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Ethiopia Index
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Constitutional Background

Ethiopia, formerly Abyssinia, is the oldest independent country in Africa.  It regularly has military conflicts with Eritrea.

History and News

  • June 18, 2000: Ethiopia and Eritrea sign a ceasefire agreement after three major war campaigns against each other, calling for the presence of UN troops on Eritrean soil; Ethiopian troops only withdraw from cities, not from Eritrea.
  • May 2000: Parliamentary elections lead to a success of the governing EPRDF under Prime Minister Meles, who has just attacked Eritrea.
  • Feb 1999: In a second war campaign Eritrea looses the Badme area, which is claimed by Ethiopia, and accepts a OAU-sponsored peace plan, later rejected by Ethiopia.
  • May 1998: A minor skirmish between Eritrean and Ethiopian troops at the border develops rapidly into a full-scale war; several small territories administered by Ethiopia but until then internationally considered to be Eritrean are occupied by Eritrean troops; Ethiopia demands unconditional withdrawal and mobilizes for war.
  • Dec 1997: Ethiopia closes its borders to Eritrea due to an economic conflict and creates new banknotes.
  • 8 Dec 1994: New Constitution adopted. President Meles Zenawi becomes Prime Minister and concentrates the power in his hands. Nine federated States are created with some autonomy, the hugest being Oromiyaa, representing more then half of the population.
  • May 1993: Ethiopia accepts Eritrea as an independant State. A treaty on the establishment of free trade between both countries is signed.
  • 28 May 1991: Defeat of Mengistu regime; national holiday.
  • 1987: DERG Constitution adopted.
  • 1977: Ethiopia is attacked by Somalia, which claims Ogaden. Somalia is defeated.
  • 1974: Emperor Haile Selassie I loses power in a military coup; establishment of the DERG regime under Mengistu.
  • 1962: Annexation of Eritrea; Eritrean independance struggle, started in 1961, intensifies during the next 30 years.
  • 1952: Establishment of a UN-initiated federation between Ethiopia and Eritrea with two different governments; the federal government is lead by Emperor Haile Selassie.
  • 1941: Italy defeated by Great Britain, restoration of Haile Selassie I on his throne; the Somali province Ogaden is returned to Ethiopia by the British in the 1950s.
  • 1936: Emperor Haile Selassie I. of Abyssinia exiled to Britain after his troops have been defeated in the war against Italy. Eritrea unified with Ethiopia and Italian Somalia and
  • 1935: Italy attacks Abyssinia via Eritrea
  • 1930: The regent Ras Tafari Makonnen is crowned as Emperor Haile Selassie I.
  • 1916: During a coup, Abeto Iyasu Menelik, the crown prince and head of the government, loses his power.
  • 1896: Abyssinia is attacked by Italian Eritrea, but wins at Adua.
  • 1889: The king of half-independant Shoa, Menelik II, is crowned as Emperor of Ethiopia. Creation of Ethiopia in its modern borders.
  • 1885: Italy takes over the so-called takes over the coastal area, today´s Eritrea, from Egyptian rule; Massawa Port becomes the capital. 
  • 1850s: Emperor Tewodros II ends the so-called "Era of the Princes" and reunifies different independant Ethiopian territories under his rule.
  • 1st Century: Ethiopia is the most ancient independant State in Africa; its dynasties claimed descent from the ancient rulers of Aksum, a powerful empire between the 1st and the 9th cent.

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - December 16th, 2010 / Thanks to W. Smidt.
For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.