If anybody talks about Ethiopia, people only think about famine, marathon champions and coffee. But Ethiopia is much more than starvation and skinny men running. In fact, it is the main source of the longest river in the world and it has agriculture potential to feed the whole Europe.
So, Here are 10 other unique facts on Ethiopia you might have never heard of.
1. Weird calendar. The Ethiopian calendar has 13 months. The calendar is eight years behind the Western calendar so it is still 2007 in Ethiopia!
Ethiopian King Haileselasie is considered the son of God among Rasta faithful. In fact, their name itself originates from the King’s birthname “Ras Tafari” which means prince Tafari in Ethiopian language.
3. Two Ethiopias?
An active continental rift line in east Africa runs thru Ethiopia. Many scientists say this rift will eventually (after millions of years) create two tectonic plates and thus two Ethiopias. Meanwhile, the lava and “salt lakes” on this rift line have become the best tourist sites in Africa.
4. Unique alphabet.
Minus the Arabs, Ethiopians are the only people in Africa with their own indigenous written alphabet.
5. Whose colors?
The Green/yellow/red colors that many modern Hiphop and caribbean raggae artists wear on their wrists and hats originated from Bob Marley’s love affair with Ethiopia. African countries (like Ghana, Mali etc) also adopted these same flag colors in solidarity with Ethiopia because Ethiopia was the first black country to defeat an European power militarily.
6. Jewish Queen?
Ethiopia is well known for its ancient “black jew” population. But did you know it briefly had a jewish Queen? According to Oral tradition, Queen Gudit (judith) ruled parts of Ethiopia in 10th century and she burned down many churches. Some people say she was pagan, many others believe she was an Ethiopian Jew.
Ladies in Ethiopia must really be tough. The title of the first globally recognized African woman head of state belongs to Ethiopian queen Zewditu. Also, the Ethiopian Captain Aster Tolossa is allegedly the first female pilot to shoot down an enemy fighter-jet in the history of aerial warfare.
8. Before Mecca.
Ethiopia was the first country to “accept” or allow Islam as religion. As Prophet Mohammed and his followers were being killed and persecuted by the then pagan Arabians…The muslims fled Mecca and went to Ethiopia where they were granted a refugee and protection. Today, 35% of Ethiopia is muslim.
9. Before Rome.
Ethiopia adopted Christianity as state religion in 3rd century, long before Rome did. While disputed by Armenia, Ethiopia’s Aksum Kingdom is considered the first christian country. Today, 60% of Ethiopia is Christian.
10. All of the above rich history means we get to enjoy a lot of art and architecture. Old castles, palaces, churches, mosques and more churches. The best of them are in Lalibela, where huge churches are carved out of a single stone.