Map of Eritrea

Sycamore Tree in Eritrea








Country Eritrea
Continent Africa

Italy colonized and named this strip of land along the Red Sea in 1890

Capital Asmara
Population 6.333 million

Mixed Afro-Asiatic population divided by religion and language

There are 9 ethnic groups (see attached) that live in harmony and peace with a high level of social cohesion and civic pride

Jiberti Muslims regard themselves as an additional (10th) nationality

75% of the population live in rural areas

The Tigrinya ethnic group is the dominant group, numerically,  politically and economically

Language Tigrigna, English, Arabic are all official languages

English is taught as a 2nd language in school

Religion 50% are Christian and 50% are Sunni Muslim.

Eastern and western lowlands are predominately Muslim and the highlands are predominately Orthodox Christian – Catholicism and Lutheranism

Terrain Area has a high central plateau, a costal desert plain, some 350 islands, no year-round rivers and both arid and semi-arid areas so the climate ranges from temperate to tropical

It is strategically placed along busy shipping lanes

They have frequent droughts and locust storms

Olive trees, cactus, aloe vera, prickly pear are common

Sports Football is the favorite – – Cycling is also very popular
Animals Lion, leopard, zebra, elephant, monkeys, turtles, lobster, shrimp, birds
Facts of Interest Won independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after 30 years of war which forced many people into exile – tension still flares and many still leave

Prolonged periods of conflict and severe drought have adversely affected their agriculture-based economy and it is one of the poorest countries in Africa

The economy is totally dependent on agricultural production

All foreign aid must be channeled through governmental organization

Their constitution has as an obligation of citizenship.  All people over 18 years of age do 6 months of military training and 1 year of work on national reconstruction

Women play a major role in society and economy

There is rigorous observance of fasts and food taboos

The coffee ceremony is a famous part of their culture

Cuisine consists mostly of stews served on flat bread called injera.

Eating is without utensils by using the right hand to tear of a piece of injera and then scoop the stew, vegetable or salad.  (The left hand is considered unclean)

Crime and corruption remain lower than anywhere else in the world

Concerns Eritreans make up the largest group of people applying for asylum in the UK to flee a life of conscription and poverty

Emigration from Eritrea is accelerating and Eritreans account for the majority of the people who have drowned in the Mediterranean trying to get to Europe.

This treacherous trail to escape is through Ethiopia, Sudan and the Sahara, Libya and then the ocean

Lack of clean water and poor sanitary conditions lead to a high rate of infant mortality, malaria, HIV/Aids

Deforestation, soil erosion and overgrazing are huge issues and result in a frequent lack of food

Mission The Committee on Foreign Missions sends missionaries

The refugee problem is huge for the Eritreans wherever they end up and many agencies worldwide work in this area

Sources www.en.wikipedia;;