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Eritrea, colonised by Italy from 1891, became a British protectorate in 1941. In 1950 the UN resolved to federate Eritrea under the Ethiopian crown against the wishes of the Eritrean people.

In 1962  Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie annexed Eritrea and made it the 14th Ethiopian province. This led to the start of the longest armed struggle for liberation in Africa.

In May 1991 the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) liberated Eritrea from the Ethiopian Dergue regime and on 24th May 1993, following a referendum where 99.8% including those in the diaspora voted for independence, Eritrea became a sovereign state

Basic Facts

Official Country Name : State of Eritrea
Capital City : Asmara
Population: 4.4 million *Pop. growth rate: 3%
Major Ports: Massawa, Assab
Monetary Unit: Nakfa/100 Cents
*GDP per capita: US$977
*Displaced people: 70,000
*Refugees: 116,000 in Sudan by end-2005
Annual Income: US$175 – Average
Time Zone: GMT+3
Internet domain: er
International dialling code: 00 291

*Life Expectancy: 60.3 years (male) 61.2 years (female)
*Infant Mortality: 47/1000
*HIV prevalence: 2.4%
*Access to clean water: 60%
*Pop. below poverty line: 53%
*Literacy rate for population over 15 : 62.5%

Ethnic Groups: Afar, Bilen, Hidareb, Kunama, Nara, Rashaida, Saho, Tigre, Tigrinya
Major Languages: Tigrinya, Tigre, Arabic, English
Major Religions: Christian (Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant), Islam