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Eritrea

Nation on the Red Sea, with Asmara as its capital. It was originally part of the ancient Ethiopian kingdom of Axum until the seventh century a.d. Much of its coastal region was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. In the late 19th century Ethiopia fought with Egypt and Italy for control of the province. Mainly under Italian control after 1890, it was their base from 1935 to 1936 during the conquest of Ethiopia and remained in Italian hand s until it was taken by the British in 1941 during World War II. Ruled as a UN Trust Territory until 1952, Eritrea then became independent as a federated part of Ethiopia, which it joined fully in 1962. Beginning in 1962 Eritrean secessionists carried on a guerrilla war against Ethiopia, which broke out into active war in 1975, causing a severe refugee problem. The original rebel group the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) was joined by a second group, the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) in the 1970s. The EPLF eliminated the ELF in 1980 and succeeded in routing the Ethiopians from most of the region by 1990. In 1993 the people of Eritrea voted for their own independence. A border conflict with Ethiopia from 1998 through 2000 has slowed development, but peacekeeping forces arrived in 2000, and the Hague Tribunal ruled on the boundary in 2002.


     

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