The oldest paleolithic finds in Ethiopia are among the strangest ever made. On the Omo River, which flows south towards Lake Turkana, stone implements and remains of hominids, both Australopithecus and Homo habilis, have been found embedded in volcanic ash, which have been determined to be 0.5–4 million years old. From the Afarsenk in the north there are also a number of finds that are 2.8–3.7 million years old, including the skeleton of “Lucy” from Hadar.
Findings further up the Awash Valley (Melka Kunture) provide knowledge of the technological development from the Paleolithic to the Mesolithic. Similarly, the transition from the collector/hunter stage to livestock management and primitive agriculture during the younger Stone Age can be traced in the rift area. The development of ceramic production, livestock management and cultivation of cereals that led to the high culture in northern Ethiopia is probably related to impulses from the Upper Nile area.
Ethiopia’s history has been characterized by three important factors: its location on the Red Sea, which meant close relations with Egypt and Arabia; its opposition to Islamization, which has led Ethiopia as the only nation in the Middle East and North Africa to remain a predominantly Christian community; and finally, its successful fight against European colonialism, which has given Ethiopia a unique position among the African states. The country’s approximately 2000-year history can be divided into five periods: Aksum, Zagwe/Lasta, Amhara/Shewa, Gonder and modern Ethiopia with its center in Addis Ababa.
- Countryaah: Check to see the location of Ethiopia on the world map. Also covers major mountains, rivers and lakes in Ethiopia.
Aksum about 1–1000 AD
As early as the second millennium BC there is evidence of trade between Ethiopia and Egypt both along the Nile and its tributaries and by sea. To see more information other than history, please visit Abbreviationfinder to learn more about climate, population, government, and economy for the country of Ethiopia. Exports consisted of luxury goods: incense and spices, gold, ivory and rhino horn. The contacts with southern Arabia can be dated from around 700 BC, when immigrants from Saba and Himyar began to settle in northern Ethiopia, where they contributed to the emergence of the Cushitic-Semitic culture from which the Aksum empire grew (compare Aksum). Even before immigration and the founding of Aksum, the Cushitic highland population practiced agriculture, while livestock farming predominated in the lowlands. The plow was known, as was the terracing and irrigation. The main contribution of the South Arabs was the introduction of the Sabaean alphabet and thus the writing art. Aksum was developed during the first centuries AD into a regional superpower.
About 300 AD parts of Arabia were conquered. King Ezana (reign around 325-350) defeated Meroe and the Ethiopians extended their empire to the Nile. The contacts with Egypt and the Byzantine Empire were lively. Christianity became the official religion of the country around 340. At the end of the 14th century, its position was strengthened by Syrian missionaries’ Bible translation work and monastic foundations. A second period of Ethiopian rule in Southern Arabia began in 524, when King Kaleb conducted a criminal expedition against the Hymaritic king Masruq following his massacre of Christians in Najran. The period lasted to about 590, when the Persians expelled the Ethiopians.
The real turning point for Aksum came with Islam’s victory train, through which Ethiopia lost its position as a naval power and trade nation. A last bloom occurred in the 9th century, when trade relations between the Ethiopian coastal cities and Yemen were once again lively. However, Aksum’s position was weakened by invasions of Beja people from the west and the mythical Queen Judits or Gudit’s attack on Aksum from the southwest. This was probably a reaction to the introduction of Christianity and to the exercise of political power in new areas in the south.
The power and wealth of the Aksum kingdom bear witness to the remains of large-scale buildings and ponds as well as monumental monoliths, designed as copies of buildings. The archaeological finds include both Roman gold coins and Ethiopian rulers’ gold, silver and copper coins from the 200s to the 900s. Aksum’s archaeological site was listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1980.
Zagwe/Load approximately 1000–1270
The Zagwi period in some respects entailed a Cushitic reaction to the Semitized Aksum. Admittedly, the central provinces of the new kingdom – Wag, Lasta with the capital Lalibela, Angot and Amhara – were Christian, and geez remained church language. The architectural patterns were preserved, but the churches were no longer built on heights or open fields as before but in caves and as monolithic buildings below ground level. The abandonment of Aksum as a center meant a retreat, and most of the coast and foreign trade were lost. In order to strengthen the legitimacy of the new rulers, they were stated to be descendants of Moses and his “Ethiopian” wife, certainly to dispel the myth that the Axumite rulers were descendants of King Solomon and the queen of Sheba.
The reputation of the Zagwe rulers as pious priests has been preserved in the tradition and should have contributed to the medieval legend in Europe of the Presbyter John and his great Christian kingdom in the east. In fact, Ethiopia was a small state during this period compared to earlier and later periods, although expansion among the Cushitic Agew peoples in the west and southwest continued. In the lowlands Islam spread, and autonomous sultanates also arose in the highlands, for example in eastern Shewa.
Again, a shift of Ethiopia’s political center of gravity southward was linked to a dynastic shift. At the same time, Yikunno Amlak (1270–85) was regarded as the restorer of the “Solomonian” dynasty, and the new national language Amharic was more Semitic than Cushitic. The center of the kingdom became northern Shewa, and it was the struggle between Muslims and Christians that characterized the period.
The most important Sultanate at this time was Yifat in northeast Shewa. Its rulers submerged all the land down to the coast at Zeyla and controlled considerable trading income. The war was not only or even primarily a religious war, but was about livestock and pastures. Amde Siyon (1314–44) made a first unified attempt to end the raids by annexing not only Yifat but also the partially Islamized Sultanates of Hadiya, Dawaro and Bale. Smaller Muslim areas in the highlands became provinces, while the former sultanates became autonomous but tributary sound states. The uprising and wars continued into the 15th century, when Yishaq (1413-30) operated the Yifat dynasty in exile in Yemen.
Parallel to the wars in the east was an expansion among the agew and peoples of the west and south, followed by missionary and monastic foundations under the leadership of founding fathers such as Tekle Haymanot (dead 1313) and Ewostatewos (dead 1352). The latter became the source of a theological struggle of national dimensions by requiring observance of the Jewish Sabbath. The dispute was settled at a church meeting in 1450 under the leadership of the period’s most renowned ruler Zera Yaʻiqob (1434-68). The Sabbath was accepted as a holiday and Sunday. Zera Yaʻiqob’s goal was to clear out pagan customs and customs that remained in the church and create a religiously homogeneous society. In cultural and literary terms, his reign was a golden age.
Ethiopia’s foreign policy was increasingly determined by its relations with Egypt and by the Ethiopian pilgrims’ interests in Palestine. In the wake of the crusade, contacts had begun to be established between Europeans and Ethiopians. In 1402 the first Ethiopian mission to Europe was mentioned. Several followed during Yishaq and Zera Yaʻiqob’s reign.
With the latter’s death, an expansive period ended, with Ethiopia reaching its greatest extent before Minilik II. However, despite the religious and national gathering that has been established, Ethiopia remained a very heterogeneous state formation. In the central provinces, which were governed by more or less autonomous governors and sound princes, cohesion was centered on the church and on the monarch as person and symbol of the “people of God”, the new Zion. The newly acquired territories in the east and south were ruled by Muslim dynasties, whose only link with Ethiopia was their vassal relationship with the Christian monarch. The central administration that existed was exercised from the king’s camps and via military posts in the various countries.
This structure proved insufficient when the great Muslim attack was launched in the last half of the 16th century. In eastern Ethiopia, Yifat was succeeded by the Sultanate Adal. This sultans and merchant class in Harer were regarded by new leaders among Afars and Somalis as overly apathetic towards Ethiopia. Foremost among the new leaders was Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi or Ahmad Gran (Ahmad ‘the left hand’). He overthrew the Sultan and refused to pay tribute to the Christian king Libne Dingil (1508–40). When this led to an attack on Adal, “holy war” was proclaimed against the Christians. In 1529, Ahmad attacked southern Shewa. Over the next ten years, almost the whole country was taken. Monasteries and churches were looted and burned; the Christian population was killed, fled or converted to Islam. The conflict was internationalized as a result of two of the great powers of the time, the Ottomans and the Portuguese, at this time establishing themselves in the immediate vicinity of Ethiopia. In 1535 Libne Dingil appealed to Portugal for help, but not until the year after his death did 400 men land in Mitsiwa (Massawa). Ahmad Gran in turn sought and received help from the Ottomans. But despite the fact that more than half the Portuguese force lost their lives in a single battle in 1542, the happiness of the war turned. Ahmad fell the following year in a battle against Libne Dingil’s son Gelawdewos (1540–59).
It quickly became apparent how fragile the Muslim conquest was. The king returned to the central provinces as well as Dawaro and Bale. Nevertheless, Ahmad Gran’s occupation came to leave a trauma in Christian Ethiopia. Indirectly, it also had unforeseen consequences for the country’s future in three respects: the Ottoman occupation of Mitsiwa, the Portuguese-Jesuit activity, and Oromo’s expansion.
For the Ottomans, it was important to secure the exclusive right to trade and shipping in the Red Sea. For the Portuguese, Ethiopia’s submission to the Roman Church was as important as trade. Gelawdewos made it clear that he intended to hold on to the Orthodox faith, but in 1557 a group of Jesuit missionaries arrived. The Ottomans responded by occupying Mitsiwa. Their attempts to establish themselves in the highlands were unsuccessful, but the threat to Christian Ethiopia increased during Serse Dingil’s reign (1563–97), especially as the pressure of the Oromo immigration reached the central parts of the kingdom.
Oromos expansion from the settlement area in southern Ethiopia began approximately simultaneously with Ahmad Gran’s attack. The withdrawal of garrisons and depopulation in the wake of the war left the borders open, and once the war was over immigration had reached such proportions that neither Christian Ethiopia nor Adal could stop it. About 1560 the eastern highlands were taken as far north as Harer. In the 1570s, Shewa was invaded, and after another decade, the Oromo had largely been cut by the southern provinces of the rest of Ethiopia. At the same time, the eastern part of the central highlands was invaded far up in Tigray, and advances were made in the new “central provinces” Gojam and Dembiya. The strongest concentration in the north was the welo tribes. They switched to Islam and created a strong oromic community in the heart of Ethiopia. The last ruler of the period Susinyos (1607–32) took over Ethiopia in deep crisis. The kingdoms fought with the feudal lords. Catholics were opposed to Orthodox. In a desperate attempt to reestablish the central power, Susinyos sought support from the Jesuits. The result was severe rebellion, which forced the king’s abdication in favor of his son.
The political center of gravity’s shift from Shewa to the provinces of Lake Tana had been going on for a long time, and dynastic continuity was maintained. Nevertheless, Fasiledes’s (1632-67) accession to the throne and the founding of the new capital Gonder meant a crime with the past. The ambition to regain power over the former provinces and the kingdoms of the east and south was stated. The capital replaced the camp as a center of power. The Jesuits were expelled immediately, and the former enemies, the Turks, were asked to ensure that no new Westerners reached Ethiopia. The attitude towards the Muslims in the country was softened. The church fragmentation proved difficult to rectify. A church meeting decided that the Jesuits’ former followers were given the choice to flee or return to the Orthodox faith, but unity was not achieved. An attempt to stop the spread of Islam by legislating on occupational restrictions and separate housing districts (which also affected falasha) failed. Instead, trade became even more concentrated in the hands of Muslim merchants. Their reputation and influence increased, and Islamization increased, especially along the caravan roads and among the oromo in southwestern Ethiopia, where salt and imported goods were exchanged for gold, ivory and slaves.
Even during Iyasu the Great (1682-1706), respect for the “Solomonian” monarchy was unbroken both within the country and among the neighboring peoples. However, occupied by the palace buildings and court intrigues, the monarchs lost their real power. The county lords, in turn, became increasingly powerful. Iyasu II (1730–55) sought to strengthen his power by seeking support from relatives among the Oromo chiefs in Welo. This opened the way for the oromo from Welo and later Yeju to become kingmakers and de facto rulers. Although they continued to acknowledge the king of Gonder as the chief, Shewa, but also Tigray and Gojam in practice became independent states. The period from 1769 to 1855 came in the Ethiopian historiography to be called “the era of the princes” with reference to the time of Judgment in ancient Israel.
The first to seek one of the old national divisions and restore the monarchy was Tewodros (1855–68). As governor of western Ethiopia, he had experienced how Egyptian pressure against the border increased, while Ethiopia from the 1830s was inundated by European emissaries and research travelers, missionaries and fortune seekers. Initially, they were welcomed for the gifts (most weapons) they brought, and international treaties were signed by local princes such as King Sahle Sillase (1813-48) by Shewa and ras Ali (1830-53) by Begemdir (current Gonder).
At the same time, however, there was a healthy suspicion as to the motives of the Europeans. Tewodros realized that the new era required a strong central power and a modern, paid army. He not only outmaneuvered and defeated the regional princes, but took the revolutionary step of proclaiming himself emperor. He accepted the British consul Walter Plowden but refused to recognize him as consul or ratify the treaty concluded with Ali. Protestant lay missionaries were welcomed; the Catholics were expelled. These then supported a rebellion in Tigray, which lasted for several years.
Tewodros never managed to gain control of the entire country. Neither the provincial chiefs nor the church leaders accepted his centralization policy and fiscal reform. His attempt to pursue an active foreign policy also failed, as Plowden’s successors failed to travel to England with an important letter to Queen Victoria and instead visited the Egyptian garrisons along Ethiopia’s western border. Tewodros suspected that the British were on Egypt’s side. He imprisoned the consul and most other Europeans in the country. This led to a British-Indian army being sent to free them. All of northern Ethiopia was in revolt, and the army was allowed free passage to the fortress Meqdela. After a brief battle on Good Friday 1868, the fortress was stormed. Tewodros committed suicide. The British retreated immediately.
With Yohannis IV (1872–89), Tigray became the power center of the kingdom. He was more traditional than his predecessor, showed great respect for the church and allowed his governors, especially Minilik in Shewa, a greater measure of independence. His overriding task was to defend the country against attacks from Egypt and Italy. An Egyptian attempt to invade Ethiopia was made in 1875. Troops under mainly European and American officers landed in Mitsiwa, Tajura, Zeyla and Brava. The expedition from Zeyla managed to conquer Harer, which came to mean ten years of Turkish occupation. The main attack was averted by the victories at Gundet in 1875 and Gura in 1876.
In the so-called Hewett Treaty in 1884, Egypt pledged to return all the territory it occupied in northern Ethiopia. The United Kingdom guaranteed Ethiopia duty-free imports, including weapons and ammunition, via Mitsiwa. In return, Yohannis promised to rescue the Egyptian garrison-threatened Egyptian garrisons in eastern Sudan. Six months after the peace treaty, Britain invited the Italians to Mitsiwa. Yohannis protested, but the success of the dervishes and the uncertainty of his vassal loyalty caused him to turn south. On March 10, 1889, he fell at Metema.
Minilik II (1889–1913) had, since becoming king of Shewa in 1865, expanded his territory to the west and south and occupied Harer after the Egyptians. He took over after Yohannis, and Shewa (with the new capital Addis Ababa) again became the center of politics. At the end of the 1880s, Ethiopia suffered a devastating livestock plague and several years of drought. Minilik chose to settle with the Italians. In the Wichale Treaty of 1889, Ethiopia left about one-third of Eritrea. But when Italy, on the basis of a deliberately wrongly translated paragraph, insisted on patronage rights over Ethiopia, war became inevitable.
The Italians invaded with the strongest colonial army that Africa had seen so far, but they were defeated at Adwa on March 1, 1896. Ethiopian independence was recognized, but the Italians retained and expanded Eritrea until the border was established throughout its length in 1908. Britain and France, which subjugated the coast at Bab -el-mandeb and the Gulf of Aden, set their borders there with Ethiopia in 1897. Other boundaries were defined in the following years. Aware of the colonial encirclement and in great need of income, mainly for arms purchases, Minilik had conquered and incorporated new territories in the south almost before and after the Adwas team.
It was mainly during these years that Ethiopia was militarized at the price of gold, ivory and coffee from the new territories. But also in other ways Ethiopia was modernized during Minilik’s time. The railway construction from Djibouti to Addis Ababa was started, concessions for mineral extraction and more were granted and simpler manufacturing industry got underway. A government with ministers responsible for various sectors was introduced.
Haile Sellassie I and Italian occupation
During his last years Minilik was disabled; the succession was uncertain, and the Europeans expected the country to fall apart. Minilik’s daughter-son Iyasu became regent and at the death of Minilik in 1913, emperor, but his sympathies for Turkey and Germany led to his fall as early as 1916. Power was shared between Minilik’s daughter Zewditu (1916-30) and the race Teferi Mekonnin. As regent and crown prince, Teferi accelerated modernization and sought entry into the League of Nations (NF). In 1930 he succeeded Zewditu and crowned as Haile Sellassie In.
The reform work was interrupted by the Italian attack in October 1935. Haile Sellassie had relied on the collective security offered by the membership of the NF, but this proved to be a mistake (see Abyssinian crisis). Due to arms embargo, Ethiopia was far less equipped to defend itself than it was 40 years earlier. Italy deployed a modern equipped army of 250,000 men supported by aircraft. The absolute dominion in the air, the bombings and the spread of mustard gas became decisive. The Ethiopians suffered a devastating defeat at May Chew in March 1936. Before the fall of the capital a month later, the emperor decided to leave the country to personally lead his people’s action in Geneva. On May 5, Addis Ababa was entered without a fight. Eritrea and Italian Somaliland merged with EthiopiaItalian East Africa.
However, the Italians never gained full control of the country. Remnants of the Ethiopian army and other survivors continued the struggle, and when Italy lined up on Germany’s side in World War II, Ethiopia was quickly liberated. After five years of Italian occupation of Ethiopia, Haile Sellassie returned to his capital. The following years were fueled by efforts to rebuild the administration and, not least, by negotiations on the country’s territory. The British first sought to create both greater Somalia and greater Eritrea at Ethiopia’s expense. The Ethiopians demanded that Eritrea be granted Ethiopia, but it was not until 1952 that the reunification took place (see Eritrea).
In 1955, Ethiopia was given a new constitution and a parliament with two chambers. A government machinery after European design was built up. However, the decision on all important issues remained with the emperor and his closest advisers from the old earth and military aristocracy. School services and healthcare were expanded at a rapid pace; roads, telecommunications and aviation as well. Industrial investments were made in Addis Ababa and a few other major cities. Cotton, sugar and coffee plantations generated wealth for a few. Social disparities began to gain attention, as were the questions about Africa’s future. The UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Unity Organization (OAU) had their headquarters in Addis Ababa. With increasing education and lively international contacts, internal dissatisfaction grew in the country.
The modern Ethiopia
Fertilization, famine and oil crisis in February 1974 led to strikes and street unrest in Addis Ababa. The military intervened, and the government resigned. On September 12, the emperor was replaced by a military council, the Derg. The earth was nationalized, reforms in the socialist direction were introduced, the monarchy was abolished, and peasant and district associations were organized for local autonomy. In February 1977, Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam eliminated his opponents and became the country’s official leader.
Mengistu then staged a bloody campaign, called Red Terror, to wipe out any continued resistance to the regime. In a short time, thousands of people were killed. Increasing guerrilla operations in Eritrea and unrest in Ogaden worsened the situation. Somalia invaded Ethiopia but lost its support from the Soviet Union, which instead provided Ethiopia with advisers and weapons.
The war ended in defeat for Somalia. The development led to a Marxist-Leninist party formation and a new constitution. In 1987, the new Parliament met for the first time; the military council resigned, and Mengistu was elected president.
Dissatisfaction within the military leadership with Mengistu’s inability to find political solutions to the country’s problems led in 1989 to a failed coup attempt. The Soviet Union’s financial support fell away, and Marxism was increasingly questioned. Crucial to the development was the civil war in northern Ethiopia, led by the Eritrean people’s liberation front and the guerrilla movement the Tigrean people’s liberation front in Tigray. The latter recruited other oppositionists and formed the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EFRDF). The Ethiopian army’s resistance ceased, and Mengistu left the country on May 21, 1991. A week later, in the midst of ongoing negotiations in London for a political settlement, EFRDF Addis Ababa took over. This and the decision that Eritrea should become an independent state were made in agreement with the United States,
An interim government led by the EFRDF under Meles Zenawi was formed, a constitution for federal state formation was drafted and national elections were held in June 1994 and May 1995. Ethiopia’s administrative map was redrafted along ethnic lines, and all ethnically-based states were given the right to leave the federation. Eritrea was allowed to form its own state in 1993.
Despite the new federal rule, Ethiopia was characterized by strong contradictions. Several ethnic groups felt that Tigray had a disproportionate influence. Both armed and peaceful resistance to the regime were defeated by hard methods. Relations with Eritrea also deteriorated soon and war broke out in 1998. The main cause of the war was probably Eritrea’s exchange of currency, which at one time made expensive and complicated border trade and much of Ethiopia’s foreign trade happened via Eritrean ports. Disagreement about the boundary line was otherwise the factor highlighted in both sides’ propaganda. Despite intensive mediation efforts from mainly OAUthe war went on until 2000, when Ethiopian troops, in a final offensive, drove the Eritrean army out of two disputed border areas. The war was estimated to have claimed well over 100,000 lives and made some 350,000 Ethiopians homeless.
Both states, but especially Ethiopia, faced fierce international criticism for putting in huge sums of warfare while millions of people were starving. A neutral commission appointed by the UN was commissioned to review the boundary between the two countries. In its final report in 2003, Eritrea granted the right to the town of Badme, which was the focus of the conflict. Ethiopia for a long time refused to accept the Commission’s decision, despite earlier promises to do so. The situation in the border area has remained tense, but in 2018 relations thawed the countries between Abiy Ahmed took office as prime minister (see below).
Ethiopia during the 2000s
Severe unrest characterized the parliamentary elections in 2005, when two major opposition alliances succeeded in forging the EFRDF’s power monopoly for the first time. About 200 people were killed when police intervened in demonstrations organized by the opposition, which was believed to have been deprived of a rolling victory. Several thousand people were arrested, among them the leaders of an opposition party alliance, and some 30 were subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment for, among other things, treason but were subsequently pardoned.
In the years that followed, several laws were adopted that in various ways restricted human rights, made critical journalism more difficult, and thus strengthened the regime’s grip on power. After the 2010 election, the EFRDF and its allies received all but two seats in Parliament’s lower house; In the 2015 elections, the opposition became completely out of place in the Representative Council following an election movement that, according to government opponents and Amnesty International, was characterized by harassment and abuse by the regime.
At the end of 2006, Ethiopian troops were sent to neighboring Somalia in support of the transitional government and played a crucial role when the militia Supreme Judicial Council (SICC) was ousted from, among others, the capital Mogadishu; only in 2009 were the Ethiopian soldiers withdrawn. In 2007, the former dictator Mengistu was sentenced in his absence to life imprisonment, a sentence which the Supreme Court the year after tightened to the death penalty. In the Ogaden region of the state of Somali, in 2007, the separatist movement carried out the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) several attacks. Among other things, some 70 people were killed in an attack on an oil field where a Chinese company conducted test drilling.
The government responded with a great military effort with great suffering for the civilian population as a result. Swedish journalists Martin Schibbye (born 1980) and Johan Persson (born 1982) were arrested in July 2011 for illegally entering Ogaden with the help of ONLF. They were sentenced to 11 years in prison but were pardoned in September 2012. In August 2012, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi departed and was replaced by Hailemariam Desalegn.
In December 2015 and early 2016, several alarms were raised that Ethiopia was hit by the worst drought since the 1980s with over 10 million people in need of food aid.
Violent protests among the Oromo and Amhara people groups that cost hundreds of people broke out in 2015. After repeatedly announcing the state of emergency, Hailemariam Desalegn chose to file his resignation application in February 2018; he was succeeded in April of that year by Abiy Ahmed.
The new Prime Minister abolished the current state of emergency and initiated extensive reform work. Thousands of political prisoners were granted amnesty and representatives of previously banned rebel organizations such as Oromo’s Liberation Front, Ginbot 7 and the Tigrean People’s Democratic Movement were allowed to return to the country and the stamp of terror was removed. In October 2018, a peace agreement was signed with Ogaden’s National Liberation Front (see also Ogaden).
Abiy also reached out to Eritrea early on, announcing that Ethiopia must respect the decision made in 2002 by an international border commission that gave Eritrea the right to the city of Badme. An agreement that ended the border conflict was signed by Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki in July 2018. Relations between countries began to be normalized: embassies were established in the two capitals, air services were resumed and the border opened. The peace process has subsequently stagnated.
Abiy Ahmed’s reform program, however, has not been uncontested, although his position in the ruling party is strong. In June 2018, two people were killed and hundreds injured in a bomb attack during a speech the Prime Minister held in Addis Ababa. One year later, in June 2019, a coup attempt was carried out in the Amhara region.
Since Abie’s accession, ethnically colored conflicts have flared up in several parts of the country, usually with riots as one of the warring parties. In the fall of 2018, several riots broke out in and around Addis Ababa during which dozens of people belonging to various minority people were killed. In December 2018, Oromo’s Liberation Front accused the government of violating the peace agreement. Parts of the movement again took to arms and initiated violent actions in the western part of the country. In the south, Oromo has collapsed with Somalis. Well over 1 million Ethiopians were estimated to have fled their homes during Abiy Ahmed’s first year in power.