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Ethiopia is a landlocked country located in the Horn of Africa.  Officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, it is the second-most populous nation in African with over 79.2 million people and the tenth largest by area with its 1,100,000 km2.  The capital is Addis Ababa.  Ethiopia is border by Eritrea to the north, Sudan to the west, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, and Kenya to the south.

Though most African nations are, in their modern form, less than a century old, Ethiopia has been an independent nation since ancient times, being one of the oldest countries in the world.  A monarchy for most of its history, the Ethiopian dynasty traces its roots to the 3rd 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.  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, Ethopia became a charter member of the United Nations.

Ethiopia is one of the founding members of the Non-Alighed Movement (NAM), G-77 and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).  Today, Addis Ababa is still the headquarters of the African Union, the Nile Basin Commission and UNECA.  It is one of a few African countries to have its own alphabet, has its own time system and unique calendar, seven to eight years behind the Gregorian Calendar.

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.  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.

Ethiopia, which has Africa's second biggest hydropower potential, is the source of over 85% of the total Nile water flow, contains rich soils, and currently is the top coffee and honey-producing country in Africa.  Nevertheless the country underwent a series of famines in the 1980s, exacerbated by adverse geopolitics and civil wars, resulting in perhaps a million deaths.  Drought struck again late in 2002, however, slowly the country has begun to recover.  The country remains fragile, both politically and economically.


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