Eritrea

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ሃገረ ኤርትራ
State of Eritrea
Motto: "Ertra, Ertra, Ertra"
"Eritrea, Eritrea, Eritrea"
CapitalAsmara
Official languagesTigrinya

Beja

Tigre

Kunama

Saho

Bilen

Nara

Afar
Ethnic groups
55% Tigrinya

30% Tigre

4% Saho

2% Kunama

2% Rashaida

2% Bilen

5% Others Afar, Beni-Amer, Nara
GovernmentUnitary one-party bourgeois presidential republic
LegislatureNational Assembly
History 
• Established
1993
CurrencyNafka (ERN)
Driving sideright
Internet TLD.er


Eritrea, officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia in the south, Sudan in the west, and Djibouti in the southeast. The country is ruled by The People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), which is the only legal party. President Isaias Afwerki has been in office since the country's proclamation of independence in 1993.

Colonial Era

The borders of what is now the Eritrean State were estabilished after the imperial governments of Europe sought to colonize Africa and decide her own fate after the Scramble for Africa, in 1869. The state remained in a geopolitical vacuum for a few years as it was still controlled by it's native population for a long time after being declared a colony.

In 1889, after the death of Emperor Yohannes IV. Colonist and General of the Kingdom of Italy Oreste Baratieri illegally sent his forces along the Eritrean coast and his conquest led to the establishment of the colony of Italian Eritrea.

The Ethiopian King Menelik of Shewa was compelled by the italians and by his rivalry with Eritrea to be the first to recognize the de-facto control of the country in the Treaty of Wuchale in exchange for guarantees of financial assistance and continuing access to European arms and ammunition, promises which would only be half-kept for a few years until the First Italo-Ethiopian war of 1895.

From 1888 onwards, Italy increased it's control on the Eritrean population and their land, using the natives who lived there as cheap and slave labour to aid their ruthless expansion. The agricultural sector was expanded in tandem with the Eritrean railways until 1911. At that time, there was also a concentrated effort from the Italian government to legitimize their colonial expansion by enlisting members of the old aristocracy and well-off city dwellers into the Colonial Police and Colonial Army. The rest of the urban Eritreans were left to work lowly jobs in public service, mostly cleaning, construction and other kinds of manual labour for little and no pay.

To aid with bringing Italian colonists and create a labour aristocracy, the Italian administration opened a number of new factories, which produced buttons, cooking oil, pasta, construction materials, packing meat, tobacco, hide, and other household commodities. In 1939, there were around 2,198 factories and most of the employees were Eritrean citizens. The establishment of industries also made an increase in the number of both Italians and Eritreans residing in the cities. The number of Italians residing in the territory increased from 4,600 to 75,000 in five years, and more Eritreans were enlisted into plantation work, with the old aristocracy getting to own some of the plantations themselves. The rise of Fascism in Italy after 1922 led to Eritrea being flooded with even more colonists, and the entire area soon became the industrial center for the colonial administration of the newly formed Italian East Africa. After suffering trough the Second World War and a brief British occupation, the Eritreans were now ruled by a UN and NATO-supported Ethiopian Empire against their own wishes, with the UN opting to "federate" it with Ethiopia.

Independence

In 1958, a group of Eritreans founded the Eritrean Liberation Movement (ELM). The organization was one of the first to start an organized Eritrean resistance against Ethiopia. It mainly fought in acts of direct action against the occupation by Imperial Ethiopia, and inspired more and more common people to fight for the independence of Eritrea. The conflict between Eritreans and the Ethiopian Empire would erupt in full force on 1 September 1961, when Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF), under the leadership of Hamid Idris Awate, waged an armed struggle for independence. In 1962, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie renounced Eritrea's equal status in the "federation" and annexed the territory.

The ensuing Eritrean War of Independence went on for 30 years against successive Ethiopian governments (both bourgeois and socialist), in 1991, when the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF), a successor of the ELF, made their way into the capital and completely liberated the remaining Eritrean territory, they would proceed to give support to Ethiopian rebel forces that would eventually reach the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa and proclaim a bourgeois government.

Following a UN-supervised referendum in Eritrea in which the Eritrean people overwhelmingly voted for independence, Eritrea declared its independence and gained international recognition in 1993. The EPLF seized power, established a one-party state along nationalist lines with little Marxist-Leninist influence and put elections on hold until the present day.

Political Status in the Current Day

Over the years, Eritrea has established international relations with multiple countries and it's position in spheres of influence has varied, but it has mostly stayed on the side of Marxist-Leninist states as it has been the victim of a relentless pro-imperialist crusade. In July 2019 Eritrea and other countries signed a joint letter defending China against right-wing figures such as Adrian Zenz.

The Eritrean government has seen a recent success in it's social programs to increase literacy across the whole country, with a 2018 analysis showing that the rate of literacy among 15-24 year-olds is now 93.3%. While the problem of illiteracy has been almost annihilated, school attendance is still a problem across the country, with only 61% of eligible children attending secondary school, however, primary school attendance is high, again showing a bright future for the new generation.

Eritrea has recently been subjected to US sanctions due to Eritrea's refusal to cooperate with AFRICOM.[1]

References