ERITREA

Date of establishment: May 24, 1993

Brief history:

  • 8th century: First mentions of settlement in the territory of today’s Eritrea.
  • 19th century: Eritrea becomes part of the Red Sea coast trade network controlled by Egypt and the Ottoman Empire.
  • 1885: Italy occupies Eritrea and claims it as its second colonial territory in Africa.
  • 1941: During World War II, British and Ethiopian troops push Italian forces out of the country.
  • 1952: Eritrea becomes an autonomous region under the administration of Ethiopia.
  • 1991: The Eritrean liberation movement EPLF wins battles with the Ethiopian army and gains control of Eritrea.
  • 1993: Eritrea declares itself an independent state.
  • 1998-2000: Eritrea and Ethiopia wage a war over disputed borders that leaves thousands dead on both sides.
  • 2018: Ethiopia and Eritrea sign a peace accord, ending decades of tension between the two countries.

 

International abbreviation: ER

 

Currency: Nakfa (ERN)

One Eritrean nakfa is divided into 100 cents. The nakfa was introduced as a currency in 1997, replacing the Ethiopian birr, which had been accepted in Eritrea since the country gained independence in 1993.

The nakfa was named after the eponymous town, which was the center of the movement during the liberation struggle of the 1970s and 1980s.

 

Internet domain: .er

 

Dialing code: +291

 

Time zone: +3 GMT

 

Geography:

Eritrea is a country located in the east of the African continent, on the coast of the Red Sea. It borders Ethiopia to the north, Djibouti to the southeast, and Sudan to the west.

The country has a varied topography characterized by mountains, deserts, and coastal plains. The country has a long rugged coastline.

 

Highest peak: Soira 3 018 m (9 902 feet) above sea level.

Mount Soira is the highest mountain in Eritrea, located in the Sahel Mountains in the southeastern part of the country.

The mountain is covered with dense forests and rare species of trees grow there. From the top of the mountain there is a wonderful view of the surrounding countryside.

 

Climate:

Eritrea has quite a variety of climates depending on geographical location and altitude. The Red Sea coast region has a typical hot and dry climate, with minimal rainfall and high humidity. Average temperatures here are around 30-40°C (86-104°F) throughout the year. The interior has a milder climate with cooler winters and hot summers. High mountain areas have a cold climate all year round, and it even snows during the winter months.

 

Fauna and flora:

Eritrea is home to a population of African elephants, mainly in the Gash-Barka areas. Nubian ibex are mountain goats found in the mountains, especially in the terrain of the Debub and Gash-Barka regions. Baboons, including the hamadryas species, inhabit rocky areas and cliffs, for example in the Dahlack Archipelago. Leopards live in some remote areas such as the Anseba region.

The country’s diverse ecosystem hosts a wide variety of bird species, including raptors, flamingos, and waterfowl. The Red Sea coast is rich in marine life, including coral reefs, and has populations of dolphins and sharks.

Acacia species are well adapted to local conditions and are often found in savannas and deserts. Date palms grow in oases and provide a valuable source of food for the local population.

Frankincense-producing trees such as the Boswellia and Commiphora species grow in the southern parts of the country. Coastal areas are home to mangrove forests, which provide important erosion protection and serve as shelter and home to a variety of aquatic species. Cacti are well adapted to the conditions, growing in some desert areas.

 

Agriculture:

The main crops grown in Eritrea include cereals, especially millet, barley, and maize. Wheat, beans, and peas and other legumes are also important crops.

The country is known for its quality coffee beans, especially Arabica. Coffee is mainly grown in the mountains.

Cotton growing is another important branch of agriculture, especially in the lowlands and near the Gash River.

In the mountains and at higher altitudes, fruits such as figs, pears, apples, and vines are grown.

Breeding of cattle, sheep, goats, and camels is a widespread means of livelihood.

 

Extraction of raw materials:

Eritrea has rich gold reserves that are mined in several locations, including the Bisha Mining Project, which is one of the largest gold mines in the country. Gold mining is one of the Eritrean government’s main sources of income. In addition to gold, silver is also mined in the Bisha mining complex. Silver is mined as a byproduct of gold mining.

The country also has reserves of precious stones, such as emeralds, which are used in jewelry.

It has abundant salt reserves that are extracted from surface salt lakes and pans. Limestone and dolomite are used in construction and cement production.

 

Industry:

The food industry processes food and beverages. Food products such as flour, pasta, local cheeses, and other traditional dishes are produced.

The country has several textiles factories and workshops that produce local textile products. The construction industry plays a significant role in the development of infrastructure and housing in Eritrea.

 

Services and other areas of the economy:

 

Natural and historical attractions: Danakil depression, the cities of Asmara and Massawa, the Dahlack Islands, and Qoahito ruins.

Another tourist attraction is historical monuments such as Christian monasteries and churches that have been in Eritrea for many centuries and are an important part of the country’s religious and cultural heritage. Among the most important monuments are Debre Bizen, Debre Sina, and Debre Damo monasteries, and Saint Mary of Zion Church.

 

Waterparks in Eritrea:

 

Form of government: presidential republic

Eritrea is a presidential republic with a unicameral parliament. The head of state is the president, who is elected for a five-year term through indirect elections. The president is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and has considerable authority over foreign policy and security.

Legislative power is vested in a unicameral parliament called the National Assembly, which consists of 150 members. Members serve for a five-year term.

There is limited freedom of speech and the press in the country, and political opposition is not allowed. The government also has considerable control over the country’s economy, which has a negative impact on the business environment and economic development.

 

Capital city: Asmara

Asmara is the capital of Eritrea and is known for its architecture that combines different styles such as art deco, modernism, and colonial style. The city is located at an altitude of 2 325 meters (7 628 feet) above sea level, which gives it a pleasant and mild climate.

Asmara was founded as a small Italian settlement in 1889 and was significantly expanded during Italian colonial rule. Many important buildings and monuments were built during this time, such as the Asmara Theater, the Cathedral of St. Josefa, the Asmara Palace Hotel, and others. The city became the center of Italian architecture in Africa.

After World War II, Asmara became the capital of the Eritrean Federation, which was dissolved in 1962. After the independence of Eritrea in 1993, the city became the capital of the new state.

 

Area: 124 399 km2 (48 031 square miles)

 

Population: 6 300 000 (2022)

The main ethnic groups are Tigre, Tigrin, Saho, Afar, and Bilen.

The most widely spoken and official language is Tigrinya, followed by Arabic and English. Several other ethnic languages are also spoken in the country.

Islam and Christianity are the two main religions. Christianity is represented in several churches, including Orthodox and Catholic. Islam is widespread, especially among the Afars.

The country has an education system that includes compulsory schooling for children between the ages of 7 and 13. Primary and secondary schools are available, but higher education is more limited.

The state health system provides only basic health care. Health infrastructure is limited.

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 1

 

1. Asmara (2017) – This city is an exceptional example of Italian colonial architecture from 1935 to 1941. Asmara was considered the most modern city in Africa during its time, thanks                   to its  urban planning, which utilized modern urban and architectural techniques.

 

National parks: 1

 

  1. Semenawi Bahri National Park