Shell middens 125,000 years old have been found in Eritrea, indicating the diet of early humans included seafood obtained by beachcombing.
According to both genetic and fossil evidence, archaic Homo sapiens evolved toanatomically modern humans solely in Africa between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago, with members of one branch leaving Africa by 60,000 years ago and over time replacing earlier human populations such as Neanderthals and Homo erectus. The recent single origin of modern humans in East Africa is the near-consensus position held within the scientific community.
Today at the Bab-el-Mandeb straits the Red Sea is about 12 miles (20 kilometres) wide, but 50,000 years ago it was much narrower and sea levels were 70 meters lower. Though the straits were never completely closed, there may have been islands in between which could be reached using simple rafts.
It has been estimated that from a population of 2,000 to 5,000 individuals in Africa, only a small group of possibly as little as 150 to 1,000 people crossed the Red Sea. Of all the lineages present in Africa only the female descendants of one lineage, mtDNA haplogroup L3, are found outside Africa. Had there been several migrations one would expect descendants of more than one lineage to be found outside Africa. L3's female descendants, the M and N haplogroup lineages, are found in very low frequencies in Africa (although haplogroup M1 is very ancient and diversified in North Africa and on the Horn of Africa) and appear to be recent arrivals.
Other scientists have proposed a Multiple Dispersal Model, in which there were two migrations out of Africa, one across the Red Sea travelling along the coastal regions to India (the Coastal Route), which would be represented by Haplogroup M. Another group of migrants with Haplogroup N followed the Nile from East Africa, heading northwards and crossing into Asia through the Sinai. This group then branched in several directions, some moving into Europe and others heading east into Asia. This hypothesis attempts to explain why Haplogroup N is predominant in Europe and why Haplogroup M is absent in Europe.
Together with northern Somalia, Djibouti, and the Red Sea coast of Sudan, Eritreais considered the most likely location of the land known to the ancient Egyptiansas Punt (or "Ta Netjeru," meaning god's land), whose first mention dates to the 25th century BC. The ancient Puntites were a nation of people that had close relations with Pharaonic Egypt during the times of Pharaoh Sahure and QueenHatshepsut.
D'mt was a kingdom located in Eritrea and northern Ethiopia that existed during the 8th and 7th centuries BC. With its capital at Yeha, the kingdom developedirrigation schemes, used plows, grew millet, and made iron tools and weapons. After the fall of D?mt in the 5th century BC, the plateau came to be dominated by smaller successor kingdoms, until the rise of one of these kingdoms during the first century, the Aksumite Kingdom, which was able to reunite the area.
The Kingdom of Aksum (also known as "Axum") was an ancient state located in the north of modern-day Ethiopia and parts of Eritrea that thrived between the 1st and 7th centuries. A major player in the commerce between the Roman Empireand Ancient India, Aksum's rulers facilitated trade by minting their own currency. The state also established its hegemony over the declining Kingdom of Kush and regularly entered the politics of the kingdoms on the Arabian peninsula, eventually extending its rule over the region with the conquest of the Himyarite Kingdom. Under Ezana, Aksum became the first major empire to convert to Christianity, and was named by Mani as one of the four great powers of his time, along with Persia,Rome and China.
Northern Somalia was an important link in the Horn, connecting the region's commerce with the rest of the ancient world. Somali sailors and merchants were the main suppliers of frankincense, myrrh and spices, all of which were valuable luxuries to the Ancient Egyptians, Phoenicians, Mycenaeans, Babylonians andRomans The Romans consequently began to refer to the region as Regio Aromatica. In the classical era, several flourishing Somali city-states such asOpone, Mosyllon and Malao also competed with the Sabaeans, Parthians andAxumites for the rich Indo-Greco-Roman trade.
The birth of Islam opposite the Horn's Red Sea coast meant that local merchants and sailors living on the Arabian Peninsula gradually came under the influence of the new religion through their converted Arab Muslim trading partners. With the migration of Muslim families from the Islamic world to the Horn in the early centuries of Islam, and the peaceful conversion of the local population by Muslim scholars in the following centuries, the ancient city-states eventually transformed into Islamic Mogadishu, Berbera, Zeila, Barawa and Merka, which were part of the Berber civilization.The city of Mogadishu came to be known as the "City of Islam" and controlled the East African gold trade for several centuries.
Through a strong centralized administration and an aggressive military stance towards invaders, the Ajuuraan Empire successfully resisted anOromo invasion from the west and a Portuguese incursion from the east during the Gaal Madow and the Ajuuraan-Portuguese wars. Trading routes dating from the ancient and early medieval periods of Somali maritime enterprise were also strengthened or re-established, and the state left behind an extensive architectural legacy. Many of the hundreds of ruined castles and fortresses that dot the landscape of Somalia today are attributed to Ajuuraan engineers, including a lot of the pillar tomb fields,necropolises and ruined cities built during that era. The royal family, the House of Gareen, also expanded its territories and established its hegemonic rule through a skillful combination of warfare, trade linkages and alliances.
The Zagwe dynasty ruled many parts of modern Ethiopia and Eritrea from approximately 1137 to 1270. The name of the dynasty comes from the Cushitic-speaking Agaw people of northern Ethiopia. From 1270 CE on for many centuries, theSolomonic dynasty ruled the Ethiopian Empire.
In the early fifteenth century Ethiopia sought to make diplomatic contact with European kingdoms for the first time since Aksumite times. A letter from KingHenry IV of England to the Emperor of Abyssinia survives. In 1428, the Emperor Yeshaq sent two emissaries to Alfonso V of Aragon, who sent return emissaries who failed to complete the return trip.
The first continuous relations with a European country began in 1508 with Portugal under Emperor Lebna Dengel, who had just inherited the throne from his father. This proved to be an important development, for when the empire was subjected to the attacks of the Adal Sultanate General and Imam, Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi (called "Gurey" or "Grañ", both meaning "the Left-handed"), Portugal assisted the Ethiopian emperor by sending weapons and four hundred men, who helped his son Gelawdewos defeat Ahmad and re-establish his rule. This Ethiopian–Adal War was also one of the first proxy wars in the region as the Ottoman Empire, and Portugal took sides in the conflict.
When Emperor Susenyos converted to Roman Catholicism in 1624, years of revolt and civil unrest followed resulting in thousands of deaths. The Jesuitmissionaries had offended the Orthodox faith of the local Ethiopians, and on June 25, 1632, Susenyos's son, Emperor Fasilides, declared the state religion to again be Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity and expelled the Jesuit missionaries and other Europeans.
The Gobroon Dynasty (Geledi Sultanate) was a Somali royal house that ruled parts of East Africa during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was established by the Ajuuraan soldier Ibrahim Adeer, who had defeated various vassals of the Ajuuraan Empire and established the House of Gobroon. The dynasty reached its apex under the successive reigns of Sultan Yusuf Mahamud Ibrahim, who successfully consolidated Gobroon power during the Bardera wars, and Sultan Ahmed Yusuf, who forced regional powers such as the Omani Empire to submit tribute.
The Sultanate of Hobyo was a 19th century Somali ruling house founded by Sultan Yusuf Ali Kenadid. Initially, Kenadid's goal was to seize control of the neighboring Majeerteen Sultanate, which was then ruled by his cousin Boqor Osman Mahamud. However, he was unsuccessful in this endeavor, and was eventually forced into exile in Yemen. A decade later, in the 1870s, Kenadid returned from the Arabian Peninsula with a band of Hadhrami musketeers and a group of devoted lieutenants. With their assistance, he managed to establish the kingdom of Hobyo, which would rule much of northeastern and central Somalia during the early modern period.
In the period following the opening of the Suez canal in 1869, when European powers scrambled for territory in Africa and tried to establish coaling stationsfor their ships, Italy invaded and occupied Eritrea. On January 1, 1890, Eritrea officially became a colony of Italy. In 1896 further Italian incursion into the horn was decisively halted by Ethiopian forces. By 1936 however, Eritrea became a province of Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana), along with Ethiopiaand Italian Somaliland. By 1941, Eritrea had about 760,000 inhabitants, including 70,000 Italians. The Commonwealth armed forces, along with the Ethiopian patriotic resistance, expelled those of Italy in 1941, and took over the area's administration. The British continued to administer the territory under a UN Mandate until 1951, when Eritrea was federated with Ethiopia, as per UN resolution 390(A) and under the prompting of the United States adopted in December 1950.
The strategic importance of Eritrea, due to its Red Sea coastline and mineral resources, was the main cause for the federation with Ethiopia, which in turn led to Eritrea's annexation as Ethiopia's 14th province in 1952. This was the culmination of a gradual process of takeover by the Ethiopian authorities, a process which included a 1959 edict establishing the compulsory teaching of Amharic, the main language of Ethiopia, in all Eritrean schools. The lack of regard for the Eritrean population led to the formation of an independence movement in the early 1960s (1961), which erupted into a 30-year war against successive Ethiopian governments that ended in 1991. Following a UN-supervised referendum in Eritrea (dubbed UNOVER) in which the Eritrean people overwhelmingly voted for independence, Eritrea declared its independence and gained international recognition in 1993. In 1998, a border dispute with Ethiopia led to the Eritrean-Ethiopian War.
From 1862 until 1894, the land to the north of the Gulf of Tadjoura situated in modern-day Djibouti was called Obock and was ruled by Somali and Afar Sultans, local authorities with whom France signed various treaties between 1883 and 1887 to first gain a foothold in the region. In 1894, Léonce Lagarde established a permanent French administration in the city of Djibouti and named the regionCôte française des Somalis (French Somaliland), a name which continued until 1967.
In 1958, on the eve of neighboring Somalia's independence in 1960, a referendumwas held in the territory to decide whether or not to join the Somali Republic or to remain with France. The referendum turned out in favour of a continued association with France, partly due to a combined yes vote by the sizable Afar ethnic group and resident Europeans.There was also widespread vote rigging, with the French expelling thousands of Somalis before the referendum reached the polls. The majority of those who voted no were Somalis who were strongly in favour of joining a united Somalia, as had been proposed by Mahmoud Harbi, Vice President of the Government Council. Harbi was killed in a plane crash two years later. Djibouti finally gained its independence from France in 1977, and Hassan Gouled Aptidon, a Somali politician who had campaigned for a yes vote in the referendum of 1958, eventually wound up as the nation's first president (1977–1999).
Muhammad Abdullah Hassan's Dervish State successfully repulsed the British Empire four times and forced it to retreat to the coastal region. Due to these successful expeditions, the Dervish State was recognized as an ally by the Ottoman and German Empires. The Turks also named Hassan Emir of the Somali nation, and the Germanspromised to officially recognize any territories the Dervishes were to acquire. After a quarter of a century of holding the British at bay, the Dervishes were finally defeated in 1920 as a direct consequence of Britain's new policy of aerial bombardment. As a result of this bombardment, former Dervish territories were turned into a protectorate of Britain.Italy faced similar opposition from Somali Sultans and armies, and did not acquire full control of parts of modern Somalia until the Fascist era in late 1927. This occupation lasted until 1941, and was replaced by a British military administration. Northern Somalia would remain a protectorate, while southern Somalia became a trusteeship. The Union of the two regions in 1960 formed the Somali Republic. A civilian government was formed, and on July 20, 1961, through a popular referendum, a new constitution that had first been drafted the year before was ratified.
Due to its longstanding ties with the Arab world, Somalia was accepted in 1974 as a member of the Arab League. During the same year, the nation's former socialistadministration also chaired the Organization of African Unity, the predecessor of the African Union. In 1991, theSomali Civil War broke out, which saw the collapse of the federal government and the emergence of numerous autonomous polities, including the Puntland administration in the northeast and Somaliland, an unrecognised self-declared sovereign state that is internationally recognised as an autonomous region of Somalia, in the northwest. Somalia's inhabitants subsequently reverted to local forms of conflict resolution, either secular, Islamic or customary law, with a provision for appeal of all sentences. A Transitional Federal Government was subsequently created in 2004.
Modern Ethiopia and its current borders are a result of significant territorial reduction in the north and expansion in the east and south toward its present borders, owing to several migrations, commercial integration, treaties as well as conquests, particularly by Emperor Menelik II and Ras Gobena. From the central province of Shoa, Menelik set off to subjugate and incorporate ‘the lands and people of the South, East and West into an empire.’ He did this with the help of Ras Gobena's Shewan Oromo militia, began expanding his kingdom to the south and east, expanding into areas that had not been held since the invasion ofAhmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi, and other areas that had never been under his rule, resulting in the borders of Ethiopia of today. Menelik had signed the Treaty of Wichale with Italy in May 1889, in which Italy would recognize Ethiopia’s sovereignty so long as Italy could control a small area of northern Tigray (part of modern Eritrea). In return Italy, was to provide Menelik with arms and support him as emperor. The Italians used the time between the signing of the treaty and its ratification by the Italian government to further expand their territorial claims. Italy began a state funded program of resettlement for landless Italians in Eritrea, which increased tensions between the Eritrean peasants and the Italians. This conflict erupted in the Battle of Adwa on 1 March 1896, in which Italy’s colonial forces were defeated by the Ethiopians.
The early 20th century in Ethiopia was marked by the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie I, who came to power after Iyasu V was deposed. In 1935, Haile Selassie's troops fought and lost the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, after which point Italy annexed Ethiopia to Italian East Africa. Haile Selassie subsequently appealed to the League of Nations, delivering an address that made him a worldwide figure and 1935's Time magazine Man of the Year.Following the entry of Italy into World War II, British Empire forces, together with patriot Ethiopian fighters, liberated Ethiopia in the course of the East African Campaign in 1941. 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 the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. In July 1977, the Ogaden War broke out after the government of President of Somalia Siad Barre sought to incorporate the predominantly Somali-inhabited Ogaden region into a Pan-Somali Greater Somalia. By September 1977, the Somali army controlled 90% of the Ogaden, but was later forced to withdraw after Ethiopia's Derg received assistance from the USSR, Cuba, South Yemen, East Germany and North Korea, including around 15,000 Cuban combat troops. In 1989, the Tigrayan Peoples' Liberation Front (TPLF) merged with other ethnically-based opposition movements to form the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), and eventually managed to overthrow Mengistu's dictatorial regime in 1991. A transitional government, composed of an 87-member Council of Representatives and guided by a national charter that functioned as a transitional constitution, was then set up. The first free and democratic election took place later in 1995, when Ethiopia's current Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was elected to office.