Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea and Djibouti to the north, Somaliland to the northeast, Somalia to the east, Kenya to the south, South Sudan to the west and Sudan to the northwest. Ethiopia has a total area of 1,100,000 square kilometres (420,000 sq mi) and over 117 million inhabitants and is the 12th-most populous country in the world and the 2nd-most populous in Africa. The national capital and largest city, Addis Ababa, lies several kilometres west of the East African Rift that splits the country into the African and Somali tectonic plates.
Ethiopian national identity is grounded in the long history of Christianity and Islam in the region, and independence from foreign rule since antiquity. Some of the oldest skeletal evidence for anatomically modern humans has been found in Ethiopia. It is widely considered as the region from which modern humans first set out for the Middle East and places beyond.According to linguists, the first Afroasiatic-speaking populations settled in the Horn of Africa region during the ensuing Neolithic era. Tracing its roots to the second millennium BC, the governmental system of Ethiopia was a monarchy for most of its history. Oral literature narrates the foundation of monarchy by King Solomon and Queen of Sheba, via its first king, Menelik I. The Kingdom of Aksum maintained a unified civilization in the region from the 1st century AD until its fall in the 10th century where "Ethiopians" was first coined during Ezana's reign in the 4th-century. The short-lived Agaw-ruled Zagwe dynasty lasted over three centuries until the last king was overthrown by the Abyssinian nobleman Yekuno Amlak. In 1270, he established the Ethiopian Empire, asserting its dynasty lineage from King Solomon and Queen of Sheba. In the Middle Ages, the empire began extending its territory southward, seizing several kingdoms of southwestern region, albeit challenged by Muslim polities such as the Sultanate of Ifat and its successor, the Adal Sultanate. This culminated in the Ethiopian–Adal war, in which Adal and its allies conquered much of Ethiopia. By the mid-16th century, with the help of Portugal, Ethiopia reconquered its territory. In mid-18th century, Ethiopia experienced decentralization known as Zemene Mesafint– regional lords mostly from Oromo and Tigray tribes partitioned into autonomy. Tewodros II managed to reinstate the empire in 1855, inaugurating modernization.
During the late 19th-century Scramble for Africa, Ethiopia was the only African nation to successfully defend itself against European colonization, defeating Italy at the Battle of Adwa. This also enabled it to establish its modern borders through extensive conquest of territories to the east, west and south.Ethiopia was the first independent African member of the League of Nations and the United Nations. In 1935, Italy, under Mussolini's Fascist regime invaded Ethiopia and annexed with the former colonies of Eritrea and Somaliland to become Italian East Africa, before liberation and a short period of military administration by British forces amidst World War II. During Italian rule, the government made steps to abolish the centuries-old practice of slavery, eventually doing so in 1942, and urbanization steadily increased.
Ethiopia was rapidly modernized under Emperor Haile Selassie. The later imperial shortcomings related to internal crisis and subsequent protests led the Emperor's deposition in 1974 and the monarchy's abolition six months later by the Derg, a communist military government backed by the Soviet Union. Ethiopia then underwent 16 years of civil war between the Derg and Tigray-Eritrean separatist rebels as well as Somalia.In 1987, the Derg established People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, a civilianized government ruled under socialist republic. Prior to dissolution of the Soviet Union, it was overthrown by the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) on 28 May 1991, entering provisional government phase until formal government established in 1995. The EPRDF coalition, dominated by the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), marked as an authoritarian regime which brought the country into its current ethnicity-based federal system. The EPRDF coalition leadership was ended after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018, merging its parties into the new multi-ethnic Prosperity Party in 2019. Although Abiy's government initially reformed and liberated the country's politics, human rights violations, particularly ethnic unrest, heightened, sparking hostility between Abiy's government and TPLF members, leading to the ongoing Tigray War in 2020.
Ethiopia is a multiethnic state with 80 different ethnic groups. Christianity is the largest religion followed by Islam. Having differential biomes and climate throughout its regions, Ethiopia is considered as a megadiverse country in Africa. This sovereign state is a founding member of the UN, the Group of 24 (G-24), the Non-Aligned Movement, the G77 and the Organisation of African Unity. Addis Ababa is the headquarters of the African Union, the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Standby Force and many of the global NGOs focused on Africa.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the Ethiopian Civil War and communist purges hindered its economy but it has since recovered and, as of 2010, has the largest economy by GDP in East Africa. However, it remains one of the world's poorest countries, facing poverty, hunger, corruption, weak infrastructure, poor respect for human rights, and limited access to health and education, with a literacy rate of only 49%, ranking it in the worst quartile on the Human Development Index.