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Fri, 09.01.1961

Eritrea Gaines Independence

*On this date in 1961, Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia.

Eritrea is in East Africa. It is bordered to the northeast and east by the Red Sea, Sudan to the west, Ethiopia to the south, and Djibouti to the southeast. Eritrea lies between latitudes 12° and 18°N and longitudes 36° and 44°E. A branch of the East African Rift virtually bisects the country. Eritrea, at the southern end of the Red Sea, is the home of the fork in the rift. The Dahlak Archipelago and its fishing grounds are off the sandy and arid coastline.

In 1958, Eritreans founded the Eritrean Liberation Movement (ELM). The organization mainly consisted of Eritrean students, professionals, and intellectuals. It engaged in secret political activities intended to cultivate resistance to the centralizing policies of the imperial Ethiopian state. On September 1, 1961, the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF), under the leadership of Hamid Idris Awate, waged an armed struggle for independence. 1962, Emperor Haile Selassie unilaterally dissolved the Eritrean parliament and annexed the territory.

In the 1980s, a non-government organization called the Eritrea Inter-Agency Consortium (EIAC) aided in developing projects for the Eritrean Liberation Movement. The ensuing Eritrean War of Independence went on for 30 years against successive Ethiopian governments until 1991, when the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF), a successor of the ELF, defeated the Ethiopian forces in Eritrea and helped a coalition of Ethiopian rebel forces take control of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Following a referendum in Eritrea supervised by the United Nations (dubbed UNOVER) in which the Eritrean people overwhelmingly voted for independence, Eritrea declared its independence and gained international recognition in 1993. The EPLF seized power, established a one-party state along nationalist lines, and banned further political activity. As of 2020, there have been no elections. On May 28, 1993, Eritrea was admitted into the United Nations as the 182nd member state.

Reference:

CIA.gov

Britannica.com

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