Ethiopia, an independent country for more than 2,000 years, was captured by Italy during the 1930s. After World War II, Ethiopia regained its independence, and the United Nations awarded Eritrea to Ethiopia. Ethiopia dissolved the Eritrean legislature and banned the use of Tigrinya, Eritrea’s major local language. The Eritreans rebelled, beginning a 30-year fight for independence (1961 —1991). In 1991 Eritrean rebels defeated the Ethiopian army, and in 1993 Eritrea became an independent state. But war between Ethiopia and Eritrea flared up again in 1998 because of disputes over the location of the border. Ethiopia defeated Eritrea in 2000 and took possession of the disputed areas.
Sudan In Sudan a civil war has raged since the 1980s between two ethnicities, the black Christian and animist rebels in the southern provinces and the Arab Muslim- dominated government forces in the north. The black southerners have been resisting government attempts to convert the country from a multi-ethnic society to one nationality tied to
Somalia On the surface, Somalia should face fewer ethnic divisions than its neighbors in the Horn of Africa. Somalis are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslims and speak Somali. Somalia contains six major ethnic groups known as clans. Traditionally, the six major clans occupied different portions of Somalia. With the collapse of a national government in Somalia, various clans and sub-clans claimed control over portions of the country. In 1992, after an estimated 300,000 people died from famine and from warfare between clans, the United States sent several thousand troops to Somalia to protect delivery of food and to reduce the number of weapons in the hands of the clan and sub-clan
Ethnicities in Lebanon Lebanon has been severely damaged by fighting among religious factions since the 1970s. The precise distribution of religions in Lebanon is unknown, because no census has been taken since 1932. Current estimate is about 60 percent Muslim, 30 percent Christian, and 10 percent other. About 7 percent of the population is Druze. The Druze religion combines elements of Islam and Christianity. When Lebanon became independent in 1943, the constitution required that each religion be represented in the Chamber of Deputies according to its percentage in the 1932 census. Fig. 7-15: Christians, Sunni Muslims, Shiite Muslims, and Druze are dominant in different areas of the country.
Lebanon’s Civil War By unwritten convention, the president of Lebanon was a Maronite Christian, the premier a Sunni Muslim, the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies a Shiite Muslim, and the foreign minister a Greek Orthodox Christian. Other cabinet members and civil servants were similarly apportioned among the various faiths. Lebanon’s religious groups have tended to live in different regions of the country. Maronites are concentrated in the west central part, Sunnis in the northwest, and Shiites in the south and east.
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