Portal:Eritrea
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Portal:Eritrea

The Eritrea Portal

Eritrean Coat of Arms
Flag of Eritrea
Location on the world map

Eritrea (; ; Tigrinya), officially the State of Eritrea, is a sovereign state in the Horn of Africa, with its capital at Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in 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. The nation has a total area of approximately 117,600 km2 (45,406 sq mi), and includes the Dahlak Archipelago and several of the Hanish Islands. The name Eritrea is based on the Greek name for the Red Sea ( ? Erythra Thalassa), which was first adopted for Italian Eritrea in 1890.

Eritrea is a multi-ethnic country, with nine recognized ethnic groups in its population of around 3 million. Most residents speak languages from the Afroasiatic family, either of the Ethiopian Semitic languages or Cushitic branches. Among these communities, the Tigrinyas 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 Islam or Christianity.

The creation of modern-day Eritrea is a result of the incorporation of independent, distinct kingdoms and sultanates (for example, Medri Bahri and the Sultanate of Aussa) eventually resulting in the formation of Italian Eritrea. After the defeat of the Italian colonial army in 1942, Eritrea was administered by the British Military Administration until 1952. Following the UN General Assembly decision, in 1952, Eritrea would govern itself with a local Eritrean parliament but for foreign affairs and defense it would enter into a federal status with Ethiopia for a period of 10 years. However, in 1962 the government of Ethiopia annulled the Eritrean parliament and formally annexed Eritrea, but the Eritreans who had argued for complete Eritrean independence since the ouster of the Italians in 1941 anticipated what was coming and, in 1960, organized the Eritrean Liberation Front in opposition. In 1991, after 30 years of continuous armed struggle for independence, the Eritrean liberation fighters entered the capital city, Asmara, in victory.

Eritrea is a totalitarian one-party dictatorship in which national legislative and presidential elections have never been held since independence. According to Human Rights Watch, the Eritrean government's human rights record is among the worst in the world. The Eritrean government has dismissed these allegations as politically motivated. The compulsory military service requires long, indefinite conscription periods (6.5 years on average), which some Eritreans leave the country to avoid. Because all local media is state-owned, Eritrea was also ranked as having the second-least press freedom in the global Press Freedom Index, behind only North Korea.

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Asmara2.jpg

Asmara (English) (Ge'ez: ? Asmera, formerly known as Asmera, or in Arabic: ‎Asmara, meaning "Live in Peace" in Tigre) is the capital city and largest settlement in Eritrea, home to a population of around 579,000 people. At an elevation of 2,400 meters (7 874 ft), Asmara is on the edge of an escarpment that is both the northwestern edge of the Great Rift Valley and of the Eritrean highlands. Textiles and clothing, processed meat, beer, shoes, and ceramics are the major industrial products. Asmara started with four villages, to being a regional center under Emperor Yohannes IV of Ethiopia, to "Little Rome" of Benito Mussolini's unsuccessful second Roman Empire, to being a provincial capital under Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia and lastly a national capital of Eritrea. (Read more...)

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Eritrean Injera with stews.jpg

Eritrean cuisine - pictured is a plate of injera with various Eritrean stews

Selected biography

20090817 Zersenay Tadese.jpg

Zersenay Tadese (born 8 February 1982) is an Eritrean long-distance track, and road running athlete. His bronze medal in the 10,000 metres at the 2004 Athens Olympics made him the first ever Eritrean Olympic medallist, and his 20 km title at the 2006 IAAF World Road Running Championships also made him the country's first athlete to win at a world championship event. He does not use a sprint finish to win races: his strategy relies upon a combination of efficient running and fast pace setting.

He has found most of his success over the half marathon distance, with three consecutive victories in the World Half Marathon Championships from 2007 to 2009. He has also excelled in cross country running, winning a gold, one silver, and two bronze medals in the long distance race over the last five IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

In 2009 he became only the second man (after Paul Tergat) to win three World Championship medals over three different surfaces in the same year: winning World Cross Country bronze, 10,000 metres World Championship silver on the track, and gold in road running at the World Half Marathon Championships. He is a popular public figure in his home country; 2500 guests attended his wedding to Merhawit Solomon, which was broadcast live on Eritrean television. His brother, Kidane Tadese, is also a professional distance runner.

(Read more...)

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Asmara
The Eritrean capital city of Asmara in 2006

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