- a country in NE Africa, on the Red Sea; population 85,237,300 (est. 2009); languages, Amharic (official), several other Afro-Asiatic languages; capital, Addis Ababa. Former name Abyssinia.
Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa, having a recorded civilization that dates from the 2nd millennium bc. Little known to Europeans until the late 19th century, it was invaded and conquered by Italy in 1935. The emperor Haile Selassie was restored by the British in 1941 and ruled until overthrown in a Marxist coup in 1974. The subsequent period was marked by civil war, fighting against separatist guerrillas in Eritrea and Tigray, and by repeated famines; after the fall of the government in 1991 a multiparty system was adopted
via Latin from Greek Aethiops, from aithein 'to burn' + ōps 'the face'