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Ethiopia History Timeline

BC
  • (200,000 years ago) Homo sapiens emerged out of Ethiopia
  • (6000 BC) Agriculture is developed leading to an age of settlement in the region
  • (600 BC) The Kingdom of D'mt is established in northern Ethiopia, and becomes a mecca of trade in ivory, gold, silver, and slaves to Arab merchants
  • (500 BC) The Kingdom of Aksum is formed
  • (300 BC) Trade route courses are turned east rather than west to gain easier access to coastal ports; the Kingdom of D'mt is absorbed into small city-states due to the decline in trade, and eventually overtaken by the Kingdom of Aksum
  • (2nd century BC) Sabaean peoples arrived from Yemen and joined the Kingdom of Aksum
100 AD - 900 AD
  • (2nd century AD) Aksum flourished as a regional trading power
  • (341 AD) Coptic Christianity is introduced to the Aksum Empire by Frumentius, from Egypt
  • (500) The Aksum Empire boundaries are extended across the Red Sea to Yemen
  • (900) The Aksum Empire is overthrown by the Zagwe Dynasty
1500s
  • (1508) Portuguese traders made contact with Ethiopian Emperor Lebna Dengei, and assisted with aid during the Ethiopian-Adal War
  • (1531) Ethiopia is invaded by Muslim leader Ahmad Gran
  • (1543) Ahmad Gran is killed at the Battle of Wayna Daga; the Ethiopian Emperor struggled to regain control, however under Gran's ten year occupation thousands of citizens had converted to Islam
  • (1557) Neighboring regions are conquered by the Ottoman Empire limiting Ethiopia's access to the rest of the world
1600s - 1700s
  • (1624) Years of revolt and unrest followed Emperor Susenyos' conversion to Roman Catholicism
  • (1632) The state religion of Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity is reinstated, and Jesuit missionaries are expelled along with other Europeans
  • (1755-1855) Ethiopia entered an age of isolation, referred to as the Zemene Mesafint ("Age of Princes")
1800s
  • (1855) Ethiopia is united and the power of the Emperor is restored under the reign of Tewodros II
  • (1888-1892) The Great Ethiopian Famine claimed the lives of a third of the population
  • (1889) A friendship treaty known as the 'Treaty of Wichale' between Ethiopia and Italy is signed; Italy would recognize Ethiopia's sovereignty in order to obtain control of an area north of Ethiopia
  • (1889) Addis Ababa is declared the capital of Ethiopia
  • (1895) Ethiopia is invaded by Italy following an attempt by the latter to expand their territorial claims
  • (1896) Italian forces are defeated by Ethiopians during the battle of Adwa
1900s
  • (1923) Ethiopia is granted membership to the League of Nations
  • (1931) A written constitution is drafted and subsequently adopted
  • (1935) Italy invaded Ethiopia claiming a border infraction, and ill-equipped to defend themselves, Ethiopia is merged into Italy's East African colony
  • (1936) Addis Ababa is captured by Italy, and the Italian king is declared Emperor of Ethiopia
  • (1941) Italy is defeated, with the aid of British troops, and the Ethiopia's independence is restored
  • (1942) A proclamation is issued abolishing slavery
  • (1962) Eritrea is annexed by Emperor Haile Selassie, and is made an Ethiopian province
  • (1963) The Organization of African Unity (OAU) is formed
  • (1974) Food shortages, border wars, and a discontented middle class sparked demonstrations; Haile Selassie was deposed of in a military coup
  • (1977) Ethiopia's Ogaden region is invaded by Somalia
  • (1984) Ethiopia devastated by widespread famine, 1 million reported dead
  • (1987) Mengistu Haile Mariam is elected president under a new constitution and one-party system
  • (1991) Addis Ababa is captured by the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front forcing Mengistu to flee the country
  • (1994) A new constitution is adopted leading to Ethiopia's first multiparty election
  • (1995) Negasso Gidada is elected president; Meles Zenawi is appointed Prime Minister
  • (1999) Ethiopian-Eritrean erupted following border disputes
2000s
  • (2000) A ceasefire agreement is signed with Eritrea ending the border war
  • (2002) Ethiopia and Eritrea reached a new common border agreement, with the town of Badme remaining a disputed territory
  • (2005) Disputed multiparty elections lead to deadly protests
  • (2006) Several parties banned together to form an opposition alliance, the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy
  • (2006) Addis Ababa is bombed several times with no party claiming responsibility
  • (2006) Widespread flooding leaves thousands homeless and several hundred dead in its wake
  • (2006) Tensions with Somalia flared
  • (2006) Ethiopian troops entered Somalia to forcefully remove rebel Islamists
  • (2007) Ethiopian troops withdrawal from Somalia after a peace agreement is signed with the rebels
  • (2012) Prime Minister Meles Zenawi passed away in Brussels where he was being treated for an unspecified illness; Hailemariam Desalegn was appointed prime minister
  • (2013) Ethiopia and Egypt agreed to discuss plans for a dam on the Blue Nile

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.