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The Greek historian Herodotus, of the fifth century BC, describes ancient Ethiopia in his writings, while the Bibles Old Testament records the Queen of Sheba visit to Jerusalem where she proved Solomon with hard questions Matters clearly went further than that because legend asserts that King Menelik I - the founder of the Ethiopian Empire - was the son of the Queen of Sheba (Makeda) and King Solomon.

Remains of the Queen of Sheba palace can still be seen today in Axum, in the province of Tigray, northern Ethiopia. Axum is also home to many other extensive historical sites, including the home of the Ark of the Covenant, brought there from Jerusalem by Menelik I.

According to church tradition, two Syrian boys, Aedisius and Frumentius, introduced Christianity to Ethiopia in the 4th c AD. Emperor Ella Amida put these two young men, who were shipwrecked, to work as slaves and later they became the emperor advisors. In the seventh century, the rise of Islam meant Ethiopia was then isolated from European Christianity. The Portuguese re-established contact with Ethiopia in the 1500s primarily to strengthen their control over the Indian Ocean and to convert Ethiopia to Roman Catholicism. A century of religious conflict followed resulting in the expulsion of all foreign missionaries in the 1630s.

This period of bitter conflict contributed to Ethiopian hostility towards foreign Christians and Europeans which persisted until the twentieth century and was a factor in Ethiopia's isolation until the middle of the nineteenth century.

From the 1700s, for roughly 100 years, there was no central power in Ethiopia. This "Era of the Princes" was characterized by the turmoil caused by local rulers competing against each other. In 1869, however, Emperor Tewodros I brought many of the princes together, and was a significant unifying force. He was succeeded by Emperor Yohannes IV, who built upon the efforts made by Tewodros I, as well as beating off invasion attempts by the Dervish and the Sudanese.

Emperor Menelik II reigned from 1889 to 1913, fending off the encroachment of European powers. Italy posed the greatest threat, having begun to colonize part of what would become its future colony of Eritrea in the mid-1880s. In 1896 Ethiopia defeated Italy at the Battle of Adwa, which remains famous today as the first victory of an African nation over a colonial power.

In 1916, the Christian nobility deposed the sitting king, Lij Iyassu because of his Muslim sympathies and made his predecessor daughter Zewditu (King Menelik II 1889 - 1913), Empress. Her cousin, Ras Tafari Makonnen (1892-1975) was appointed regent and successor to the throne.

Zewditu died in 1930, after which the regent - adopting the name Haile Selassie - became Emperor. His reign was interrupted in 1936 when Italian forces briefly invaded and occupied Ethiopia. Haile Selassie then appealed to the League of Nations, but that appeal fell on deaf ears and he fled to exile in the UK, where he spent five years until the Ethiopian patriotic resistance forces with the help of the British defeated the Italians and he returned to his throne.

Haile Selassie then reigned until 1974 when he was deposed and a provisional council of soldiers (the Derg, meaning committee) seized power and installed a government which was socialist in name and military in style. Fifty nine members of the Royal Family, ministers and generals from the Imperial Government were summarily executed. Haile Selassie himself was strangled in the basement of his palace in August 1975.

Major Mengistu Haile Mariam assumed power as head of state and Derg chairman after having his two pre decessors killed. His years in office were marked by a totalitarian style government and the country's massive militarization financed and supplied by the Soviet Union and assisted by Cuba.

The brutality of the regime over a period of 17 years - aided by droughts and famine - hastened the Derge collapse.

In 1991, the Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE) was set up from the EPRDF and other political parties in the country with an 87 strong Council of Representatives and a transitional constitution.

 Meanwhile, in May 1991, The Eritrean People s Liberation front (EPLF), led by Isaias Afworki assumed control of Eritrea after 30 years of struggle and established a provisional government. This ran Eritrea until April 1993 when Eritreans voted for independence in a UN monitored referendum.

The election for a 548 member constituent assembly was held in June 1994. This assembly adopted the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in December 1994. Elections for the first parliament were held in 1995 and the government was installed in August of that year.

 Ethiopia is the only country perhaps in the world where gold is sold in an open glass window. Security and stability is not an issue of your concern. It is East Africa most stable country in terms of peace and stability.



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