Eritrea (Ge'ez: ኤርትራ ʾErtrā, Arabic: إرتريا Iritriya), officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in Northern part of east Africa. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast. The east and northeast of the country have an extensive coastline on the Red Sea, directly across from Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The Dahlak Archipelago and several of the Hanish Islands are part of Eritrea. Its size is just under 118,000 km² with an estimated population of 5 million. The capital is Asmara.
Eritrea was once home to the Kingdom of Dʿmt and formed part of the Aksumite Empire. Italy conquered Eritrea and the Italian government formally consolidated it into a colony on January 1, 1890. In 1936 it became a province of Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana), along with Ethiopia and Italian Somaliland. The British armed forces expelled the Italian armed forces in 1941 and took over the administration of the country which had been set up by the Italians. The British continued to administer the territory under a UN Mandate until 1951 when Eritrea was federated with Ethiopia as per UN resolution 390(A) adopted in December 1950; the resolution was adopted in the absence of any form of consultation with the people of Eritrea.
Increasing unrest and resistance in Eritrea against the federation with Ethiopia eventually led to a decision by the Ethiopian government to annex Eritrea as its 14th province in 1962. This was the culmination of a gradual process of takeover by the Ethiopian authorities, a process which included an edict in 1959 establishing the compulsory teaching of Amharic, the main language of Ethiopia, in all Eritrean schools. An Eritrean independence movement formed in the early 1960s which erupted into a 31-year long war against successive Ethiopian governments that ended in 1991. Following a UN-supervised referendum in Eritrea dubbed UNOVER in which the Eritrean people overwhelmingly voted for independence from Ethiopia, Eritrea declared its independence and gained international recognition in 1993.
English is used in the government's international communication and is the language of instruction in all formal education beyond the fifth grade.
Eritrea is a single-party state - while its constitution, adopted in 1997, stipulates that the state is a presidential republic with a unicameral parliamentary democracy, it has yet to be implemented. According to the government, this is due to the prevailing border conflict with Ethiopia which began in May 1998.
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