Eritrea is a Marxist country in eastern Africa. It gained its independence from nearby Ethiopia following the long and bloody Eritrean War of Independence (1961-1984) and a civil war.
The Eritrean War of Independence had already been going on for twenty two years at the time of Doomsday. Ethiopian forces had been making successes in the war due to their support by the USSR and Cuba but Eritrean rebels were still fighting.
While the Eritrean rebels were unaffected by Doomsday the Ethiopian government suffered a massive loss of resources and supplies. Ethiopia lost its support from the USSR and Cuba which allowed the Eritrean rebels to begin making gains, they captured the Ethiopian naval base at Massawa and with it the seaplane tender Ethiopia along with its seaplane complement. The Eritrean forces also captured the adjoining air force base and all of the forty aircraft there. By early 1984, Eritrean rebels and captured all of their original territory but the Ethiopian government continued to retaliate, however in June 1984 the Derg government of Ethiopia faced a rebellion in the Ethiopian mainland and reluctantly leaved Eritrea to the rebels.
At the end of the war the remains of the Ethiopian navy and parts of the Ethiopian Air Force were captured by the rebels.
All of Eritrea had been severely devastated in the war of independence and so the first major task facing the new country was reconstruction. Trying to be loyal to their Marxist beliefs, the government set up free hospitals to try to bring down death rates, while farms were reconstructed across the country so that there would be enough food for the population. However, a drought in the mid 80's resulted in massive numbers of deaths and reduced the country’s population to just over a million.
The Eritrean government was unaffected by this and its only response was to increase food stockpiles in case a similar event occurred in the future and they continued to rebuild the country by reopening the Eritrea railway. Despite all of the government’s efforts, Eritrean people remained poor and only just managed to survive, discontent grew massively to the point that in 1987 the hard line Marxist elements of the government who were angered at the lack of progress in improving conditions for the civilians seized control of the Army and Navy and gained control of the government in a bloody coup d’état.
Civil War (1987-1990)
While the hardliner Marxists gained control of the government in less than a week and had already set down a series of reforms to help the people. The reformers enforced by the new government were expensive however and alienated the more right-wing parts of the Eritrea Liberation Front and in late 1987 a civil war broke out between the left-wing government and the right-wing Liberation Front. A guerrilla war started in the west of Eritrea and sporadic fighting broke out in the rest of Eritrea, unlike the Ethiopian army however the Eritrean government was well prepared to deal with rebel groups having been one only a few years earlier. The civil war was a stalemate for most of 1988 & 1989 except in the west where the rebels were having great successes. Ironically the rebels’ success in the west was their downfall, by 1990 they had become a fully fledged government and there organized command structure was wiped out when the Ethiopian Army invaded.
Ethiopian/Eritrean War (1990-2000)
Although shocked by the Ethiopian invasion the Eritrean government quickly mobilized the army to recapture the region. The Eritreans used their experience in guerrilla combat to hold off the Ethiopians but there strength in numbers meant that the relatively small Eritrean army was overrun, while the Ethiopians were winning the war it was a Pyrrhic victory as Eritrean guerrilla were inflicting large casualties. The war would continue in one way or another for ten years with combat taking place in both the sky and land. The leaders of the two countries eventually decided to hold peace talks and surprisingly it was discovered that the two countries had a similar political structure and ideology. This discovery would lead to closer ties between the two nations and they eventually became the co-founders of the Confederation of African Marxist Countries.
The country had been totally devastated in the civil war and the Ethiopian/Eritrean war. The Eritrean government chose to make rebuilding the country their priority, the country’s education and medical systems had to be rebuilt from the ground up and its farming industry needed totally reforming. Due to the better relations with Ethiopia the country’s army was downgraded and the resources freed up were used to help rebuild the country, despite this the navy and air force were maintained at their current level though. The rebuilding efforts will probably not be completed until 2011 at the earliest and the education system will probably never reach the targets assigned.
Eritrea is a single party democracy and all government officials come from the People's Front for Democracy and Justice. However the MP's and government officials are elected although the president is not elected. Since their inception in 1973 the rebel groups that would eventually lead to the Eritrean nation have been predominantly left wing although the incorporated elements of the ELF are slightly right wing.
The Eritrean Armed Forces are divided into the Army, Navy and Air Force. The army is the largest section of the armed forces and is responsible for the defense of the country’s borders, it is equipped with captured Ethiopian equipment and that which has been supplied by the Ethiopian government to them following the Ethiopian/Eritrean war. The navy is entirely made up off the old Ethiopian navy and includes the seaplane carrier Eritrea. The Air Force is made up of the same style of equipment as the Army and is one of the largest Air Forces in Africa.
Eritrea's main industry is that of subsistence farming and 80% of the country is devoted to farmland, the other major employers in Eritrea are the Armed forces and the government. There is very little industry in Eritrea and that which exists is devoted either to the Railway or the Armed Forces. There is no electricity supply in most of Eritrea with the exception of the capital where a power plant still supplies the city with electricity, there is very little oil in Eritrea with their only being one small oil deposit with most of the country’s fuel coming in from nearby Ethiopia.
The two major religions in Eritrea are Islam and Christianity and around half the country follows each religion. There is a large mosque and cathedral in the capital and in some in cities. The country is roughly divided into an east/west situation, the eastern side of the country is primarily Muslim due to its ties with Yemen and the west is predominantly Christian.
All of the media in Eritrea is state controlled and harshly regulated, there is a nationwide radio station that broadcasts state news and music. A TV station broadcasts in the capital and in the other largest cities but not in the rest of the country there are two national newspapers as well, a tabloid and broadsheet is produced.
Association football is the largest team sport in Eritrea and the teams compete with those from nearby Ethiopia; the other large sport is cycling which was introduced to the country during its occupation by Italy.
While the government of Eritrea has been successful in most of its social reforms the education system remains the poorest and worst public organization. Most people in Eritrea are illiterate although those who join the armed forces have to learn English as a requirement, even those who can afford to go to school receive wildly different types of education depending on where they live, people in the west of the country learn Tigrinya and those in the east learn Italian. Because of the difficulties with language the Eritrean government has made English the language of the government and the military.
The country has good relations with Ethiopia and South Sudan but has not established relations with most of Africa's nations. The only country other than Ethiopia and South Sudan that Eritrea has good relations with is the USSR. Its relations with Somaliland are tense while its relations with the ICU and East Sudan are hostile.