It would take a lifetime of exploration to uncover Ethiopia’s intricate archaeological history, various tribes, cultures, religions, languages and extreme environments. But since we don’t have a lifetime to spend on this particular task, here are a few facts to motivate your next adventure.
1. Proud, stubborn and fierce, Ethiopia is the only country in Africa never to be colonized.
2. Over 82 languages and 200 dialects are spoken here, but Amharic is the most common.
3. The Ethiopian calendar has one month extra than ours putting them a few years behind the rest of the world. It’s currently only 2011 in Ethiopia, but 2018 here in the United States.
4. Ethiopia is one of the few countries mentioned in the Holy Bible.
5. Ethiopia currently houses the most refugees in all of Africa.
6. Ethiopian distance runner Abebe Bikila ran the 1960 Olympic Marathon barefooted and won. He won the same competition at the 1964 Olympics.
7. It was the Ethiopians, not Egyptians that first domesticated camels and donkeys.
8. Ethiopia was the first country to receive Islam as a religion. It’s also the place that sheltered the Prophet Muhammad, his family, and his followers when they were being persecuted and killed by pagan Arabians.
9. In 1907, Ethiopian emperor Menelik II became the first African to drive a car.
10. Approximately 70% of Africa’s mountains are in Ethiopia leading to its nickname, “The Root of Africa”.
11. Italy attempted and failed to invade Ethiopia on two separate occasions. #NeverConquered
12. The life expectancy in Ethiopia is alarmingly low. For men, the average is 48 years and for women, only two more years.
13. Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, and so is Yemen. Historians have struggled identifying which of the two countries actually was first to domesticate coffee beans.
14. With nine UNESCO World Heritage sites, this country has some major attractions for visitors. Aksum, Fasil Ghebbi, Harar Jugol (The Fortified Historic Town), Konso Cultural Landscape,Lower Valley of the Awash, Lower Valley of the Omo, Rock-Hewn Churches (Lalibela), Tiya and Simien National Park.
15. Ethiopians celebrate their New Year on September 11th. The day is called Enkutatash.
16. At 7,874 feet above sea level, Addis Ababa is the highest capital city in Africa.
17. With 107,534,882 inhabitants, Ethiopia is the second most populated country in Africa behind Nigeria.
18. The region is home to Africa’s most endangered carnivore, the Ethiopian wolf. Similar to the coyote in size and build, it has red and white fur.
19. Deceased Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie was viewed by Rastafarians as the reincarnation of Jesus Christ.
20. A honey wine called Tej has been produced in this country for over 2,000 years and can still be found regularly.
21. First founded in 980 B.C., Ethiopia is Africa’s oldest independent country.