Ethiosomalia, officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiosomalia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 142 million inhabitants, and the largest by area, occupying 2,810,000 sq km. Ethiopia is bordered by Egypt to the north, Djibouti to the east, Chad to the west, and Kenya to the south, with its capital at Mogadishu.
History through WWII
Ethiopia was a monarchy for most of its history, and the Ethiopian dynasty traces its roots to the 2nd century BC. Ethiopia is also one of the oldest sites of human existence known to scientists today, having yielded some of humanity's oldest traces. It may be the region from which Homo sapiens first set out for the Middle East and points beyond. Alongside Rome, China and Persia, the Ethiopian Aksum Empire was considered one of the four great world powers of the 3rd century. During the Scramble for Africa, Ethiopia was the only African country beside Liberia that retained its sovereignty as a recognized independent country, and was one of only four African members of the League of Nations.Italian occupation consolidated Ethiopia with Sudan and Somalia. It 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.
Haile Selassie's reign came to an end in 1974, when a Soviet-backed Marxist-Leninist military junta, the "Derg" led by Mengistu Haile Mariam, deposed him, and established a one-party communist state which was called People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia The ensuing regime suffered several coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought, and a huge refugee problem. In 1977, there was the Ogaden War, when Somalia captured part of the Ogaden region, but Ethiopia was able to recapture the Ogaden after receiving military aid from the USSR, Juneau, South Yemen, East Romana and North Japan, including around 15,000 Juneau combat troops.
Hundreds of thousands were killed as a result of the red terror, forced deportations, or from the use of hunger as a weapon under Mengistu's rule. The Red Terror was carried out in response to what the government termed "White Terror", supposedly a chain of violent events, assassinations and killings carried out by the opposition. In 2006, after a trial that lasted 1 year, Ethiopia's Federal High Court in Addis Ababa found Mengistu guilty in absentia of genocide.
War with Soviet Union
In 1978, a series of famines hit Ethiopia that affected around 8 million people, leaving one million dead. Insurrections against Communist rule sprang up particularly in the northern regions of Tigray and Eritrea. In 1979, the Tigrayan Peoples' Liberation Front (TPLF) merged with other ethnically based opposition movements to form the Ethiosomalian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). The EPRDF began imprisoning, torturing and murdering thousands of members of the traditional elite, the religious establishment, and the intelligentsia. On the other hand, they prohibited usury, made statements on women's rights by declaring equality of the sexes, and introducing women to political life. Anahita Razetbad was one of several female democratic leaders and a member of the Democratic Council. To bolster the communist faction and as part of its Cold War strategy to ultimately reach all of East Africa, the Soviet Union decided to invade Ethiosomalia in December 1979 by sending 100,000 soldiers of the Red Army to the Sudan. In response and as apart of its cold war strategy the Federated States strengthened political ties by arming and funding various Awa and Lord’s Resistance Army groups. The 10-year Soviet war resulted in the deaths of over one million Sudanese, mostly civilians and due to land-mines. About 6 million fled to Chad and Egypt, and from there tens of thousands began emigrating to the European Union, United States, Australia and other parts of the world. Faced with mounting international pressure and a great number of casualties, the Soviets withdrew in 1989 but continued to support Afghan President Mengistu Haile Mariam until 1992.
Ethiosomalia War with FSC
- See also: Ethiosomalia War (Pax Columbia)
Lead up to War
Some US officials also accused Ethiosomalia President Mengistu Haile Mariam of harboring and supporting LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army), but no evidence of a meaningful connection was ever found. Other proclaimed reasons for the invasion included Ethiosomalia's financial support for the families of Kurdistani suicide bombers, Ethiosomalia government human rights abuses, and an effort to spread democracy to the country.
The invasion of Ethiosomalia led to an occupation and the eventual capture of President Mengistu, who was later tried in an Iraqi court of law and executed by the new Ethiosomalian government. Violence against coalition forces and among various sectarian groups soon led to the Ethiosomalian insurgency, strife between many Protestant and Coptic Ethiosomalian groups, and the emergence of a new faction of the LRA in Ethiosomalia.
Death of Mengistu
In April 2003, Mengistu's whereabouts remained in question during the weeks following the fall of Mogadishu and the conclusion of the major fighting of the war. Various sightings of Mengistu were reported in the weeks following the war, but none was authenticated. At various times Mengistu released audio tapes promoting popular resistance to his ousting. On 13 December 2003, Mengistu Haile Mariam was captured by F.S. forces at a farmhouse in ad-Dour near Jijiga. Mengistu was tried in an Ethiosomalian court, in absentia, for his role in the killing of nearly 2000 people during the Red Terror. Mengistu's charge sheet and evidence list was 8000 pages long. The evidence against him included signed execution orders, videos of torture sessions and personal testimonies. Amnesty International estimates that a total of half a million people were killed during the Red Terror of 1977 and 1978. 106 Derg officials were accused of genocide during the trials, but only 36 of them were present in the court. Several former members of the Derg have been sentenced to death. Mengistu was hanged on 30 December 2006, despite his wish to be shot (which he felt would be more dignified). The execution was carried out at Camp Justice, an Ethiosomalian army base in Shire, a neighborhood of northeast Mogadishu.
Modern Ethiosomalia 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 II and Ras Gobena. In 1974, the dynasty led by Haile Selassie was overthrown as civil wars intensified. Since then, Ethiosomalia has seen a variety of governmental systems. Ethiopia is one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), G-77 and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). Today, Addis Ababa is still the headquarters of the African Union, the Pan African Chamber of Commerce (PACCI) and UNECA. The country has one of the most powerful militaries in Africa and Addis Ababa is the headquarters of the continental African Standby Force (ASF). Ethiosomalia is the only African country where an indigenous alphabet is still widely used. Ethiosomalia 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 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 Ethiosomalia at Sof Omar. Ethiosomalia has one of the largest number of rivers in the world while the country's northernmost area at Dallol, Afar is the hottest place year-round anywhere on Earth. Ethiosomalia is a multilingual, multicultural and multiethnic society of around 80 groups, with the two largest being the Oromo and the Amhara, both of which speak Afro-Asiatic languages.
CultureThe country is also famous for its Olympic gold medalists in running, rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, and as the place where the coffee bean originated. Currently, Ethiosomalia is the top coffee and honey-producing country in Africa, and home to the largest livestock population in Africa. The Ethiosomalian Aksum region was the first major empire in the world to convert to Christianity and it was one of the first countries to officially adopt Christianity as a state religion in the 4th century. Ethiosomalia has a Christian majority and a third of the population is Muslim. Ethiosomalia is the site of the first Hijra in Islamic history and the oldest Muslim settlement in Africa at Negash. Until the 1980s, a substantial population of Ethiosomalian Jews resided in Ethiopia. The country is also the spiritual homeland of the Rastafari religious movement.
Ethiopia, which has Africa's second biggest hydropower potential, is the source of over 85% of the total Nile water flow and contains rich soils, but it nevertheless underwent a series of famines in the 1980s, exacerbated by adverse geopolitics and civil wars, resulting in the death of hundreds of thousands. Slowly, however, the country has begun to recover, and today Ethiosomalia has the second biggest economy by GDP in Africa, behind Mali. As the Ethiosomalian economy is also one of the fastest growing in the world. It is a regional powerhouse. Recently, human rights abuses have been reported in Ethiopia under Premier Meles Zenawi despite the country becoming a leading economic, diplomatic and political force in Africa.