The combination of church and state was an indissoluble alliance that controlled the nation from King 'Ēzānā's adoption of Christianity in 333 until the overthrow of Haile Selassie in 1974.A socialist government (the Derge) known for its brutality governed the nation until 1991.

The name "Ethiopia" derives from the Greek ethio , meaning "burned" and pia , meaning "face": the land of burned-faced peoples.

Aeschylus described Ethiopia as a "land far off, a nation of black men." Homer depicted Ethiopians as pious and favored by the gods.

These conceptions of Ethiopia were geographically vague.

In the late nineteenth century, Emperor Menelik II expanded the country's borders to their present configuration.

In March 1896, Italian troops attempted to enter Ethiopia forcibly and were routed by Emperor Menelik and his army.

The battle of Adwa was the only victory of an African army over a European army during the partitioning of Africa which preserved the country's independence.

Ethiopia is the only African country never to have been colonized, although an Italian occupation occurred from 1936 to 1941.

In addition to the monarchy, whose imperial line can be traced to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church was a major force in that, in combination with the political system, it fostered nationalism with its geographic center in the highlands.

Unfortunately, however, the country's international standing has declined since the reign of Emperor Selassie, when it was the only African member of the League of Nations and its capital, Addis Ababa, was home to a substantial international community.

War, drought, and health problems have left the nation one of the poorest African countries economically, but the people's fierce independence and historical pride account for a people rich in self-determination. Ethiopia is the tenth largest country in Africa, covering 439,580 square miles (1,138,512 square kilometers) and is the major constituent of the landmass known as the Horn of Africa.

It is bordered on the north and northeast by Eritrea, on the east by Djibouti and Somalia, on the south by Kenya, and on the west and southwest by Sudan.