Ethiopia is a country located in the Horn of Africa, bordered by Eritrea to the north, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area. With its capital at Addis Ababa, it is also the most populous landlocked nation in the world.
Ethiopia was a monarchy for most of its history. During the Scramble for Africa, Ethiopia was the only African country that retained its independence and one of only four African members of the League of Nations. After a brief period of Italian occupation, Ethiopia became a charter member of the United Nations. When other African nations received their independence following World War II, many of them adopted the colors of Ethiopia's flag, and Addis Ababa became the location of several international organizations focused on Africa.
After World War II, Emperor Haile Selassie exerted numerous efforts to promote the modernization of his nation. The country's first important school of higher education, University College of Addis Ababa, was founded in 1950. The Constitution of 1931 was replaced with the 1955 constitution which expanded the powers of the Parliament. While improving diplomatic ties with the United States, Haile Selassie also sought to improve the nation's relationship with other African nations. To do this, in 1963, he helped to found the Organization of African Unity.
In 1961 the 30-year Eritrean Struggle for Independence began, following Haile Selassie's dissolution of the federation with Eritrea and shutting down the Eritrean parliament. The Emperor declared Eritrea the fourteenth province of Ethiopia in 1962. Most Ethiopians thought in terms of personalities, not ideology, and out of long habit looked to Haile Selassie as the initiator of change, the source of status and privilege, and the arbiter of demands for resources and attention among competing groups. By the early 1960s, the government's failure to effect significant economic and political reforms created a climate of unrest. Combined with economic problems, corruption, intermittent famine, and the growing discontent of urban interest groups, the thought of revolution, assisted by the Communist Bloc, germinated.
These U.S. State Department Central Classified Files are the definitive source of American diplomatic reporting on political, military, social, and economic developments throughout the world in the twentieth century.
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