native_name = "Hagere Ertra" Unicode|ሃገረ ኤርትራ دولة إرتريا " Dawlat Iritriya"
conventional_long_name = State of Eritrea
common_name = Eritrea
national_anthem = "
Ertra, Ertra, Ertra"
official_languages = none at national level1
demonym = Eritrean
latd= 15|latm=20 |latNS=N |longd=38 |longm=55 |longEW=E
largest_city = capital
leader_title1 = President
President In Power =
established_event1 = from
established_event2 = from
Ethiopia" de facto"
May 24 1991
established_event3 = from
Ethiopia" de jure"
May 24 1993
area_rank = 100th
area_magnitude = 1 E10
area_km2 = 117,600
area_sq_mi = 45,405
percent_water = negligible
population_estimate = 4,401,009
population_estimate_rank = 118th
population_estimate_year = July 2005
population_census = 4,298,270
population_census_year = 2002
population_density_km2 = 37
population_density_sq_mi = 96
population_density_rank = 165th
GDP_PPP = $4.471 billion
GDP_PPP_rank = 168th
GDP_PPP_year = 2005
GDP_PPP_per_capita = $1,000
GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank = 147
HDI = increase 0.483
HDI_rank = 157th
HDI_year = 2007
HDI_category = low
currency = Nakfa
currency_code = ERN
time_zone = EAT
utc_offset = +3
time_zone_DST = not observed
utc_offset_DST = +3
calling_code = 291
ISO_3166-1_alpha2 = ER
ISO_3166-1_alpha3 = ERI
ISO_3166-1_numeric = 232
sport_code = ERI
vehicle_code = ER
footnote1 = Working languages: Tigrigna, Arabic, English [http://cy.revues.org/document39.html] , [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/profiles/Eritrea.pdf] .
other languages = Tigre, Saho, Bilen, Afar, Kunama, Nara, Hedareb [http://cy.revues.org/document39.html] , [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/profiles/Eritrea.pdf] .
Eritrea (IPA-en|ˌɛrɨˈtreɪə, IPAlink-en|ˌɛrɨˈtriːə) (Ge'ez: Unicode|ኤርትራ Unicode|"ʾErtrā", Arabic: إرتريا "Iritriya"), officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in
Northeast Africa. It is bordered by Sudanin the west, Ethiopiain the south, and Djiboutiin the southeast. The east and northeast of the country have an extensive coastline on the Red Sea, directly across from Saudi Arabiaand Yemen. The Dahlak Archipelagoand several of the Hanish Islandsare part of Eritrea.
Italy conquered Eritrea and the Italian government formally consolidated it into a
colonyon January 1, 1890. Before this event, most of Eritrea's history is mostly interconnected with Ethiopia - being part of the Ethiopian Aksumite Empire, ancient Abyssiniaand others - until 1991. In 1936 it became a province of Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana), along with Ethiopia and Italian Somaliland. The British expelled the Italians in 1941 [ [http://www.statoids.com/uer.html Eritrea Regions ] ] and continued to administer the territory under a UN mandateuntil 1951 when Eritrea was federated with Ethiopia as per UN resolution 390(A) adopted in December 1950.
Increasing unrest and resistance in Eritrea against the federation with Ethiopia eventually led to a decision by the Ethiopian government to annex Eritrea as its 14th province in 1962. An Eritrean independence movement formed in the early 1960s which later erupted into a 31-year long
civil waragainst successive Ethiopian governments that ended in 1991. Following a UN supervised referendum in Eritrea dubbed UNOVERin which the Eritrean people overwhelmingly voted for independence from Ethiopia, Eritrea declared its independence and gained international recognition in 1993.cite web |url=http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-37675/Eritrea |title=Eritrea – The spreading revolution |publisher=Encyclopædia Britannica Article |accessdate=2007-10-16] Eritrea's constitution, adopted in 1997, stipulates that the state is a presidential republic with a unicameralparliamentary democracy. The constitution, however, has not yet been implemented fully due, according to the government, to the prevailing border conflict with Ethiopia which began in May 1998.
Eritrea is a multilingual and multicultural country with two dominant religions (Coptic Orthodox Christianity and
Islam) and nine ethnic groups. The country's dominant language is Tigrinya, natively spoken by about 50% of the population. Along with Tigrinya, Arabic and English are used as working languages. English is also used in all of the government's international communication and is the language of instruction in all education beyond the fifth grade. ["PDFlink| [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/profiles/Eritrea.pdf Country Profile:Eritrea] |128 KiB . Library of Congress. Retrieved 18 July 2006]
main|History of EritreaThe oldest written reference to the territory now known as Eritrea is the chronicled expedition launched to the fabled "Punt" (or "Ta Netjeru", meaning land of the Gods) by the
Ancient Egyptiansin the twenty-fifth century BC under Pharaoh Sahure. Later sources from the Pharaoh Hatshepsutin the fifteenth century BC present a more detailed portrayal of an expedition in search of incense. The geographical location of the missions to Punt is described as roughly corresponding to the southern west coast of the Red Sea. The name Eritrea is a rendition of the ancient Greek name Ερυθραία, "Erythraía", the "Red Land".
One of the oldest hominids, representing a possible link between "
Homo erectus" and an archaic " Homo sapiens", was found in Buya (Eritrean Danakil) in 1995 by Italian scientists. The cranium was dated to over 1 million years old. [cite journal |author=Abbate, Ernesto; Albianelli, Andrea; Azzaroli, Augusto; Benvenuti, Marco; Tesfamariam, Berhane;Bruni, Piero; Cipriani, Nicola; Clarke, Ronald J.; Ficcarelli, Giovanni; Macchiarelli, Roberto; Napoleone,Giovanni; Papini, Mauro; Rook, Lorenzo; Sagri, Mario; Tecle, Tewelde Medhin; Torre, Danilo; Villa,Igor |title=A one-million-year-old Homo cranium from the Danakil (Afar) Depression of Eritrea |journal=Nature|date= 4 June 1998|volume=393|pages=458–460 |doi=10.1038/30954] Furthermore, in 1999 the "Eritrean Research Project Team," composed of Eritrean, Canadian, American, Dutch, and French scientists, discovered some of the earliest remains of humans using tools to harvest marine resources, at a site near the bay of Zula, south of Massawa. The site contained obsidian tools dated to the paleolithicera, over 125,000 years old. [cite web |url=http://exn.ca/hominids/outofafrica.cfm |accessdate = 2006-10-02 |title=Out of Africa |date= 1999-09-10] Epipaleolithicor mesolithiccave paintings in central and northern Eritrea attest to early hunter-gatherers in this region.
A US paleontologist,
William Sandersof the University of Michigan, also discovered a possible missing link between ancient and modern elephants in the form of the fossilized remains of a pig-sized creature in Eritrea. Sanders claims that the dating of the fossil to 27 million years ago pushes the origins of elephants and mastodons five million years further into the past than previously recorded, and asserts that modern elephants originated in Africa, in contrast to mammals such as rhinos that had their origins in Europe and Asia and then migrated into Africa. In addition to Sanders, the research team included scientists from the Elephant Research Foundation of Wayne State Universityin Michigan, USA, University of Asmarain Eritrea; Franklin and Marshall Collegein Lancaster, PA, USA; the Eritrean ministry of mines and energy; Global Resourcesin Asmara, Eritrea; the Muséum national d'histoire naturellein Paris; the National Museum of Eritrea; and German Primate Centerin Göttingen, Germany.
The earliest evidence of
agriculture, urban settlement and trade in Eritrea was found in the western region of the country consisting of archeological remains dating back to 3500 BC in sites called the "Gash group". Based on the archaeological evidence, there seems to have been a connection between the peoples of the Gash group and the civilizations of the Nile Valleynamely Ancient Egyptand Nubia.cite paper |author=Fattovich, Rodolfo |title=The development of urbanism in the northern Horn of Africa in ancient and medieval times |url=http://hometown.aol.com/_ht_a/skipbdahlgren/sdahlgren/fattowich.pdf |format=PDF |accessdate = 2006-10-24] Ancient Egyptian sources also give references to cities and trading posts along the southwestern Red Sea coast, roughly corresponding to modern day Eritrea, calling this "the land of Punt," famed for its incense.
In the highlands, in the capital city
Asmara's suburbs, scores of ancient sites have been documented, including Sembel, Mai Chiot, Ona Gudo, Mai Temenai, Weki Duba, and Mai Hutsa. Mostly dating to the early and mid-1st millennium BCE (800 to 350 BCE), these communities consisted of small towns, villages, and hamlets built of stone. People practiced a mixed economy of pastoralism and grain agriculture, but little evidence for trade with the outside world has been found. The proximity of these ancient communities to gold mines suggest that part of their prosperity was linked to the mining and processing of gold. Around the mid-1st millennium, several sites with Sabaean remains (inscriptions, artifacts, monuments, etc.) seem to emerge in the central highlands, for example, at Keskese. There is evidence at Keskese that older remains, similar to those around Asmara, are present. The Sabaean remains, however, are not accompanied by evidence for residence of people from that southern Arabian kingdom. It appears to archaeologists that these remains represent the growth of local elites who appropriated powerful symbols from Saba in their quest for legitimacy. [ Peter Schmidt, Matthew Curtis, and Zelalem Teka, The Ancient Ona Communities of the First Millennium BCE: Urban Precursors and Independent Development on the Asmara Plateau. In "The Archaeology of Ancient Eritrea", eds. P. R. Schmidt, M. C. Curtis, and Z. Teka. Trenton NJ: Red Sea Press, 2008, pp. 109-162.]
Between the eighth and fifth century BCE, a kingdom known as
D'mtwas supposedly established in what is today Eritrea and northern Ethiopia (Tigray). Many speculative theories try to explain the presence of Sabaean material culture by saying that this area had extensive relations with the Sabaeansin present day Yemenacross the Red Sea, but these views are not sustained by archaeological evidence. [ Matthew Curtis, New Perspectives for Examining Change and Complexity in the Northern Horn of Africa during the First Millennium BCE. In "The Archaeology of Ancient Eritrea", eds. P. R. Schmidt, M. C. Curtis, and Z. Teka. Trenton, NJ: Red Sea Press, 2008, pp. 329-348.] [Stuart Munro-Hay, "Aksum: An African Civilization of Late Antiquity". Edinburgh: University Press, 1991, pp.57.] [Taddesse Tamrat, "Church and State in Ethiopia: 1270-1527" (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972), pp.5-13.] After D'mt's decline around the fifth century BC, the state of Aksum arose in much of Eritrea and the northern Ethiopian Highlands. It grew during the fourth century BC and came into prominence during the first century AD, minting its own coins by the third century, and converting in the fourth century to Christianity, thereby becoming the second official Christian state (after Armenia), and the first country to feature the cross on its coins. According to Mani, it grew to be one of the four greatest civilizations in the world, on a par with China, Persia, and Rome. In the seventh century, with the advent of Islamacross the Red Sea in Arabiaand the Arab invasion and subsequent destruction of Adulis, Aksum's trade and power on the Red Sea began to decline and the empire gradually diminished and was overtaken by smaller rival kingdoms.
During the medieval period, contemporary with and following the gradual disintegration of the Aksumite state between the 9th and 10th centuries, several states as well as tribal and clan lands emerged in the area known today as Eritrea. Between the eighth and thirteenth century, northern and northwestern Eritrea had largely come under the domination of the
Beja, a Cushiticpeople from northeastern Sudan. They formed five independent Islamic kingdoms known as: "Naqis", "Baqlin", "Bazin", "Jarin" and "Qata". ["http://american.edu/ted/ice/eritrea.htm"] The Beja brought Islam to large parts of Eritrea and connected the region to the greater Islamic world dominated by the UmmayadCaliphate, followed by the Abbasid(and Mamluk) and later the Ottoman Empire. The Ummayads had taken the Dahlak archipelago by 702. Christians of the Axumite era continued nonetheless to inhabit these areas and retain their religion. The southeastern parts of Eritrea, inhabited by the independent Afar since ancient times, came to form part of the Islamic sultanate of Adal in the early 13th century. Parts of the southwestern lowlands of Eritrea were under the dominion of the then Christian/animist Funj sultanate of Sinnar.
In the main highland area and adjacent coastline of what were previously Moslem (Beja) ruled areas, a Christian Kingdom called "Midir Bahr" or "Midri Bahri" (Tigrinya for land of the sea) arose, ruled by the
Bahr negusor "Bahr negash", ("ruler of the sea") in the 15th century. [Daniel Kendie, "The Five Dimensions of the Eritrean Conflict 1941 – 2004: Deciphering the Geo-Political Puzzle" (United States of America: Signature Book Printing, 2005), pp. 17-8.] Barely a century later, an invading force of the islamic Ottoman Empire, under Suleiman I, conquered Massawain 1557 from the Christians, building what is now considered the "old town" of Massawa on Batsi island. They also conquered the towns of Hergigo, and Debarwa, the capital city of the contemporary Christian Bahr negus(ruler), Yeshaq. Suleiman's forces fought as far south as southeastern Tigray in Ethiopia before being repulsed. Yeshaq was able to retake much of what the Ottomans captured with Ethiopian assistance, but he later twice revolted against the Emperor of Ethiopiawith Ottoman support. By 1578, all revolts had ended, leaving the Ottomans in control of the important ports of Massawaand Hergigo and their environs, and leaving the interior domains (province) which they had dubbed: " Habesh", to Beja"Na'ib"s (deputies). The Ottomans maintained their dominion over the coastal areas for nearly 300 years, absorbing the coastal areas of the disintegrated Adal sultanate as vassals in the 16th century. The Funj sultanate of Sinnar converted to Islam in the 16th century but maintained independent control of the southwestern areas of Eritrea until being absorbed into the Ottoman Empire in the early 19th century. The extent of the Islamic Beja's rule over the Eritrean interior from the 16th century and on did not extend very far into the mainly Christian highland ("Kebessa") areas. With the feudal rule of the Bahr negash severely weakened, the area became dubbed "Mereb Mellash" by locals and neighboring Ethiopians alike, meaning "beyond the Mereb" (in Tigrinya). This name defined the territory as being north of the Mareb Riverwhich to this day is a natural boundary between the modern states of Eritrea and Ethiopia. [Daniel Kendie, "The Five Dimensions of the Eritrean Conflict"] Roughly the same area also came to be referred to as Hamasienin the nineteenth century. In these areas, feudal authority was particularly weak or nonexistent, and the autonomy of the landowning peasantry was particularly strong; a kind of "Republic" was prevalent, governed by local customary laws legislated by elected elder's councils ("shimagile"). [Dennis J. Duncanson "Sir'at 'Adkeme Milga'. A Native Law Code of Eritrea"] In 1770, the Scottish researcher James Bruce describes Hamasien and Abyssinia as "different countries who are often fighting" (SUKE, p. 25). The name Hamasien later came to designate a much smaller area in Eritrea, a province immediately surrounding the capital, until being absorbed into the new administrative divisions in 1994.
In 1869, a
Roman Catholicpriest by the name of Giuseppe Sapetto acting on behalf of a Genovese shipping company called "Rubattino" purchased the locality of Assabfrom the Afar Sultan of Obock, an Ottoman vassal. This happened in the same year as the opening of the Suez Canal.cite web |url=http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-37666/Eritrea |title=Eritrea – Contesting for the coastlands |publisher=Encyclopædia Britannica Article |accessdate=2007-10-16] In the ongoing Scramble for AfricaItaly, as one of the European colonial powers, began vying for a possession along the strategic coast of what was to become the world's busiest shipping lane. With the approval of the Italian parliament and King Umberto Iof Italy (later succeeded by his son Victor Emmanuel III), the government of Italy bought the Rubattino company's holdings and expanded its possessions northward along the Red Sea coast toward and beyond Massawa, encroaching on and quickly expelling previous 'Egyptian' possessions. The Italians met with stiffer resistance in the Eritrean highlands from the invading army of the Emperor Yohannes IV of Ethiopia.
Nevertheless the Italians consolidated their possessions into one colony, henceforth known as Eritrea, territory of Italy, as of
New Years Day1890. This led to Italy's first attempt to colonize Ethiopia, under prime minister Francesco Crispi. Italy had offered to make Ethiopia an Italian protectorate. On the other hand, Emperor Menelik of Ethiopia was intent, like his predecessors, on creating an Ethiopian empire of his own by laying claims to—and invading—surrounding territories in competition with the European colonialists. He subsequently declared war on the Italians, defeating an Italian incursion into Ethiopian territory at Adowa in 1896. Upon the treaty with Italy, Emperor Menelik II in 1889 stated quote|The territories north of the Merab Melash (Modern Eritrea) do not belong to nor are under my rule. I am the Emperor of Abyssinia. The lands referred to as Eritrea is not peopled by Abyssinians, they are Adals, Bejas, and Tigres. Abyssinia will defend her territories but it will not fight for foreign lands of which Eritrea is to my knowledge. Italy refrained from further attempts at invading Ethiopia until 1935, when under fascism and Mussolini Italy attempted to conquer Ethiopia again, this time fighting against Emperor Haile Selassie. Using its colonies of Eritrea and Italian Somaliland as its base, Italy was successful in conquering Ethiopia. The Kingdom of Italy ruled Eritrea from 1890 to 1940. In 1936, dictator Benito Mussolinicreated the "Italian Empire" ( Italian East Africa), with the union of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Italian Somaliland. Eritrea enjoyed considerable industrialization and development of modern infrastructure during Italian rule (such as roads and the Eritrean Railway). The Italians remained the colonial power in Eritrea throughout the lifetime of fascismand the beginnings of World War II, when they were defeated by Allied forces in 1941, and Eritrea came under British administration.Noted artist Aldo Giorginiwas a young child caught up in this difficult transitional period, and his experiences during this time became a recurrent theme in his artwork. The best Italian colonial forces were the Eritrean "Ascari", who were defined by Amedeo Guilletas "the Prussians of Africa, but without the defects of the Prussians". They actively supported even the Italian guerrillas against the British between 1941 and 1943.
After the war, the
United Nationsconducted a lengthy inquiry regarding the status of Eritrea, with the superpowers each vying for a stake in the state's future. Britain, the last administrator at the time, put forth the suggestion to partition Eritrea between Sudan and Ethiopia, separating Christians and Muslims. The idea was instantly rejected by Eritrean political parties as well as the UN. [ [http://www.iht.com/articles/2000/06/10/edold.t_11.php 1950:Eritrea's Future : IN OUR PAGES:100, 75 AND 50 YEARS AGO - International Herald Tribune ] ] The United States' point of view was expressed by its then chief foreign policy advisor John Foster Dulles, who said in 1952:
A UN plebiscite voted 46 to 10 to have Eritrea be federated with
Ethiopia, which was later stipulated on December 2, 1950in resolution 390 (V). Eritrea would have its own parliamentand administration and would be represented in what had been the Ethiopian parliament and would become the federal parliament.cite web |url=http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/5/ares5.htm |title=General Assembly Resolutions 5th Session |publisher=United Nations |accessdate=2007-10-16] In 1961 the 30-year Eritrean Struggle for Independence began, following the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I's dissolution of the federation and shutting down of Eritrea's parliament. The Emperor declared Eritrea the fourteenth province of Ethiopia in 1962. [Semere Haile "The Origins and Demise of the Ethiopia-Eritrea Federation" Issue: A Journal of Opinion, Vol. 15, 1987 (1987), pp. 9-17]
truggle for independence
Eritreans formed the
Eritrean Liberation Front(ELF) and rebelled. The ELF was initially a conservative grass-roots movement dominated by Muslimlowlanders and thus received backing from Arabsocialist governments such as Syria and Egypt. Ethiopia's imperial government received support from the United States which had established a radio listening base (the Kagnewbase) in Eritrea's Ethiopian-occupied capital, Asmara. Internal divisions within the ELF based on religion, ethnicity, clan and, sometimes, personalities and ideologies, led to the weakening and factioning of the ELF from which sprung the Eritrean People's Liberation Front. The EPLF professed Marxism and egalitarian values devoid of gender, religion, or ethnic bias. Its leadership was educated in China. It came to be supported by a growing Eritrean diaspora. Bitter fighting broke out between the ELF and EPLF during the late 1970s and 1980s for dominance over Eritrea. The ELF continued to dominate the Eritrean landscape well into the 1970s when the struggle for independence neared victory due to Ethiopia's internal turmoil caused by a socialist revolution against the monarchy there.
The ELF's gains suffered when Ethiopia's ailing US-backed Emperor was deposed and replaced by the
Derg, a Marxist military junta with backing from the Soviet Union and other communist countries, who continued the Ethiopian policy of repressing Eritrean "separatists" with increased military assistance and fervor. Nevertheless, the Eritrean resistance, which saw itself forced to retreat from most of the Eritrean countryside it had previously occupied, became instead entrenched in the northern parts of the country around the Sudanese border from where the most important supply lines came. The heavily bombarded and embattled northern town of Nakfacame to symbolize the Eritrean struggle. (The Eritrean currency is named after it.) [Killion, Tom (1998). Historical Dictionary of Eritrea. ISBN 0-8108-3437-5.]
The numbers of the EPLF swelled in the 1980s as did those of Ethiopian resistance movements with which the EPLF struck alliances to overthrow the communist Ethiopian regime, weakening and all but annihilating the precursor ELF. However, due to their own Marxist orientation, neither EPLF nor any of the Ethiopian resistance movements were able to acquire any significant US, Western or Arab support against the Soviet-backed might of the Ethiopian military, which has since been sub-Saharan Africa's largest outside of South Africa. The EPLF relied largely on armaments captured from the Ethiopian army itself as well as financial and political support from the Eritrean diaspora and the cooperation of neighboring states hostile to Ethiopia such as
Somaliaand Sudan(although the support of the latter was briefly interrupted and turned into hostility against EPLF and Eritrean refugees at large, in agreement with Ethiopia during the Gaafar Nimeiryadministration between 1971 and 1985).
Drought, famine, and intensive offensives launched by the Ethiopian army on Eritrea took a heavy toll on the population — more than half a million fled to Sudan as refugees. Amidst the culmination of Soviet support to Ethiopia and a major falling out between Eritrean and Ethiopian anti-government rebels, the EPLF achieved two of its greatest and most decisive victories alone and unsupported. In 1985, Eritrean elite commandos infiltrated the Ethiopian- and Soviet-held air force base in Asmara and destroyed all 30 fighter jets there, suffering only one casualty. In 1988, during a massive Ethiopian military offensive against Eritrean rebels, a third of the Ethiopian army was annihilated in the northern Eritrean town of Afabet. [cite news|last=Worthington|first=Peter|title=Needless war engulfs a unique African oasis|publisher=Toronto Sun] Following the decline of the Soviet Union in 1989 and diminishing support for the Ethiopian war, Eritrean rebels advanced further, capturing the port of Massawa and putting the Ethiopian and Soviet naval capabilities there out of action.
During this time, both warring parties attempted to end hostilities through peace talks. In September 1989, at the request of both the EPLF and the People's Republic of Ethiopia, former
U.S. President Jimmy Carterinvited both parties to participate in negotiations at The Carter Center.Citation|author=The Carter Center|title="Activities by Country: Eritrea"|url=http://www.cartercenter.org/countries/eritrea.html|accessdate=2008-07-17] It was the first time in 28 years of fighting that the parties had agreed to talk without any preconditions and in the presence of a third-party mediator. Despite making progress in these negotiations, the parties continued to fight.
By 1990 and early 1991 virtually all Eritrean territory had been liberated by the EPLF except for the capital, whose only connection with the rest of government-held Ethiopia during the last year of the war was by an air-bridge. In 1991, Eritrean and Ethiopian rebels jointly held the Ethiopian capital under siege as the Ethiopian president
Mengistu Haile Mariamfled to Zimbabwewhere he lives to this day despite requests for extradition by both Eritrea and Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian army finally capitulated and Eritrea was completely in Eritrean hands on
May 24 1991, when the rebels marched into Asmara while Ethiopian rebels with Eritrean assistance overtook the government in Ethiopia. The new Ethiopian government conceded to Eritrea's demands to have an internationally ( UN) supervised referendum dubbed UNOVERto be held in Eritrea, which ended in April 1993 with an overwhelming vote by Eritreans for independence. Independence was declared on May 24 1993. [ [http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761576168_2/Eritrea.html Eritrea - MSN Encarta ] ]
Upon Eritrea's declaration of independence, the leader of the EPLF,
Isaias Afewerki, became Eritrea's first Provisional President, and the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (later renamed the People's Front for Democracy and Justice, or PFDJ) created a government. [http://www.dehai.org/conflict/history/birth_of_a_nation.htm#Referendum_Results]
Faced with limited economic resources and a country shattered by decades of war, the government embarked on a reconstruction and defense effort, later called the
Warsai Yikalo Program, based on the labour of national servicemen and women. It is still ongoing and deploys the enlisted into a combination of duties ranging from military service to construction projects, health care, teaching and training/education as well as agricultural work to improve the country's food security. [ [http://www.shaebia.org/wwwboard/messages/227.html Warsai-Yikalo Campaign for Radical Development Change ] ]
The government also attempts to tap into the resources of the Eritreans living abroad by levying a 2% tax on the gross income of those who wish to gain full economic rights and access as citizens in Eritrea (land ownership, business licenses and other privileges for nationals etc), [ [http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1111.html Eritrea ] ] while at the same time encouraging tourism and investment both from Eritreans living abroad and other foreign investors. This has been complicated by Eritrea's tumultuous relations with its neighbours, lack of stability and subsequent political problems.
Eritrea severed diplomatic relations with
Sudanin 1994, citing that the latter was hosting Islamic terrorist groups to destabilize Eritrea, and both countries entered into an acrimonious relationship, each accusing the other of hosting various opposition rebel groups or "terrorists" and soliciting outside support to destabilize the other. Diplomatic relations were resumed in 2005 following a reconciliation agreement reached with the help of Qatar's negotiation in 1999. [ [http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Hornet/irin_5399b.html Sudan-Eritrea: Reconciliation Agreement Signed, 5/3/99 ] ] [ [http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/051210/2005121017.html Sudan, Eritrea resume severed diplomatic relations ] ] Eritrea now plays a prominent role in the internal Sudanese peace and reconciliation effort. [ [http://allafrica.com/stories/200705040041.html allAfrica.com: East Africa: Darfur And Somalia - Two Peace Efforts, Different Strokes (Page 1 of 3) ] ]
Perhaps the conflict with the deepest impact on independent Eritrea has been the renewed hostility with Ethiopia. In 1998, a border war with
Ethiopiaover the town of Badmeoccurred. The Eritrean-Ethiopian Warended in 2000 with a negotiated agreement known as the Algiers Agreement, which assigned an independent, UN-associated boundary commission known as the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC), whose task was to clearly identify the border between the two countries and issue a final and binding ruling. Along with the agreement the UN established a temporary security zone consisting of a 25-kilometre demilitarized buffer zone within Eritrea, running along the length of the disputed border between the two states and patrolled by UN troops in the mission named UNMEE. Ethiopia was to withdraw to positions held before the outbreak of hostilities in May 1998. The peace agreement would be completed with the implementation of the Border Commission's ruling, also ending the task of the peacekeeping mission of UNMEE. The EEBC's verdict came in April 2002, which awarded Badmeto Eritrea. However, Ethiopia refused to withdraw its military from positions in the disputed areas, including Badme, and also refused to implement the EEBC's ruling, and the dispute is ongoing. [ [http://www.dehai.org/conflict/home.htm?events.htm Eritrea-Ethiopia Conflict Information Page ] ] Eritrea's diplomatic relations with Djibouti were briefly severed during the border war with Ethiopia in 1998 due to a dispute over Djibouti's intimate relation with Ethiopia during the war but were restored and normalized in 2000. [ [http://nationsencyclopedia.com/World-Leaders-2003/Djibouti-FOREIGN-POLICY.html Djibouti - Foreign policy ] ] "'
Regions and districts
Eritrea is divided into six regions ("zobas") and subdivided into districts ("sub-zobas"). The geographical extent of the regions is based on their respective hydrological properties. This a dual intent on the part of the Eritrean government: to provide each administration with sufficient control over its agricultural capacity, and to eliminate historical intra-regional conflicts.
The regions, followed by the sub-region, are:
Politics and government
Eritrea is a single-party state, run by the People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ).cite web|title=Country profile: Eritrea|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/country_profiles/1070813.stm|work=BBC News|date=2008-06-17|accessdate=2008-07-01] Other political groups are not allowed to organise, although the non-implemented Constitution of 1997 provided for the existence of multi-party politics. The National Assembly of 150 seats (of which 75 were occupied by handpicked EPLF guerilla members while the rest went to local candidates and diasporans more or less sympathetic to the regime), formed in 1993 shortly after independence, "elected" the current president,
Isaias Afewerki. No time frame was announced for the duration of his presidency. National elections have been periodically scheduled and cancelled; none have ever been held in the country.cite web|title=Government - overview|url=https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/er.html#Govt|work=World Factbook|publisher=CIA|date=2008-07-24|accessdate=2008-08-06] Independent local sources of political information on Eritrean domestic politics are scarce; in September 2001 the government closed down all of the nation's privately owned print media, and outspoken critics of the government have been arrested and held without trial, according to various international observers, including Human Rights Watchand Amnesty International. In 2004 the U.S. State Department declared Eritrea a Country of Particular Concern(CPC) for its alleged record of religious persecution. [cite web|title=2005 Executive Summary|url=http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2005/51386.htm|work=International Religious Freedom Report|publisher=Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor|date=2005-11-08|accessdate=2008-08-06
Eritrean National elections were set for 1995 and then postponed until 2001; it was then decided that because 20% of Eritrea's land was under occupation, elections would be postponed until the resolution of the conflict with Ethiopia. However, local elections have continued in Eritrea. The most recent round of local government elections were held in May 2004. On further elections, the President's Chief of Staff, Yemane Ghebremeskel said, [cite web |url=http://www.shaebia.org/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi?archive=9&num=2618&printer=1 |title=Interview of Mr. Yemane Gebremeskel, Director of the Office of the President of Eritrea |publisher=PFDJ |date=2004-04-01 |accessdate = 2006-06-07]
Eritrea is a member in good standing of the African Union (AU), the successor of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). But it has withdrawn its representative to the AU in protest of the AU's lack of leadership in facilitating the implementation of a binding border decision demarcating the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Eritrea's relationship with the United States is complicated. Although the two nations have a close working relationship regarding the on-going war on terror, there has been a growing tension in other areas. As of September 2007, relations with the US appear to be worsening. US
Assistant Secretary of State, Jendayi Frazer, has called the nation a 'state sponsor of terrorism' and the US government is considering adding Eritrea to its list of rogue states, along with Iran, North Koreaand Cuba. [cite news |url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6857330,00.html |title=US considers terror label for Eritrea |publisher=Guardian Unlimited |date= August 17, 2007|accessdate=2007-10-16] The reason for this is the presence of Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, an exiled Somali Islamist leader, whom the US suspects of having links to Al Qaeda, at a recent Somalian opposition conference in Asmara. Economic sanctions against Eritrea could soon follow. [cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/6987916.stm |title=How Eritrea fell out with the west |publisher=BBC |date=2007-09-11 |accessdate = 2007-09-12] Eritrea's relationship with Italy and the EU has become equally strained in many areas in the last three years.
Within the region, Eritrea's relations with Ethiopia turned from that of close alliance to a deadly rivalry that led to a war from May 1998 to June 2000 in which approximately 19,000 Eritreans [cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1398446.stm|title=Eritrea reveals human cost of war|publisher=BBC News] and 123,000 Ethiopians [Claimed on 8 April 2002 by the Voice of the Democratic Path of Ethiopian Unity, an Ethiopian clandestine opposition group operating from Germany. The claim also stated that each family that lost a member in the war would receive $350 in indemnity, but this number has not been verified, although it has been often cited by other groups (see [http://lists.sn.apc.org/pipermail/pol.ethiopia/2001-April/000381.html Number of war dead soldiers reportedly 123,000] – internet news message; and [http://www.clandestineradio.com clandestineradio.com] [http://www.clandestineradio.com/intel/station.php?id=65&stn=54 audio button] ), and no indemnities have been paid
as of 2007. Shinn, "Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia", p. 149] [cite news|title=Ethiopia: Number of war dead soldiers reportedly 123,000 |publisher=Wonchif| date= 2001-04-10|language=Amharic] were killed.
External issues include an undemarcated border with
Sudan, a war with Yemenover the Hanish Islandsin 1996, and a recent border conflict with Ethiopia.
The undemarcated border with Sudan poses a problem for Eritrean external relations. [cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3400575.stm |title=Eritrea-Sudan relations plummet |publisher=BBC |date=2004-01-15 |accessdate = 2006-06-07] After a high-level delegation to Sudan from the Eritrean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ties are being normalized. Meanwhile, Eritrea has been recognized as a broker for peace between the separate factions of the Sudanese civil war. "It is known that Eritrea played a role in bringing about the peace agreement [between the Southern Sudanese and Government] ," [cite web |url=http://www.sudantribune.com/article.php3?id_article=12393 |title=Turabi terms USA "world's ignoramuses", fears Sudan's partition |publisher=Sudan Tribune |date=2005-11-04 |accessdate = 2006-06-07] while the Sudanese Government and Eastern Front rebels have requested Eritrea to mediate peace talks. [cite web |url=http://www.sudantribune.com/article.php3?id_article=15117 |title=Sudan demands Eritrean mediation with eastern Sudan rebels |publisher=Sudan Tribune
date=2006-04-18 |accessdate = 2006-06-07]
A dispute with
Yemenover the Hanish Islandsin 1996 resulted in a brief war. As part of an agreement to cease hostilities the two nations agreed to refer the issue to the Permanent Court of Arbitrationat the Haguein 1998. [ [http://library2.lawschool.cornell.edu/pca/ER-YEchap1.htm PCA - Documents: Eritrea-Yemen Award - CHAPTER I ] ] Yemen was granted full ownership of the larger islands while Eritrea was awarded the peripheral islands to the southwest of the larger islands. [cite web|accessdate=2006-07-17 |url=http://www.pca-cpa.org/PDF/chart3.gif|title=International Maritime Boundary] At the conclusion of the proceedings, both nations acquiesced to the decision. Since 1996 both governments have remained wary of one another but relations are relatively normal. [cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/192667.stm |title=Flights back on between Yemen and Eritrea |publisher=BBC |date=1998-12-13 |accessdate = 2006-06-07]
The undemarcated border with Ethiopia is the primary external issue facing Eritrea. This led to a long and bloody border war between 1998 and 2000. As a result, the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (
UNMEE) is occupying a 25 kilometers by 900 kilometers area on the border to help stabilize the region. [cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4041073.stm |title=Q&A: Horn's bitter border war |publisher=BBC |date=2005-12-07 |accessdate = 2006-06-07] Disagreements following the war have resulted in stalemate punctuated by periods of elevated tension and renewed threats of war.cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3457957.stm |title=Horn tensions trigger UN warning |publisher=BBC |date=2004-02-04 |accessdate = 2006-06-07] [cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4400580.stm |title=Army build-up near Horn frontier |publisher=BBC |date=2005-11-02 |accessdate = 2006-06-07] cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4555892.stm |title=Horn border tense before deadline |publisher=BBC |date=2005-12-23 |accessdate = 2006-06-07] Central to the continuation of the stalemate is Ethiopia's failure to abide by the border delimitation ruling and reneging on its commitment to demarcation. The stalemate has led the President of Eritrea to urge the UN to take action on Ethiopia. This request is outlined in the penned by the President to the United Nations Security Council. The situation is further escalated by the continued effort of the Eritrean and Ethiopian leaders in supporting each other's opposition.On July 26 2007, the Associated Pressreported that Eritrea had been supplying weapons to the Somali insurgent group Al-Shabaab, which is allegedly tied to al Qaeda, but no evidence of this has been discovered. The incident has fueled concerns that Somaliamay become the grounds for a "de facto" war between Eritrea and Ethiopia, which invaded Somaliain December 2006 with U.S. assistance to overthrow the rule of the widely popular Islamic Courts Unionwhich had stabilized the country and unified the capital Mogadishufor the first time since 1991. Amid fears of an emerging Islamic and nationalist Somalia, Ethiopia with US assistance invaded Somalia, putting in place the weak and locally unpopular UN/AU-backed government, which without Ethiopian support had been unable to exercise any control beyond its base in Baidoaand along the Ethio-Somali border. [cite web |url=http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/africa/07/26/somalia.arms.ap/index.html |title="U.N.: Eritrea giving arms to Somalis tied to al Qaeda" |publisher=CNN |date=2007-07-26 |accessdate = 2007-08-04] For its part, Eritrea is hosting members of the ousted Union of Islamic Courts and the Somali Free Parliament. The Eritrean government has been accused of sponsoring, arming and hosting numerous militant leaderships and separatist rebels in the horn of Africa. [ [http://investing.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?type=reutersEdge&storyID=2007-09-17T132536Z_01_NOA746091_RTRUKOC_0_WITNESS-ERITREA.xml Accounts of rebels in Eritrea] ] According to the United States, Afewerki's government is "sponsoring and supporting the rebel groups" who are "also attacking civilians and are a part of the problem in Darfur." Thus, even though the Eritrean government bringing these same rebels to the table is positive, the US claims that the Eritrean government is doing this "by effectively destabilizing Sudan, because they're paying for rebels who are part of the process of destabilizing that country." [ [http://www.state.gov/p/af/rls/spbr/2007/91231.htm Eritrea's role in Sudan criticized by America] ]
Government and media censorship
In the 2007
Reporters Without Borders"Annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index" Eritrea ranked last at number 169, [http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=24025 Reporters sans frontières - Annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index - 2007 ] ] unseating the previous record holder North Koreawhich had been last every other year of the survey. Reporters Without Borders claims that in Eritrea, private newspapers have been shut down and generally exorcised from the country by the President Isaias Afewerki. Also, any journalists who criticize the president or his regime are immediately put into prison; among the many reporters and writers who have been jailed, four have died in detention.
Although Eritrea is new at the very bottom of the list in 2007, its positions by year are as follows:
Eritrea is located in East Africa, more specifically in the
Horn of Africa, and is bordered on the northeast and east by the Red Sea. The country is virtually bisected by one of the world's longest mountain ranges, the Great Rift Valley, with fertile lands to the west, descending to desert in the east. Eritrea, at the southern end of the Red Sea is the home of the fork, in the rift. The Dahlak Archipelagoand its fishing grounds are situated off the sandy and arid coastline. The land to the south, in the highlands, is slightly drier and cooler.
Afar Triangleor Danakil Depression of Eritrea is the probable location of a triple junctionwhere three tectonic plates are pulling away from one another: the Arabian Plate, and the two parts of the African Plate (the Nubian and the Somali plate) splitting along the East African Rift Zone (USGS). The highest point of the country, Emba Soira, is located in the center of Eritrea, at 9,902 ft (3,018 metres ) above sea level.
The main cities of the country are the capital city of
Asmaraand the port town of Assebin the southeast, as well as the towns of Massawato the east, and Keren to the north.
Eritrea formerly supported a large population of
elephants. Ptolemaic kings of Egypt used it as a source of war elephants in the third century BC. Between 1955 and 2001 there were no reported sightings of elephant herds, and they are thought to have fallen victim to the war of independence. In December 2001 a herd of about 30, including 10 juveniles, was observed in the vicinity of the Gash River. The elephants seemed to have formed a symbiotic relationship with olive baboons. It is estimated that there are around 100 elephants left in Eritrea, the most northerly of East Africa's elephants. [cite web |publisher=BBC Wildlife Magazine |month=July | year=2003 |url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/animals/features/300feature1.shtml |title=The rediscovery of Eritrea's elephants |accessdate=2007-07-28]
In 2006, Eritrea announced it would become the first country in the world to turn its entire coast into an environmentally protected zone. The 1,347 km (837 mile) coastline, along with another 1,946 km (1,209-miles) of coast around its more than 350 islands, will come under governmental protection.
Like the economies of many other
African nations, the economy is largely based on subsistence agriculture, with 80% of the population involved in farming and herding. The only natural disaster that sometimes affects Eritrea, drought, has often created trouble in the farming areas. [ [http://www.encapafrica.org/documents/PEA_pestmanagement/ERITREA_LG_SEA_MAR93.doc An Environmental Impact Assessment of African Armyworm Control in Eritrea: An Amendment to the "Eritrean Supplemental Environmental Assessment For Grasshopper And Locust Control".] ]
Eritrean-Ethiopian Warseverely hurt Eritrea's economy. GDP growth in 1999 fell to less than 1%, and GDP decreased by 8.2% in 2000. In May 2000, Ethiopian offensive into southern Eritrea caused some $600 million in property damage and loss, including losses of $225 million in livestockand 55,000 homes. The attack prevented planting of crops in Eritrea's most productive region, causing food production to drop by 62%. [cite web |url=https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/er.html#Econ |title=Economy - overview |publisher=CIA |date=2006-06-06 |accessdate = 2006-06-07] [cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1184714.stm |title=Aid sought for Eritrean recovery |publisher=BBC |date=2001-02-22 |accessdate = 2006-06-07]
Even during the war, Eritrea developed its transportation
infrastructure, asphalting new roads, improving its ports, and repairing war-damaged roads and bridges as a part of the Warsay Yika'alo Program. The most significant of these projects was the building of a coastal highway of more than 500 km connecting Massawawith Assebas well as the rehabilitation of the Eritrean Railway. The rail line now runs between the Port of Massawa and the capital Asmara.
Eritrea's economic future remains mixed. The cessation of Ethiopian trade, which mainly used Eritrean ports before the war, leaves Eritrea with a large economic hole to fill. Eritrea's economic future depends upon its ability to master fundamental social problems like
illiteracy, and low skills.
As of May 6th, 2008 Eritrea is the most expensive place in the world to buy fuel. At $9.58 per gallon, gasoline is 85¢ a gallon higher than in the next most expensive country, Norway. [cite web |url=http://money.cnn.com/2008/05/01/news/international/usgas_price/index.htm?cnn=yes |title=U.S. gas: So cheap it hurts |publisher=CNN Money |date=2008-05-06 |accessdate=2008-05-20]
Eritrean society is ethnically heterogeneous. An independent census has yet to be conducted, but the
Tigrinya peopleand the Tigre peopletogether make up about 80% of the population. These form the bulk of the country's predominantly Semitic-speaking population which is thought to have originated from massive migrations from Saba in Southern Arabia between 900 and 500 BC. The Sabean area in Eritrea is mainly to be found in the Kebessa highlands in central and northern Eritrea. There the Sabeans found the same geographical conditions as in their native Saba, suitable for terracing and their pre-existing agricultural modes of production.
The rest of the population is comprised of other
Afro-Asiaticgroups such as the Saho, Hedareb, Afar, and Bilen. These Cushitic-speaking peoples are thought to be the oldest inhabitants of the Horn of Africa.
Each ethnicity speaks a different native tongue but, typically, many of the minorities speak more than one language.
There exist minorities of
Italiansand Ethiopian Tigrayans. Neither is generally given citizenship unless through marriage or, more rarely, by having it conferred upon them by the State.
The most recent addition to the nationalities of Eritrea is the
Rashaida. The Rashaida came to Eritrea in the 19th century [cite web |last=Alders |first=Anne |url=http://www.eritreanbeauty.com/r.html |title=the Rashaida |accessdate = 2006-06-07] from the Arabian Coast. The Rashaida do not typically intermarry, are typically nomadic, and number approximately 61,000, less than 1% of the population.
Ethnic groups with low population have little influence on life in Eritrea.
Many languages are spoken in Eritrea today.The country has two official languages,
Tigrinyaand Arabic, which are also the two predominant languages for official purposes. Italian and English are also widely understood. [ [http://home.planet.nl/~hans.mebrat/eritrea-languages.htm Languages of Eritrea - Tigrinya ] ] Most of the languages spoken in Eritrea stem from the Semitic and Cushitic branches of the Afro-Asiaticlanguage family. The Semitic languages in Eritrea are Arabic (spoken natively by the RashaidaArabs), Tigre, Tigrinya, and the newly recognized Dahlik; these languages (primarily Tigre and Tigrinya) are spoken as a first language by over 80% of the population. The Cushitic languages in Eritrea are just as numerous, including Afar, Beja, Blin, and Saho. Kunama and Nara are also spoken in Eritrea and belong to the Nilo-Saharan language family. English is spoken to a degree by more educated Eritreans. Italian is a legacy of colonial times.
There are five levels of education in Eritrea: pre-primary, primary, middle, secondary, and post-secondary. There are nearly 238,000 students in the primary, middle, and secondary levels of education. There are approximately 824 schools [cite book |year=2005 |title=Baseline Study on Livelihood Systems in Eritrea |publisher=National Food Information System of Eritrea] in Eritrea and two universities (University of Asmara and the Institute of Science and Technology) as well as several smaller colleges and technical schools.
One of the most important goals of Eritrea's education policy is to provide basic education in each of Eritrea's mother tongues, as well as to develop a self-motivated and conscientious population to fight poverty and disease. Furthermore it is tooled to produce a society that is equipped with the necessary skills to function in the modern economy.
The education system in Eritrea is also designed to promote
private sectorschooling, equal access for all groups (i.e., to prevent gender discrimination, ethnic discrimination, and class discrimination, etc.) and promote continuing education, both formally and informally.
Education in Eritrean include kindergartens for young children of both genders.
Barriers to education in Eritrea include traditional
taboos, school fees (for registration and materials), and the opportunity costsof low-incomehouseholds. [cite book |last=Kifle |first=Temesgen |year=2002 |title=Educational Gender Gap in Eritrea]
Eritrea has two dominant religions,
Islamand Christianity, with approximately half of the population belonging to each faith. Most Muslims follow Sunni Islam. The Christians consist primarily of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church, which is the local Oriental Orthodoxchurch, but small groups of Roman Catholics, Protestants, and other denominations also exist.
Since May 2002, the Government of Eritrea has officially recognized the
Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church, Sunni Islam, Catholicism, and the Evangelical Lutheranchurch. All other faiths and denominations are required to undergo a registration process. Among other things, the Government's registration system requires religious groups to submit personal information on their membership to be allowed to worship. The few organisations that have met all of the registration requirements have still not received official recognition.
Other faith groups such as the
Jehovah's Witnesses, [cite web |url=http://www.jw-media.org/newsroom/index.htm?content=/region/africa_middle_east/eritrea/english/human_rights/eri_e070801_list.htm |title=Jehovah's Witnesses—Eritrea Country Profile |publisher=Office of Public Information of Jehovah's Witnesses |date=2007-07-01 |accessdate = 2007-08-07] Bahá'í Faith, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and numerous Protestant denominations are not registered and cannot worship freely. They have effectively been banned, and measures have been taken against their adherents. Many have been incarcerated for months or even years. None have been charged officially or given access to the judicial process. In its 2006 religious freedom report, the U.S. State Department for the third year in a row named Eritrea a "Country of Particular Concern", designating it one of the worst violators of religious freedom in the world.
There is one last native Jew in Eritrea, formerly from a community of hundreds in Asmara, whose ancestors had crossed from Aden in the late 19th century. [cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4955088.stm |title=Asmara's last Jew recalls 'good old days' |publisher=BBC |date=2006-04-30 |accessdate = 2006-09-26] [cite web |url=http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3246419,00.html |title=Eritrea's last native Jew tends graves, remembers |publisher=Y Net News |date=2006-05-02 |accessdate = 2006-09-26]
The Eritrean region has traditionally been a nexus for
tradethroughout the world. Because of this, the influence of diverse culturescan be seen throughout Eritrea. Today, the most obvious influences in the capital, Asmara, are those of Italy. Throughout Asmara, there are small cafes serving beverages common to Italy. In Asmara, there is a clear merging of the Italian colonial influence with the traditional Tigrinya lifestyle. In the villages of Eritrea, these changes never took hold.
In the cities, before the occupation and during the early years, the import of
Bollywoodfilms was commonplace, while Italian and American films were available in the cinemas as well. In the 1980s and since independence, however, American films have become the most common. Vying for market share are films by local producers, who have slowly come into their own. The global broadcast of Eri-TV has brought cultural images to the large Eritrean population in the Diaspora who frequents the country every summer. Successful domestic films are produced by government and independent studios with revenue from ticket sales typically covering the production costs.
Traditional Eritrean dress is quite varied, with the women of most lowland ethnicities traditionally dressing in brightly colored clothes, while the Tigrinya traditionally dress in bright white costumes. Of the Muslim ethnicities, only the Arab or Rashaida tribeswomen maintain a tradition of covering their faces.
Popular sports in Eritrea are football and bicycle racing. In recent years Eritrean athletes have seen increasing success in the international arena.
Almost unique on the African continent, the
Tour of Eritreais a bicycle race from the hot desert beaches of Massawa, up the winding mountain highway with its precipitous valleys and cliffs to the capital Asmara. From there, it continues downwards onto the western plains of the Gash-Barka Zone, only to return back to Asmara from the south. This is, by far, the most popular sport in Eritrea, though, recently long-distance running has garnered its own supporters. The momentum for long-distance running in Eritrea can be seen in the successes of Zersenay Tadese, who won a bronze medal for Eritrea in the 2004 Olympics, and Mebrahtom (Meb) Keflezighi, also an Olympian of Eritrean descent competing for the United States.
List of Eritrea-related topics
*Ancient Ethiopia, David W. Phillipson (1998)
* Cliffe, Lionel; Connell, Dan; Davidson, Basil (2005), "Taking on the Superpowers: Collected Articles on the Eritrean Revolution (1976-1982)". Red Sea Press, ISBN 1-56902-188-0
* Cliffe, Lionel & Davidson, Basil (1988), "The Long Struggle of Eritrea for Independence and Constructive Peace". Spokesman Press, ISBN 0-85124-463-7
* Connell, Dan (1997), "Against All Odds: A Chronicle of the Eritrean Revolution With a New Afterword on the Postwar Transition". Red Sea Press, ISBN 1-56902-046-9
* Connell, Dan (2001), "Rethinking Revolution: New Strategies for Democracy & Social Justice : The Experiences of Eritrea, South Africa, Palestine & Nicaragua". Red Sea Press, ISBN 1-56902-145-7
* Connell, Dan (2004), "Conversations with Eritrean Political Prisoners". Red Sea Press, ISBN 1-56902-235-6
* Connell, Dan (2005), "Building a New Nation: Collected Articles on the Eritrean Revolution (1983-2002)". Red Sea Press, ISBN 1-56902-198-8
* Daniel Kendie (2005), "The Five Dimensions Of The Eritrean Conflict 1941 - 2004: Deciphering the Geo-Political Puzzle". Signature Book Printing, ISBN 1-932433-47-3
* Firebrace, James & Holand, Stuart (1985), "Never Kneel Down: Drought, Development and Liberation in Eritrea". Red Sea Press, ISBN 0-932415-00-8
* Hatem Elliesie: "Decentralisation of Higher Education in Eritrea", Afrika Spectrum, Vol. 43 (2008) No. 1, p. 115-120.
* Jordan Gebre-Medhin (1989), "Peasants and Nationalism in Eritrea". Red Sea Press, ISBN 0-932415-38-5
Hill, Justin(2002), ' Ciao Asmara, A classic account of contemporary Africa'. Little, Brown, ISBN 978-0349115269
* Iyob, Ruth (1997), "The Eritrean Struggle for Independence : Domination, Resistance, Nationalism, 1941-1993". Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-59591-6
* Jacquin-Berdal, Dominique; Plaut, Martin (2004), "Unfinished Business: Ethiopia and Eritrea at War". Red Sea Press, ISBN 1-56902-217-8
* Johns, Michael (1992), [http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r102:E06MY2-393: "Does Democracy Have a Chance", "Congressional Record",
May 6 1992]
* Keneally, Thomas (1990), "To Asmara" ISBN 0446391719
* Killion, Tom (1998), "Historical Dictionary of Eritrea". Scarecrow Press, ISBN 0-8108-3437-5
* Mauri A., "Eritrea's Early Stages oin Monetary and Banking Development", International Review of Economics, Vol. LI, n. 4.
* Müller, Tanja R.: "Bare life and the developmental State: the Militarization of Higher Education in Eritrea", Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 46 (2008), No. 1, p. 1-21.
* Wrong, Michela (2005), "I Didn't Do It For You: how the world betrayed a small African Nation". Harper Collins, ISBN 0-06-078092-4
* Pateman, Roy (1998), "Eritrea: Even the Stones Are Burning". Red Sea Press, ISBN 1-56902-057-4
* [http://shabait.com/ Official website of the Ministry of Information of Eritrea]
* [http://www.erimoe.gov.er Official website of the Ministry of Education of Eritrea]
* [http://www.refugees.org/article.aspx?id=2214 Video footage from Shimelba refugee camp, ways to help, USCRI work ]
* [http://tv.oneworld.net/2008/10/09/ifad-three-sisters-part-1/ Documentary on Womens liberation in Eritrea]
* [http://www.tigrinja.com Tigrinya online learning with numbers, alphabet and history] [Eritrea and north Ethiopia (Tigray-Province)]
* [http://www.ferroviaeritrea.it Ferrovia eritrea] Eritrean Railway
* [http://www.eritreaeritrea.com Eritrea] About Eritrea
* [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/er.html CIA World Factbook - "Eritrea"]
* [http://www.theglobalist.com/StoryId.aspx?StoryId=4668 Extract from
Justin Hill's Ciao Asmarain The Globalist] Magazine
* [http://www.geschichteinchronologie.ch/afrika/kol/Eritrea-Munzinger-fight-against-colonialism-ENGL.html History of Eritrea: First recordings - Munzinger - exploitation by colonialism and fight against colonialism (Italy, England, Ethiopia, Soviet Union, USA, Israel) - independence]
* [http://www.cartercenter.org/countries/eritrea.html The Carter Center information on Eritrea] (chronology)
title = Geographic locale
list =Template group
title = International membership
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