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keskiviikko 22. heinäkuuta 2015

Eritrea, Cool Facts #51

<= 50. Jordan                                                                                         52. United Arab Emirates => 


1. Population 

- The majority of the population are descendents of Arabs, Africans and Europeans
- Biggest population groups are the Tigrinya 55% and Tigre 30%
- Official languages Tigrinya, Arabic and English
- Coptic Christians in the inland highlands and Moslems in the coast
- Over 200,000 Eritrean refugees still in Sudan

Eritrean kid


2. Sinus Erythros 

In 1890 the Italians formed the colony of Eritrea. The name derived from the ancient Greek name for Red Sea which was "Sinus Erythros", so Eritrea got its name from the Greek word "red".

Eritrea was an optimal place for trade and military purposes. The Abyssinian emperors had fought over the control of the coast since the 1500s against the Sultanates of Adal and Aussa. It was later attached to the Ottoman Empire.

The state of Eritrea was born when the Suez canal was opened in 1869. The Europeans wanted to monitor the Red Sea coast and Italy turned the Massawa harbor into a trade and military base. Italy tried to conquer Ethiopia from Eritrea but failed to do that.



3. Symbolism in Flag and Independence

When Eritrea became independent from Ethiopia in 1993 after a referendum, they adopted the symbol of the winning movement of the freedom fight. The olive branch replaced the star of socialism in the flag. The 30 sprigs in the olive branch represent the 30 years of the freedom fight. 

Red = the blood sacrifice
Green = the fertility of the land
Blue = sea 
Yellow = mineral deposits 

The freedom fight caused the death of 250,000 people. 



4. Eritrean-Ethiopian War

The war between Eritrea and Ethiopia started in 1998 when Eritrea invaded the border of Ethiopia trying to reclaim back a territory which they said to belong to Eritrea. The strange thing in the war was that the leaders of the two countries were former allies and the prime minister of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi was the cousin of the Eritrean president Isaias Afewerki. 

Two one of the poorest countries in the world spent hundreds of millions fighting against each other while their leaders were relatives and former allies. The war ended in 2000 and 70,000 people had died during the war. A buffer zone of 25km was established which is monitored by the UN peacekeepers. After the war Ethiopia moved all of its freight to the harbour of Djibouti. 

Algiers Agreement 2000, cousins Afewerki (Eritrea) and Zenawi (Ethiopia) signing the peace treaty

5. Taxing Eritreans abroad


- The poor country taxes their citizens living abroad 

- If an Eritrean wants to keep contact with their homeland, send letters, visit the country or owns something in Eritrea, they are obliged to pay 2% of their income as taxes through the embassies 
- The country uses still 1/3 of the GDP into military costs and 120,000 soldiers are on standby at the border 



Timeline

600s Arabs conquer Eritrea spreading Islam and Arabic language
1500s Abessinian emperors fought against the Sultanates of Adal and Aussa over the control of the coast. As a result the coast is attached as a part of the Ottoman Empire and Eritrea was governed from Egypt
1869 The current Eritrea was born when the Suez canal was opened, Italy turned Massawa harbour into a trade and military base
1890 Italy establishes the colony of Eritrea and tries to conquer Ethiopia from Eritrea
1935 Benito Mussolini managed to conquer Ethiopia finally, but only until 1941
1941 The British occupy Eritrea and Ethiopia and after the war Eritrea becomes a British protectorate
1952 With the decision of UN, Eritrea was tied together with Ethiopia giving it still vast autonomy
1962 Haile Selassie of Ethiopia dissolves the autonomy and Eritrea becomes Ethiopia's 14th province, this decision started war
1974 Selassie was overthrown in Ethiopia in a military coup, the Eritreans continue the fight for freedom
1989 Eritrean EPLF conquers Massawa despite the military aid given to Ethiopia by Soviet Union and Cuba
1991 Power shifts in Ethiopia and they agree to arrange a referendum about the independence of Eritrea
1993 After the referendum Ethiopia becomes independent and EPLF's leader Issaias Afewerki becomes the first president of Eritrea
1996 Disputes with Yemen about the Hanish-islands and the maritime border
1998 Clashes in the border escalate into a war where 70,000 people were killed
2000 Peace treaty ends the war and a buffer zone of 25km is established where UN peace keepers monitor the situation

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eritrea
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eritrean–Ethiopian_War
Maailman liput maat ja historia by Kimmo Kiljunen 

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