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Haile Selassie, Western Education and Political Revolution in Ethiopia By Paulos Mil ...

Chapter 1:  Historical Background
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Haile Selassie, Western Education and Political Revolution in Ethiopia

Chapter One

Historical Background

According to recent archaeological discoveries, the ancient nation of Ethiopia, which is perched on the Horn of Africa adjacent to the Red Sea, is the site of early human habitation more than 200,000 years ago. The name Ethiopia is Greek in origin; it means “land of the burnt faces.” The earliest civilization of Ethiopia spanning some 6000 years is Hamitic. The country was also known as Abyssinia in the West, a name derived from Habashat, one of the ancient tribes of the North whose name is etched on early Axumite stelaes. Together with another tribe called “Agaze” (hence the linguistic designation, Ge’ez), they lived on the highlands of Eritrea and Tigrai between 1000 and 200 B.C. and founded the ancient city of Axum whose civilization flourished between 200 B.C. and 700 A.D. with its empire extending across the seas to southern Arabia. In the third century A.D., the Persian historian Mani ranked Axum, whose ruling classes were versed not only in Ethiopic (Ge’ez) but also in Greek and Sabean, third among the four greatest powers in the world.