This article covers the prehistory and history of Ethiopia, from emergence as an empire under the Aksumites to its current form as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, as well as the history of other areas in what is now Ethiopia such as the Afar Triangle.The Ethiopian Empire (Abyssinia) was first founded by Habesha people in the Ethiopian Highlands.
Ethiopia began to go through a slow modernisation process under a leadership of Yohannes IV, and defended itself from an Egyptian invasion in 1874. Under Menelik II, Ethiopia expanded to the south and east, through the conquest of the western Oromo (non Shoan Oromo), Sidama, Gurage, Wolayta and other groups, resulting in the borders of modern Ethiopia.In the first century AD the Aksumite Kingdom rose to power in the Tigray Region with its capital at Aksum and grew into a major power on the Red Sea, subjugating Yemen and Meroe and converting to Christianity in the early fourth century.The Aksumite empire fell into decline with the rise of Islam, forcing the Ethiopians to move south into the highlands for refuge.This resulted in the establishment of the Federal Democratic Republic under Meles Zenawi.Ethiopia remains impoverished, but its economy has become one of the world's fastest growing.Homo sapiens idaltu, found in the Middle Awash in Ethiopia in 1997, lived about 160,000 years ago.The earliest records of Ethiopia appear in Ancient Egypt, during the Old Kingdom period.Egyptian traders from about 3000 BC refer to lands south of Nubia or Kush as Punt and Yam.The Ancient Egyptians were in possession of myrrh (found in Punt), which Richard Pankhurst interprets to indicate trade between the two countries was extant from Ancient Egypt's beginnings. Breasted posited that this early trade relationship could have been realized through overland trade down the Nile and its tributaries (i.e. The Greek historian and geographer Agatharchides had documented seafaring among the early Egyptians: "During the prosperous period of the Old Kingdom, between the 30th and 25th centuries B.Due to migration and imperial expansion, it grew to include many other primarily Afro-Asiatic-speaking communities, including Oromos, Amhara, Somalis, Tigray, Afars, Sidama, Gurage, Agaw and Harari, among others.One of the earliest kingdoms to rise to power in the territory was the kingdom of D'mt in the 10th century BC, which established its capital at Yeha.