Map of geographical changes
in Eritrea here
Map of geographical changes
in Ethiopia and Djibouti here
Demography of Eritrea
Demography of Ethiopia
4 November 2020, Insurrection broke out in Tigray Province. The TPLF
(Tigray People�s :Liberation Front) accused Eritrea of assisting Ethiopian
forces in the conflict; Eritrea fought a border war with Ethiopia when the TPLF
dominated the Ethiopian Govermment. From 2018 President Abiy had reduced TPLF
influence over central Government, and the flashpoint for this was was the
postponement of regional elections by Addis Ababa, on the grounds of the Covid
Sanctions against Eritrea ended (see 12/2009).
Ethiopia and the separatist Ogaden National Liberation Front reached an
agreement. This ended a 34-year struggle.
Ethioipia and Eritrea formally ended their State of War.
4/2018, Abiy Ahmed,
ethnic Oromo, became leader of the rulimng EPRDF (Ethiopian People's
Revolutionary Democratic Front), and began reforms. In 5/2018 thousands of
Ethiopian political prisoners were released, and the State of Emergency was
anti-Government protests in Ethiopia; State of Emergency proclaimed.
and Djibouti settled their border dispute.
sanctions imposed on Eritrea for its support of Islamic rebels in Somalia. See
clash between Eritrea and Djibouti over the disputed Ras Doumeira area.
2007, Ethiopia sent troops into Somalia to fight Islamist
forces there. Eritrea pulled out of IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on
Development) as IGAD backed the Ethiopian intervention in Somalia.
2006, The UN accused Eritrea of sending arms to a rival�
Islamist administration in Somalia, whose interim government was meanwhile being sent arms by Ethiopia.
25 April 2005, The last piece of the Obelisk
of Axum, looted by the Italian Army in 1937, was returned to Ethiopia.
3/2004, Ethiopia began resettling people away from the over-farmed and
2003, A UN boundary commission awarded the Badme
region to Eritrea; Ethiopia refused to accept this.
2001, Ethiopia withdrew its forces
from Eritrea, but refused to accept the boundary commission�s decision on the
6 January 1999, Four days of border fighting began between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
11 June 1998, The UN officially declared a famine in Ethiopia, as one million faced
6 May 1998, Tensions between Eritrea and Ethiopia escalated into a border
war. The issue was sovereignty over a small
area around the border towns of Badame and Sheraro; 70,000 died in the conflict across both sides.
1994, A new Ethiopian Constitution divided the country into ethnically-based
May 1993, Eritrea became independent. from Ethiopia, after 32 years of
war between them. In 1961, to gain
Ethiopia as an ally against the Soviets, Western powers had insisted on a
federation of Ethiopia with Eritrea, although Eritrea was supposed to retain
its own government, Shortly afterwards, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie
annexed Eritrea as a mere province. However
in 1974 Haile Selassie was deposed and the country became pro-Soviet. In
1991,with Soviet support ended, Eritrean rebels were making headway and they
managed to capture the Eritrean capital, Asmara, in 5/1991. A referendum on
independence in Eritrea produced a majority of 99.81% in favour.
April 1993. The Ethiopian province of
Eritrea voted overwhelmingly for independence.
1991, The EPLF (Eritrean Popular
Liberation Front) took the Eritrean capital, Asmara.
Communism and rule of Colonel
22 May 1991, Ethiopian President Mengistu Haile Mariam
escaped to Zimbabwe
as rebel forces closed in on the capital, Addis Ababa. The EPLF
took the Eritrean
capital, Asmara. With massive spending on Soviet armaments to put down
rebellions in Eritrea, Tigray and Oromo provinces, agriculture was starved of
cash and the country went from being 40% forested to almost tree-less and
22 March 1991. Millions of people were threatened
and civil war in Ethiopia.
EPLF took the port of Massawa.
3 April 1988. Ethiopia and Somalia concluded a peace agreement,
ending 11 years of border conflict.
1987, The EPLF refused an offer of
autonomy for Eritrea, and fighting intensified.
1987, Mengistu was re-elected
President under a new Constitution.
31 May 1985. 500,000 tons of food had been delivered to
alleviate a severe famine in Ethiopia, as millions starved.
14 December 1984, A group of rock stars led by Bob Geldof
Aid� to raise money for Ethiopian famine victims.
25 November 1984, Bob Geldof and other rock stars recorded �Do They Know
It�s Christmas� for the Band Aid famine relief initiative in Ethiopia. All
proceeds from sales of the songs would go towards famine relief. The famine
killed one million Ethiopians.
4 November 1984, British Air Force began food airlift to
famine-struck province of Tigre, Ethiopia.
24 October 1984, The Ethiopian Government appealed for
Western food aid to save an estimated 6.4 million from starvation.
Major campaign by Ethiopia against Eritrean secessionists, the �Red Star Campaign�; however Ethiopian
forces suffered severe casualties.
30 June 1978, Ethiopia began a major offensive in Eritrea.
9 March 1978, Somalia left Ethiopian territory, so ending the
5 March 1978. Ethiopian forces, backed by Russia and Cuba, completely retook the
region of Ogaden seized by Somalia in September 1977.
21 January 1978, Ethiopian forces began expelling Somali
forces from the Ogaden, see 23 July 1977 and 5 March 1978.
1977, Colonel Mengistu�s �Red Terror� campaign began. Thousands
of po;litical dissidents died, and agriculture was forcibly collectivised.
Tigray began fighting for independence, led by the TPLF (Tigrayan People�s Liberation Front).
3 February 1977, Colonel Mengistu Haile Maram became leader of
Ethiopia after killing 8 other members of the ruling council.
27 August 1975. Haile Selassie, deposed Emperor of Ethiopia,
nicknamed �the Lion of Judah�, died in exile. He was the claimed 225th
descendant of the legendary son born to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba,
said to be the forst pof the Royal line of Ethiopia. In 1916 he had become Ras (Prince)
Tafari, and in 1930 became Emperor of Ethiopia. He was seen as the Messiah� by Rastafarians, who saw Ethiopia as the
Promised Land. He was exiled to England during
the Italian occupation of Ethiopia, 1935-39, but
returned to Ethiopia in 1941. He helped found the Organisation for African
Unity (OAU) but faced considerable opposition within Ethiopia and was deposed
21 March 1975, Ethiopia
abolished the monarchy, and became a Socialist
20 December 1974, The new
Ethioipian regime declared its ssocialist principles.
23 November 1974, In
Ethiopia, 60 Government officials were executed.
12 September 1974. In Ethiopia,
President Haile Selassie was deposed by leaders of the armed forces.
He was taken to prison where he died in 1975. A famine in 1972 in which 200,000
Ethiopians died had exposed the organisational inadequacies of the Ethiopian
Government. From early 1974 Ethiopia saw strikes, army mutinies, demonstrations
by students and peasants revolts. In June 1974 a committee of junior army
officers was formed, known as the Derg (Amhharic for �committee�), and it was
this body who overthrew the President. Unfortunately rule by the Derg proved
more autocratic and oppressive than under Haile Selassie.
27 August 1974, The ruling Armed Forces Committee in Ethiopia
Haile Selassie not to leave the capital.
17 August 1974, The Commander of Haile Selassie�s bodyguard was
arrested by the Ethiopian Army.
2 July 1974, In Ethiopia, Prince Eskinder Desta, grandson of Haile Selassie,
was arrested by the Army.
7 March 1974, Following a strike by Ethiopian Trades Unions for better
pay and conditions, Emperor Haile Selassie drove to Addis Ababa
market place and personally handed out money to the poor. However this did not
halt political pressure building against him.
1973, A severe famine began in Wallo
Province, Ethiopia; 200,000 people died.
1970, The ELF split on ideological
grounds, and the EPLF (Eritrean Popular Liberation Front) was formed, and
aimed at creating a �social revolution�.
Eritrea with Ethiopia; start of independence struggle by Eritrea
1967, Full scale guerrilla warfare in
Eritrea waged by ELF.
14 November 1962, Emperor Haile
the autonomous status of Eritrea, fully incorporated the region into
Ethiopia as merely another province, This provoked a fierce struggle for Eritrean independence, led by the ELF.
1958, The ELF (Eritrean Liberation Front)
was formed, to gain independence for Eritrea.
15 September 1952. Eritrea, having previously been under
British rule since the defeat of the Italians there in 1940, was transferred as
an autonomous region to the rule of Ethiopia. This Federation was
consequrnt upon a Unted Nations General Assembly vote.
2 December 1950, The UN voted
for the unification of Eritrea with Ethiopia.
1945, Post World War Two, Britain now administered Eritrea as a UN Trust Territory.
1943, Rebellion in Tigre (the Woyane, or uprising). Tigre resented having
lost influence to the South. The Woyane was suppressed with the help of the
British RAF bombing the rebels.
May 1941, British forces expelled the
Italians and restored Haile Selassie. Selassie
set up a constitution, Parliament and Cabinet, but in practice ruled as an
absolute feudal monarch.
Second Italian invasion of Abyssinia
25 February 1937, In Abyssinia, Italy executed \Ras Desta Demti, son in law of exiled leader Haile Selassie.
19 February 1937, Italian forces pillaged Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia.
3 June 1936,
Emperor Haile Selassie arrived in London in exile, after
the Italian invasion.
9 May 1936.
Italy annexed Abyssinia (now Ethiopia), having completed the invasion begun on
3 October 1935.
6 May 1936, Marshal Pietro
Badoglio nominated Giuseppe Bottai as the first Italian Governor
of Addis Ababa.
5 May 1936. The Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa fell to Italian troops under General Badoglio.�
The League of Nations had signally failed in its efforts to prevent the
2 May 1936, Ethiopian
Emperor Haile Selassie fled
Addis Ababa as Italian troops closed in, bombing Ethiopian villages with
mustard gas. 100,000 Italian troops under Mussolini began an invasion of Ethiopia in October 1935, in revenge for an
Ethiopian defeat of Italian forces at Adawa in 1896. Ethiopia has asked the
League of Nations to apply sanctions to Italy but the UK and France wavered on
denying oil to Italy; the League of Nations lost all credibility.
31 March 1936,
Haile Selassie, Ethiopian Emperor, made a determined last
attack against the invading Italians at the Battle of Mai Ceu. However the
Italian lines held and Abyssinian forces were forced to retreat, under fire
from Italian aircraft.
10 February 1936, Major offensive by the Italians in Ethiopia. Up to this point the
mountainous terrain had favoured the Ethiopian defenders against the superior
Italian military equipment, and monopoly of tanks and aircraft, and Italian use
of mustard gas. However the Italians now shattered the Ethiopian Army and by
mid-March 1936 held all of northern Abyssinia (Ethiopia).
18 November 1935. The League
of Nations imposed sanctions on Italy, because of its invasion of
Ethiopia.� The sanctions ended on 15 July
8 November 1935. The Italians completed the invasion of
Tigre Province, Ethiopia, occupying the capital, Makale. Both France and
Britain could have opposed the invasion by closing the Suez Canal. However
France was bound by treaty to Italy not to oppose the invasion, and Britain did
not wish to drive Mussolini into the arms of
Hitler. Events in Ethiopia seemed largely
irrelevant to many Britons, although some saw ominous warnings in the invasion
of a poor African country by a well-armed European state.
19 October 1935. Sanctions
were imposed on Italy by the League of Nations.
17 November 1935, Pietro Badoglio
De Bono as commander of Italian forces in East Africa.
7 October 1935, Adowa,
Ethiopia, fell to the Italians after minimal resistance.
2 October 1935. The Italian army invaded Abyssinia (Ethiopia) after Mussolini�s
forces pounded border towns. See 9 May 1936, and 5 December 1934.
25 August 1935.
Ethiopia was put on a war footing in anticipation of an Italian invasion. Mussolini
did invade Ethiopia on 2 October 1935.
25 July 1935,
The UK Government banned arms sales to both Italy and Abyssinia as war tensions
rose in eastern Africa.
26 June 1935,
A 3-day meeting in Rome between British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and
Mussolini ended. Britain was now concerned that Italy should not invade
Ethiopia. Eden proposed that in exchange for Ethiopia ceding the Ogaden region
to Italy, Italy would hand over the Gulf of Aden port of Zeila to Ethiopia, and
a corridor of land connecting it to Ethiopia. Mussolini completely rejected
18 May 1935,
Serfdom was abolished in Ethiopia.
17 March 1935,
Abyssinia appealed to the League of Nations a second time for mediation over
the threat to it from Italy. However by now the League was more preoccupied
with the threat from Germany.
23 February 1935. Italian troops set sail for Ethiopia as the border dispute over the
Italian post at Wal-Wal inside Ethiopia escalated.
15 January 1935.
united Eritrea and Somaliland as Italian East Africa.
3 January 1935,
Abyssinia demanded international arbitration between itself and Italy, and
appealed to the League of Nations. Italy appeared to agree to this arbitration
but meanwhile strengthened its garrison in Eritrea.
30 December 1934, Mussolini
ordered his forces to prepare for a full attack on Abyssinia, scheduled to
begin in autumn 1935 after the rainy season had ended.��
5 December 1934. Italy and Ethiopia clashed on
the Somaliland border.� At the oasis of
Walwal, 100 Ethiopians were killed by an Italian Expeditionary Force, which had
penetrated some 50 miles beyond the borders of Italian Somaliland; the Italians
suffered some 50 casualties.� Mussolini wanted to establish an Italian east
African Empire, consisting of Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia, and to avenge the
defeat of the Italians by the Ethiopian Emperor
Menelik in March 1896.� See 2
2 November 1930. Ras (Duke) Tafari was
crowned Haile Selassie (Might of the Trinity), Emperor of Ethiopia. At this time, the only
African countries with Black rulers were Ethiopia and Liberia.
April 1930. Ras Tafari became
Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. He ruled the country for 44 years.
2 April 1930, Zauditu, Empress
of Ethiopia, died.
2 August 1928, Italy
signed a 20 year treaty of friendship with Ethiopia.
28 September 1923. Ethiopia joined the League of Nations.
27 July 1914, Amha Selassie, last Emperor of Ethiopia, was
born in Harar, Ethiopia (died 1997)
December 1913, Menelik II, Emperor of Ethiopia,
died. His son, Lij
Iyasu, was deposed for converting to Islam, also for attempting an alliance
daughter, Zauditu, became Empress with Ras
Tafari as Regent.
July 1906, Ethiopia, although
nominally independent, was divided up into British, French and Italian zones of
June 1906, Britain, France and Italy guaranteed the independence of
May 1902, Britain and Abyssinia
signed a Treaty defining the frontier between Abyssinia and Sudan. Abyssinia
also agreed to allow Britain to construct a railway through its territory
connecting Sudan and Uganda.
February 1902, France agreed with
Ethiopia to finance a railway from Djibouti to Addis Ababa. Britain and Italy
November 1901, Britain and Italy
agreed a frontier between Eritrea and the Sudan.
December 1900, Britain, France and
Italy signed an agreement to preserve, in Ethiopia, the integrity of the
ancient empire of Abyssinia.
January 1900, A French-Italian
convention formally settled the border between French Somaliland and the
Italian colonies at Raheita, Eritrea.
May 1897, Britain and Abyssinia
concluded a Treaty of Friendship.
First Italian invasion
6 October 1896, The Treaty of
Addis Ababa ended the Ethiopian War. Italy agreed to withdraw its plans for an
1 March 1896. An Italian force invading Tigre
in Ethiopia was crushed by British and Ethiopian
forces under Menelik at the Battle of Adowa. 100,00 Ethiopians
slaughtered 7,000 Italians.
The war was essentially unnecessary for
Italy; facing economic depression and anarchy at home, Crispi, the Italian Prime Minister, decided on a �cheap foreign war�. General Baratieri took command of an army of 16,000, and recklessly provoked Ethiopia by
occupying northern Tigre. He then lingered there for a year giving the
Ethiopians time to muster a large army. Menelik finally
lured the Italians into a fight, but the battle was chaotic. Italian orders
were misunderstood and brigades became separated, allowing the Ethiopians to
cut them down one by one. This defeat ensured that Ethiopia remained
independent for another forty years, until avenged by Mussolini.
15 January 1895, Italian forces defeated the
Ethiopians at Senafe, following an Italian victory (13 January 1895) at Koatit.
However later in the year the Italian Army pushed too far south,and, lacking
support, was defeated at Amba Alagi (7 December 1895) and then at Macalle (23
17 July 1894, Italian forces under Colonel
21 December 1893, Italian forces under Colonel
23 July 1892. Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, was born
in Harar Province, as Tafari Makonnen. When the Italians invaded in
1936 he went into exile but resumed full authority after Ethiopia was liberated
1 January 1890, The Kingdom
of Italy officially proclaimed the colony of �Eritrea� in Africa. It was named
after the Roman
1889, Addia Ababa was designated as the capital of
2 May 1889, Menelik II,
Emperor of Ethiopia, signed what he saw as a treaty of friendship with Italy
(Italy saw it as Ethiopia accepting a protectorate), giving Italy full control
over the territory of Eritrea.
4/1888, Italy sent 20,000 troops to what they now called
their colony of Eritrea. Fighting with the Ethiopian Army was averted by
negotiations, and Italy retired, leaving 5,000 troops stationed in the region.
25 January 1887, War broke
out between Ethiopia and Italy. The Ethiopians routed an Italian army at
5 February 1885, An Italian
force occupied the former Egyptian garrison at Massawa, the Egyptians having
withdrawn in 1884 due to the Mahdi Rebellion. Britain signalled its concent to
6 January 1885, Italian
forces, with British support, consolidated their positions around Massawa,
Eritrea, and began to penetrate into the Abyssinian Highlands.
29 April 1876, Empress Zauditu
of Ethiopia was born.
12 January 1872, Yohannas IV
(Tigrayan chieftain)� was crowned
King of Ethiopia. The Tigrayan region briefly regained its cultural dominance
(see 1770s). Under Yohannas IV�s successor, Menelik II, from 1889, the south
became supreme once more.
3/1870, An Italian company bought the port of Assab (now
Eritrea) from Sultan
Berehan of Raheita for �1,880. This port was then bought out by the
Italian Government in 1882, after the port company had acquired more land in
1879-80.� Italy then occupied the port of
Beilul to the north in 1885 and in the same year took over Massawa from
Egypt.� This expansionist policy, and free imports of Italian goods, caused a
deterioration in relations between Italy and Ethiopia. Egypt, Turkey and India were also concerned about
the new Italian presence in Assab, although Britain was willing to tolerate an
Italian commercial (but not political) presence there.
April 1868, Magdala, Abyssinia, was finally taken by the British. Theodore�
Kassai (1816-68), Emperor of Abyssinia from 1855, was shot
April 1868, Britian took military
action against Abyssinia following mistreatment and detention of British
missionaries and traders. Tewoderos II, Emperor of Ethiopia, committed
suicide before the British reached his capital at Magdala, and freed thye
British captives. The Ethioipian State now collapsed.
February 1855, Kassa Hailu
(1816-68) crowned as Tewodros II, Emperor of Ethiopia. He was a
local chieftain who had grown powerful through conquests. He rule was
benevolent and capable at first but he became erratic and iunstable in later
years. His nemesis came when he failed to recoieve a reply from Queen Victoria
of Britain to a request he had sent for aid. He the n imprisoned several
british Consular officials at his capital, Magdala. This provoked an attack by
a 32,000 strong Anglo-Indian force under Robert C Napier (1810-90) in 1867.
17 August 1844, Menelik II, Emperor of
Ethiopia, was born.
7 February 1842. Battle of Debre. Ras al Alula, Regent Emperor of Ethiopia,
defeated warlord Wube Haile Maryam of Semien.
� 1850s, Era
of the Princes (Zemene Mesafint); a period of civil war with various regions of Ethiopia
vying for supremacy.� At this time the
previously culturally dominant Tigray area, Axum heartland and origin of
Ethiopia�s National Epic Kebre Negast,
The Chronicle of the Glory of Kings, written by Tigratan monks, began to lose
out to the southern Shoa Amharic region. See 1872.
1753, End of the reign of Iyasu II.
1730, End of the reign of Bakaffa (acceded 1682).
Bacaffa of Ethiopia died; he had
reigned since 1721.
1682, Accession of King Iyasu I of Ethiopia.
Fasilades of Ethiopia died; he had reigned since 1627.
Fasilides founded the Ethiopian capital of Giondar.
1632, Accession of King Fasilidas of Abyssinia; ruled until 1637. He expelled
End of the reign of Sysenius (acceded 1606).
February 1563, Sarsa Dengel succeeded his
(acceded 1559) as Emperor of Ethiopia.
Emperor of Ethiopia 1540-59, died.
2 September 1540, Dawit II, Emperor of Ethiopia, died.
1540, End of the reign of Lebna Dengel
March 1529, At the Battle of Shimbra
Ahmad Ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi defeated the forces of Lebna Dengel, Emperor
of Ethiopia. This Islamic invasion of Ethiopia was repelled in 1543 with Portuguese
August 1468, Death of Ethiopian
Emperor Zara Yaqub.
Yaqub (1399-1468) became King of Ethiopia.
February 1332, Amda Seyon I, Emperor of Ethiopia
began his campaigns in the southern Muslim province.
1270, Overthrow of the Zagwe Dynasty
by Amhara Princes, and start of the Solomonid Dynasty. Accession of King Yekuno Amlak of
Abyssinia; ruled until 1285.
brought to the coast of Eritrea by Arab traders.
Rise of Kingdom of Axum
525, King Kaleb of Axum conquered southern Yemen, and built churches there.
Ca. 350, Death of King Ezana of Axum, reigned ca. 320-350.Axum
was a Greek-influenced
Semitic trading state founded ca. 1 AD. From its port at Adulis it traded
across the Red Sea and by the 3rd C AD controlled Yemen. King Ezana
converted to Christianity;
Axum later became the Christian
Kingdom of Ethiopia.
invaded the Kingdom of Kush.
320, Accession of Aksum
500 BCE, Foundation of the Kingdom of Axum, which later became Ethiopia. End of the reign of King Nastasen
525 BCE, End of the reign of King Harsiotf (ascceded 560).
560 BCE, End of the reign of King Pankharer (acceded 600)
600 BCE, End of the reign of King Asperta (acceded 630).
650 BCE, End of the reign of King Tandamane, son of Tirhaka