Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world. As the Aksumite Empire, it became a world power, its Emperor Ezana coverting to Christianity in 330 AD. Alone in sub-Saharan Africa, Ethiopians developed coinage and writing systems. This volume traces the country's expansion southward during medieval times, its resistance to Muslim invasion and, under energetic leaders, its defence of its independence during the European scramble for Africa. Paul Henze's history of Ethiopia is not only concerned with kings, princes and politicians but includes insights into daily life, art, architecture, religion, culture, customs and the observations of travellers, and is enlivened by the personal reminiscences of Ethiopians.
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(230mm x 141mm x 22mm)
C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
Publisher: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
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US Kirkus Review »
A comprehensive history of Ethiopia, from a diplomat and former staffer at the National Security Council, that is particularly instructive in covering the last 20 years.Beginning with a brief prehistoric overview, Henze goes on to describe the rise of Ethiopia: an ancient civilization, the source of coffee, and one of the most developed and long-lasting empires in Africa. The Aksumite Empire that evolved on the lush Ethiopian highlands was known to the Greeks and the Romans, and its legendary Queen Sheba traveled to Israel to meet with King Solomon (a meeting that produced the first king of the Solomonic dynasty that ended only with the death of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974). A Persian prophet writing in the third century A.D.described Ethiopia as one of the great kingdoms of the age, and later scholars believed it to be the mysterious Christian empire ruled by Prester John. Henze details the turbulent years that followed the decline of Aksum, the devout adherence to Orthodox Christianity, the failed efforts of Portuguese adventurers to gain a foothold, and the great battle of Adwa in 1898. There the Emperor Menelik (who had begun modernizing what was and still is in some areas a medieval country) decisively defeated an Italian army bent on securing Ethiopia as a colony. Henze offers a persuasive and nuanced portrait of Haile Selassie, who did much to move Ethiopia forward (particularly in the 1960s, which Henze regards as a golden era for Ethiopia). But by 1974 Selassie was old, the succession not clear, and, unable to deal with a fractious country, Selassie was forcibly removed by the brutal and bloodthirsty warlord Mengistu Haile Mariam. His rule led to Ethiopia becoming a war-torn pawn in the Cold War, subject to the worst excesses of Marxismforced collectivization, untold deaths, and a devastated economy.Though it suffers at times from more information than insights, this is a timely study of a country still much in the news. (Kirkus Reviews)
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