Sunday, April 8, 2012

Socio Geographics of Ethiopia

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“We, the nation, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia” the beginning words to the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is one of the most unique countries among all of the African countries. It is the oldest independent country in Sub Saharan Africa. Ethiopia is full of language, religion, and politics. Ethiopia is more than the nasty stereotype that we see on the television or hear about on the news.

The earliest evidence of Ethiopian history was in around 100 B.C. when the Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon. The first recorded Kingdom in Ethiopia grew around Axum during the rd century b.c. Axum was an offshoot of the Semitic Sabeam kingdoms of southern Arabia; it became the greatest ivory market in the north east. Ethiopia influenced the state of Meroe in Sudan. Over the next few centuries, Axum encroached more and more on Meroe until, when Christianity became the state religion in the 4th century AD, Ethiopia conquered the kingdom. Christianity was adopted in the country by a Syrian youth named Frumentius who grew up in Axum and converted the King; the youth was later made the first Bishop in 0 AD. Axum conquered parts of Yemen and southern Arabia and remained a great power until the death of the Prophet Mohammed. Islam was expanding which had the effect of cutting off Ethiopia from its former Mediterranean trading partners and allies, Muslims replaced the Egyptians in the Red Sea ports. Ethiopians were allowed to consecrate their Bishops in Cairo and pilgrims were allowed to travel to Jerusalem. Unfortunately, the Ethiopians did not have such a good relationship with the pagan tribes in the south and pressure from these tribes forced the Ethiopian emperors to adopt the life of nomadic military commanders living in makeshift cities. The priests were forced to become monks and hermits. After some time these tribes were pacified and Ethiopia recovered enough to take the provinces of Amhara, Lasta, Gojam and Damot. At a similar time the capital was moved to the south to the Amhara province.

Ethiopia is a country with many different religions. One of the main religions is Islam. About 45%-50% of all Ethiopians are Muslims. Many Ethiopians were following the words of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. In the 1th century Muslim expansion began.

The rise of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula had a significant impact on Aksum during the seventh and eighth centuries. By the time of the Prophet Muhammads death (A.D. 6), the Arabian Peninsula, and thus the entire opposite shore of the Red Sea, had come under the influence of the new religion. The steady advance of the faith of Muhammad through the next century resulted in Islamic conquest of all of the former Sassanian Empire and most of the former Byzantine dominions. Despite the spread of Islam by conquest elsewhere, the Islamic states relations with Aksum were not hostile at first. According to Islamic tradition, some members of Muhammads family and some of his early converts had taken refuge with the Aksumites during the troubled years preceding the Prophets rise to power, and Aksum was exempted from the jihad, or holy war, as a result. The Arabs also considered the Aksumite state to be on a par with the Islamic state, the Byzantine Empire, and China as one of the worlds greatest kingdoms. Commerce between Aksum and at least some ports on the Red Sea continued, albeit on an increasingly reduced scale.

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Problems between Aksum and the new Arab power, however, soon developed. The establishment of Islam in Egypt and the Levant greatly reduced Aksums relations with the major Christian power, the Byzantine Empire. Although contact with individual Christian churches in Egypt and other lands continued, the Muslim conquests hastened the isolation of the church in Aksum. Limited communication continued, the most significant being with the Coptic Church in Egypt, which supplied a patriarch to the Aksumites, but such contacts were insufficient to counter an ever-growing ecclesiastical isolation. Perhaps more important, Islamic expansion threatened Aksums maritime contacts, already under siege by Sassanian Persians. Red Sea and Indian Ocean trade, formerly dominated by the Byzantine Empire, Aksum, and Persia, gradually came under the control of Muslim Arabs, who also propagated their faith through commercial activities and other contacts.

Ethiopia is also said to have had part of the beginning of Christianity. The countrys rich history is woven with legends of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba; the Ark of the Covenant that is said to rest in Axum; the great Axumite kingdom and the birth of Christianity; the rise of Islam; and the story of King Lalibela, who is believed to have constructed eleven rock-hewn churches, still standing today and considered the eighth wonder of the world. Christianity in Ethiopia makes up about 5%-40% of its people. This leaves the other percentage of religion in Ethiopia to 1% of Animist and %-5% being other.

There are a lot of different languages being spoken in Ethiopia. Amongst these languages are Amharic, Tigrinya, Orominga, Guaraginga, Somali, Arabic, and other local languages. English is a major foreign language that is taught in schools only. One of the reasons why English or Italian is not a language of Ethiopia is because Ethiopia is the only African nation that was not colonized by European colonial forces. It was briefly occupied by the Italians between 16 and 141. In recent history, between 188 and 11, Emperor Menelik II reigned, fending off the encroachments of European powers. Italy posted the greatest threat, having begun to colonize part of what would become its future colony of Eritrea in the mid 1880s. In 186, Ethiopia defeated Italy at the Battle of Adwa, which was considered the first victory of an African nation over a European colonial power. Meneliks successor, Haile Selassie I (who reigned from 10-174) was left with the task of dealing with Italys resurgent expansionism. In the early years of World War II, Ethiopia was liberated from the Italians by the joint forces of the Resistance Movement and the British Army. After being restored to power, Emperor Selassie attempted to implement reforms and modernize the state. However, increasing internal pressures, including conflict with Eritrea and severe famine, placed strains on Ethiopian society that contributed in large part to the 174 military rebellion that ended the Haile Selassie regime.

We, the nation, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia Strongly committed, in full and free exercise of our right to self-determination, to building a political community founded on the rule of law and capable of ensuring a lasting peace, guaranteeing a democratic order, and advancing our economic and social development; Firmly convinced that the fulfillment of this objective requires full respect of individual and peoples fundamental freedoms and rights to live together on the basis of equality and without any religious or cultural discrimination; Further convinced that by continuing to live with our rich and proud cultural legacies in territories we have long inhabited, have, through continuous interaction on various levels and forms of life, built up common interests and have also contributed to the emergence of a common outlook; Fully cognizant that our common destiny can nest be served by rectifying historically unjust relationships and by further promoting our shared interests; Convinced that to live as one economic community is necessary in order to create sustainable and mutually supportive conditions for ensuring respect for our rights and freedoms; Determined to consolidate, as a lasting legacy, the peace, and the prospect of a democratic order which our struggles and sacrifices have brought about; Have therefore ratified, on 8 December 14 this constitution through representatives we have duly elected for this purpose as an instrument that binds us in a mutual commitment to fulfill the objectives and the principles set forth above.

In 14, a new constitution was written, setting up a bicameral legislature and a judicial system, and guaranteeing equal rights and freedom of expression to all of the Ethiopian citizens. In May 15, Ethiopias first free and democratic elections were held in which Meles Zenawi was elected Prime Minister and Negasso Gidada was elected President. Representatives to the Parliament were also elected at that time. Ethiopias second national multiparty elections took place in May of 000 and individuals were once again elected to the House of the Federation and to the House of Peoples Representatives. Prime Minister Meles was re-elected Prime Minister in October 000, and a new president, Lieutenant Girma Wolde-Giorgis, was elected the following year, in October 001.

Ethiopia politics is governed by the President and the Prime Minister. The President of the F.D.R.E is the Head of State. The term of duty is six years and the President shall not be elected for more than two terms. The President is elected by a two-thirds majority vote of a joint session of the House of Peoples Representatives and the House of Federation. The highest executive powers of the Federal Government are vested in the Prime Minister and in the Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister is elected from among members of the House of Peoples Representatives and power of government shall be assumed by the political party, or a coalition of political parties, that constitutes a majority in the House of Peoples Representatives. The Prime Minister is the chief executive, the chairman of the Council of Ministers and the Commander-in-Chief of the National Armed Forces. His term of office is for five years. The current president of Ethiopia is Girma Wolde-Giogis. He has been in office since September 001. The current Prime Minister is Meles Zenawi. He has been serving his term since August 15.

In Conclusion, Ethiopia is more than a country with starvation going on and more than what the news reports. Ethiopia is a country that has been around for a long time. It is a country that religious history was built off of. Ethiopia is really no different from any other country. It is just a country trying to advance and help their people.

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