14 Interesting Facts About Ethiopia
Ethiopia has a population of about 90 million and is one of the most populous countries in Africa, as well as being among the ten poorest countries on Earth. The country’s economic prosperity over centuries past was based primarily on agriculture; it remains an important sector alongside industry and services to this day.
Here are the top 10 Interesting facts about Ethiopia
1. Ethiopia is the second-most populous country in Africa
Ethiopia has a population of approximately 97.79 million people (2015). Ethiopia is the second-most populous country in Africa, coming after Nigeria with 186.59 million residents and ahead of Egypt with 84.47 million inhabitants.
2. The oldest continuously inhabited city on Earth
According to UNESCO’s World Heritage Site designation for Qohaito, this ancient Amhara city was founded before recorded history and was the first capital of the Aksumite Kingdom between c250 BC-c1450 AD. It became an important trading center linking Asia and Europe which helped it establish its powerful position as headwaters of caravan routes from India through Arabia via Cairo to Rome until the 1200s when these trade routes were largely supplanted by sea routes.
3. The first African nation to be independent for more than a year
Ethiopia was the only country on the continent that was not colonized until 1936, and it is one of three in Africa never to have been occupied by any European power – along with Liberia and Libya. The Ethiopian Empire reached its height in 1868-1890 during the reigns of Emperor Tewodros II (also known as Theodore IV) and Empress Eugénie Sultana who reigned over an area which covered all or parts of Abyssinia, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Sudan, and Tanzania. At times this included most regions south of Egypt including Uganda up to Khartoum at various points in history.
4. The official language of Ethiopia is Amharic and it’s spoken by about 90% of the population
Amharic is a Semitic language belonging to the Ethiopian Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family. Amharic was once written in Ge’ez script, which became outmoded as it isn’t easy for readers without training in Classical Ethiopic languages or even those with experience but who don’t read Ge’ez regularly.
A vernacular form of English called “Amharin” has emerged among members of Ethiopia’s youth population: This new dialect will be an invaluable tool in connecting young people inside and outside Ethiopia to global culture and discourse via technology. The increasing use of this hybridized version could have important implications not just for how we understand today’s Africa but also for how future generations conceive of the continent.
5. Ethiopians celebrate Christmas on January 7th
Ethiopians celebrate Christmas on January 7th instead of December 25th because they follow the Julian calendar which was established by Julius Caesar in 46 BC.
The Ethiopian calendar is a solar calendar, and it contains 12 months of 30 days each, plus five or six epagomenal days at the end. The Ethiopic New Year begins on September 11th in our Gregorian Calendar.
6. Ethiopian time is different
Ethiopians count the hours of a day in different ways. It’s kind of hard to argue against their logic when they say it is more confusing if you start counting at 12 instead 1 sunrise- which means that sunset would be 12 o’clock and vice versa for night time. This can get tricky when buying bus tickets, so make sure you ask them what type or Ethiopian or Western times are counted on departure date!
7. Abebe Bikila, the first black African to win gold in the Olympics
In 1960 Abebe competed at Rome and only made team selection due to another athlete’s broken foot. He opted for running barefoot with a hot favorite Moroccan Rhadi Ben Abdesselam by 25 seconds. Four years later he won Tokyo Olympic Games setting the world record becoming the first-ever person to win marathons twice! When asked if he wasn’t tired (he didn’t look it) for running 26 miles without shoes on even though it was hot as hell that day – “I could have done with 10 more kilometers!” he said.
8. Africa’s lowest point at 125 meters below sea level is home – the Danakil Depression
The land of Ethiopia is home to many different and interesting sites. One such place in the country’s Danakil Depression, which sits at 125 meters below sea level – making it one of Africa’s lowest points! The depression also has a unique ecosystem as it is positioned on three tectonic plates near the Horn Of Africa: with 25% or all African volcanoes found there too.
9. Danakil Depression is the hottest place on Earth:
The Danakil Depression is the hottest place on Earth, with some sources reporting that it can reach up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit during the day! This in part due to a lack of water and evaporation which leads to baking heat. One thing you’ll find at this location is active volcanoes – including Africa’s only permanent lava lake. The area also provides habitats for rare plants like salt-tolerant bushes as well as 120 species of birds who come there annually.
10. Ethiopia was the birthplace of coffee
Ethiopia was the birthplace of coffee – and is still one of the largest producers in Africa. The country has been growing it since 800 AD when a goat herder named Kaldi noticed that his goats were more energetic after eating some red berries from bushes nearby. He then brought these berries to an Islamic monk who called them “qahwa” which later became known as coffee!
11. There are eleven types of monolithic churches
One thing you’ll find in Ethiopia’s countryside is ancient stone structures called stelae or ‘rock-hewn’ churches with 11 different types found there too! These buildings date back to 300AD during the Aksumite Kingdom period but most have fallen into disrepair. They are called monolithic because they were carved from a single piece of rock!
12. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the oldest Christian church in Africa
Ethiopia’s ancient churches are all part of the country’s rich history, but what most people don’t know about Ethiopia is that it has one of the world’s oldest living religions – Christianity. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church was founded by Saint Frumentius and he brought Christianity to Aksum, which was then known as Abyssinia or Axum. He converted King Ezana to Christianity, who made it not just his religion but also an official state practice for citizens too! It became so popular there that over half its population identifies with this faith today. This makes it even older than Catholicism.
13. The country’s most famous exports are coffee and khat
Ethiopia is a country of endless surprises, where you can find yourself exploring ancient ruins one day and sipping on your favorite Ethiopian blend coffee the next! And while Ethiopia may be known for its coffee, believe it or not, there are about 40 different types grown here – some popular ones include Harar Arabica (a medium-bodied bean with citrus notes that grows at higher elevations) and Sidamo (which has more body than others).
14. Ethiopia is a country with an astonishing number of languages
Ethiopia has upwards of 80 different spoken languages, and as if that wasn’t enough for one language-loving nation, in 2020 the government announced five official working languages: Amharic, Afaan Oromo, Tigrinya Somali and Afar. English is the most commonly taught foreign language on Ethiopian university campuses (though classes are always conducted exclusively in English), which means you’ll need to brush up on your skills before heading over there any time soon!