Ethiopia (ኢትዮጵያ, ʾĪtyōṗṗyā,, Tigrinya: ኢትዮጵያ, Oromo: Itiyoophiyaa, Somali: Itoobiya), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (የኢትዮጵያ ፌዴራላዊ ዲሞክራሲያዊ ሪፐብሊክ, yeʾĪtiyoṗṗya Fēdēralawī Dēmokirasīyawī Rīpebilīk, ), is a country in the northeastern part of Africa, popularly known as the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea to the north, Djibouti to the northeast, and Somalia to the east, Sudan to the northwest, South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south. With over million inhabitants, Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world and the second-most populous nation on the African continent that covers a total area of 1,100,000 km2. Its capital and largest city is Addis Ababa, which lies a few miles west of the East African Rift that splits the country into the Nubian Plate and the Somali Plate.
Some of the oldest skeletal evidence for anatomically modern humans has been found in Ethiopia. It is widely considered as the region from which modern humans first set out for the Middle East and places beyond. According to linguists, the first Afroasiatic-speaking populations settled in the Horn region during the ensuing Neolithic era. Tracing its roots to the 2nd millennium BC, Ethiopia's governmental system was a monarchy for most of its history. Oral literature tells that the monarchy was founded by the Solomonic dynasty of the Queen of Sheba, under its first king, Menelik I. In the first centuries AD, the Kingdom of Aksum maintained a unified civilization in the region, followed by the Ethiopian Empire circa 1137. During the late 19th-century Scramble for Africa, Ethiopia was one of two nations to retain its sovereignty from long-term colonialism by a European colonial power. Many newly-independent nations on the continent subsequently adopted its flag colors. The country was occupied by Italy in 1936 and became Italian Ethiopia (part of the Italian East Africa) until 1941. Ethiopia was also the first independent member from Africa of the 20th-century League of Nations and the United Nations. In 1974, the Ethiopian monarchy under Haile Selassie was overthrown by the Derg, a communist military government backed by the Soviet Union. In 1987, the Derg established the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, but it was overthrown in 1991 by the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, which has been the ruling political coalition since.
Ethiopia and Eritrea use the ancient Ge'ez script, which is one of the oldest alphabets still in use in the world. The Ethiopian calendar, which is approximately seven years and three months behind the Gregorian calendar, co-exists alongside the Borana calendar. A majority of the population adheres to Christianity (mainly the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and P'ent'ay) and the historical Kingdom of Aksum was one of the first states to officially adopt the religion, whereas around a third follows Islam (primarily Sunni). The country is the site of the Migration to Abyssinia and the oldest Muslim settlement in Africa at Negash. A substantial population of Ethiopian Jews, known as Bete Israel, also resided in Ethiopia until the 1980s. Ethiopia is a multilingual nation with around 80 ethnolinguistic groups, the four largest of which are the Oromo, Amhara, Somali and Tigrayans. Most people in the country speak Afroasiatic languages of the Cushitic or Semitic branches. Additionally, Omotic languages are spoken by ethnic minority groups inhabiting the southern regions. Nilo-Saharan languages are also spoken by the nation's Nilotic ethnic minorities. Oromo is the most populous language by native speakers, while Amharic is the most populous by number of total speakers and serves as the working language in the federal government and as the lingua franca of the country. Ge'ez remains important as a liturgical language, both for the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and for the Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jews).
The nation is a land of natural contrasts, with its vast fertile west, its forests, and numerous rivers, and the world's hottest settlement of Dallol in its north. The Ethiopian Highlands are the largest continuous mountain ranges in Africa, and the Sof Omar Caves contains the largest cave on the continent. Ethiopia also has the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Africa. Additionally, the sovereign state is a founding member of the UN, the Group of 24 (G-24), the Non-Aligned Movement, G-77 and the Organisation of African Unity. Its capital city Addis Ababa serves as the headquarters of the African Union, the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Standby Force, and many of the global NGOs focused on Africa. In the 1970s and 1980s, Ethiopia experienced civil conflicts and communist purges, which hindered its economy. The country has since recovered and now has the largest economy (by GDP) in East Africa, having the largest population in the region.
The Greek name Αἰθιοπία (from Αἰθίοψ, Aithiops, 'an Ethiopian') is a compound word, derived from the two Greek words, from αἴθω + ὤψ (aitho "I burn" + ops "face"). According to the Perseus Digital Library, the designation properly translates as Burnt-face in noun form and red-brown in adjectival form. The historian Herodotus used the appellation to denote those parts of Africa below the Sahara that were then known within the Ecumene (inhabitable world). However, the Greek formation may be a folk etymology for the Ancient Egyptian term athtiu-abu, which means 'robbers of hearts'. This Greek name was borrowed into Amharic as ኢትዮጵያ, ʾĪtyōṗṗyā.
In Greco-Roman epigraphs, Aethiopia was a specific toponym for ancient Nubia. At least as early as c. 850, the name Aethiopia also occurs in many translations of the Old Testament in allusion to Nubia. The ancient Hebrew texts identify Nubia instead as Kush. However, in the New Testament, the Greek term Aithiops does occur, referring to a servant of Candace or Kandake, possibly an inhabitant of Meroë in Nubia.
Following the Hellenic and Biblical traditions, the Monumentum Adulitanum, a third century inscription belonging to the Aksumite Empire, indicates that Aksum's then ruler governed an area which was flanked to the west by the territory of Ethiopia and Sasu. The Aksumite King Ezana would eventually conquer Nubia the following century, and the Aksumites thereafter appropriated the designation "Ethiopians" for their own kingdom. In the Ge'ez version of the Ezana inscription, Aἰθιόποι is equated with the unvocalized Ḥbštm and Ḥbśt (Ḥabashat), and denotes for the first time the highland inhabitants of Aksum. This new demonym would subsequently be rendered as ’ḥbs (’Aḥbāsh) in Sabaic and as Ḥabasha in Arabic.
In the 15th-century Ge'ez Book of Aksum, the name is ascribed to a legendary individual called Ityopp'is. He was an extra-Biblical son of Cush, son of Ham, said to have founded the city of Axum.
In English, and generally outside of Ethiopia, the country was once historically known as Abyssinia. This toponym was derived from the Latinized form of the ancient Habash.