Eritrea: Truth, Knowledge, History Of This East African Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACTBOOK)

 

Eritrea

Introduction Eritrea was awarded to Ethiopia in 1952 as part of a federation. Ethiopia’s annexation of Eritrea as a province 10 years later sparked a 30-year struggle for independence that ended in 1991 with Eritrean rebels defeating governmental forces; independence was overwhelmingly approved in a 1993 referendum. A two-and-a-half-year border war with Ethiopia that erupted in 1998 ended under UN auspices in December 2000. Eritrea currently hosts a UN peacekeeping operation that is monitoring a 25 km-wide Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) on the border with Ethiopia. An international commission, organized to resolve the border dispute, posted its findings in 2002. However, both parties have been unable to reach agreement on implementing the decision. On 30 November 2007, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission remotely demarcated the border by coordinates and dissolved itself, leaving Ethiopian still occupying several tracts of disputed territory, including the town of Badme. Eritrea accepted the EEBC’s “virtual demarcation” decision and called on Ethiopia to remove its troops from the TSZ which it states is Eritrean territory. Ethiopia has not accepted the virtual demarcation decision.
History The oldest written reference to the territory now known as Eritrea is the chronicled expedition launched to the fabled Punt (or Ta Netjeru, meaning land of the Gods) by the Ancient Egyptians in the twenty-fifth century BC under Pharaoh Sahure. Later sources from the Pharaoh Hatshepsut in the fifteenth century BC present a more detailed portrayal of an expedition in search of incense. The geographical location of the missions to Punt is described as roughly corresponding to the southern west coast of the Red Sea.

The modern name Eritrea was first employed by the Italian colonialists in the late nineteenth century. It is the Italian form of the Greek name Erythraîa (Ερυθραία; see also List of traditional Greek place names), which derives from the Greek term for the Red Sea `Erithrá thálassa (Ἐρυθρὰ Θάλασσα).

 

Geography Location: Eastern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Djibouti and Sudan
Geographic coordinates: 15 00 N, 39 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 121,320 sq km
land: 121,320 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly larger than Pennsylvania
Land boundaries: total: 1,626 km
border countries: Djibouti 109 km, Ethiopia 912 km, Sudan 605 km
Coastline: 2,234 km (mainland on Red Sea 1,151 km, islands in Red Sea 1,083 km)
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: hot, dry desert strip along Red Sea coast; cooler and wetter in the central highlands (up to 61 cm of rainfall annually, heaviest June to September); semiarid in western hills and lowlands
Terrain: dominated by extension of Ethiopian north-south trending highlands, descending on the east to a coastal desert plain, on the northwest to hilly terrain and on the southwest to flat-to-rolling plains
Elevation extremes: lowest point: near Kulul within the Denakil depression -75 m
highest point: Soira 3,018 m
Natural resources: gold, potash, zinc, copper, salt, possibly oil and natural gas, fish
Land use: arable land: 4.78%
permanent crops: 0.03%
other: 95.19% (2005)
Irrigated land: 210 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 6.3 cu km (2001)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.3 cu km/yr (3%/0%/97%)
per capita: 68 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: frequent droughts; locust swarms
Environment – current issues: deforestation; desertification; soil erosion; overgrazing; loss of infrastructure from civil warfare
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: strategic geopolitical position along world’s busiest shipping lanes; Eritrea retained the entire coastline of Ethiopia along the Red Sea upon de jure independence from Ethiopia on 24 May 1993
People Population: 4,906,585 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 43.5% (male 1,073,404/female 1,060,674)
15-64 years: 52.9% (male 1,286,613/female 1,310,294)
65 years and over: 3.6% (male 85,052/female 90,548) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 17.9 years
male: 17.7 years
female: 18.2 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.461% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 33.97 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 9.36 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.012 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.982 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.939 male(s)/female
total population: 0.993 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 45.24 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 51.05 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 39.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 59.55 years
male: 57.88 years
female: 61.28 years