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A brief History of Eritrea
Eritrian history is one of the oldest of the world. Recent finding of a
million year old skull provides the evidence for Eritrean portion of
the Denakil Depression may be the location of human evolution from Homo eructus to Homo sapien. Paleolithic stone
and obsidian tools (> 125 000 years old ) were found by scientists
near the Bay of Zula along the Red Sea coast. (Nature 405: 65-69)
indicating the pressence of early human habitation.
Eritrea was mentioned as far back as 25th century BCE
and was known to the ancient Egyptians as 'Punt' or 'Ta Netjeru' -
meaning "the land of the Gods". However, Dʿmt was the first known
indigenous kingdom that existed during the 8th and 7th centuries BCE in
the region of Eritrea. It collapsed in 5th century BCE.
Out of several small kingdoms that developed from 4th century BCE, the Aksumite Kingdom emerged in the 1st century BCE and
expanded by the 4th century CE to become one of the four greatest civilizations in the world,
along China, Persia, and Rome. The Kingdom of
Aksum included portions of present-day Eritrea, Ethiopia, Yemen, Saudi
Arabia, Somalia, Djibouti, and Sudan.
The Kingdom of Aksum was the first African kingdom to issue its own gold, silver and bronze coins ( from 270 to 610 CE). Aksum began to decline in the 7th century BCE and replaced by 1270 CE.
The Zagwe dynasty ruled Ethiopia from 1270 CE after the decline of Aksum.
Islamic rule in the region came by 1557 CE through Ottoman invasion during the time of Suleiman I. Ottoman Empire passed Eritrea to their Egyptian heirs in 1865 CE. The Italians colonized the Eritrea in 1889 CE.
After the defeat of Italians during the
World War II, Eritria was administered by the British between
1941-52. In 1952, United Nations established Eritrea’s
association with Ethiopia as a federation with a representative
Assembly of 68 members, equally divided between Christians and Muslims
of Eritrea. In 1962, Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia
abolished the Eritrean Assembly, annexed it into Ethiopia and sparking the Eritrean fight for independence by Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) and Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF).
In 1991, multi-ethnic Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) set up
a Provisional Government of Eritrea (PGE) after the fall of Ethiopean
government. In 1993, Eritreans voted overwhelmingly for independence
from Ethiopia and was declared as an Independent country.
RK. December, 12, 2006.