Truly a land of contrasts, from the cool peaks of the Simien Mountains to the searing desert of the Danakil Depression, from the historical northern highlands to the wild free-roaming southern regions, Ethiopia remains a unique destination within Africa and the world.
History in Ethiopia begins with her most famous ancestor, Lucy, who roamed these lands some 3.2 million years ago. The rise of the Axumite Empire in the 1st century BC usually marks the beginning of relatively modern Ethiopian history.
With Christianity introduced to this geographically and culturally isolated country in the 4th century, one can’t help while watching the colorful Orthodox celebrations to realize that these acts of faith and devotion are likely as close to the most original form of Christianity as is present in the world today.
Along with a vibrant history come magical stories and legends that define Ethiopia’s legacy. Join us and discover the richness of Ethiopia’s tradition.
A female being of the species Australopithecus afarensis walks the lands of Ethiopia. Her bones will be discovered by her evolutionary descendants and she will be known by the world as Lucy or, in Ethiopia as Dinkenesh, meaning “You are wonderful”.
Homo erectus creates stone tools at the site known today as Melka Kunture.
Pre-Axumite empire called D’mt exists, with the capital likely at Yeha. The Temple of Yeha is constructed in typical Sabaean style.
The Axumite Empire, with its capital at Axum, is one of the four major civilizations of the world, along with Persia, Rome and China.
King Ezana embraces Christianity, and Ethiopia becomes one of the first Christian nations in the world.
Followers of Mohammed flee Mecca and seek refuge in the Kingdom of Axum. The King grants them refuge in the town of Negash, which becomes the first Muslim settlement in Africa.
Falasha Jewish Queen Yodit leads the destruction of many Christian churches and settlements as revolt against Christian expansion.
Inspired by Jerusalem in Israel, King Lalibela of the Zagwe dynasty hews 11 churches out of the bedrock.
Muslim leader Ahmed Gragn (Ahmed the Left-Handed) takes control of Harar and begins a bloody campaign against the Christian highlanders. Emperor Lebna Dengal calls upon the Portuguese for assistance before his death. Ahmed Gragn is defeated in 1543.
Under Portuguese influence, Emperor Susenyos converts to Catholicism and is met with great resistance by his Orthodox Christian subjects. In 1632 he abdicates the throne to his son, Fasilidas who reinstates Orthodox Christianity and banishes foreigners from the country.
King Fasilidas establishes Gondar as the capital of Ethiopia, a title is keeps for more than 200 years.
After a steady period of decline, Gondar loses its influence and Ethiopia is ruled by regional leaders. This is known as the “era of the princes”.