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The Ethiopian History Research Paper

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Updated: May 16th, 2019


Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries on global scene with rich history that remains untold. This research paper examines the historical background of Ethiopia in terms of its political setting, economic, and cultural backgrounds. In addition, the paper seeks to examine and review the contemporary issues defining its current position relative to other African states.



Ethiopia is one of the African countries with oldest history and culture. The country is located in East-Central Africa occupying an area of about 1,127,127 square kilometers. The country borders Kenya on south, Eritrea on north, Sudan on the west, and Somalia and Djibouti on the east (Marcus, 1994).

Historical background

The country has many detailed backgrounds from political, economic, culture and the social contexts. Indeed, Ethiopia has a fertile history regarding its political life. Its political history stretches into the ancient times with and held high by among African countries in respect of the fight for liberation. According to Zewde (2001), the historical background Ethiopia goes back as far as 6 millions ago.

Some scientists perceive the country as the home of the earliest man on earth. The ample evidence retrieved from the foundation of Ardipithecus ramidus shows that country serves to demonstrate this element. However, the present nation is a consolidation of smaller Kingdoms (Adejumobi, 2007).

The political history

The country has made a big stride in the political lines. The country got its independence in 1896 after a fierce war that defeated the Italian, who had invaded it. The country resisted and defeated the Italians through Emperor Menelik II. After the sad death of Menelik II, many and challenging experiences lead to political disorders, which caused the crowing of his daughter and her cousin in 1917.

However, after a period of about 15 years the empress died, thus accommodating the cousin to the might emperor. The country under the rule of Haile Selassie outlawed slavery where in efforts endured to show commitments towards redeeming the seemingly scattered population. Not surprisingly, Italy again attacked Ethiopia in 1935 raising hot foot to the emperor forcing him to exile in May 1936.

This provided a quality and opportune moment for the Italians, who later began to establish their Kingdom in Ethiopian. Its name became the Italian East Africa. Unfortunately, they were flashed by the strong British troops in 1941. This provided room for the return and rule of Haile Selassie later after the establishment of the British rule (Adejumobi, 2007).

After the World War II, the Emperor demonstrated many efforts in pursuit to modernize the country. The tremendous growth commenced immediately with first high school and college born in 1950. The country continued with rational thoughts and democratization of the state. In 1955, the country promulgated its new constitution five years after its material independence.

The document gave the members of parliament more undeserved powers with a belief that they will dedicate them rationally and equitably to relevant developments of the country. In the view of constantly changing political environment, the emperor formulated strategies to acquire Eritrea through declaring Eritrea as the fourteenth province of Ethiopia.

According to Paul B. Henze (qtd. in Pankhurst, 1998), most of the Ethiopians were personality thinkers as contrasted to ideologist, thus they held notions that the emperor was the only icon of change that constituted their think-tank. The country was in cold war as the imperialists were among the primary elites of the growing Ethiopia Marxist movement.

The country came into fierce battle against poverty and other challenges such as disease and mortality. The government failed to implement significant political and economic reforms, which led to political instability. However, this evidenced a positive step toward a refined country within the confines of politics (Pankhurst, 1998).

Economic background

Most countries are demonstrating much effort towards attaining sustainable growth in relation to economic growth and development. Ethiopia is among the poorest countries in the world exhibiting a low-level economy. The economic history of the country is unpleasant; in fact, it has inflicted a lot of injustice to her subjects.

Although the country is one the oldest in Africa in respect of gaining independence, its economic base does not speak the same language. However, the modern government is fully acquiring innovative budgetary allocations in its wide range of ministries for many years. This aims at dedicating its commitment in providing the best services to its populations.

The country enjoys rich resource in minerals such as gold, copper, potash, and natural gas. The country has an estimated GDP of US$6 billion annually and per capita income of about US$100 per annum. However, the country ails from chronic trade deficits since the start of 2005. Agriculture remains Ethiopia’s economic backbone due to its good rainfall and terrain.

The constantly growing population surpasses the provisions of the available resources, hence creating food insecurity. Retail trade and transportation constitute the second largest earners of income for the economy. The country depends heavily on international donors and grants to finance its budgetary allocations.

People and culture

According to the census report of 2004, the Ethiopian population was about 70 million with an annual growth rate of about 2.3 percent. The country boasts of 70 different languages spoken as the first languages. A majority of the language groups belongs to the Semitic, Cushitic and omotic families.

A small fraction belongs to the Nilo-Saharan family. It is worth noting that the largest Semitic speaking groups are Amhara. However, no religion has a largest share of the population of the country (Marcus, 1994).


Ethiopia has a great interesting and much uncovered history and culture both in time and space. The country has a unique and exclusive mix of culture compared to other African countries. Although the country has a low GDP, it continues to make improvements in its economy to match the changing times and market dynamics.


Adejumobi, S. (2007). The history of Ethiopia. New York: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Marcus, H. (1994). A history of Ethiopia. University of California: University of California Press.

Pankhurst, R. (1998).The Ethiopians. Malden: Blackwell Publishers.

Zewde, B. A. (2001). History of modern Ethiopia, 1855-1991. New York: James Currey

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