Eritrea ( or ; '; '), officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. With its capital at Asmara, it is bordered by Sudan to the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast. The northeastern and eastern parts of Eritrea have an extensive coastline along the Red Sea, across from Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The nation has a total area of approximately , and includes the Dahlak Archipelago and several of the Hanish Islands. Its name Eritrea is based on the Ancient Greek name for the Red Sea , which was first adopted for Italian Eritrea in 1890.
Eritrea is a multi-ethnic country, with nine recognized ethnic groups. It has a population of around six million inhabitants. Most residents speak Afro-Asiatic languages, either of the Semitic or Cushitic branches. Among these communities, the Tigray-Tigrinya people make up about 55% of the population, with the Tigre people constituting around 30% of inhabitants. In addition, there are a number of Nilo-Saharan-speaking Nilotic ethnic minorities. Most people in the territory adhere to Christianity or Islam. and adopted Christianity around the time Islam had spread through Egypt and the Levant. In medieval times much of Eritrea fell under the Medri Bahri Kingdom, with a smaller region being part of the Hamasien Republic.
The creation of modern day Eritrea is a result of the incorporation of independent Kingdoms and various vassal states of the Ethiopian empire and the Ottoman Empire, eventually resulting in the formation of Italian Eritrea. In 1947 Eritrea became part of a federation with Ethiopia, the Federation of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Subsequent annexation into Ethiopia led to the Eritrean War of Independence, ending with Eritrean independence following a referendum in April 1993. Hostilities between Eritrea and Ethiopia persisted, leading to the Eritrean–Ethiopian War of 1998–2000 and further skirmishes with both Djibouti and Ethiopia.
Eritrea is a member of the African Union, the United Nations and IGAD, and is an observer in the Arab League.