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Eritrea Information - Page 2
Axum, said to have been founded by a son of King Solomon, was one of the early kingdoms in the region. Christianity arrived in Axum in the fourth century.

People living along the coast, who had contact with Arab traders, began to convert to Islam in the eighth century.

In the sixteenth century Eritrea was occupied by the Ottoman Empire. Ottoman rule lasted until Egypt defeated the Turks in 1865.

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 made Eritrea more accessible from the Mediterranean.

The Italians arrived in the 1880s proclaiming Eritrea an Italian colony in 1890.

During the Second World War British forces occupied the country. At the end of the War the UK was given administration of Eritrea, a United Nations Trust Territory.

In 1952 the United Nations created a federation between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Ethiopia annexed Eritrea in 1962. Following a thirty-year struggle for independence, Eritrea became independent in 1993.

War with Ethiopia erupted in 1998 over border disputes. A ceasefire took place in June 2000 and a peace agreement was signed in December of the same year.

Eritrea's economy is traditionally based on subsistence farming and herding which provides employment for a significant percentage of the working population.

Agricultural products include sorghum, teff, wheat, barley, lentils, cotton, sisal, and tobacco. Livestock is reared. Fish, such as tuna, is provided by the fishing industry.

Salt is an important export. Other industries are cement, light manufacturing, textiles, clothing, food processing and beverages.

The service sector provides the highest percentage of the Gross Domestic Product.

Money remitted from Eritreans working abroad is an important source of foreign exchange. (2008)

Eritrea has a strong oral tradition of story telling; stories pass on history and culture.

Music and dancing is popular across the country but styles change according to ethnic group.

Crafts include basketry, pottery, furniture, leather saddles, drums, gold and silver jewellery.

Football and cycling are the most popular sports in Eritrea.

Water sports available include snorkelling and scuba diving.

All religious holidays are celebrated. Meskel, in September, commemorates the finding of the True Cross. Liberation Day (from Ethiopia - 1933) is the major national holiday - 24 May.

News from Eritrea is available in Newslink.

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