3.2  million years ago The era  of Lucy or Dinknesh (Berkenesh),  one of our earliest hominid ancestors.
2.6 million years ago Creation of what is now the second oldest stone tools in the world.
circa 3500 BCE Egyptian- Ethiopian  diplomatic and commercial contact; trade in myrrh, frankincense and tef.
circa 974 Alleged relationship between the Jewish King Solomon and Queen Makeda of Ethiopia;  Birth of Menelik. 
1000 BCE - circa 1000 BCE Rise and Fall of the proto-Aksumite and Aksumite Empire.
330CE Official adoption of Christianity by the Aksumite Empire.
615CE Hospitable hosting of  over 100 Muslim refugees, including the son- in- law of Prophet Muhammad and close aides, by the Ethiopian  Emperor Armah. The Emperor resisted pressure to hand them over, and endeared himself to the early Muslims.
circa 1137 - 1270 Rise of the Zagwe Dynasty and Emperor Lalibela's massive engineering projects-   including the building of churches and  palaces.
13th century Restoration of the Solomonic dynasty and writing of the Kebra Nagast.
1508- 40  Emperor Lebna Dengel- Note his dismissal of the Portuguese.
1527 - 35 Jihad by Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al Ghazi  (Ahmad Gragn) of Adal.
16th century Ottoman Seizure of Massawa; Oromo migrations from south to north.
17th& 18th centuries Founding of Gondar; The era of Empress Mentewwab  and extensive  engineering projects, including palaces and baths.                                                                                                       
17th & 18th centuries Era of  Fasiladas, Iyasu 1, Bakaffa and Iyasu 11.
1855- 1868 Coronation of Emperor Tewodros
1871-89 Coronation of Emperor Yohannes IV
1889-1913 Coronation of Emperor Menelik 11. Note Ethiopia's victory at  The Battle of  Adowa (Adwa).
1896 The Battle of Adowa
1916 -30 The daughter of  Emperor Menelik 11, Empress Zawditu, shares the throne with Ras Tafari, son of Ras Makonnen. 
1930 Coronation of  Ras Tafari, as Emperor Haile Sellassie 1 - who initiated an era of extensive reforms. A road building program and a railway network were to link the provinces; construction of numerous schools in Addis Ababa; various experts hired from as many as 5 countries, and, large scale recruitment of young Ethiopian officials. He insisted on the jurisdiction of Ethiopian courts over foreigners. A new constitution was made. The Italians claimed that the Ethiopians had encroached on land claimed by them in the Ethiopian frontiers, in the  Somali region: The Welwel incident. The emperor refused to give in despite  British and French solidarity with Italy which they wanted to appease  at that point in time.


1935-44 Italian Occupation and Ethiopian Resistance under Emperor Haile Selassie followed. Did World War 2 begin in 1935 with the attack on Ethiopia by Mussolini, who would use poison gas against the Ethiopians? Selassie's flight to Britain in 1936 did not stop the resistance. At least ten thousand Ethiopians were executed and burnt alive by the Italians.The British decided to assist Ethiopia only after Mussolini declared war on the Allies because of their perception of the strategic advantage of the Red Sea region in the war offensive. The Addis Abeba Agreement of 1942 was signed. Ethiopian sovereignty was  largely acknowledged but it was  in 1944, with U.S assistance, that a more favorable treaty was signed. Eritrea was then governed by a British administration. 


1974 - 1990 Emperor Haile Selassie  was deposed  in 1974 and  the Marxist Revolutionary era inaugurated - under the Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces (The DERG) and eventually Haile Mariam Mengistu. Numerous human rights violations took place. According to Harold Marcus, the 1967 Arab -Israeli war,  a hike in oil prices,  the costly war against the Eritrean insurgency, and,  more directly, the 1973 famine in northern Shewa, Welo and Tigray, affected the economy negatively. The coup makers capitalized on the growing discontent and resentment against the Selassie regime. The regime was accused of inaction during the devastating famine.


1991 Victory of the EPRDF under the leadership of Meles Zanawi - who promised a  transition from socialistic programs to democracy and a mixed economy.


2007 Ethiopian-Somali conflict, and  U.S. support for the Ethiopians-  against an alleged al-Qaida presence in the Somali region.


Gloria Emeagwali(2008)

Selected References on Ethiopian History



 Bekerie, Ayele. Ethiopic, NJ:Africa World Press, 1996. 

 Collins, Robert and James M. Burns.  A History of Sub-Saharan Africa,

 Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press,  2007.

 Pankhurst, Richard. The Ethiopians- A History, London: Blackwell, 2001.

 Marcus, Harold. A History of Ethiopia, Berkely:  University of California Press, 1994.

 Pouty, Chris. Empress Taytu and Menilek 11 Ethiopia 1883-1910, New Jersey:  Red Sea Press, 1983.

 Pankhurst,Richard. A Social History of Ethiopia, New Jersey:  Red Sea press, 1992.

 Hassen, Mohammed.  The Oromo of Ethiopia -  A History 1570 -1860, New Jersey:  Red Sea Press, 1994.

 Marcus, Harold. The  Life and Times of  Menelik 11 -  Ethiopia 1844-1913, New Jersey:  Red Sea Press, 1995.

 Keller, Edmond.  Revolutionary Ethiopia: From Empire to  People's Republic,

Indiana University Press, 1991.

  Graham,J.Exploring Ethiopia.Addis Ababa:Shama,2010.



  Kapuscinski Ryszard. The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat, New York: Vintage International, 1983.


  Getahun,S.History of the City of Gondar.AWP,2006.