Ethiopia, one of the oldest nation in the world, was already a great power when recorded history began. Ethiopia was referred to by early writers as Kush, Kushy, Aitopia, Aithopis and until more recently as Abyssinia. The name Ethiopia comes from two Greek words meaning sunburned faces, and clearly refers to the brown skin of the natives.
Ethiopia was first settled in prehistoric times by the sons of Ham; it is generally believed to have began about 3000 B.C. and the Semitic immigrations followed some 2,000 years later in the millennium through the Arabian peninsula about 1000 B.C.
A basic legend of Ethiopian history consecrates this venerable antiquity by making the Queen of Sheba, whose visit to Solomon is recorded in the Book of Kings, a Queen of Ethiopia and the mother of Minilik I, first ruler of the solomonic line of Ethiopian Emperors.
The Rift valley which runs north-south and separates the Central Plateau on the west from the Danakil Plains, and Eastern Plateau on the east and the trough of the Red Sea with Lake Rudolf is the best known sites in the world that boasts the origins of humankind. Lucy, the most complete and best presented human ancestor ever found, aged at 3.2 million years old, was discovered in the Afar region of Eastern Ethiopia. The 4.4 million year old Ramidus found in the central Afar region and the 2.5 million-year-old tools and artifacts are further testimonies to Ethiopia' immense historical wealth.
As the cradle of mankind, Ethiopia has the technological remains of the often painful development of humanity engraved in its landscape. Through their efforts in adapting to the fragile mountainous environment, Ethiopians invented the first stone technologies and, interactively with other societies, have since then been in search of new and adaptable innovations. Many of the old and new technologies of adaptation are in use side by side. The synthesis of old and new, sustainable and less sustainable systems, mark the modern society of Ethiopia as a mosaic of cultures in its long recorded history and unfolding prehistory.
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