Ethiopian History  |  Demographic  |  Geographic

Demographic

Population:

With a population of about 60 million, the Ethiopian people comprise about 80 nationalities of  which the Oromo and the  Amhara constitute the majority, with about 60 percent of the total population.

Language:

There  are  three  language  families in Ethiopia: Semitic, Chushitic and Nilotic. The official language is Amharic. The language of the  Semitic  immigrants   survive  in Geez, the liturgical language of the churches, though it is no longer spoken.

The  working  languages  of  the  national/regional   governments  may  differ  according to regions.

Languages  such  as  Tigrigna  in  the northern part, Amharic in the north-west and central part, Harari in Harar, Guragigna with  different dialects in the southern part  of the country are Semitic origin .

The  Script  used  is  developed   from ancient Sabean characters written from left to right. There  are  33  basic  letters which  generate  over  231   modifications indicating different following vowels.

The Cushitic languages have been untouched by Semitic influence and remain purely hermitic in character. Some  of  these  important  languages  are   Oromigna  which is almost widely spread all over and Somali in the eastern part of the country.

The different  languages  of  the  Nilotic  group  are   almost  as  numerous  as the tribes that compose it.

Peoples & Culture:

With  over  80  nationalities and over 73  languages of   different  dialects,  the beginning of  Ethiopian culture, like the history of  the country,  has  its  roots  in  prehistoric  times. This  culture and tradition is characterized in both its Christian and Muslim religious and material  aspects   by  contribution  from  various sources - from  the   several  racial  strains  which compose the population.

Together with the religions, went the development of  material culture. Since the dominant  feature in the history of Ethiopia has been the struggle to maintain its religious and political freedom, fortresses and fortifications were erected.

In the period of the Axumite Kingdom a number of  towering obelisks were erected, which  are  unique  among the monuments of the world.

The  Ethiopian  Literature  began  during   the    Axumite  period  which  enjoyed a brilliant  renaissance on the restoration of the Solomonic dynasty.

With traditions going back to the days of  Axum, and strong religious settings, celebrations  and  festivals play  an important  part  in  the daily  life styles  of  the peoples. The greatest   festivals such as Enkutatash (Ethiopian New Year), Meskal, Gena(Ethiopian Christmas), Id Al Fetir(Ramada), Timket (Epiphany), Id Al Adaha(Arafa), Easter and Maulid are all glorious celebrations.

Religion:

Christianity  and  Islamic  religions  are  the   dominantly  co-existing  faiths  in  the country. However, a complete religious freedom is enjoyed in the country.

The  introduction of  Christianity  into Ethiopia  began  by   the conversion of  the  Ethiopian Ambassador  to  Christianity   by  the  Apostle  Philip a  few  months  after  the crucifixion (New Testament, Acts of Apostles, 8 - 27).

 

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