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Timeline: Ethiopia. A Chronology of key events

BBC News Online, Wednesday, 25 July, 2001, 10:12 GMT 11:12 UK

2nd Century AD - Semitic people from the Arabian peninsula establish the kingdom of Aksum.

4th Century - Coptic Christianity introduced from Egypt.

1530-31 - Muslim leader Ahmad Gran conquers much of Ethiopia.

Foreign Interference

1818-68 - Lij Kasa conquers Amhara, Gojjam, Tigray and Shoa.

1855 - Kasa becomes Emperor Tewodros II.

1868 - Tewodros defeated by a British expeditionary force and commits suicide to avoid capture.

1872 - Tigrayan chieftain becomes Yohannes IV.

1889 - Yohannes IV killed while fighting Mahdist forces and is succeeded by the king of Shoa, who becomes Emperor Menelik II.

1889 - Menelik signs a bilateral friendship treaty with Italy at Wuchale which Italy interprets as giving it a protectorate over Ethiopia.

1889 - Addis Ababa becomes Ethiopia’s capital.

1895 - Italy invades Ethiopia.

1896 - Italian forces defeated by the Ethiopians at Adwa; treaty of Wuchale annulled; Italy recognises Ethiopia’s independence but retains control over Eritrea.

1913 - Menelik dies and is succeeded by his grandson, Lij Iyasu.

1916 - Lij Iyasu deposed and is succeeded by Menelik’s daughter, Zawditu, who rules through a regent, Ras Tafari Makonnen.

[Haile Salassie]
Late Ethiopian Emperor Selassie Haile Selassie: Overthrown in Marxist-led coup

1930 - Zawditu dies and is succeeded by Ras Tafari Makonnen, who becomes Emperor Haile Selassie I.

1935 - Italy invades Ethiopia.

1936 - Italians capture Addis Ababa, Haile Selassie flees, king of Italy made emperor of Ethiopia; Ethiopia combined with Eritrea and Italian Somaliland to become Italian East Africa.

Haile Selassie’s reign

1941 - British and Commonwealth troops, greatly aided by the Ethiopian resistance—the arbegnoch—defeat the Italians, and restore Haile Selassie to his throne.

1952 - United Nations federates Eritrea with Ethiopia.

1962 - Haile Selassie annexes Eritrea, which becomes an Ethiopian province.

1963 - First conference of the Organisation of African Unity held in Addis Ababa.

Red Terror

1973-74 - An estimated 200,000 people die in Wallo province as a result of famine.

1974 - Haile Selassie deposed in coup led by Teferi Benti.

1975 - Haile Selassie dies in mysterious circumstances while in custody.

[text identifier]
Mengistu Haile Mariam Mengistu: Led a reign of terror
1977 - Benti killed and replaced by Mengistu Haile Mariam.

1977-79 - Thousands of government opponents die in Red Terror orchestrated by Mengistu; collectivisation of agriculture begins; Tigrayan People's Liberation Front launches war for regional autonomy.

1977 - Somalia invades Ethiopia's Ogaden region.

1978 - Somali forces defeated with massive help from the Soviet Union and Cuba.

Famine victim A victim of the 1980s famine

1985 - Worst famine in a decade strikes; Western food aid sent; thousands forcibly resettled from Eritrea and Tigre.

1987 - Mengistu elected president under a new constitution.

1988 - Ethiopia and Somalia sign a peace treaty.

Ethiopia after Mengistu

1991 - Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front captures Addis Ababa, forcing Mengistu to flee the country; Eritrea establishes its own provisional government pending a referendum on independence.

1992 - Haile Selassie’s remains discovered under a palace toilet.

1993 - Eritrea becomes independent following referendum.

1994 - New constitution divides Ethiopia into ethnically-based regions.

1995 - Negasso Gidada becomes titular president; Meles Zenawi assumes post of prime minister.

1998 - Ethiopian-Eritrean border dispute erupts into armed clashes.

1999 - Ethiopian-Eritrean border clashes turn into a full-scale war.

2000 April - More than eight million Ethiopians face starvation after three successive years of poor rain and failed harvests.

2000 May - Ethiopia captures the strategic Eritrean town of Barentu.

2000 June - Ethiopia and Eritrea sign a cease-fire agreement which provides for a United Nations observer force to monitor the cease-fire and supervise the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Eritrean territory.

Haile Salessie's funeral Haile Selassie: Reburied in 2000

2000 November - Haile Selassie buried in Addis Ababa's Trinity Cathedral.

2000 December - Ethiopia and Eritrea sign a peace agreement in Algeria, formally ending two years of conflict. The agreement establishes commissions to delineate the disputed border and provides for the exchange of prisoners and the return of displaced people.

2001 24 February - Ethiopia announces it has completed its troop withdrawal from Eritrea in accordance with a United Nations-sponsored agreement to end the border war.

2001 March - Meles Zenawi says he has thwarted an attempt to cause political upheaval by a dissident group in the dominant Tigre People's Liberation Front.

2001 April - Thousands of demonstrators clash with police in Addis Ababa in protest against police brutality and in support of calls for political and academic freedom.

2001 12 May - Intelligence and security chief Kinfe Gebre-Medhin—a key ally of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi—assassinated as he entered an armed forces officers’ club in Addis Ababa.

2001 21 May - Ethiopia and Eritrea agree on a UN-proposed mediator to try to demarcate the disputed border.