances can be seen in theatres.

Ethiopian painting style developed from religious panels in the churches and monasteries. The Institute of Ethiopian Studies in Addis Ababa has a collection of Ethiopian church art. Afewerk Tekle is a famous modern Ethiopian artist.

Football is the most popular sport in Ethiopia. Other sports played include basketball, volleyball, and tennis.

Ethiopia has a tradition of medal-winning runners: Abebe Bikila, Belayneh Dinsamo, and Derartu Tulu. Haile Gebreselassie has set a number of world records.

All religious holidays are celebrated. Meskel, in September, commemorates the finding of the True Cross. National Day is on 28 May.

News from Ethiopia is available in Newslink.

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