Facts About Ethiopian Culture, Geography, and History
Ethiopia is the second most crowded nation in Africa, it's also a history rich nation. Which means there are plenty of awesome facts about this interesting country to talk about.
But we'll only focus on twelve and if you know of some other one that you want to share, hit the comments section.
12. Ethiopia was never colonized
Ethiopia is the main nation within Africa that was never formally colonized; in any case, it needed to overcome Italian forces twice to stay free.
Ethiopia and Russia are the two countries in the world to have never been occupied. This is in large part to amazing unity between the different kings, political and military genius, and finally a national sense of defiance.
11. One of the oldest countries on the planet
Ethiopia is among the most ancient countries on the planet, having been established in 980 B.C. While most African countries are much younger, Ethiopia has been an independent nation since ancient times.
It has been predominantly a monarchical government, that only ended as a result of a coup officially on 12th of September in 1974.
10. Ethiopians celebrate their New Year on September 11
They call it Enkutatash. It is the first day of the new year in Ethiopia, or Meskerem 1, in the Ethiopian calendar. Big celebrations are held throughout the country, most notably at the Ragual Church on the Entoto mountain. With families gathering to share a traditional meal of injera and wat.
You may also like: Best Ethiopian Athletes
9. Ethiopia has more than 80 different dialects
Ethiopia is home to a population that speaks more than 80 different languages (about 88 to be exact, with 2 being extinct). Most people however speak Oromo and Amharic, which together are spoken by about 63% of Ethiopians.
English is the most widely spoken foreign language, so don't worry about getting around on your visit to Ethiopia if you're an English speaker.
8. Considered the first Christian state
Ethiopia is also thought to be the world’s first Christian state. For a long time, Armenia was thought to hold this prestige, however, this claim has recently been challenged by scholars.
The scholars don't assert that Ethiopia was the first country to adopt Christianity as it's state religion, but rather the possibility that Abyssinia (modern-day Ethiopia and Eritrea) was the first Christian nation.
7. Ethiopia is home to great tasting homemade wine
On your visit to Ethiopia, you can also experience the great taste of their homemade wine called Tej made from honey and a shrub – gesho. The recipe and tradition of making it are over 2,000 years old.
Tej is so popular that it is often referred to as the national drink of Ethiopia, cherished by everyone (except Muslim Ethiopians, who eschew alcohol).
Another must read: Best novels about Africa
6. Coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia
According to legend, coffee was accidentally discovered in Ethiopia when a goat herder named Kaldi found his flock running restlessly after eating the red fruit of the coffee plant/shrub. He ended up trying the fruit himself, and found himself experiencing the same effect. The rest, as they say, is history.
5. Ethiopians are the original trainers of donkeys and camels
Donkeys and camels were initially trained in Ethiopia. The people in ancient Ethiopia gave the mule the highest status of all the animals. They are the oldest known people along with the Egyptians to have used animals for the cultivation of land and wheeled transport in the sub-Saharan Africa.
4. Ethiopian Abebe Bikila won the Olympic Marathon, twice
Ethiopian distance runner Abebe Bikila won the gold medal in the Olympic Marathon in 1960, running the race barefoot.
He won the race again in Tokyo four years later, becoming the only individual to win the race twice, setting a world record. That's right, he not only won the Olympic Marathon BAREFOOT, but he set a world record doing it. Way to put us all to shame.
What to read next: Largest Countries In Africa
3. Ethiopians have indigenously written alphabets
Apart from Arabs, Ethiopians are the only people to have indigenously written alphabets in Africa.
Early writing systems had been based on pictographic symbols known as hieroglyphics, which as you can imagine required a lot of educating to remember them all, so for the most part they were limited to small groups of highly trained scribes.
But modern day alphabet types were introduced, and changed out communication forever.
2. The Prophet of Islam, Mohammed (P.B.U.H) found comfort in Ethiopia
Ethiopia was the nation in which Mohammed (the prophet of Islam, P.B.U.H) and his supporters discovered comfort when they were mistreated and persecuted in the Arab peninsula. This is known as the First Migration in Islam and is a very significant event.
1. The oldest human fossil skeleton was found in Ethiopia
The oldest fossil skeleton of a human was found in Ethiopia. It is almost three million years old. Not only is Ethiopia one of the oldest countries in the world, but this discovery of a human fossil skeleton proves that the land has been inhibited by humans for much longer than we can fathom. It was discovered by a graduate student on a hike through Ethiopia's Afar region.
Bet you never knew how awesome Ethiopia was!? We hope you learned something interesting while reading through these fun facts about Ethiopia. Feel free to share them with your Ethiopian friends and family, you never know, they may not know some of these either.
Keep reading: 12 Interesting Facts About Djibouti