Eritrea is the name of an independent country in Northeast Africa that was once under Italian and British control. It stands bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast. On the east and northeast side, the country shares an extensive coastline with the Red Sea, directly across from Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Forming a part of the territory of Eritrea are Dahlak Archipelago and a number of Hanish Islands. A multilingual and multicultural country, it has two dominant religions (Coptic Orthodox Christianity and Islam) and nine ethnic groups. In case you want to know some more fun and interesting facts about Eritrea, browse through the following lines.
Image: Charles Roffey@flickr
Fun and Interesting Facts about Eritrea
- Eritrea is officially known as the 'State of Eritrea'.
- The capital of Eritrea is Asmara, which also forms the country's largest city.
- At the national level, there is no official language of Eritrea. However, Tigrinya is the most dominant language of the country, Apart from that, Afar, Arabic, Tigre and Kunama are also spoken there.
- English is also used in Eritrea, especially as the language of instruction in all education beyond the fifth grade.
- Tigrinya, Tigre and Kunama are the main ethnic groups in Eritrea, while Afar, Saho Bilen, Hedareb, Nara, and Rashaida are in minority.
- Majority of the people in Eritrea are Coptic Orthodox Christians and Muslims, followed by Roman Catholics, Nonreligious ones and others.
- The currency of Eritrea is Nakfa.
- Eritrea follows the system of 'Transitional government'.
- Eritrea came under the rule of Ottoman Empire in 16th century and the rule lasted for three centuries.
- Eritrea came under Italian occupation and was formally consolidated into a colony by the Italian government on January 1, 1890.
- Eritrea became a province of Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana), along with Ethiopia and Italian Somalilan, in 1936.
- In 1941, British forces drove out Italians from Eritrea and administered the territory under a UN mandate, which continued till 1951.
- In the year 1951, Eritrea was federated with Ethiopia as per UN resolution 390(A) that was adopted in December 1950.
- Ethiopia annexed Eritrea in 1962.
- Eritrea gained independence in 1993, after fighting for its freedom for over 30 years.
- Eritrea became indulged in a war with Ethiopia over border disputes, which came to end with a ceasefire, signed in June 2000. In December 2000, a peace agreement was signed by the two countries.
- Soira, towering to a height of 3,018 m and forming the center of Eritrea, forms the country's highest point.
- The lowest point in Eritrea is Denakil Depression, which is also one of the hottest places on earth.
- Adulis is a port city in Eritrea that was founded by the Greeks in 600.
- It is believed that the son of King Solomon, from the royal house of Judah, and the Queen of Sheba founded the Kingdom of Axum (Aksum), in southern Eritrea and Ethiopia.
- It was in the fourth century that Christianity reached Axum.
- Islam found entry into Eritrea in 600 AD.
- Suez Canal, which opened in the second half of 19th century, made Eritrea more accessible from the Mediterranean.
- Eritrea's constitution, adopted in 1997, made the country a presidential republic, with a unicameral parliamentary democracy. However, the constitution has not been fully implemented till date.