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Country Profile

Ethiopia ኢትዮጵያ is a landlocked state in the Horn of Africa. Officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, it is the second-most populous nation in Africa with over 79.2 million people and the tenth-largest by area with its 1,100,000 km. The capital is Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is bordered by Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Kenya to the south, Sudan to the west, and Eritrea to the north.

Though most African nations are, in their modern form, less than a century old, Ethiopia has been an independent state since ancient times, being one of the oldest countries in the world. A monarchical state for most of its history, the Ethiopian dynasty traces its roots to the 10th century BC. Besides being an ancient country, Ethiopia is one of the oldest sites of human existence known to scientists today, having yielded some of humanity's oldest traces, it might be the place where Homo sapiens first set out for the Middle East and points beyond. When Africa was divided up by European powers at the Berlin Conference, Ethiopia was one of only two countries that retained its independence.

It was one of only four African members of the League of Nations. After a brief period of Italian occupation, Ethiopia became a charter member of the United Nations. When other African nations received their independence following World War II, many of them adopted the colors of Ethiopia's flag, and Addis Ababa became the location of several international organizations focused on Africa.

The modern Ethiopian state, and its current borders, are a result of significant territorial reduction in the north and expansion in the south, toward its present borders, owing to several migrations and commercial integration as well as conquests, particularly by Emperor Menelik IIand Ras Gobena. In 1974, the dynasty led by Haile Selassie was overthrown as civil wars intensified. Since then, Ethiopia has been asecular state with a variety of governmental systems. Ethiopia is one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), G-77and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). Today, Addis Ababa is still the site of the headquarters of the African Union and UNECA. The country has one of the most powerful militaries in Africa. Ethiopia is one of a few African countries to have its own alphabet. Ethiopia also has its own time system and unique calendar, seven to eight years behind the Gregorian Calendar. It has the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Africa.

The country is a land of natural contrasts, with spectacular waterfalls and volcanic hot springs. Ethiopia has some of Africa's highest mountains as well as some of the world's lowest points below sea level. The largest cave in Africa is located in Ethiopia at Sof Omar, and the country's northernmost area at Dallol is one of the hottest places year-round anywhere on Earth. There are altogether around 80 different ethnic groups in Ethiopia today, with the two largest being the Oromo and the Amhara, both of which speak Afro-Asiatic languages. The country is also famous for its Olympic gold medalists, rock-hewn churches and as the place where the coffee bean originated. Currently, Ethiopia is the top coffee and honey-producing country in Africa, and home to the largest livestock population in Africa.