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Unique among African countries, the ancient Ethiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule with the exception of a short-lived Italian occupation from 1936-41. In 1974, a military junta, the Derg, deposed Emperor Haile SELASSIE (who had ruled since 1930) and established a socialist state. Torn by bloody coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought, and massive refugee problems, the regime was finally toppled in 1991 by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). A constitution was adopted in 1994, and Ethiopia's first multiparty elections were held in 1995. A border war with Eritrea late in the 1990s ended with a peace treaty in December 2000. In November 2007, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Border Commission(EEBC) issued specific coordinates as virtually demarcating the border and pronounced its work finished. Alleging that the EEBC acted beyond its mandate in issuing the coordinates, Ethiopia has not accepted them and has not withdrawn troops from previously contested areas pronounced by the EEBC as belonging to Eritrea.


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Eastern Africa, west of Somalia

Geographic coordinates
8 00 N, 38 00 E

Map references

Area World Ranking: 27
Total 1,104,300 sq km
Land 1 million sq km
Water 104,300 sq km

Area - comparative
Slightly less than twice the size of Texas

Land boundaries
Total 5,328 km
Border countries
Djibouti 349 km, Eritrea 912 km, Kenya 861 km, Somalia 1,600 km, South Sudan 837 km, Sudan 769 km

0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims
None (landlocked)

Tropical monsoon with wide topographic-induced variation

High plateau with central mountain range divided by Great Rift Valley

Elevation extremes
Lowest point Danakil Depression -125 m
Highest point Ras Dejen 4,533 m

Natural resources
Small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash, natural gas, hydropower

Land use
Arable land 10.01%
Permanent crops 0.65%
Other 89.34% (2005)

Irrigated land
2,900 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources
110 cu km (1987)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Total 5.56 cu km/yr (6%/0%/94%)
Per capita 72 cu m/yr (2002)

Natural hazards
Geologically active Great Rift Valley susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; frequent droughts
Volcanic activity in the Great Rift Valley; Erta Ale (elev. 613 m), which has caused frequent lava flows in recent years, is the country's most active volcano; Dabbahu became active in 2005, causing evacuations; other historically active volcanoes include Alayta, Dalaffilla, Dallol, Dama Ali, Fentale, Kone, Manda Hararo, and Manda-Inakir

Environment - current issues
Deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water shortages in some areas from water-intensive farming and poor management

Environment - international agreements
Party to
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
Signed, but not ratified
Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea

Geography - note
Landlocked - entire coastline along the Red Sea was lost with the de jure independence of Eritrea on 24 May 1993; the Blue Nile, the chief headstream of the Nile by water volume, rises in T'ana Hayk (Lake Tana) in northwest Ethiopia; three major crops are believed to have originated in Ethiopia: coffee, grain sorghum, and castor bean


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  Ethiopia (Addis Ababa):

  GPS points from Ethiopia (Addis Ababa)

Mount Colbo Nationalities And Peoples, The State Of Southern Nations

Benk'o Nationalities And Peoples, The State Of Southern Nations

Mebesh Giyorgis Bete Kristiyan Amhara Regional State

Guglu (et07)

Kabana River Adis Abeba Astedader

Bazura Amhara Regional State

Ebu The State Of Benshangul/gumuz

Luza Amhara Regional State
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