Sociopolitical timeline of modern Ethiopia

This timeline is intended for readers with no background knowledge of Ethiopia and the country’s history, who consult this book for its main argument about the transfer of the idea of centralized and federal ethnolinguisti-cally defined statehood from Central Europe via Asia to Ethiopia.

  • 1270-1974 Ethiopian Empire (£ГОТаМ"+ h.d'P'A’.P menigisite îtiyopïya) (Henze 2000: 56)
  • 1789 source of civic nationalism: Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen) (Declaration 1789), as adopted in revolutionary France 1813 Source of ethnolinguistic nationalism: Ernst Moritz Arndt’s song ‘Des deutschen Vaterland' (The German Fatherland) (Arndt 1813), employed as a marching song by Prussian troops in the course of the successful war against Napoleon (1813-1815)
  • 1850 Constitution for the State of Prussia (Verfassungfür den Preußischen Staat) (Preußische Verfassung 2019) 1513 Latin-Ge'ez psalter was published in Rome; it was the first book published in an Ethiopian language (Gupta 1994: 175)
  • 1855-1868 Emperor Tewodros II (^^ iWi) dagimawï 'ats’ê têwodiros)

Amharic (known as ‘king’s language,’ that is, АО) tisane nigus in Ge’ez or PTT/" yenigusi k’wanik’wa in Amharic) replaced the antiquated liturgical language of Ge’ez as the empire’s official language (Girma Awgichew Demeke 2014: 12, 152); the everyday use of Ge’ez (AO) °?ÔTi ‘language of the free' in Ge'ez) ceased in the

9th century (Bender, Hailu Fulass and Cowley 1976: 99); but thanks to the 6th-century Ge'ez translation of the Bible (Mikre-Sellassie 2000), this language remains official in the Ethiopian Church to this day

Hence, Tewodros’s decision marked the beginning of the separation of state from church

Centralization of the state

  • 1864 in Massawa (today in Eritrea), then under Egyptian rule, the first printed book in Tigrinya was published, a catechism (Gupta 1994: 175)
  • 1867 unitary Austrian Empire was overhauled into the de facto ethno linguistic federation of Austria-Hungary 1868 British invasion of Ethiopia followed by internal strife and the collapse of the state structures
  • 1871 founding and the Constitution of the German Empire (Die Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs) (Die Verfassung 1871), which made the country into a unitary ethnolinguistic nation-state 1871-1889 Emperor Yohannes IV (°i% f'diTh 0? ‘ats’eyohdnis 4nya) Reconstruction of the centralized state institutions
  • 1879 printing press was founded in Sanhit (today, Keren in Eritrea), then under Egyptian rule, which produced books in Amharic, Ge’ez and Tigrinya (Gupta 1994: 176)
  • 1886 founding of Addis Ababa (h^h hflO ‘new flower,’ but since the 1990s, also known as Finfinne ‘natural spring’ in Oromo)
  • 1886 Emperor Yohannes IV imposed a ban on all missionary activities in Ethiopia (Haile Gebriel Dagne 2007: 309)
  • 1888- 1892 Great Famine (kifu k’enati ‘evil days’); around a third of the country’s population perished (Kaplan 1990; Kiros 2006: 15-16)
  • 1889 Constitution of the Empire of Japan (fz H 'fc'ffi Dai-Nippon Teikokn Kenpd) (The Constitution 1889) that overhauled the country into a unitary ethnolinguistic nation-state on the model of the German Empire 1889-1913 Emperor Menelik II dagimawT ‘ats’e


  • 1889- 1904 age of military conquests (despite the cost, famine and unprecedented loss of life), because of which Ethiopia was transformed into a multiethnic empire (Podeszwa 2000)
  • 1890 Ethiopia’s population: 7.4 million (Ethiopia: Historical 2019)
  • 1891 Addis Ababa became the capital of Ethiopia (Shinn and Ofcan-sky 2013: 21)
  • 1892 first Amharic-language periodical â’imiro (‘Intellect’) published in Addis Ababa; initially in 12 handwritten copies, which has been machine duplicated in 24 copies since 1902, published with the use of a regular printing press beginning in 1914; in 1895, this periodical was followed by the newspaper bhdl semênawî kokebi (‘Northern Star’) Abdu Mozayen 1976: 505; Gupta 1994:177) 1895-1899 Western weaponry and Western military technologies introduced to Ethiopia by Russian advisors (Agureev 2011: 35-55, 90-104; Leont’ev 2020)
  • 1895-1896 Italo-Ethiopian War; the first case when a non-Western state defeated a European (Western) colonial power
  • 1896 Battle ofAdwa (t£‘<P 'adtwa in Tigray), Ethiopia defeated the invading Italian army (Jonas 2011)
  • 1896 Emperor Menelik II removed the ban on missionary activity in the country (Haile Gebriel Dagne 2007: 309)
  • 1899 Britain extended colonial control over Egypt’s Sudan, resulting in a condominium of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (^>^ l? jiM." jijjxJi as-Südân al-Inglïzï al-Masrî in Ar abic)
  • 1900 Ethiopia’s population: 12 million (Ethiopia: Historical 2019)
  • 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese War, lauded in the history of decolonization as the first case when a non-Western state defeated a European (Western) colonial power; in fact, this first belongs to Ethiopia, which had defeated

Italy in the 1895-1896 Italo-Ethiopian War

  • 1905 in Addis Ababa, missionaries opened the first school for girls in Ethiopia (Haile Gebriel Dagne 2007: 309)
  • 1905-1911 Ethiopia’s first significant periodical, Le Semeur d’Éthiopie (‘Ethiopian Weekly’), was published in French, initially at Harar and since 1908 in Dire Dawa (Pankhurst 2003)
  • 1906 first governmental printing press (Gori 2015: 67)
  • 1907 Otto Bauer The Question of Nationalities and Social Democracyv (Die Nationalitätenfrage und

die Sozialdemokratie) (Bauer 1907, 2000), or the main theoretical reflection on ethnolinguistic federalism in Austria-Hungary; Bauer was a leading representative of Austro-marxism, that is, a school of political thought

  • 1907 first state secondary school, École impériale Menelik (Menelik Imperial School), was founded, and it attracted teachers from Egypt (which then also controlled neighboring Sudan) (Haile Gebriel Dagne2007: 314-315)
  • 1908 Karl Kautsky Nationalität und Internationalität (Nationality and Internationalism) (Kautsky 1908), another important Austro-marxist reflection on Austria-Hungary’s ethnolinguistic federalism
  • 1908 beginning of the secular (‘government’) educational system, where French was designated as the medium of education, and Amharic was taught as one of the school subjects (Bowen 1976: 315; Girma Awgichew Demeke 2014: 152)
  • 1908 first Amharic-language novel was published in Rome, namely ДО ШЛ£? libi weled tank (‘A Story from My Mind’) by Afe-work Ghebre Jesus (hK <ЬСФ 7ОД âfe werik gebire Tyesus 1868-1947) (Yonas Admassu 2003)

Previously, all education was provided by church schools and Quranic schools (Islamic madrasas), with Ge’ez and Arabic respectively as their languages of instruction; hence, after 1908, the deepening of the separation of church and state (Haile Gebriel Dagne 2007)

  • 1911 first book published in Addis Ababa, a Ge’ez-language catechism (Gupta 1994: 177)
  • 1913 Joseph Stalin’s Marxism and the National Question (Иосиф Сталин Марксизм и национальный вопрос Iosif Stalin Marksizm i natsionalnyi vopros) (Stalin 1954 [1913]) drew on the Austro-marxist reflection on Austria-Hungary’s ethnolinguistic federalism; this essay became the blueprint for the Soviet Union’s ethnolinguistic (ethnoterritorial) federalism 1913-1916 Lij lyasu (ЛЕ KfiV liji îyasu), designated successor (Emperor-designate), who, however, was never crowned or recognized as Emperor-
  • 1913 first commercial printing press founded in Addis Ababa (Gupta 1994: 177)
  • 1916-1930 Empress Zewditu 00?/OJ'F НОЯ+ nigisit zewidîtu)

Ras (Duke) Tafari Makonnen (+КД tefert mekonini); in 1930, he became Emperor Haile Selassie 1916-1928 regent

  • 1928-1930 king and regent
  • 1920 Britain’s East Africa Protectorate (gained in the late 1880s) was transformed into the Colony and Protectorate of Kenya
  • 1920 Ethiopia’s population: 14.5 million (Ethiopia: Historical 2019)
  • 1921 books began to be regularly printed in Ethiopia, in Addis Ababa (Abdu Mozayen 1976: 505), mainly thanks to Tafari Makon-nen’s printing press Berhanena Selam (‘Light and Peace’ in Ge'ez) (Gupta 1994: 177)
  • 1922 Britain unilaterally ended its protectorate over Egypt, by granting this country limited independence;

in addition, this act renamed the Sultanate of Egypt (Arabic: krWii alsiltanat almisriat) as the

Kingdom of Egypt (almamlakat almisriat in Ar abic)

  • 1923 Ethiopia (under the then internationally preferred name of Abyssinia) became a member state of the League of Nations, as a third non-Western state, after Japan and Siam (Thailand) had co-founded this international organization in 1920 (ladarola 1975)
  • 1925 main Amharic-language newspaper of Ethiopia’s modernizers (Westernizers), 'TIC'/Ti 0-^7° (birihanina selam ‘Light and Peace’), was established
  • 1926 United States followed the Ethiopian government’s wish that this country be known under the preferred name of Ethiopia, instead of the widespread appellation Abyssinia, which persisted in international use until the late 1940s (Tuji Jidda 2009)
  • 1927 Tafari Makonnen’s new-style secondary school, where, alongside the still-dominant French, English was introduced as an alternative medium of instruction (Bowen 1976: 318)
  • 1920s secondary school graduates and Ethiopians who were educated abroad constituted a new secular elite, which allowed Emperor Haile Selassie to modernize Ethiopia; Ethiopian historians likened this elite to the Young Turks of the early 20th-century Ottoman Empire: nowadays, in literature, these intellectuals and reformers are collectively known as Young Ethiopians (Balsvik 2007: 13; Bahru Zewde 2002)
  • 1930-1974 Emperor Haile Selassie (')7-uj (>£A Z^Ait

niguse negesit k’edamawlhayile silase)

1930 Ethiopia’s population: 16 million (Ethiopia: Historical 2019)

  • 1930 Ethiopia’s first Ministry of Education was founded; apart from French and English, Amharic was increasingly employed as a language of education; a system was established of six years of elementary, six years of secondary and four years of university education; and in the absence of universities in Ethiopia, Ethiopian students were sent to colleges and universities in the Middle East (Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan), Europe (Belgium, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland) and the United States (Bowen 1976: 319-320)
  • 1931 (1923 EC) Constitution (rh7 hige menigisit, literally

‘the law of the government, kingdom, state’)

‘The territory of Ethiopia ... is subject to the government of His Majesty the Emperor. All the natives of Ethiopia, subjects of the empire, form together the Ethiopian Empire’ (Art. 1)

‘In the Ethiopian Empire supreme power rests in the hands of the Emperor’ (Art. 6)

‘All Ethiopian subjects, provided they comply with the conditions laid down by law and the decrees promulgated by the Emperor, may be appointed officers in the army or civil officials, or to any other posts or offices in the service of the State’ (Art. 19)

‘The nation is bound to pay legal taxes’ (Art. 21) (Ethiopian Constitution 1931)

Ergo, Emperor is above empire = state = nation = subjects

NB 1; Not yet were there any provisions on the official or state language (see the Revised Ethiopian Constitution of 1955)

NB 2: This first Ethiopian Constitution was modeled on the Japanese Imperial Constitution of 1889 (Macleod 2014: 41; Shinn and Ofcansky 2013: 100); the ambition was to overhaul Ethiopia into a unitary ethnolinguistic nation-state on the model of the Japanese Empire (which in turn had borrowed this model of statehood from the German Empire)

  • 1931 radio broadcasting commenced in Ethiopia (Pankhurst 1957)
  • 1932 Heruy Wellde Selasse’s (7 4L d>A£ /"AiX hiruy welide silasê) influential book ‘"ITLd 'Î1C7') - U?^ ^7”) mahidere birihan -hdgere japan (Japan: The Source of Light) was published
  • 1935/1936 about 4,000 students attended the government schools across Ethiopia (Bowen 1976: 320), alongside 5,000 students in the mission schools (Haile Gabriel Dagne 1976: 366); in addition, before the Italian occupation, about 200 Ethiopians had graduated from universities abroad (Balsvik 2007: 15)

1936-1941 Italian occupation

The name of Ethiopia was erased from official use, and the country was made into part of the Africa Orientale Italiana (AOI), or Italian East Africa, founded in 1936; the AOI overlaps with today’s states of Eritrea, Ethiopia and (most of) Somalia; and the territory of Ethiopia was split among the colonial provinces of Amara, Galla-Sidamo, Harrar, Scioà (Shewa) and Somalia

  • 1936 Amharic was replaced with Italian as the leading official language; likewise, Italian superseded French and English as the medium of secondary education; local languages (Galla [Oromo], Kefa [Kafa], Somali and Tigrinya) were promoted in local administration and elementary education in order to downgrade the previously de facto state language of Amharic to the similar level of a mere local language; and Arabic was made the medium of instruction in all Muslim areas (Bowen 1976: 322)
  • 1936 racial segregation (first trialed by the Italians three years earlier in Eritrea) was introduced across Ethiopia, with secondary and tertiary education reserved for ‘higher whiter races' only (Robertson 1988: 48, 51)
  • 1941 by this year, the Italian occupiers had built 7,000 kilometers of roads, thus endowing Ethiopia with a modern transportation network (Whitake 1981: 173)
  • 1941 British and Ethiopian forces defeated the Italians in the Horn of Africa; Addis Ababa was liberated on 6 April 1941 (Spencer 2006: 92); formally, in 1944, Britain recognized the Ethiopian sovereignty in a bilateral treaty; and in the 1947 peace treaty, Italy officially renounced any claims to its former colonies in Africa
  • 1941 Emperor returned to Addis Ababa on 5 May (Spencer 2006: 91); Ethiopia became a client state of the West and after 1949 a member of the anti-Soviet Western bloc when the Cold War commenced (following the Soviet blockade of West Berlin in 1948-1949)
  • 1941 radio broadcasting recommenced with UK assistance, with programs in Amharic, Arabic, English, French and Somali (Abdu Mozayen 1976: 506)
  • 1941 pro-government newspaper h-O cldis zemen (‘New Era’) was founded; it is Ethiopia’s oldest newspaper that still publishes (Meseret Chekol Reta 2013: 92)
  • 1942 Ethiopian governmental gazette was founded, namely

pnegarîtigazet’a (literally, ‘Gazette [that publishes on important] Issues’); the pattern was established that continues to this day,

Sociopolitical timeline of modern Ethiopia 87 namely to publish all legislation bilingually, in Amharic and in English (Cooper 1976a: 189); and this governmental gazette still continues to publish Ethiopian laws

  • 1942 abolishment of slavery (Hanibal Goitom 2012)
  • 1942 reconstiuction of the Ethiopian educational system; however, English was made the sole medium of instruction, in both elementary education and secondary education (Haile Woldemikael 1976: 324; Tesfaye Shewaye and Taylor 1976: 372-373)
  • 1943 ethnically non-Amharic regions resented the reassertion of centralized imperial rule, as assisted by UK forces; the Woyane Uprising (Rebellion) broke out in response; the Tigrayans sought to preserve the ethnolinguistic autonomy for Tigray, as introduced under the Italian occupation; the British forces put down this rebellion (Aaron Tesfaye 2002: 58); and ‘Woyane’ (also ‘Weyane’) is the historical Ge’ez term for the Tigrayans, that is, thf? weyane (Yohannes Woldemariam 2018)
  • 1944 the tradition of allowing missionary activities and schools in non-Christian (and preferably, non-Muslim) areas, on the condition that any preaching and teaching is done through the medium of Amharic, was formalized in a law that explicitly prohibited the use of any other Ethiopian languages for this purpose (Bowen 1976: 315; Cooper 1976a: 189); as a result, the use of Amharic spread to (or rather was imposed on) many southern areas, which Ethiopia had conquered at the turn of the 20th century
  • 1945 Ethiopia joined the United Nations (UN) as one of the 51 founding members; as a member state of the League of Nations, Ethiopia had been officially known under the name of Abyssinia; and hence, 1945 was the turning point in the preferred international use of the name Ethiopia, instead of Abyssinia (Tuji Jidda 2009)
  • 1945 introduced by Arab traders, since the late 18th century, the silver Maria Theresia thaler (first minted in Vienna in 1751) had been Ethiopia’s main currency; after the war, with UK assistance, the imperial government collected the thalers; and in the United States, they were melted for the 50-cent silver coin of the Ethiopian Dollar, which became the country’s new official currency, known as Birr in Amharic (TIC biri ‘silver’) (Shinn and Ofcansky 2013: 110)
  • 1945 Ethiopia’s population: 18.6 million (Ethiopia: Historical 2019)
  • 1946 Ethiopia’s first airline, Ethiopian Airlines (PTP’A'T hPC

ye’ttiyop’iya dyer meniged), was founded (Kinfe Abraham 2001:563)

  • 1948 United Kingdom returned the administration of Ogaden to Ethiopia (Spencer 2006: 199)
  • 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Universal 1948) 1952 Under the UN’s auspices, the United Kingdom handed the former Italian colony of Eritrea over to Ethiopia, on the understanding that Addis Ababa would grant this territory wide-ranging autonomy; as a result, a Federation of Ethiopia and Eritrea (iK>'Â'f’ ¿,£»¿71") îtiyop’iya ëritira fedërëshiri) was proclaimed (Connel and Killion 20 il : 249-250)
  • 1953 as a result of the Egyptian Revolution (1952), Egypt gained full independence and was overhauled into an Arab Republic of Egypt (Sh j

jumhuriat misr alearabia) 1953 nations are functions of the intensity of in-group communication within a nation-state, conducted in a given language(s) and script(s), as proposed by Karl Deutsch in his monograph Nationalism and Social Communication (Deutsch 1953) 1954 first Ethiopian institution of university-level education was founded, namely the University College of Addis Ababa; no language of instruction was designated, but in practice it was English (Cooper 1976a: 189); and the number of graduates grew from 13 in 1954 to 2,054 in 1969 (Haile Woldemikael 1976: 336)

  • 1954 Kebede Mikael’s (hfl£ kebede mîka’êl) influential book TûR.fl' AAiDÏ'f? japan inidêt selet’enech? (How Did Japan Modernize Itself?) was published
  • 1955 United Kingdom returned the remaining parts of Ogaden (i.e. Hand and the Reserved Territories) to Ethiopia (Spencer 2006: 282) 1955 this year marked the de facto end of the Eritrean autonomy; the Eritrean law was banned and replaced with the Ethiopian law; Eritrea’s languages (Arabic, Tigrinya) were banned and replaced with Amharic; the Ethiopian flag superseded the Eritrean flag; and the Eritrean press and organizations were banned and then replaced by all-Ethiopian counterparts (Redie Bereketeab 2015: 245)
  • 1955 (1948 EC) Revised Ethiopian Constitution (+'ïfiA° Pffirn PK'ff’A'f Th 7 teshashilo yewet’a ye’îtiyop’iya hige


‘The official language of the Empire is Amharic’ (Art. 125) (Cooper 1976a: 188)

‘The Ethiopian Orthodox Church ... is the Established Church of the Empire and is, as such, supported by the State. The Emperor shall always profess the Ethiopian Orthodox faith. . . .’ (Art. 126) (Revised 1955)

NB: Importantly, this Constitution explicitly added an official (national) language to the construction of Ethiopia as a unitary ethnolinguistic nation-state

  • 1955 Revised Constitution of Ethiopia introduced universal suffrage (Revised 1955: Chapter 3)
  • 1956 Anglo-Egyptian Sudan was granted independence and became a Republic of Sudan (¿'->4'

jumhuriat alsuwdan in Arabic)

  • 1957 Ethiopia’s first five-year plan began (Kinfe Abraham 2001: 563); this developmental instrument was borrowed from the Soviet economic practice of central planning, then quite popular across the developing (‘third world’) and newly decolonized countries
  • 1958 famine in the province of Tigray, but Addis Ababa declined offers of foreign relief, which led to at least 100,000 victims of starvation and disease (Bahru Zewde 1991: 196)
  • 1958 Amharic replaced English as the medium of instruction in elementary education (Tesfaye Shewaye and Taylor 1976: 373); as a result, the lasting tradition was established that Amharic would be the medium of elementary education (grades one to six), while English that of secondary education (grades seven to 12) (Cooper 1976a: 190; Haile Woldemikael 1976: 325-326); and non-Amharic-speaking children first had to master the Amharic language to enter the educational system at all, which put them at a disadvantage (Cooper 1976b: 294)
  • 1959 Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria (Egypt) granted autocephaly (ecclesiastical independence) to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewa-hedo (Miaphysitic) Church (Ph.Tf’A’T X'fAIiri d-Trh^ Í1+ hCfl’tf T ye ’ítiyop ’iva oritodokis tewahido befe kirisiffyan) (Erlich 2000)
  • 1960 British Somaliland Protectorate and the Trust Territory of Somaliland under Italian administration (Ammin-istrazione fiduciaria italiana della Somalia) were grunted independence and soon afterward united into a Somali Republic (Jamhuuriyadda Soomaaliyeed in Somali)
  • 1960 Haile Selassie's overtures to Israel were prompted by the rise of pan-Arab and antimonarchic sentiments in the freshly independent Sudan and across the Middle East in the late 1950s; in return, the

Israelis helped the Emperor foil an attempted coup; and two years later, in 1962, Ethiopia and Israel established diplomatic relations (Spector 2005: 9-10)

  • 1960 failed coup d’état attempt against the Emperor and his government; it broke out because of the frustration with the slow pace of socio-economic progress (modernization); university students demonstrated in support of this coup, which can be seen as the beginning of their politicization as a group (Greenfield 1967; 337-452; Legesse Lemma 1979: 31)
  • 1961 Ethiopia’s population: 21 million (Ethiopia: Historical 2019)
  • 1961 University College ofAddis Ababa was transformed into Haile Selassie University of Addis Ababa; no language of instruction was specified, but in practice, it was and continues to be English (Cooper 1976a: 189)
  • 1961-1991 Eritrean War of Independence
  • 1962 second five-year plan (Kinfe Abraham 2001: 564)
  • 1962 annexation of Eritrea, made into a mere Ethiopian province, and the dissolution of the Federation of Ethiopia and Eritrea (Con-nel and Killion 2011: 249-250)
  • 1963-1970 uprising (revolt) of Oromo and Somali Muslims in the southeastern province of Bale (Bali) against Christian (Amharic speaking) settlers and the centralizing state’s measures that limited this area's pastoralists’ freedom of movement (Tirfe Mammo 1999: 99)
  • 1963 Organization of African Unity (OAU) was founded in Addis Ababa, and the organization’s headquarters are in the Ethiopian capital to this day
  • 1964 the Republic of Kenya (Jamhuriya Kenya in Swahili) was proclaimed, terminating the short-lived Dominion of Kenya, into which the United Kingdom’s Colony and Protectorate of Kenya had been transformed in 1963
  • 1964 Communist China's Prime Minister, Zhou Enlai, paid a state visit to Ethiopia
  • 1964 Ethiopian-Somali Border War
  • 1965 almost 300,000 students attended the state schools (Haile Wol-demikael 1976: 327)
  • 1965 university students demonstrated, demanding ‘land to the tiller’ (Kinfe Abraham 2001: 565)

Sociopolitical timeline of modern Ethiopia 91 1965-1967 famine in Tigray (Kiros 2006: 17)

  • 1966 university students demonstrated again under the slogan ‘Is poverty a crime?' because they were incensed by the desperate situation in the shelter, set up in Shola (C'A), at the capital's outskirts, for refugees fleeing the famine in Tigray; to emphasize the simation’s urgency, the students dubbed this shelter the ‘Shola Concentration Camp' (Bahru Zewde 2014: 139)
  • 1967 French Somaliland (Côte française des Somalis) renamed as the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas (Territoire français des Afars et des Issas) 1968 third five-year plan (Kinfe Abraham 2001: 565)
  • 1968 rebellion in (mainly Amharic speaking) Gojam Province against the centralization of the state (Schwab 1970)
  • 1968 University of Asmara founded (today, in Eritrea) (Klinger 1992: Table 4)
  • 1969 marxist-leninist government renamed Somalia the Somali Democratic Republic (Jamhuuriyadda Dimuqraadiya Soomaaliyeed in Somali)
  • 1969 Wallelign Mekonnen's (PTAA^ aaW'i''i yewalelinyi mekonini) influential essay ‘On the Question of Nationalities in Ethiopia’ (P'ilrh.C'F T'f'fe nh.fl’P’Â’f yebihêrochi t’iyak’ë be’ïtiyop’iya) was published in the student magazine Struggle (>7 A tagel) (yewalelinyi mekonini 1969); it consciously drew on Soviet ethnolinguistic federalism as a model, initially proposed by Joseph Stalin in his 1913 essay; and in turn, Stalin’s essay had drawn on Austro-marxist thinkei-s’ ideas developed on the basis of observing Austria-Hungary’s ethnolinguistic federalism
  • 1969 after students failed to comply with the imperial order to stop strikes, boycotts and protests, mass repressions and incarcerations of students began (Legesse Lemma 1979: 35)
  • 1969 the president of the Union of Students of Addis Ababa University, Tilahun Gizaw (/VAlbT °7HO tdlahun gozaw in Tigrinya), was assassinated; this killing and the massacre of around 30 students during his funeral radicalized the student movement (Messay Kebede 2008: 185)
  • 1970 Haile Selassie visited communist China (Kinfe Abraham 2001: 565)
  • 1972 National Academy of the Amharic Language was founded (Getachew Anteneh and Derib Ado 2006: 46; Niguse Abbebe and Bender 1984)
  • 1972 television broadcasting commenced in Addis Ababa (Abdu Mozayen 1976: 509)
  • 1972 adoption of the Latin alphabet for writing Somali, or the national language of independent Somalia (i.e. the ethnolinguistically defined Somali nation-state) (Adam 1983: 33)
  • 1973 foreign lecturers from Western countries constituted over half of the university staff in Ethiopia (Wondwosen Tamrat 2019)
  • 1973 Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Ovadiah Yosef, officially recognized Ethiopia’s Jews, known as the R.+ AOA-KA bete isira’eli (Beta Israel ‘House of Israel’), as members of the Jewish religion (Judaism) (Spector 2005: 10); the majority of Ethiopian Jews are of Agaw ethnic extraction (Spector 2005: 3)
  • 1973-1974 famine in northern Ethiopia led to at least 200,000 deaths (Kiros 2006: 18)
  • 1974 Ethiopia’s population: 26.8 million (Ethiopia: Historical 2019)
  • 1974 only 5 percent of Ethiopians were able to read and write (Gupta 1994)
  • 1974 in print and writing only, the following five Ethiopian languages were employed: Amharic, Harari, Oromo, Tigre and Tigrinya - apart from English employed in administration and education and Arabic and Ge'ez used in religious contexts (Klinger 1992: 43)
  • 1974 not a single publishing house existed in the country, but only 39 printing presses (20 in Addis Ababa, 14 in Asmara, one in Dire Dawa, one in Gondar, one in Harar, one in Jimma and one in Naza-ret [Adama]) (Gupta 1994: 180)
  • 1974 Ethiopian Revolution
  • 1974 following the message of Wallelign Mekonnen’s 1969 article, university students demanded ‘Power to the Peoples’ in plural, meaning political empowerment for all Ethiopia’s ethnic groups (Balsvik 2007: 44)
  • 1974-1991 Soviet (Derg, Communist) Ethiopia (£C°7 derig ‘committee or council’ - that is, ‘Soviet’)
  • 1974 doctrine of‘Ethiopian socialism’was announced (Selemon Meharenna 1980: 74)
  • 1974 in line with the tenets of the Soviet ideology of marxism-leninism, the Soviet-Derg regime’s historiography claimed that in Ethiopia feudalism had come to an end in this year; thus, in the terms of economic and social stages of human development, the country entered the parallel stages of capitalism and nationalism, respectively (Tri-ulzi 1983: 11-118)
  • 1974-1991 Ethiopia became a client (or even member) state of the Soviet bloc 1974-1991 Ethiopian Civil War (cf De Waal 1991)
  • 1974-1987 Provisional Military Government of Socialist Ethiopia (P'W+ij'flW ’ Wt

yehibiretesebi’dwiti Ttiyop’iya gizeyawiwetaderawimenigisif)

1974 Chairman Aman Mikael Andom (h£nn h")£'9T

aman mika’el anidom 1924-1974; ruled 12 September-17 November 1974)

1974-1975 nationalization of all the country’s printing presses was executed for the sake of extending foil state control over book and press production; this meant the centralization of censorship and propaganda in the hands of the Soviet-Derg regime; the majority of the surviving printing presses were transformed into an Ethiopian Printing Corporation; this state enterprise became the springboard for the country’s first publishing houses, namely the Ethiopia Book Centre (Ph.d'P’Â'i ye’îtiyop’iya metsïhifit

ma’ikeT) and the Kuraz Publishing Agency (fr¿-Tl kuraz

âsatamîna) (Gupta 1994: 179-180)

  • 1975 nationalization without compensation of arable land, urban land, ‘extra houses,’ factories and workshops, shops and services; a planned centralized state-owned economy was officially established by 1982 (Keller 1988: 246)
  • 1975 Peasants either voluntarily joined or were forced to j oin ‘peasant associations’ (P7f]d ^(¡(tCyegeberemahiberi) (Kinfe Abraham 2001: 566; shamibeli fik'iresilasê wegideresi 2006EC [2014]: 175), that is, none other than Soviet-style kolkhozes (Russian portmanteau колхоз formed from коллективное хозяйство kollektivnoe khoziaiistvo ‘collective farm’)
  • 1975 National Academy of the Amharic Language was transformed into the Academy of Ethiopian Languages (PA/bP'A’.P

ye’îtiyop’iya k’wanik'wawochi âkadamî) (Academy 2019)

1976 Program for the National Democratic Revolution of Ethiopia (NDRE; POW -Я T171 ¿-W T hOP’d'

ye’îtiyop’iya bihërawî dîmokirasîyawî âbiyot pirogiram) was adopted in accordance with the marxist-leninist model of parallel economic and social stages of human development (Ottaway 1978); hence, the Soviet-Derg regime also adopted Joseph Stalin’s 1913 classical definition of the nation, couched in ethnolinguistic terms (Gilkes 1983: 198-199)

  • 1976 Agricultural Marketing Corporation was founded for an improved management of Ethiopia’s centralized state-owned agriculture (Rashid and Asfaw Negassa 2012: 125)
  • 1976 for the sake of literacy campaigns, apart from Amharic (1), 14 additional languages were gradually developed, as written media of education, and employed for this purpose, namely Afar (2), Gedeo (3). Hadiyya (4), Kafa (5), Kembata (Kambaata) (6), Kunama (7), Oromo (8), Saho (9), Sidamo (10), Silti (11), Somali
  • (12), Tigrinya (13), Tigre (14) and Wolayta (15); work was underway to add three further languages to this repertory (Afar, Anuak and Gumuz) (Klinger 1992: 110), and it was hoped that eventually 40 languages would be employed in education (Klinger 1992: 103); the 15 aforementioned languages of the Soviet-Derg regime’s literacy campaigns covered the linguistic needs of 90 percent of the country’s population (Getachew Anteneh and Derib Ado 2006: 47; Klinger 1992: Table 9); but all these languages had to be written in the single Ethiopie (i.e. Amharic/Ge’ez) script (syllabary), even if previously or in neighboring countries different scripts had been and continued to be employed for writing and publishing in some of these languages (Getachew Anteneh and Derib Ado 2006: 48; Klinger 1992: 110)
  • 1976 Addis Ababa University and other institutions of higher learning were reopened, marking the end of the Zemecha (Campaign) for literacy and progress in Ethiopia; many students, disillusioned by the government and its ideologically driven repressions, staged protests only to be imprisoned and even executed; the regime was especially appalled by students’ support for the Oromo, Tigray and Eritrean ‘ethnic’ liberation movements; and the student opposition to the Soviet-Derg regime came to an end with the draft of male students for the war against Eritrea (Balsvik 2007: 72, 84-86)
  • 1976-1977 Ethiopian Red Terror (+£ fi-flC k’ey shibir) was visited on competing marxist-leninist groups (De Waal 1991: Will 2), leaving in its wake at least 40,000 victims (Abbink 1995: 135); other sources estimate that 55,000 people lost their lives in Addis Ababa alone and a further 45,000 elsewhere in the country (Balsvik 2007: 76-77)
  • 1977 revolutionary terror in Ethiopia, as known and practiced in the course and wake of both French and Soviet revolutions, was completed - on the Soviet model - with a Gulag-like system of prisons and forced labor camps; this system of incarceration and repression was based mainly on 25,000 kolkhozes (‘peasant associations’), each running its own prison (Balsvik 2007: 81)
  • 1977 French Territory of the Afars and the Issas gained independence and became the Republic of Djibouti (République de Djibouti in French and âj j 5^

Jumhûriyah Jibuti in Arabic)

1977 new Soviet Constitution with the right to secession included (Art. 72), that is, the Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Конституция Союза Советских Социалистических Республик Konstitut-siia Soiuza Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik) (Constitution of the Soviet Union 1977) 1977 in the wake of the Sino-Soviet split (1956-1966), Somalia, as Ethiopia’s main competitor in the Horn of Africa, became a client state of communist China;

in this year, Somalia terminated the Somali-Soviet Friendship Treaty, and the Soviet advisors were expelled from the country (Impact 1978: 163) 1977-1978 Ogaden War, where Somalia (with Chinese aid) attacked Ethiopia (supported by the Soviet Union and Cuba) in an unsuccessful attempt to conquer Ethiopia’s Somali-speaking region of Ogaden 1977 Following the Kremlin’s advice, Addis Ababa ordered the United States to close its military facilities in Ethiopia; in return, the Soviet-Derg regime received weapons and supplies from the Soviet bloc, including at least 10,000 soldiers from Cuba for fighting the Ogaden War; on the other hand, Washington turned to Somalia as a potential anti-Soviet ally in the Horn of Africa (Henze 2000: 297; Spector 2005: 12)

  • 1977 communist Cuba’s leader, Fidel Castro, visited Ethiopia
  • 1977 Soviet-Derg regime criticized communist China as ‘reactionary,’ due to Beijing’s support for Somalia in the Ogaden War; the Soviet Union supported Ethiopia (Kinfe Abraham 2001: 565)
  • 1979 communist East Germany’s leader, Erich Honecker, visited Ethiopia
  • 1979 as many as 225 book titles were published in Ethiopia (i.e. in Amharic, in English and in all other Ethiopian languages) (Book Publishing 1996)
  • 1980 like all the Soviet bloc countries, in Ethiopia’s schools, the compulsory subject of ‘political education’ (f’Z'A'th yepolefíka timihirit), that is, marxism-leninism, was introduced (Haile Gebriel Dagne 2007: 347; yepolefíka 1977EC [1984])

c. 1980 following the Chinese example of establishing the politically motivated ‘exact’ number of ethnolinguistically defined ‘minorities’ (Mullaney 2012: 120-133), the Soviet-Derg regime came up with

Sociopolitical timeline of modern Ethiopia 97 the number of 85 (86) such ethnic groups (nationalities) in Ethiopia (Lewis 1983: 20)

  • 1982 Ethiopian-Somali Border War (Ethiopia’s Invasion 1983)
  • 1983 Ernest Gellner in his monograph on the rise and spread of nationalism in Europe proposes that nations and their nation-states are a product of industrialization (Gellner 1983); the rise of ethnolinguistic nations and their nation-states in the Balkans during the 19th century falsifies this thesis, because industrialization in this region developed only in the first half of the 20th century
  • 1983 Benedict Anderson in his monograph on the global spread of nationalism proposes that people and their groups alone create ‘imagined communities’ (nations) - in other words- large-scale non-face-to-face human groups with the internationally recognized right to statehood (Anderson 1983)
  • 1983 Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger coedited the volume Invented Traditions (Hobsbawm and Ranger 1983); the contributors drew on cases from Europe, Africa and India to illustrate the thesis that nations and national histories are constructs, artifacts of human decisions and imagination
  • 1983 foreign lecturers from the Soviet bloc countries constimted over a third (c. 360) of Ethiopia’s university-level staff, who amounted to almost 1,000 (Balsvik 2007: 88; Wondwosen Tamrat 2019)
  • 1983 by this year, the Soviet-Derg regime had indemnified almost all foreign companies for their losses sustained over the course of the nationalization without compensation, as unrolled in the wake of the 1974 Revolution; the regime realized that the further development of Ethiopia depended on foreign investment, because aid offered by the Soviet bloc was insufficient in this regard (Keller 1988: 247)
  • 1983- 1985 Ethiopian Famine was partly induced and prolonged by Soviet-Derg policies; this tragic famine affected mainly Tigray and Wello (De Waal 1991: 133-156), resulting in at least 500,000 victims of starvation and disease (De Waal 1991: 175)
  • 1984 founding of the Workers' Party of Ethiopia (WPE) (PK^rfrf
  • 7'C't (KyT}ye’Ttiyop'iya seratenyochpariti[isepa])
  • 1984- 1985 Soviet-Derg regime, faced with the challenges of the famine and war, embarked on mass campaigns of villagization

(non^£(" bemenideri masebasebi ‘village collecting’) and

resettlement sefera), quite similar in scope and character to the Soviet policies of the collectivization of agriculture and Russification; nomadic and pastoralist communities in the east were settled in government-designated villages in order to end their traditional way of life and prevent them from helping certain guerilla factions (Eritrean, Oromo or Somali guerillas) or from being attacked by such guerillas; the resettlement of 0.6 million mainly Amharic-speaking peasants from the north to the multiethnic south alleviated the famine; and what is more, it led to the Amharization of the south and brought the regime’s Soviet-style economy to this ‘backward’ region, including kolkhozes (peasant associations) and kolkhozbased prisons (‘gulag') (Balsvik 2007: 96-97; Pankhurst 1992)

  • 1984 ten-year plan of economic and social development was adopted; it was never completed, due to the fall of the Soviet-Derg regime in 1991 (Keller 1988: 252-253)
  • 1984-1985 numerous Ethiopian Jews, who became a pawn in the Soviet-Derg regime's maneuvers between West and East, fled repressions and the famine to Sudan, from where about 8,000 were airlifted via Brussels to Israel (Spector 2005: 12-13)
  • 1985 Czechoslovak (Czech) historian, Miroslav Efroch’s, monograph Social Preconditions of National Revival in Europe was published in an English translation; it offers a maman model of the coalescence of stateless ethnolinguistic nations and their quest for statehood, drawing on examples from Central Europe (Hroch 1985)
  • 1985 Alemaya University of Agriculture was founded on the basis of Alemaya College of Agriculture (established in 1954); at present, the university is known as Haramaya University, its English-language name more closely following the Amharic pronunciation of the name of Lake Alemaya Ch//11))1 hdremaya)
  • 1986 for the needs of literacy campaigns, nine periodicals were published in Amharic, three in Oromo, two in Tigrinya, one in Sidamo and one in Wolayta (Klinger 1992: Tables 16 and 17); although literacy campaign materials were produced in 15 languages, most copies of such materials were published in Amharic (26.5 million) and the least in Kunama (50,350) (Klinger 1992: Figure 4)
  • 1986 (1978 EC) the most important reference and ideological tool of the Soviet-Derg period was published, namely the ih.'ll/'1

ATCtiT3 yemarikisïzim lêmnïzim mezigebe k’alat

  • (The Dictionary of marxism-leninism) (yemarikisTzimi 1978EC [1986]); this dictionary popularized Joseph Stalin’s 1913 ethnolin-guistic definition of the nation, as adopted in the Soviet Union and communist China (cf Klinger 1992: 46) and in Ethiopia’s Constitution of 1987; the lasting influence of this reference is proven by the fact that it is nowadays one of rather few Amharic-language books scanned and available for online use (si’ili 2020)
  • 1987 (1979 EC) Constitution of Ethiopia closely emulated the Soviet Constitution, including the Soviet model of ethnolinguistic federalism

‘The feudal system was overthrown ... in 1974.’ ... the overall objective is... the construction of socialism’ (Preamble in The Constitution 1988: 182)

‘The Ethiopian state has existed as a multinational state. Its nationalities [Russian nationalnost’] and diverse communities have forged a unity through cultural intercourse, migrations, commerce and similar interactions in times of peace as well as in times of war. Therefore, Ethiopia's long history of independence has been the history of the united existence and common struggle of her nationalities. ... [T]he unity of our country and the equality of nationalities, based on our right to self-determination, is ensured' (Preamble in The Constitution 1988: 181-182)

‘The People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is a unitary state in which all nationalities live in equality’ (Art. 2.1)

‘The People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia shall ensure the equality of nationalities, combat chauvinism and narrow nationalism, and strengthen the unity of the working people of all nationalities’ (Art. 2.2)

‘The People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia shall ensure the common advancement of the nationalities, by progressively eliminating the disparity in their economic development, paying particular attention to those in lower stages of development [Russian narodnost']’ (Art. 2.3)

‘The People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia shall ensure the realization of regional autonomy’ (Art. 2.4)

‘The People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia shall ensure the equality, development and respectability of the languages and the nationalities’ (Art. 2.5) (The Constitution 1988: 183)

‘The People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is a unitary state comprising administrative and autonomous regions’ (Art. 59) (The Constitution 1988: 194)

‘ [I] n the People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia the working language of the state shall be Amharic’ (Art. 116) (The Constitution 1988: 207)

NB 1 : The terms federal, federation and secession are not mentioned in the Constitution

NB 2: The term nationality (ethnic group) is clearly distinguished from that of citizenship

NB 3: In spite of the provisions in Article 2.5, apart from Amharic, no other Ethiopian languages were given any official status or employed in administration (Getachew Anteneh and Derib Ado 2006: 48)

  • 1987 Ethiopia’s population: 46 million (Ethiopia: Historical 2019)
  • 1987 in emulation of Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms in the Soviet Union,

elements of private entrepreneurship were allowed in the Ethiopian economy (Kinfe Abraham 2001: 568)

1987-1991 PDRE (People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia;

ffiTini ¿TTI A, Fl ye 'Ttiyop 'iya hizibawî dîmokirasîyawî


  • 1987-1991 President Mengistu Haile Mariam
  • 1988 Jimma Institute of Health Sciences founded in Jimma (Jimmaa in

Oromo) (Gupta 1994: 174); in 1999, it merged with Jimma College of Agriculture (established in 1952), thus yielding today’s Jimma University

  • 1989 commencement of the Somali Civil War, which continues to this day
  • 1989 fall of communism in Europe, the Soviet bloc and the Soviet Union, which lost the ideology that both defined and legitimized these two political projects
  • 1990 at least 385 book titles were published in Ethiopia (Book Publishing 1996)
  • 1991 central government of Somalia collapsed, leading to the fragmentation of the Somali nation-state; in the north, the de facto polity, a Republic of Somaliland (Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland in Somali), was proclaimed
  • 1991 dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance), or the military and economic pillars of the Soviet bloc
  • 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, or the world’s largest and oldest ethnoterritorial (ethnolinguistic) federation
  • 1991-2008 war-induced piecemeal dissolution of another ethnoterritorial (ethnolinguistic) federation.

namely communist Yugoslavia

  • 1991 in the previous year, the Soviet-Derg regime attracted the country’s Jews to Addis Ababa with the false promise of imminent passage to Israel; subsequently, the regime blackmailed Israel that these Jews might face danger unless Tel Aviv agreed to sell weapons to Ethiopia; in response, in one day and a half, on 24-25 May, the majority of Ethiopia’s Jews (almost 15,000) were airlifted to safety in Israel; and hence, not a single Jewish settlement remains in today’s Ethiopia (Spector 2005)
  • 1991 Postcommunist (Federal) Ethiopia
  • 1991 Ethiopia’s population: 55 million (Ethiopia: Historical 2019)
  • 1991 only 240 book titles were published in Ethiopia (in Amharic, English and all the country’s other languages) (Book Publishing 1996); curiously, this is the most recent data readily available on book production in Ethiopia
  • 1991 Transitional Charter (?:b(>’A'f’ ¿PC+C

yeTtiyop’iya yeshigigir wek’it chariter); Transitional Government of Ethiopia (Ph.TCA'T TalalC yeTtiyop’iya shigigiri


  • 1991-1995 Interim President Meles Zenawi Asres (^Ah H>£T'P Ail A it melesi zenawi dsiresi 1955-2012)
  • 1991 between 1991 and 2009, the Ethiopic script for writing Ge’ez, Amharic and other Ethiosemitic languages was incorporated into Unicode’s standard Universal Coded Character Set that underlies the internet (Ethiopic 2019); this achievement allowed for the development of Wikipedias in Ethiopia’s languages in the early 21st century
  • 1992 Proclamation No. 7/1992: A Proclamation to Provide for the Establishment of National/Regional Self-Governments (Proclamation No. 7/1992 1992): it was the first move in the postcommunist period to implement the Soviet-Derg regime’s hardly realized promise of a Soviet-style ethnolinguistic federalism
  • 1993 dissolution of another ethnoterritorial (ethnolinguistic) federation, namely this time the dual (dyadic, bipartite) communist federation of Czechoslovakia
  • 1993 learning from the Czechoslovak failure, Belgium was transformed into a federation of three ethnolinguistic communities (Flemish, French and German) and three regions, namely the two ethnoterritorial regions of Flanders and Wallonia plus the Mow-ethno-territorial (capital) and bilingual region of Brussels;

importantly, the borders of these three regions do not overlap with the borders of the three communities (Third 2020; Wagstaff 1999)

  • 1993 European Communities (EC) were transformed into the European Union (EU)
  • 1993 Eritrean independence referendum; Eritrea became an internationally recognized independent state (Fikrejesus Amhazion 2018)
  • 1994 mainly thanks to the Soviet-Derg literacy campaigns, the rate of illiteracy dropped precipitously from 95 percent in 1974 to 65 percent 20 years later (Gupta 1994)
  • 1994 removal from the Ethiopian educational system of the textbooks and curricula prepared under the Soviet-Derg regime in accordance with the tenets of marxism-leninism (Haile Gebriel Dagne 2007: 349)
  • 1995 in the wake of the Bosnian War (one of the wars of Yugoslav succession), the international community imposed a compromise on this country in the form of an asymmetrical ethnolinguistic (ethnoterritorial) federation; Bosnia Herzegovina consists of three federal entities, namely the unitary ethnolinguistic nation-state-like Republika Srpska (for Serbs), the binational Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (for Bosniaks and Croats) and the non-national Brcko District, shared by the two former entities; the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is territorial in its character, comprising ten Swiss-like cantons that, among other things, decide on their official languages; and only self-declared Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs are eligible for elected posts - hence, this arrangement disenfranchises Bosnian citizens of other ethnicities (especially Jews and Roma) (Belloni 2009; Caplan 2000)

1995 (1987 EC) Constitution of Ethiopia overhauled this postcom-munist country into a Soviet-style ethnolinguistic federation (Sema-hagn Gashu Abebe 2014)

‘We, the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia’ (Preamble) ‘This Constitution establishes a Federal and Democratic State structure' (Art. 1)

‘The territorial jurisdiction of Ethiopia shall comprise the territory of the members of the Federation’ (Art. 2)

‘(1) All Ethiopian languages shall enjoy equal state recognition. (2) Amharic shall be the working language of the Federal Government. (3) Members of the Federation may by law determine their respective working languages’ (Art. 5)

‘All sovereign power resides in the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia’ (Art. 8.1)

‘(1) Every Nation, Nationality and People in Ethiopia has an unconditional right to self-determination, including the right to secession. (2) Every Nation, Nationality and People in Ethiopia has the right to speak, to write and to develop its own language; to express, to develop and to promote its culture; and to preserve its history. (3) Every Nation, Nationality and People in Ethiopia has the right to a hill measure of self-government which includes the right to establish institutions of government in the territory that it inhabits and to equitable representation in state and Federal governments.... (5) A “Nation, Nationality or People” for the purpose of this Constitution, is a group of people who have or share large measure of a common culture or similar customs, mutual intelligibility of language, belief in a common or related identities, a common psychological make-up, and who inhabit an identifiable, predominantly contiguous territory’ (Art. 39) ‘States shall be delimited on the basis of the settlement patterns, language, identity and consent of the peoples concerned’ (Art. 46.2)

(Ethiopia - Constitution 1994)

NB 1 : The term autonomy or autonomous is not mentioned in the Constitution

NB 2: The term nationality (ethnic group) is not clearly distinguished from that of citizenship, which confusingly is rendered with the word ‘nationality’ (citizenship); see ‘No Ethiopian national shall be deprived of his or her Ethiopian nationality against his or her will’ (Art. 33.1 in: Ethiopia - Constitution 1994)

  • 1995 Ethiopia’s population: 56.4 million (Ethiopia: Historical 2019)
  • 1995 Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Z.&.Z-A4?

¿TTlA.h ye’Ttiyop’iya federalawi dtmokirastyawi ripebilik)

  • 1995-2012 Prime Minister Meles Zenawi Asres
  • 2012-2018 Prune Minister Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe P^A^ZFT13 EAA^ Oil hayilemanyami desalenyi boshe 1965-) 2018- Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali (Oil£ hUP' A A, ‘cibtyi ahimedi ali 1976-)
  • 1996-2006 southern Somalia found itself under control of the Islamic Courts Union (Midowga Maxkama-daha Islaamiga in Somali) 1997 Academy of Ethiopian Languages was transferred from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to Addis Ababa University; in 2010, this academy was renamed the Academy of Ethiopian Languages and Cultures (Academy 2019)
  • 1998 in northeastern Somalia, another de facto polity was established, the Puntland State of Somalia (Dow-ladda Puntland ee Soomaaliya in Somali)
  • 1998-2000 Eritrean-Ethiopian War
  • 1998-2001 in North Omo Zone (part of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region), local ethnic languages had been employed as media of instruction in schools since 1993, among others, such as the North Omotic language of Wolayita with two million speakers; the authorities, faced with the prospect of developing teaching materials in the further cognate North Omotic languages of Dawro, Gamo and Gofa, decided to follow the heavy-handed Soviet-style top-down path of language engineering aimed at limiting the number of recognized ethnic groups and their languages; drawing on the experience of such composite (pluricentric) languages as Serbo-Croatian or Norwegian, they proclaimed a merged (composite) language of WoGaGoDa, created on the basis of Wolayita with some additions from Gamo, Gofa and Dawro; little or no consultations were conducted with the concerned ethnic groups; textbooks written in WoGaGoDa were introduced to schools in 1999, causing Wolayita students, teachers and local communities to protest; the follow-up clashes with the police led to seven deaths, 11 wounded and over 1,000 incarcerated; the ruling EPRDF party relented, and in 2001, North Omo Zone was split into ethnolinguistically defined zones; and Wolayita was

Sociopolitical timeline of modern Ethiopia 105 reintroduced to education, and beginning in 2004 Dawro, Gamo and Gofa were also introduced to schools as media of instruction in their own right (Bookkeeping 2008; Cochrane and Yeshtila Bekele 2019: 35-37; Data Dea 2005-2006; Guidi 2012; Hirut Woldemariam 2014) 2000 Ethiopia’s population: 64 million (Ethiopia: Historical 2019)

  • 2000 two universities and 17 colleges were active in Ethiopia (Thu-bauville 2013: 124): the subsequent boom in tertiary education left universities and colleges understaffed, necessitating recruitment from abroad, mainly from the United Kingdom, Cuba, India, Nigeria and the Philippines; for instance, the number of Indian lecturers grew from 500 in 2011 to 1,000 in 2013 (Thubauville 2013: 125)
  • 2001 drawing on the experience of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), an African Union (AU) was officially founded in Addis Ababa; the AU’s seat is located in the Ethiopian capital
  • 2002 OAU was officially dissolved

c. 2005 in the mid 2000s, in light of the development of the internet as the main basis of Ethiopia’s independent mass media, the government commenced its policy of partial or complete shutdowns of the country’s internet during periods of political tension and unrest (Deibert 2008: 283; Ethiopia’s Troubled 2006: 109); otherwise, the internet is regularly shut down in Ethiopia during the time of statewide school examinations, to reduce web-enabled cheating and other irregularities (Abdi Latif Dahir 2017)

  • 2005 Amharic Wikipedia founded, written in the Ethiopic script (List of Wikipedias 2019)
  • 2005 Afar Wikipedia founded, written in the Latin alphabet, but closed in 2008 because of inactivity (List of Wikipedias 2019)
  • 2006 Tigrinya Wikipedia founded, written in the Ethiopic script (List of Wikipedias 2019)
  • 2006-2009 Ethiopian forces intervened in southern Somalia and seized most of the region from the hands of the Islamic Courts Union; in turn, the more radically jihadiSt group, Al-Shabaab (¿4 jh3' -•!’-? s? ja. harakat almuqawamat alshaebiat

fi bilad alhijratayn ‘Popular Resistance Movement in the Land of the Two Migrations’), captured and continues to control some areas in southern Somalia

  • 2007 Oromo Wikipedia founded, written in the Latin alphabet (List of Wikipedias 2019)
  • 2007 Somali Wikipedia founded, written in the Latin alphabet (List of Wikipedias 2019)
  • 2010 Ethiopia’s population: 91.5 million (Ethiopia: Historical 2019)
  • 2011 South Sudan gained independence from Sudan and became the Republic of South Sudan (Jamhuriya Sudan Kusini in Swahili)
  • 2012 in southern Somalia a Federal Republic of Somalia (Jamhuuriyadda Federaalka Soomaaliya in Somali) was proclaimed
  • 2012 new administrative center of the African Union was inaugurated during the 18th AU summit; the center was constructed and paid by China, as Beijing’s gift to Ethiopia and Africa; on the other hand, this gift symbolizes the growing economic and political presence of China in Ethiopia and Africa and the continent’s increasing dependence on Beijing (Linyan 2012; Press Release 2012)
  • 2013 31 universities were active in Ethiopia (Thubauville 2013: 124)
  • 2013 Google Translate added Somali to this online service (Google Translate Adds 2013)
  • 2015 Ethiopia’s population: 106.5 million (Ethiopia: Historical 2019)
  • 2016 Tel Aviv decided to allow the last remaining 9,000 Ethiopian Jews to leave for Israel by 2020; the community of Ethiopian Jews in Israel already amounted to 135,000 (Hoffman 2016)
  • 2016 Google Translate added Amharic to this online service (Kel-man 2016)
  • 2016 although only 5 percent of Ethiopia’s exports went to China, as many as one-third of Ethiopia’s imports arrived from China (Ethiopia Exports 2019; Ethiopia Imports 2019)
  • 2017 China is the largest foreign investor in Ethiopia, accounting for one-fifth of all the foreign investment that arrived in Ethiopia between 1992 and 2017 (Global Foreign 2018); during this time, foreign direct investment (FDI) flowing to Ethiopia skyrocketed from US$170,000 in 1992 to US$4 billion in 2017 (Foreign Direct 2019)
  • 2018 although access to landline telephones in Ethiopia remains paltry at 1 percent, the access to mobile telephones increased from 13 to 62 percent and to the internet from 0.2 to 17.5 percent between
  • 2011 and 2017 (Telecommunication 2019); smartphone penetration, allowing for the wide use of social media, was inching toward 5 percent (Poushter 2016)
  • 2018 Peace Treaty officially finished the Eritrean-Ethiopian War
  • 2018 Ethiopia’s GDP grew exponentially from US$14 million in 1991 to USS80 million in 2018, thus boosting the political legitimacy of the post-1991 regime (Ethiopia: Gross 2019); in the second decade of the 21st century, Ethiopia’s economy grew the fastest in the entire world, at the combined rate of 9.5 percent annually (Kisika 2019); this contributed to halving the population living below the poverty line, from 45 percent in 1996 to 23 percent in 2016 (Ethiolnfo 2020)
  • 2018 violent demonstrations in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region appealed for expelling non-Sidamas from Sidama Zone and making this zone into a separate region (state) in its own right; in the wake of these protests, ten people were left dead and 89 wounded; and in addition, almost 3,000 people were displaced (Cochrane and Yeshtila Bekele 2019: 26-27)
  • 2018 also in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region but this time in Wolayita Zone, the Wolayita elders proposed to create a separate region (state) for the Omotic peoples, including the zones of Dawro, Gamo and Gofa; in this manner, it would be a WoGa-GoDa (Wagagoda) Region, less the single WoGaGoDa (Wagagoda) language once disastrously imposed by the federal government in 1998 (Cochrane and Yeshtila Bekele 2019: 27)
  • 2019 national self-determination referendum was held in Sidama Zone (Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region); almost 99 percent of the voters cast their ballots in favor of a stand-alone Sidama region for the Sidamas (Ephream Sileshi 2019)
  • 2019 Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed received a Nobel peace prize (Burke and Henley 2019); he is the first Ethiopian to have received a Nobel prize
  • 2019 in today’s Ethiopia 30 million students attend elementary and secondary schools, while the country boasts over nine million students at its universities; nowadays, practically each Ethiopian child attends elementary school, while 35 percent continue education in secondary and other post-elementary (vocational) schools and as many as 8 percent at universities and colleges; the overall literacy rate is about 52 percent (59 percent for men and 44 percent for women), though over 80 percent among the youth, while less than 20 percent among seniors aged 65 and over (Ethiopia: Education 2019); and of all Ethiopians, 70 percent completed elementary education and 18 percent secondary education (Ethiolnfo 2020)
  • 2019 in present-day Ethiopia, at least the following languages are used in official capacity at different levels of administration and in education, namely Afar, Agaw (Awngi), Amharic, Arabic, Dawro, English, Gamo, Gedeo, Gof(f)a, Gurage (Kistane), Hadiya, Harari, Kafa, Kembata, Kamyr (Xamtanga), Konso, Majang, Nuer, Oromo, Tigrinya, Sidama, Silti, Somali and Wolayita (Getachew Anteneh and Derib Ado 2006: 49-58); however, adding up to 24 in total, these languages in official use cover one-quarter of the country’s ‘nations, nationalities and peoples’; on the other hand, they are employed by 90 percent of the population; furthermore, users of these languages can opt for other scripts than the Ethiopie one; and they usually choose the Latin alphabet or the Arabic abjad, apart from the Ethiopie writing system
  • 2019 about 170 universities and colleges operate in Ethiopia (List of Universities 2019); out of 30,000 lecturers in the tertiary education sector, foreigners constitute 8 percent (2,400) (Wondwosen Tamrat 2019)
  • 2019 Amharic Wikipedia contains 14,824 articles, the Somali Wikipedia 5,722 articles, the Oromo Wikipedia 786 articles, the Tigrinya Wikipedia 191 articles and the Afar Wikipedia just one article (List of Wikipedias 2019); the vast majority of Ethiopia’s users of the internet consult the English-language Wikipedia
  • 2019 ruling EPRDF was transformed into the Prosperity Party (The EPRDF 2019)
  • 2020 apart from Amharic, also Afar, Oromo, Somali and Tigrinya were planned to become working languages of the federal government (Samuel Getachew 2020)
  • 2020 following the assassination of renowned and charismatic Oromo song performer, poet and civil rights activist Hachalu Hun-dessa (Hacaaluu Hundeessaa in Oromo, ll^A LbT£»hach’alu hunidësa in Amharic), violent protests erupted across Oromia (Gardner 2020; Hachalu 2020)
  • 2020 in the wake of these protests, several opposition leaders were arrested, including US-educated mass media mogul and Oromo politician Jawar Mohammed (Jawaar Mahaammad in Oromo, crD7irD£' jawari mehamedi in Amharic) (Jawar 2020; Marks 2020)
  • 2020 Ethiopia’s population: 122.5 million (Ethiopia: Historical 2019)
  • 2020 federal government, as led by the PP party, militarily intervenes in the State of Tigray or the TPLF’s stronghold; the all Ethiopia federal and regional elections were scheduled to take place in August 2020, but they were delayed until June 2021, due to the pandemic; however, the TPLF disagreed with this decision and proceeded with the Tigray regional elections; as a result, the federal government deemed the new Tigray regional government as illegitimate, while the latter held the same opinion of the former. The tensions ultimately gave rise to armed conflict. (Tigray Crisis 2020) 2030 Ethiopia’s population (projection): 145 million (Ethiopia Population 2019)
  • 2050 Ethiopia’s population (projection): 205 million (Ethiopia Population 2019)
  • 2100 Ethiopia’s population (projection): 294 million (Ethiopia Population 2019)
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