Ethiopia definitely does not share a good name in the world especially because of the manifold problems it has faced. Beginning with the famines 25 years ago that took over a million lives, unnecessary wars that destroyed the country's chances of peace and prosperity, the Communist revolution that made the lives of people miserable. However, this was not always the case. The Ethiopian country for most of its existence served historians as a great repository of historical record of the human civilization. Africa is considered to be the cradle of human species and Ethiopia, placed on the horns of Africa is believed to have given rise to the human race. Remains of early humanoid ancestors found in the Awash Valley of the country date to millions of years ago.
Ethiopia as a geographic entity, can be traced to the 10th century BC. Its earliest inhabitants are thought to be the Cushitic-speaking people, who were heavily influenced by Egyptian trade. Its foundation is ascribed to Etiopik, the great-grandson of Moses from the Old Testament. Tracing further down, it is found that Ethiopia was actually a colony of Italy. The former emperor of the country Haile Selassie is revered by rastas all over the world. Ethiopia, being one of the first countries in the world where Christianity was established as a widespread religion has its own unique style of Christian church art. The Ethiopians were thought to be something between humans and gods by the ancient Greeks, who also believed that the Greek gods used to mingle with Ethiopians on an equal level. In his poetry Homer talks about the Ethiopians as people who were often visited by the gods and also possessed the best archers in the world which was the result of the special blessings that they received from the Gods.
Post World War II, Ethiopia became a charter member of the United Nations. Despite this and a hefty amount of US foreign aid, Ethiopia remained and remains economically underdeveloped in the post-war era. An ill-advised war, Selassie orchestrated against Eritrea in 1962 only made matters worse. Although he was seen as a national hero, after the war opinion took another turn as nobility and the church filled their pockets while millions of landless peasants went hungry. In 1974, many students, workers, peasants and the army rose against him, and Selassie was deposed and a military dictatorship took over. In the next few years under the leadership of Colonel Mengitsu Hailie Mariam a socialist government was set up in Ethiopia, which targeted labor unions and political dissidents in an effort to build up its power. Americans were driven out of the country and relationship with the Soviet Union was strengthened on the other. Mengistu's socialist agenda unraveled quickly. As Ethiopia faced escalating conflict with Eritrea and invasion by Somalia, the next two decades witnessed terrorism, guerilla violence, and famine. Mengitsu ultimately fled from the country in 1991 to avoid legal actions and he was tried and convicted in absentia of genocide in 2006. With the political situation in dire state the country of Ethiopia has not been able to pull itself on the road to recovery.
Ethiopia is one of the poorest states of Africa. Almost two-thirds of its people are illiterate. The major source of economy is agriculture, which in turn relies on rainfall. Unfortunately Ethiopia has been beset by drought and ever-increasing desertification for some time now. As per the reports of UNICEF there is a rapid increase in child mortality rate in the country despite the various international aids and newfound sociopolitical ties with the European Union, the UK in particular. In spite of all this, Ethiopia is the largest producer of coffee in Africa. The Ethiopian government recently brokered a marketing deal with the Starbucks Corporation to sell its myriad coffee varieties worldwide. The aim is to raise the demand for Ethiopia's cash crop, drive up the international trade value of coffee itself, and pass the profits on to Ethiopia's struggling agrarian sector. Thus far, though, the deal has only proven lucrative for Starbucks and its international backers, only 10% of the overall profits are actually making it back to Ethiopia. With all this going on and keeping in mind what has happened and what is happening, Ethiopia's future may be likened unto its past: tumultuous, unpredictable, and ultimately at the mercy of forces largely outside of its control.