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Interesting Facts About Eritrea - Part 2

Written By Admin on Nov 21, 2010 | 10:06 AM

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The following are interesting facts about Eritrea. To read part one, go here.


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1) Eritrea literally means "red", and gets its name after the Red Sea.
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"Sinus Erythraeus was the name the Greek settlers in Egypt (Ptolemaic dynasty) of the third century B.C labeled the body of water between the Arab peninsula and the African continent. Later the Romans adopted the same name, calling it Mare Erythraeum-Literary meaning the Red Sea. From This, "Eritrean sea" the country has got its name." (1998, Kjetil Tronvoll, p.21)

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2) Ancient Egyptian reference of an area called Amasu or Hamasu of the land of Punt may perhaps be an early reference to the Hamasien region of Eritrea.
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"Remarking on this expeditions, Conti-Rossini suggests that the Egyptians might have used Utulit (Adulis) as a port of landing; that the neighboring area mentioned as Amasu or Hamasu, may perhaps be the Hamasien province of today's Eritrea." (Conti-Rossini, p. 87)

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3) Three of Eritrea's largest rivers are speculated to be named after ancient Yemeni places
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"Three of the largest rivers of Eritrea carry a name that sounds very familiar to people accustomed to the geography of Southern Arabia. First of all and well known is the Mereb which corresponds to that Sabean capital Ma'rib. The river Haddas finds its equivalent in the village of Hadda near Sana'a and the Anseba is closely related to the ancient town of Nisab in the Wadi Hammam southeast of Ma'rib" (2005, Raunig, Wenig, p. 2005)

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4) During Eritrea's independence war, at least 3,500 well-trained Cuban troops fought alongside Ethiopians.
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"In 1980, there were at least 3500 Cubans in Eritrea fighting alongside the Ethiopians.45 During the 1982 so-called red star mopping-up operations against the nationalists, a strong Cuban infantry battalion shored up the 120000 Ethiopian troops.." (1991, Okbazghi Yohannes, p. 256)

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5) The ancestors of Tigre and Biher-Tigrinya people are thought to be the forerunners of the Beja People
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"Around 2,000 B.C. pastoral people from the deserts of Southern Egypt and northern Sudan entered the Barka Vally and northern highlands, pushing the first wave southwards. These people were the forerunners of the Beja tribes, who for many hundreds of years seem to have been the only independent pastoralists in Africa." (1998, Roy Pateman. p.31)

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6) Worldwide, there are over a dozen streets named after the country Eritrea
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(Viale means avenue in Italian) - Click on the links below to see their street pictures.

Viale Eritrea, Roma, Italia — Via Eritrea, Gela, Italia — Via Eritrea, Altamura, Italia

Via Eritrea, Torino, Italia Viale Eritrea, Rimini, Italia — Via Eritrea, Bari, Italia

Eritrea Street, Roodepoort, Gauteng, South Africa — Eritrea Street, Tembisa, Gauteng, South Africa

Eritrea Street, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 

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7) There are at least 12 streets worldwide named after Eritrean cities
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Here are a few of them:

Asmara Drive, Austin, TX  —   Via Asmara, Roma, Italia —  Asmara Court, Punta Gorda, FL


Asmara Way, Easton, CT —  Asmara, Las Vegas, NV    —  Via Massaua, Roma, Italia

Via Assab, Roma, Italia —  Via cheren (Keren), Roma, Italia

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8) Greek influence on Aksumite kingdom was so strong that nearly all inscription uptill the 4th century A.D. was made in Greek.
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Although it is not clear what role the Ptolemies played in Axum, there is sufficient evidence that Hellenic influences on Axum were so great that virtually all inscriptions until the early forth century A.D. were made in Greek.
Eritrea: a pawn in world politics By Okbazghi Yohannes, p.25

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9)  In Pre-Islamic and Pre-Christian Eritrea, most Eritreans worshiped pantheon of gods derived from Yemen
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Astar, Mahrem, Baher and Almaqh were the names of the God's the ancestors of most Eritreans worshiped.

"The Aksumites, prior to the coming of the Christianity, had a pantheon of gods, derived from South Arabia, which they equated in their inscriptions with the gods of the ancient Greeks. The principal early Aksumite deities thus comprised Astar, who corresponded to Zeus, the Greek King of the Gods; Mahrem, the equivalent of Ares, the Greek god of war, and Baher, who was equated with Poseidon, the Greek god of the Sea. Aksum, as we shall see, later adopted Christianity, which became the official state religion in the early fourth century, after which the old gods were forgotten." (1991, Richard Pankhurst, p.24)

“Pre-Aksumite” inscriptions at Matara include one reference to the goddess Dât-Ba’dan
who, as in South Arabia, may have been associated with the solar cult (Schneider 1965; de
Contenson 1981). Two other votic text inscriptions from Matara refer to the star deity, Athtar,
and moon god, Almaqah, both commonly represented and presumably important deities in
the southern Red Sea world of the 1st millennium BCE." (Source)

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10) The Hallenga Beja clan originally migrated from the Saraye region of Eritrea.
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The Halanqa (Hallenga) live along the Eritrean-Sudanese border. Just a few centuries ago, the Hallenga were originally from the Saraye region of Eritrea, who migrated to their current locations in eastern Sudan. (1974, William A. Shack, p.69). Today's large Hellenga group speak Beja as a first language and are usually classified within the Beja ethnic group.

For video of Hellenga culture and dance, click here.

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11)The Kunama clan names Alaka and Shila mean Tigrinya and Tigre, respectively.
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"The clan names alaka and shila mean Tigrinya and Tigre, respectively. Originally members of the alaka and shila clan must have come from the Tigrinya and Tigre ethnic groups" (2008, Gaim Kibreab, p.82)

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12) By 1990, 40% of Eritrean freedom fighters were made up of women.
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"By 1979, women constituted 13 per cent of the fighters and 30 per cent of the EPLF as a whole, in 1990, 40 per cent of the total membership of the EPLF and 25 per cent of front-line combatants were women. As of 1993, women made up 34 per cent of the EPLF. The EPLF had a higher percentage of women than any other liberation army in the world. They were among the few women in the world who really did play an exemplary role in attaining independence. This renders the Eritrean case an interesting, if not unique, experience." (2007, Soeters, Meulen, p. 98)

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13) Eritrean women fighting alongside their men has been recorded as far back as 1810 A.D.
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From 1810 to 1819, the British explorer Nathaniel Pearce traveled to various areas of the horn region. The following quote below is his eyewitness accounts of Eritrean women going to battle alongside their men.

"In Hamazen the women intermix with the soldiers when in battle, crying Selasse! Selusse! [Trinity! Trinity!] This cry they keep up in a very dismal tone, till the battle is over; but when won, they change it to sounds of rude merriment. The people of Hamazen are seldom known to take the barbarous trophies from the men whom they kill, as is done in most other parts of Abyssinia." (1831, Nathaniel Pearce, p.7)

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14) In the 17th century A.D, Eritrea's Medri-Bahri kingdom was described as having a democratic "Federal Republic" political process
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In 1680, Medri-Bahri’s political process was described by the German scholar J. Ludolph as being a “Federal Republic“. This republic political process was found no where else in the horn of Africa and was distinct to the kingdom of Medri Bahri.

"J. Ludolph, the Great German scholar whose studies on the East are known all over the world, described the Medri Bahri as a Federal Republic."(1977, Forschung, P. 38)

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15) The Red Sea is widening at the rate of about one-half inch per year and will one day become an ocean.
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About 34 million years ago the Red Sea began to open up. This rift is one of the youngest regions of continental breakup on Earth. The Red Sea is widening at the rate of about one-half inch per year.
Eventually it will become an ocean. (1998, Alexander Hahn, p. 344)

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16) There are 1,4000 known fish species living in Eritrea's waters, and 17% of those fishes are found nowhere else.
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There are 1,4000 known fish species living in Eritrea's waters, and 17% of those fishes are found nowhere else (EEJ, p.5). There are also 250 known coral species, in which 20% of those are found only in Eritrea's Red Sea waters (EEJ, p.5).




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7 comments:

  1. THIS IS VERY INTERESTING FACTS THANK YOU.

    ReplyDelete
  2. thank you for these facts although some i dont agree with

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for posting such interesting short facts of our history!

    ReplyDelete
  4. this is very interesting story ,if it is proved to be true by the eritrean historians.

    ReplyDelete
  5. THANK YOU THIS IS VERY INTERESTING AND FUN READING FACTS!!


    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

    ReplyDelete
  6. what's #8 got to do with Eritrea? Also, there's no mention of Eritrea in reference quoted under #9. So, what's all this garbage?

    ReplyDelete
  7. truth-teller, they are mentioned because it's the truth.

    ReplyDelete

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