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Ethiopia is the only African country never to have been colonized, although an Italian occupation occurred from 1936 to 1941.
In addition to the monarchy, whose imperial line can be traced to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church was a major force in that, in combination with the political system, it fostered nationalism with its geographic center in the highlands.
The vast majority of the languages spoken in the country can be classified within three families of the Afro-Asiatic super language family: the Semitic, Cushitic, and Omotic.
Semitic-language speakers predominantly live in the highlands in the center and north.
In March 1896, Italian troops attempted to enter Ethiopia forcibly and were routed by Emperor Menelik and his army.
The battle of Adwa was the only victory of an African army over a European army during the partitioning of Africa which preserved the country's independence.
These conceptions of Ethiopia were geographically vague.
Variation in altitude results in dramatic climatic variation.
The nomadic peoples seasonally graze livestock, while the seminomadic peoples are subsistence farmers.
The rural highlands economy is based on agriculture and livestock raising. There are eighty-six known indigenous languages in Ethiopia: eighty-two spoken and four extinct.
Unfortunately, however, the country's international standing has declined since the reign of Emperor Selassie, when it was the only African member of the League of Nations and its capital, Addis Ababa, was home to a substantial international community.
War, drought, and health problems have left the nation one of the poorest African countries economically, but the people's fierce independence and historical pride account for a people rich in self-determination. Ethiopia is the tenth largest country in Africa, covering 439,580 square miles (1,138,512 square kilometers) and is the major constituent of the landmass known as the Horn of Africa.