Eritrea has had a conflicted history with Ethiopia. In 1952, the UN awarded Eritrea to Ethiopia as part of a federation. Ten years later, Eritrea was annexed from Ethiopia and began a 30 year struggle for independence. In 1991, Eritrean troops defeated governmental forces, and in a 1993 referendum, independence was approved, though there are still disputes concerning territorial borders between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The sole legal party of Eritrea is currently the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice, and the capital of Eritrea is Asmara. Eritrea is slightly larger than Pennsylvania, with a total area of 117,600 sq km. Its natural resources are gold, potash, zinc, copper, salt, possibly oil and natural gas, and fish. Eritrea experiences frequent droughts, rare earthquakes and volcano eruptions, and swarms of locusts. It has nine recognized ethnic groups, which are Tigrinya (55%), Tigre (30%), Saho (4%), Kunama (2%), Rashaida (2%), Bilen (2%), and other (Afar, Beni Amir, Nera) with 5%. The religions of Eritrea include Islam and Christianity (Coptic Christian, Roman Catholic, and Protestant.) Eritrea’s national symbol is the camel.

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