What is believed to be the oldest remains of a human ancestor ever discovered, "Lucy" was found 30. november 1974 in a dried-up lake near Hadar in Ethiopia's northeast. She walked on two legs 3.2 million years ago, and is the oldest and most complete hominid ever found. Her remains now rests in the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, where she silently claims Ethiopia as the cradle of mankind.
The history of Ethiopia begins with a legend; the legend tells of the mythical Queen of Sheba, King Solomon of Jerusalem and their son Menelik I. Ethiopia is dawn of civilization; it is believed that the earliest kingdom to rise to power was the D'mt in the 10th century BC. It established its capital in Yeha; here temple of the civilization is still in the northern part of the country. The country was once historically known as Abyssinia, a name derived from "Habesch", an early Arabic form of mixing of races. But now the native name is used for the country's inhabitants and the country called Ethiopia. This nation was powerful with the coming of Aksumite Kingdom. Axum was founded by Etiopik's son, Aksumai (Etiopik is a great grandson of Noah). Some scholars believe that the name Ethiopia is derived from the name Etiopik. Thus was established Solomonic dynasty which tradition identifies the dynasty ruled until 1974 by kings claiming direct descent from the biblical king Solomon and Queen of Sheba. According to the legend, Menelik I visited his father in Jerusalem and returned to Ethiopia with the Ark of the Covenant; and now the Ark of Covenant is believed by some to be housed in the church of Saint Mary of Zion in Axum. Axumite kingdom in northern Ethiopia was at the height of its power recognized as one of the powerful states of the ancient world.
The ancient egyptians knew that their sacred river originated from a lake on a plateau in the country of Punt, "Land of Gods" in their language, and they knew of a garden existing beyond the desert. The earliest records of Ethiopia appear in Ancient Egypt, during the Old Kingdom period.
The Aksumite Kingdom is described as one of the "world's great empires" in the Greek chronicle "Periplus of the Ancient Sea" written by the Persian author Manni in the first century. The kingdom, which dates back to 300 A.D, controlled much of the Red Sea coast and a vast territory that included part of the present day Yemen. Axum traded with Arabia, India, Rome and Persia; so as to maintain trade connections, they used to mint their own currency of gold, copper and silver. And also a high literacy rate of building greatest architectural legacy of unique monolithic granite steale. The Axumites spoke a language called Ge'ez, written with its own alphabet. Under King Ezana, Axum was converted to Christianity by Frumentius of Tyre. The Axumite emperor Kaleb is also important in the history of the country; he had a great power fighting in response to the persecution of Christians against Jewish traders and colonists in Yemen in 523 A.D; imposing Ethiopian administration for a time.
The Aksumite Empire fell into decline with the rise of Islam. The power shifted to the south to the ruling family of a region on the central plateau known as Lasta around 10th century before giving way to the Solomonic Dynasty in the 13th century. Zagwe Dynasty established a new capital at Lalibela. The Zagwe kings do not belong to the same ethnic and linguistic group as that of Axumites so their dynasty is described in Ethiopian traditional historic documents as illegitimate. But the astounding works of architecture of Lalibela Rock Hewn Churches are the result of this period and it is regarded as period of stability.
When the Zagwe dynasty declined, several years of conflicts and war among rulers followed. Following a period of turbulence and dynastic confusion, Fasiladas became emperor. During the 17th century of the Gonderine period, the country experienced an artistic renaissance for Ethiopian culture construction of some of Ethiopia's most beautiful religious architecture in Gondar. A period of peace and prosperity ensued until the country was split apart by warlords in the 18th century during Zemene Mesafint, the "Age of Princes".
There also were other great kings after him who were able to unify, enlarge the country, oppose foreign invasions and bring up development to the country. Ethiopia began to go through slow modernization process during the reigns of Tewodros II, Yohannes IV, Menelik II, and Haile Selassie I. Ethiopia was reunified in 1855 by Tewodros II which was also beginning of Ethiopia's modern history. Kassa Hailu was crowned in 1855 as the "King of Kings" with the crown name of Tewodros II. He built his stronghold at Maqdala in the mountains. Tewodros started the process of recreating a cohesive Ethiopian state by incorporating Shewa into his empire and by suppressing revolts in the country's other provinces. The following emperors were Yohannes IV and Menelik II, who extended the country to its actual size. Yohannes battled to keep Ethiopia free from foreign domination and to retard the growing power of the Shewan king. He succeeded on protecting the country and lost his life on battle field. Menelik II became emperor and defeated the Italian invaders who sought to colonize the country in the historical battle of Adwa in 1896.
A more rapid modernization took place under Menelik II and Haile Selassie I. Menelik founded the actual capital Addis Ababa and introduced modern developments to the country; such as electricity, modern education, train and hotel businesses to mention some. The last king of Solomonic dynasty is Emperor Haile Selassie I; he has developed the policy of cautious modernization started by Emperor Menelik. Reforms he made greatly strengthened schools and he instituted the first constitution and centralized his own power. His internationalist view led the country to be a member of United Nations and now host nation for the headquarters of the African Union and the economic commission for Africa. Moreover Addis Ababa is center for offices of international organizations. Development continues by the Marxist regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam; and, since mid 1991 up until now by the Transitional Government of Ethiopia has been characterized by nation building.
Ethiopia is a land of wonders endowed with mosaic culture, ancient history and a land of untapped wilderness. It covers a total area of 1.1 million square kilometers and more than 80 million inhabitants. With a very unique geological formation ranging from the lowest point of 116 meters below sea level up to 4,530 meters above sea level. Throughout this long stretched phenomena the country boasts dramatic mountains, gigantic cliffs, which some are 1500 meters deep with scenic views, plains, gorges, rift valley lakes, underground water rivers, natural caves, salt lakes, one of the few world’s famous active volcano, great volcanic plug, which some are formed 40 million years back eroded and form flat topped mountains with an astounding scenery.
Diverse ecology ranging from deserts along the eastern border to the tropical forests in the south to extensive Afromontane in the northern and southern parts. Ethiopia is known for endemism in birds and mammals; notably Ethiopian Wolf, Gelada Baboon, Mountain Nyala and Walia Ibex.
Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee; Ethiopian coffee is one of the most popular coffee origins in the world. In the tenth century, Ethiopian nomadic mountain people may have been the first to recognize coffee's stimulating effect, although they did not drink it as a beverage but ate the red cherries instead. And it spread throughout the Middle East and then to Europe and their colonial empire including Indonesia and America. Coffee still grows wild in forests.
Ethiopian music is extremely diverse as to the diversity in culture and with each of the eighty ethnic groups being associated with unique sounds. Ethiopian music uses a distinct modal system that is pentatonic with characteristically long intervals between some notes. Same as in many other aspects of Ethiopian tradition and culture tastes in music and lyrics are strongly linked with those in neighboring Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia pentatonic.
Ethiopia is also known for long distance running athletes; Ethiopian athletes have won many Olympic gold medals in track and field. Most of all it is a safe nation with a fusion of religion and culture; and a place where hospitality and harmony prevails. With its ancient traditions, this country is an example of how the world can still be deeply various. The numerous existing cultures living together there allow you to experience your journey as a beautiful human opportunity and a great chance for knowledge.
Though Ethiopia is not that rich in wild life like that of other East African countries, but known for its endemic mammals and having the hot spots of birdlife. Moreover Ethiopia at built a series of Rock Hewn from 11th to mid 19th century. This fine Ethiopian style of architecture on the Northern circuit witnesses the history and ancient civilization of the country. Furthermore the diverse ethnic groups add up a color to the country. More than eighty tribes live in the country, speaking different languages rising up the cultural importance of the destination.
Ethiopia is a multilingual and multiethnic society of around 80 groups, with the two largest being the Oromo and the Amhara, both of which speak Afro-Asiatic languages. Ethiopia's ancient Ge'ez script, also known as Ethiopic, is one of the oldest alphabets still in use on the continent. The Ethiopian calendar, which is seven years and about three months behind the Gregorian calendar, co-exists alongside the Oromo calendar. The majority of the population is Christian and a third is Muslim; the country is the site of the first Hijra in Islamic history and the oldest Muslim settlement in Africa at Negash. A substantial population of Ethiopian Jews, known as Beta Israel, resided in Ethiopia until the 1980s but most of them have since gradually emigrated to Israel. Ethiopia is also the spiritual homeland of the Rastafari movement.
Nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites have been designated in the country.