6. History Of The Horn Of Africa -
Humans have inhabited the Horn of Africa for thousands of years, some evidence dates back to 125,000 years ago. The original settlers of this area are believed to come from a number of different regions. Some researchers believed a small group of people crossed the Red Sea from present-day Saudi Arabia into the Horn of Africa; others believe that people migrated from the Nile Valley during the Neolithic period, around 10,200 BC.
In ancient history, the Horn of Africa was likely referred to as Punt by Egyptians. The people and communities of Punt held a good relationship with the Pharaoh. As long ago as the 8th and 7th centuries BC, civilizations in the Horn of Africa were practicing agriculture and had developed irrigation systems and iron tools. By the 1st century AD, the Aksumite Kingdom (or Empire) came into power, developing its own currency and maintaining trade relations with the Roman Empire and India. It was considered one of the 4 great global powers, along with China, Persia, and Rome. Although the Aksumite Kingdom was the first Christian kingdom, trade with nearby Muslim nations brought Islam to the region shortly after its creation.
The Aksumite Kingdom declined in the 7th century AD and the region gave way to several smaller kingdoms during the Middle Ages. The majority of these kingdoms were Muslim empires that left behind mosques, enclosed cities, castles, shrines, fortresses, necropolises, and courtyards. The empires of this period defended themselves against Portuguese and Oromo invasions and strengthened their trade relations with other countries.
By 1270, the Ethiopian Empire was formed and in the 15th century it attempted to establish a relationship with European kingdoms. A relationship was established with Portugal in 1508. This relationship was later beneficial to Ethiopia when Portugal sent aid against a military invasion. In the 1600’s, Christianity was once again the principal religion, resulting in civil unrest.
These various empires continued to rule throughout the Horn of Africa until 1869 when the Suez Canal was opened and European governments attempted to gain control of the region. Italy became a major colonizer in this area and France established an administration at the end of the 19th century. By the 20th century, the countries as they are known today began to gain independence from European powers.
5. Geography Of The Horn Of Africa -
The Horn of Africa is located in the easternmost part of Africa, sticking out into the Arabian Sea and forming the south side of the Gulf of Aden. The majority of the Horn of Africa is covered in mountains. This region is also home to the Great Rift Valley. Closer to the equator, the land is generally flat with some plateaus rising above the lowlands as well. The Horn of Africa receives very little rainfall and can reach extremely hot temperatures in some areas. This region is home to a number of animal species and has the greatest number of endemic reptiles of any other area on the African continent.
4. Countries In The Horn Of Africa -
The present-day Horn of Africa consists of several independent nations. These countries include: Ethiopia (capital: Addis Ababa), Eritrea (capital: Asmara), Somalia (capital: Mogadishu), and Djibouti (capital: Djibouti).
3. Economy Of The Horn Of Africa -
The economy of the Horn of Africa is considered a developing economy. This means the countries here have some industry and manufacturing jobs but mainly rely on traditional practices, such as agriculture. In 2010, its nominal gross domestic product (GDP) was $35.819 billion with a per capita GDP of $358. The formal economy of this region depends on agricultural exports. For example, Ethiopia is a major coffee exporter (80% of its total exports) and Somalia is a major banana and livestock exporter (roughly half of its total exports).
The majority of the economy of the Horn of Africa is informal. This means that a significant number of transactions go undocumented. Some estimates suggest that the amount of livestock alone traded among these countries is worth between $250 million and $300 million annually.
2. Ethnic Groups Inhabiting The Horn Of Africa -
Although the Horn of Africa consists of 4 independent countries, it shares similar ethnic heritages throughout the region. The vast majority of people here share an Afro-Asiatic ethnicity.
The largest ethnic group in the Horn of Africa is the Oromo. The Oromo population is around 30 million individuals, the majority of whom (25.448 million) live in Ethiopia. Research suggests that the Oromo people, a Cushitic culture, have lived in Northeast and East Africa since at least the 1st century AD.
The second most common ethnic group is the Amhara. Globally, the Amhara population is around 25 million. Of these individuals, nearly 20 million live in the northern and central highlands areas of Ethiopia. The Amhara peoples have lived here for over 2,000 years, ruling over several periods of time. One of the most well-known Amhara leaders is Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 until 1974.
The Somali ethnic group is the third largest ethnicity throughout the Horn of Africa. This group numbers between 16 and 20 million individuals. The majority of the Somali live in Somalia (around 9 million). Another 4.6 million live in Ethiopia and 524,000 in Djibouti. This ethnicity is believed to be responsible for 5,000-year old rock paintings. Researchers have discovered Somali cemeteries that trace back to the 4th century BC as well.
Other significant ethnic groups living in the Horn of Africa include: the Tigrinya, the Tigrayans, and the Afar. Some of the principal languages spoken in these countries and among these ethnicities include: Oromo, Amharic, Somali, and Tigrinya.
1. Culture And Religion Of The People Of The Region -
As previously mentioned, the cultures found in the Horn of Africa have existed over thousands of years and have contributed to a number of advancements. Cultures from the Horn of Africa have helped influence the development of agriculture, literature, art, music, architecture, technology, and education. Several ancient written scripts were developed here as well as ancient wall paintings. The Horn of Africa is the birthplace for both coffee and teff, an ancient seed grass, and is noted for having the largest quarried rock ever recorded (the Great Stele of Axum).
One of the major influential factors over the history of the Horn of Africa has been religion. The three principal religions practiced here today include Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Christianity has existed here since at least the 4th century AD. During the 7th century, followers of Muhammad fled the Arabian peninsula into the Horn of Africa. Here, they were accepted and protected, leading to the growth of Islam. Judaism has also been practiced here since ancient times. One story relates that Menelik I was the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. He is believed to have lived in Jerusalem before bringing the Ark of the Covenant to present-day Ethiopia.
Additionally, some inhabitants continue to practice traditional religions.