The New Student's Reference Work/Ethiopia


Ethio′pia (the Cush of the Bible), the name given to the countries south of Egypt and Libya, on the upper Nile.  It included modern Nubia, Sennaar, Kordofan and Abyssinia.  The name Ethiopian was originally given to all the nations inhabiting the southern part of the globe, or, rather, to all people of a dark-brown or black color.  The word is supposed to come from two Greek words meaning sun-burned.  The part of Ethiopia of which we have the most ancient knowledge is the kingdom of Meroë, an island formed by two rivers tributary to the Nile.  Its capital was Napata.  The island was very fertile, with an abundance of animals and metals.  It also was the site of an oracle of Jupiter Ammon.  This made it a great place of resort and a trading place for India, Arabia, Egypt, Libya and Carthage, so that it grew rapidly and became, about 1000 B. C., one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient world.  It threw off the yoke of Egypt about 760, and in turn ruled Egypt for sixty years.  At one time 240,000 Egyptians settled in Meroë, and, being artisans and traders, added to its prosperity.  It was conquered by Cambyses about 530 B. C.  The Ethiopians sent to Darius every third year four pints of gold-dust, 200 logs of ebony, five negro slaves and 20 tusks of ivory.  Augustus conquered Meroë, and we find Queen Candace (Candace means the queen) of Ethiopia mentioned among his vassals.  The remains of the ancient civilization of Ethiopia are the ruins of large buildings covered with sculptures representing battles and religious ceremonies, rows of broken sphinxes, temples hewn in the rocks and several pyramids, which are higher in proportion to their base than those of Egypt.  The names of 30 kings and queens have been found, the first one, named Meneliheh, being said to be the son of Solomon and the queen of Sheba.  The modern history of the country belongs to Abyssinia.  The area is over 400,000 square miles, with an estimated population of over 5,000,000.  See Abyssinia and Nubia.