Ethiopia

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Solomonic Empire of Ethiopia
Conventional short name: Ethiopia
Flag of Ethiopia
Languages:  
 Official: None at the federal level
 Others: Amharic, Somali, Tigray, many others
Independence: from Israel
 Date: 1799
Currency: birr

Contents

Geography

Ethiopia is a country in Eastern Africa. It covers the territories of several nations, the largest one is Somali.

Borders

Borders Cordofania and Nubia to the North, Centrafrican Empire, Azande Chiefdoms and Native States of Africa to the west, Buganda, Chinese East Africa and Maasai and Chinese East Africa to the South.

Area

Ethiopia is much larger than the country of the same name here. It covers *here*'s Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Northern Uganda, Northern Kenya, and Southern Sudan.

Religion

The national religion is Coptic Orthodoxy. Ethiopia is one of the oldest Christian countries on Earth due to the efforts of St. Frumentius of Axum (Abune Selama, Kesaté Birhan). Minority communities of Jews, Moslems and traditional religions also live in Ethiopia.

Government

Ethiopia is a monarchy. This should be of interest: http://www.angelfire.com/ny/ethiocrown/Constitution.html

History

THE FOLLOWING SECTIONS REQUIRE REVIEW AND COMMENT.

Kingdom of Ethiopia

During the Middle Ages, the State of Ethiopia was a small kingdom situated in the West of what is now inland Ethiopia. A group of Jews were invited to settle in the country by the King when he assumed that Jews would bring gold and thus make the country richer. Thus many Jews came to settle in Ethiopia from the then war-torn state of Judea. Some expected to return to Judea or even to liberate it using Ethiopian armies.

The line of Kings with time became less popular and less able to rule the country; many blamed the kings for excessive extravagance, such as building new palaces and even pyramids (modelled after those in Egypt) as their burial sites. Most of it was done using Jewish money, as Jews had to pay a fee in order to settle in Ethiopia. The Ethiopians also sold rights to collect taxes on borders (for one pre-set fee they were allowed to collect said taxes for half a year) and other such things, so the kings of Ehtiopia were able to get money immediately from the Jewish colonists. Ethiopia came to be known in the region as a rich country, and often her border towns were frequently raided by nearby tribes and states. Ethiopia herself sometimes attacked her neighbors- usually without much long-term success- although generally Ethiopia was an expanding country.

One such war occurred in the late 18th century when Afar invaded Ethiopia. The Ethiopian army, which despite the wealth of the Kings still used primitive weapons, (like the armies of her neighbours) and failed miserably. The king of Afar conquered the whole northern Ethiopia including its capital city and robbed most of its wealth for himself.

The ruling family of Ethiopia was captured and tortured until they agreed to recognise the conquests and give more wealth to their new overlords. Then the king was permitted to flee to the southern Ethiopia, which was left unconquered, primarily due to the fact that there were no riches there. However, this was a final straw for the population, especially relatively educated Jews who lost many of their people and their businesses in Northern Ethiopia. A coup happened and the king was overthrown.

The coup was mainly organised by Jews, who were the most educated part of Ethiopian society (unlike local blacks, they were primarilly urban dwellers, also they kept relations with Jews in Judea, Yemen and such, they owned and operated several schools and the only university in Ethiopia), although it was done by the hands of the natives. Solomon Ben Ilya, a famous Jewish rabbi and intelectual, came to power and declared himself king of Ehtiopia in 1775.

Jewish rule

Solomon Ben Ilya wanted to make Ethiopia a modern country and started a modernisation campaign. As a Jew he was helped by then independent Judea and Jews of Yemen. However, he adhered Jewish faith and tried to implement it strongly; by building synagogues, teaching Jewish faith and denouncing Christ as messiah in newly built schools. Although some natives really were converted, the word of such happenings reached Europe, which wasn't happy at all by these developments and sent missionaires to Ethiopia. These missionaires were Christian and both spread the word of Christ and were turning people against the government.

In 1777 Ethiopia invaded Afar and reconquered territories lost in war a few years ago; by then it was probably not as much due to the modernisation of army as because of the fact that king of Afar was incapable to rule the newly conquered territories well enough and thus his state succumbed into disturbances.

The army however really was modernised over the time; new technologies were aquired and capable people, mostly Jews from foreign countries, were hired as generals. Solomon Ben Ilya wanted to estabilish a large Jewish state comprising of Ethiopia, Yemen, Judea and perhaps some more lands inbetween, and then he hoped for Jews from Europe to come back here.

Therefore the next war was to go towards the coast of Red Sea, where tribalist rule of tribes, usually paying tributes to the Ottoman Empire, were present, as well as the state of Tigray. Due to modernised army, Ethiopia successfully gained entry to the Red Sea and thus successfully made connections to Yemen possible in the 1781. Due to the Ottoman incursions into Himyar, Jewish kingdom in Yemen, Solomon Ben Ilya succeeded to unify both kingdoms under the name of Israel (after ancient Jewish state). King of Himyar, despite of not wanting to give actual power to Solomon Ben Ilya, had to do it as otherwise Himyar would have fell under the Ottoman rule.

Ottomans seen the emerging Ethiopia as a threat. In 1782, the Ottoman-Israeli war started when Ottomans used the pretext of Israeli invasion to the lands on the Red Sea coast. Israel however knew in advance that Ottomans would attack, as Jews from elsewhere would give information to Israeli government. They retreated the army and fortified and at first Ottomans managed to retake the Red Sea coast and eastern Ethiopia as well as Northern Yemen. However, then Israeli armies surrounded larger but less modern Ottoman armies and managed to take the upper hand, especially in Africa. Israeli troops overtook Nubia, nearly doubling size of Israel. Israeli troops would have probably went further and attempt to reach Judea in order to unify with it, however Portuguese, who had estabilished a few colonies in coastal Somalia (a nearby Islamic state, a leftover of Muslim conquests) and had good relations with it's kings, with the support of other European powers started to prepare for striking Israel on another front from the west. Hence a peace treaty was signed with the Ottomans, in which Israel gave back many of the conquered lands.

In 1793 an ultimatum was presented to Israel to stop the judainisation of the area. After few missionaires were arrested and sentenced to death by Israel, this created an outcry in Europe and Portuguese invaded, starting the Anti-Israeli war. This war was long and many people have died; for Europeans it was hard to fight due to large distance and Israel was supported by the Jewish diaspora. Diseases and uncooperative locals used to take their toll on both sides.

Due to the actions of missionaires, the Jewish government was very unpopular among the non-Jewish locals too. During the French revolution, the French, expecting to bring the Ethiopia closer to themselves rather than other Europe, sent people there, who mostly tried to start a quick overthrow of Ben Ilya's regime before the state was occupied by European forces. That happened at the turn of the century. The Republic of Ethiopia was estabilished. Yemen became independent but was ceded to Portuguese sphere of influence officially, while French themselves estabilished a port colony at the red sea called French Ethiopia. Some lands of eastern Ethiopia were ceded to Somalia, which was in Portuguese sphere of influence. Republic of Ethiopia itself was to be considered a French sphere of influence.

Ethiopian Empire

These times are usually considered to be the golden age of Ethiopia. Many Jews however ran off the country to Yemen, Judea and elsewhere after the change of government, and as it turned out, not reasonlessly, as the new government persecuted Jews blaming them for endless wars, supporting of kings at first and then using locals as slave soldiers, etc. Virtually all Jews were killed or exiled from Ethiopia. Jewish wealth was redistributed. The new government had close ties with France.

After the raise of Napoleon in France, similar thing happened in Ethiopia, when the ruler declared himself to be Emperor Abede I and declared Ethiopia an empire. Abede I was a capable ruler, he himself was born in Ethiopia, but then joined crew of French ship and thus visited many place in the world; he came back as a missionary to Ethiopia and later led the coup against Ben Ilya. he tried to estabilish a modern Christian state, and former Ben Ilya's policies of modernisation, as well as fundamental support of people, helped that. The Jewish education was changed by Christian one - this scheme was financially supported by the French. New Christian schools were established in villages, supposedly to dejudaise country, a goal supported by Europeans; they actually helped to teach people writting and other things too however.

The Ethiopian Empire wisely used the French support; at first France thought that Ethiopia would be "peacefully colonised" with time, however that was not on Abede's plans and he used a good time when Napoleonic wars were in Europe, Louisiane secceded and France was unable to do much about it due to wars. Then Ethiopia drifted away from France. It invaded and overtook the French Ethiopia and due to not having any other colonies nearby and being involved in the war in Europe, French did not manage to attack Ethiopia then.

The educated black Africans from elsewhere seen Ethiopia very positively. This was used as propagands n Ethiopia itself. Eventually, Ethiopia led several invasions westwards and overtook Cordofania, western Nubia, southern Sudan. The resistance was scarce and the local armies were weak and not modern compared to Ethiopian one, and way less fanatic.

Abede seen himself as liberator of the lands, he wanted to make a strong empire in whole Africa so that Africa would be able to withstand European colonialism, which was already happened at places of it. He was supported fanatically by Ethiopians, many of whom seen him as a liberator of Ethiopia from Jews, and as well many were grateful for the lands he gave to people (actually, lands taken from Jews).

The education floursihed in country when the university of Ethiopia, Jewish for long, was made Amharic; as the only university, teaching in African language, it was popular among rich blacks from elsewhere too. Abede I tried to invite rich blacks to invest in Ethiopia, however that wasn't as quick as he expected, and removal of Jewish businessmen actually put a strain on economy. Abede blamed Jewish policies, under which blacks didn't needed things as economics and mostly were taught agriculture, for this.

French attempt to retake French Ethiopia was, surprisingly for Europeans, not successful; probably due to it being done too quickly after wars in Europe, as well as due to Ethiopian fanatism in defending the land. This succesfull defensive war increased Abede's popularity furthermore.

Another attempted Abede's imperialist action was overtaking of Maasai (known in Ethiopia as "The borderland") in order to get entry to Indian Ocean. It was not successful however due to fierce resistance of locals and as well Chinese support for them from the Chinese East Africa.

Abede I died in 1840 and his son succeeded him as Abede II. Abede II had somewhat different policies from his father, he was less Christian fundamentalist and as well less against Europeans. Some saw him as a way to get off economic crisis, others saw him as a betrayer of the cause. He officially delimited dipolomatic relations with European powers.

In later 19th century, Chinese started colonisation attempts in neighboring Somalia. The state of Somalia was weak but it's coastline was important in trade with the Far East for Europeans; as well eventually it could have been used for attacking Ethiopia. Thus Ethiopians offered their help and the Caliph of Somalia, loosing war against powers such as China agreed to become a vassal of Ethiopia, in exchange for Ethiopians not trying to impose Christianity on this Islamic country.

After this deal, Ethiopia helped to repell Chinese from Somalia. Territory of Ethiopia nearly doubled and now it had a long coastline, however its relations with European powers were absolutely strained, and it was only a question of time when major colonial powers would partitionate Ethiopia. To avoid this, the Treaty of Friendship was signed with Ottoman Empire, which was meant to detter colonialists from areas of both Empires (and as well ceded all the areas, which were in past part of Ottoman Empire, back to Ottoman rule). Some educated blacks, who were mostly Christian, from elsewhere started to see Abede II as a traitor of Abede I's ideal of one Christian state in whole Africa; however if not these deals, Ethiopia would probably have ceased to exist.

Abede II as well regulated relations with France. Ethiopia signed a deal with France under which it had to pay reparations for annexed French Ethiopia and as well had to allow French ships to use its ports. This made the French not to join the war against Ethiopia, and, in fact, silently even supported Ethipopians. It also made Abede II to be seen as traitor by some however.

Ethiopians and Ottomans invaded and partitioned Yemen, with Turks getting the northern part and Ethiopians - the southern. Abede II seen it as a possible way out of financial troubles, but that didn't happen; Jews in the world started to lobby for actions against Ethiopia however.

After Abede II died (actually, he was poisoned), his grandson Abede III took power. He had to face economic problems, which were unsolved during rule of Abede I and Abede II and now led Ethiopia to starving. He decided to take a new approach and rent port cities of Somalia for the European powers. This generated a flow of money for Ethiopia, however was seen negatively by some of it's people and triggered uprisings in Somalia. Due to the disturbances and economical reasos major emmigration happened from Ethiopia.

Abede IV was a more capable leader than Abede III, he ruled in early 20th century. He seen Abede I as his ideal and wanted to rebuild now already damaged Ethiopian Empire. He used First Great War to cancel the leases of Europeans, originally signed for 99 years, and seize their ships in ports. As well, he, under slogan "now or never" tried to do the African liberation and went westwards to French lands. However, he failed, by the time Ethiopian army was backwards already compared to European ones due to mismanagement and economical troubles, and even udner First Great War going on, Ethiopia lost the war and had to sign separational peace after Abede IV was arrested in battle (he led his troops to battles himself). This peace treaty ceded all the coastal lands for Europeans "forever" and without any lease money to be paid. Ethiopia had only a few coastal lands, at the Red Sea, left. As well, Ethiopia was made to pay large reparations for the winners of the war, and as well for Jewish states.

Map of Ethiopia during the interwar period

During the interwar, resentment against Europeans, who lived richly in these port towns using Ethiopians as bad-paid labour, was growing in Ethiopia. Hence Ethiopians joined German-Chinese side in Second Great War and immidietly retook all the European-controlled cities (the war was known as the Liberation War), later invaded Buganda, a Slavic-controlled state at the time, and supported Chinese invasion of Pakštija. Later Ethiopians went northwards to Egypt, trying to get control of the canal, and westwards to Azande. While Germans were taking an upper hand in Europe, and Chinese - in Asia, it was good for Ethiopians as Europeans didn't managed to defend their colonies. However later the fortunes changed and Ethiopia lost war. It surrendered after first usages of nuclear bombs against the Chinese.

Ethiopia and its allies in the December of 1945

After the war, all the lands occupied during it were given back to their original owners, except for northern and eastern Buganda (as Europeans didn't want these lands to join Buganda, which might have became pro-Chinese state). Cordofania also was ceded to France, while Nubia was made a condominium with Egypt, as a compensation for Egypt for damage done by Ethiopia during the war. Yemen was also made independent as a Jewish state again. In Ethiopia, Emperor was sentenced to death and the state was made Confederation of Ethiopia, made of almost independent smaller regions (states) according to linguistic lines, while Somalia, which would have been the largest state, was separated along the clan lines. New governments were chosen, which allowed western companies to exploit local resources. This confederation solution was a compromise between ideas of Panethiopism (wish for single Ethiopia) and seccessionism (wish for independent nation states), which were both strong at most of nationalities.

Confederation of Ethiopia

After the Second Great War the victoriuos countries chosen new governments for each state of Ethiopia; usually some loyal local leader would be chosen as monarch. In order to fully oversee the developments in Ethiopia and surrounding countries, some foreign military bases were estabilished. Western companies started dominating in local market, as many of the Ethiopian companies were destroyed by war (and as well some were destroyed afterwards due to the fact that some used a labour similarly to that of slavery (from the occupied territories) during the war).

Trials of war criminals also were done. However, by many locals they, as well as all the other western actions, were seen as a form of colonialism over Ethiopia. As Ethiopia was for all the time a fully independent nation, protests quickly arose.

Some people seen the new governments as doing treason (despite of the fact that many of the new leaders were chosen from the actually powerful families, who had power before the Second Great War as well). Therefore, in some states of Ethiopia coups happened, and new governments were overthrown by various tribal and military leaders, who declared themselves to be monrachs (or, in some cases, declared their states to be republics). Most of such dictatorships immidietly reversed the political actions and stopped the permittance for western companies to work, stopped cooperating with war trial and in a few cases even nationalised property of westerners (as Ethiopia was a confederation, central government had lack of power to prevent such things).

By this time European countries understood that something has to be done. They, however, understandably did not want a military action in Africa, as it at the time of decolonisation wouldn't do any good, would be costly and many people would die. Therefore a new plan was created, called "The Ethiopian Plan". Under it the western countries (so-called "Ethiopian comitee") agreed to support the remaining monarch families with money and resources, as well, agreed to buy a certain ammount of the commoditie sthey manufactore each year. It was also agreed to allow the states not to pay back the money which was lent to them after Second Great War.

Those Ethiopian states where revolutions had happened previously considered the states signing such deals to be traitors and called for an "All-Ethiopian revolution" and "Ethiopian unification" (that is, centralisation). However due to different political agendas and not agreeing how the centralised Ethiopia should be ruled, these dictatorships had not that much influence. The so-called Free Ethiopia, which was planned to be a centralised union of some of the states and a platzdarm in controlling whole Ethiopia, wasn't estabilished also do to the fact that many of the dictators imagined himself to be ruling this country and did not wanted to share power with the others.

However, during the 60s disturbances happened in some of the states of Ethiopia still ruled by original monarchs (reffered to by themselves as "legitimate monarchies" and by dictators as "puppet monarchies"). Western countries used to sell weaponry for Ethiopian countries where revolutions did not happen, but they did not intervene themselves. This created some controversy, as even in some states controlled by dictators (reffered to by the "legitimate monarchies" as "the usurpers", and by themselves as "independent monarchies") there were western military bases; they, however, although always being populated by soldiers, weren't used against governments of those states.

Some people as well wanted the original royal family to be reinstated; such wishes, due to the person's, who would become ruler in case the family would be permitted to rule again, views against the "independent monarchies" (he believed that no Ethiopian blood had to be shed for these revolutions and considered the new monarchs to have done it because of greed rather than real patriotism), people who supported them seen it as unacceptable solution. People, who supported the "legitimate monarchies" as well did not seen the return of emperor to be acceptable, because the imperial status was seen to have been the reason for Ethiopia's high looses during the war, as well the western countries' governments were against this. However, with the non-ending local wars and disturbances, as well with the death of the former emperor (and thus a new person, who would be crowned in case the royal family returned), the returning of orginal family to power became more and more popular among "legitimate monarchies", as possibly the only possible compromise to form a more centralised government without raising an unsolvable question on who of the monarchs would rule that government.

Islamic Revolution happened in northern Somalia in 1973, when rule of Caliph (actually, leader of Ishaak clan) was reinstated and the Ishaak state renamed to name of Caliphate of Somalia, albeit staying in the confederation officially. 70s continued to be a turbulent time in general, with the disparity of living standarts among different states increasing; Amhara, Rashaida, Afar and some others were among the richest ones; they were still backwards by western standarts, but not hopeless; while in some southern states starving developed. Civil order also detarioriated there, leading to civil war in some states.

Such developments made the richer states to worry, as disturbances in the other states could have easily spred across borders, as happened with terrorist attacks in Amhara in mid 70s. Then totalytarian state of Tigray invaded a coastal state of Rashaida, officially this was the first step into the unification of Ethiopia. Without strong central government, it was impossible to do anything.

Meanwhile in the east the Caliphate of Somalia was joined by other Somali states too; due to disagreements among clans who should be Caliph the Caliph was not instated, but instead he was changed by Council of Emirs; one Emir would be delegated from each clan (and former calpih became one of emirs). Although previously Somali clans were disintegrated, by the 70s they became more united due to Islamic fundamentalism which was on rise, might be due to pressure of Christian Ethiopia (as leaders of confederation and those advocating for creation of a more centralised state used to advocate for estabilishing Christianity as a state religion).

In the 80s first real steps were made towards creation of federation instead of confederation. Most of the "legitimate monarchy" states of Ethiopia created Ethiopian Defense Force due to disturbances in some states; it was basically an unified army (as previosly each state had its own army). This unified force was supported by other countries too as it was seen as essential for peacekeeping, and eventually states participating in these deals became more stable. Some of the authoritarian and totalytarian states as well expressed their will to join the federation. However, they did not want to step down as leaders of their states. At first democratic states were reluctant to admit them into the federation, but after bloody civil war in Gambella negotiations started.

In 1988 the treaty for estabilishemnt of the Federation of Ethiopia was signed and the heir of former Ethiopian emperors' family became a monarch of it; however, this government had more limited powers over the totalytarian states, where their rulers remained. This deal was criticised by western countries, however Ethiopians seen it as essential to their defense that all countries would be unified.

Only Somalia did not participate in any of these deals; after treaty of federation was signed, the Caliphate of Somalia officially declared independence, but this was not recognised. This was done due to relatively high powers of central government and Somali fear of overruling its decitions. This was influenced by the past, when Somali became vassal of Ethiopia and Ethiopia rented Somali ports for foreign powers. In 1989 Caliph was put to power; this was the grandson of pre-great war Caliph, who, unlike his father, was also very popular among muslims. This decition helped to calm down "monarchists", who were previously doing terror acts trying to move the Caliph back to power. By the orders of new Caliph Somalians attacked and overtaken some lands of Oromia state and as well as whole Issa state, which was controlled by "legitimate monarchy" and speaking Somali language, but not part of Somalia prior to this. This was arguemented by recreating the historical Caliphate of Somalia.

This raised tensions in the area; however both actions were done with political reasons, such as Oromia at the time being in anarchy, and people of Issa protesting against government which was supposedly elected by denying some muslims rights to vote (the situation of Issa was also source of propaganda for Somalians against Ethiopia). Therefore, due to inner problems Ethiopia decided not to intervene.

In the 90s stabilisation in Ethiopia increased; two of formerly "independent monarchy" states experienced revolutions after whcih, with the help of "legitimate monarchy" Ethiopian states, they were added to teh Federation of Ethiopia. After this however, state of Gambella left the Federation of Ethiopia as its "independent monarch" accused other Ethiopian states to be violating the agreement reached when establishing the federation not to interfere in the inner political affairs of each state. Gambella was a small state however and after it did not influence Ethiopia much.

Currently the economy of Ethiopia is growing and it is considered to be the best country at using foreign aid. It is already a definite regional leader.

Politics

Ethiopia is currently officially a confederation made of a bunch of nation-states. Western states, however, signed a deal for the creation of Ethiopian Federation, with a more powerful central government - this happened due to disturbances in some of the regions in the recent history; the states of Ethiopia feels that in case there would be a stronger central government, such disturbances could be prevented by actions of other member-states of the federation. Somalia, however, being the largest state in Ethiopia and also a non-Christian one, did not sign this treaty; it accused the western Ethiopian states of trying to impose their rule over Somalia if such federation would be created. Somalia, therefore, has declared independence and is de facto independent. Other countries however does not recognise the Somalian independence (such independence would most likely immidietly start a border dispute between Somalia and Ethiopia) and tries to start negotiations for the solution of current situation.

Among main political issues are protests of state of Oromia to central government about Somali occupied parts of the state; as well terrorism in some places, such as guerilla attacks by former dictators of states. However, in general situation is improving; tourism is on rise also and is expected to become an important section of economy. Infrastructure is being expanded, especially in the north.

Administrational division

Ethiopian Confederation is officially divided into states, which has much of self rule according to law; some of the states however agreed on forming a closer knit Federation, while others broke away as Caliphate of Somalia; some of the states are de faco ruled by others (usually militarily occupied) and some are not drwn exactly with the ethnic boundaries and hence creates disturbances. The Federation tries to redraw some of the boundaries so that the states would become more viable. Due to various very small nations having very small and economically unviable states, and some small nations not having states and therefore feeling persecuted, it is proposed that generally smaller states would be combined into one, while they would be partitioned into "counties" and each county would be able to have a degree of authonomy such as official language.

This page was created by Abdul-aziz.
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