The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country situated in the Horn of Africa. The third-most populous African nation, Ethiopia is one of the oldest nations in the world, and the only African nation to have enjoyed continuous sovereignty throughout and beyond the Scramble for Africa. Often regarded as the "Cradle of Humanity" for the peerlessly ancient traces of humanity unearthed there, Ethiopia is also the second oldest Christian nation, having maintained its Christian character since the 4th century
Human settlement in Ethiopia is very ancient; bones of the earliest ancestors to the human species, discovered in Ethiopia, have been assigned dates as long ago as 5.8 million years.
At 435,071 square miles (1,127,127 km² , Ethiopia is the world's 27th-largest country (after Colombia). It is comparable in size to Bolivia, and is a third smaller than the US state of Alaska. The major portion of Ethiopia lies on the Horn of Africa, which is the eastern-most part of the African landmass. Bordering Ethiopia is Sudan to the west, Djibouti and Eritrea to the north, Somalia to the east, and Kenya to the south. Within Ethiopia is a massive highland complex of mountains and dissected plateaus divided by the Great Rift Valley, which runs generally southwest to northeast and is surrounded by lowlands, steppes, or semi-desert. The great diversity of terrain determines wide variations in climate, soils, natural vegetation, and settlement patterns. Deforestation is a major concern for Ethiopia
Ethiopia's population is highly diverse. Most of its people speak a Semitic or Cushitic language. The Oromo, Amhara, and Tigrayans make up more than three-quarters of the population, but there are more than 80 different ethnic groups within Ethiopia. Some of these have as few as 10,000 members. Ethiopians and Eritreans, especially Semitic-speaking ones, collectively refer to themselves as Habesha or Abesha, though others reject these names on the basis that they refer only to certain ethnicities.
"Abyssinia," is the former name of Ethiopia in English and other European languages. According to the Ethiopian national census of 1994, the Oromo are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia at 32.1%. The Amhara represent 30.2%, while the Tigray people are 6.2% of the population. Other ethnic groups are as follows: Somali 6.0%, Gurage 4.3%, Sidama 3.4%, Wolayta 2%, Afar 2%, Hadiya 2%, Gamo 1%.
Ethiopian Highlands with Ras Dashan in the background. Ethiopia is an ecologically diverse country. Lake Tana in the north is the source of the Blue Nile. It also has a large number of endemic species, notably the Gelada Baboon, the Walia Ibex and the Ethiopian wolf (or Simien fox).