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Ethiopia is the only African country never to have been colonized, although an Italian occupation occurred from 1936 to 1941.
In addition to the monarchy, whose imperial line can be traced to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church was a major force in that, in combination with the political system, it fostered nationalism with its geographic center in the highlands.
Some peaks in the Simyen Mountains receive periodic snowfall, while the average temperature of the Danakil is 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the day time.
The high central plateau is mild, with a mean average temperature of 62 degrees Fahrenheit.
The urban population is estimated to be 11 percent of the total population.
Variation in altitude results in dramatic climatic variation.The nomadic peoples seasonally graze livestock, while the seminomadic peoples are subsistence farmers.The rural highlands economy is based on agriculture and livestock raising. There are eighty-six known indigenous languages in Ethiopia: eighty-two spoken and four extinct.The Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) defeated the Derge, established democratic rule, and currently governs Ethiopia.The last twenty-five years of the twentieth century have been a time of revolt and political unrest but represent only a small portion of the time during which Ethiopia has been a politically active entity.
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The name "Ethiopia" derives from the Greek ethio , meaning "burned" and pia , meaning "face": the land of burned-faced peoples.