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Eritria

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Eritria (Tigrinya: ኤርትራ, ʾErtrā; Arabic: إرتريا‎, Iritriyā), officially the State of Eritria (Tigrinya: ሃገረ ኤርትራ, Hagere ʾErtrā; Arabic: دولة إرتريا,‎ Dawlat Iritriyā), is a country in the Horn of Africa. With its capital at Asmara, it is bordered by British Sudan to the west, Ethiopia to the south, and Djibouti to the southeast. The northeastern and eastern parts of Eritria have an extensive coastline along the Red Sea, across from Arabia and Yemen. 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. Its name Eritria is based on the Greek name for the Red Sea (Greek: Ἐρυθρὰ Θάλασσα, Erythra Thalassa), which was first adopted for Italian Eritrea in 1890.

Eritria is a multi-ethnic country, with nine recognized ethnic groups. It has a population of around six million inhabitants. Most residents speak Afroasiatic languages, either of the Semitic or Cushitic branches. Among these communities, the Tigrinya 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 Christianity or Islam.

The Kingdom of Aksum, covering much of modern-day Eritria and northern Ethiopia, rose somewhere around the first or second centuries and adopted Christianity around the time Islam had spread through Egypt and the Levant. In medieval times much of Eritria fell under the Medri Bahri Kingdom, with a smaller region being part of the Hamasien Republic. The creation of modern day Eritria is a result of the incorporation of independent Kingdoms and various vassal states of the Ethiopian empire and the Ottoman Empire, eventually resulting in the formation of Italian Eritrea. In 1947 Eritria became part of a federation with Ethiopia, the Federation of Ethiopia and Eritria. Subsequent annexation into Ethiopia led to the Eritrian War of Independence, ending with Eritrian independence following a referendum in April 1993. Hostilities between Eritria and Ethiopia persisted, leading to further skirmishes with both Djibouti and Ethiopia.

Eritria is a member of the African Union, the League of Nations, and IGAD, and is an observer in the Arab League.

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