Area: 121,320 km² (World Rank 96)
Inhabitants: 5.02 Mio. (World Rank 113)
Asmara is the capital of Eritrea
Eritrea (IPA: /ˌɛrɨˈtreɪə/, /ˌɛrɨˈtriːə/) (Ge'ez: ኤርትራ ʾErtrā, Arabic: إرتريا Iritriya), officially the State of Eritrea, is a country situated in Northeast Africa. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast. The east and northeast of the country have an extensive coastline on the Red Sea, directly across from Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The Dahlak Archipelago and several of the Hanish Islands are part of Eritrea.
Eritrea was conquered by Italy and formally consolidated into a colony by the Italian government on January 1, 1890. In 1936 it became a province of Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana), along with Ethiopia and Italian Somaliland. The British expelled the Italians in 1941.
Increasing unrest and resistance in Eritrea against the federation with Ethiopia eventually led to a decision by the Ethiopian government to annex Eritrea as its 14th province in 1962. An Eritrean independence movement formed in the early 1960s which later erupted into a 31 year long civil war against successive Ethiopian governments that ended in 1991. Following a UN supervised referendum in Eritrea dubbed UNOVER in which the Eritrean people overwhelmingly voted for independence from Ethiopia, Eritrea declared its independence and gained international recognition in 1993. Eritrea's constitution, adopted in 1997, stipulates that the state is a presidential republic with a unicameral parliamentary democracy. The constitution, however, has not yet been implemented fully due to, according to the government, the prevailing border conflict with Ethiopia which began in May 1998.
Eritrea is a multilingual and multicultural country with two dominant religions (Coptic Orthodox Christianity and Islam) and nine ethnic groups. The country's dominant language is Tigrinya, natively spoken by around 50% of the population. Along with Tigrinya, Arabic and English are used for official communication. English is also used in all of the government's international communication and is the language of instruction in all education beyond 5th grade.