State of Eritrea
Political Status: Former Italian colony; became part of UN-sponsored Ethiopian–Eritrean Federation in September 1952; annexed as a province of Ethiopia in November 1962; declared independent on May 24, 1993, following secessionist referendum of April 23–25; new constitution approved by the Constitutional Assembly on May 23, 1997, but largely unimplemented as of mid-2009.
Area: 46,774 sq. mi. (121,144 sq. km.).
Population: 2,748,304 (1984C); 5,095,000 (2008E), including nonresidents.
Major Urban Centers (2005E): ASMARA (554,000), Keren (89,000).
Principal Languages: Tigrigna and Arabic.
Monetary Unit: Nakfa (government rate of exchange as of December 1, 2009: 15 nakfa = $1US).
State President and Chair of the Executive Council of the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice: ISAIAS Afwerki (People’s Front for Democracy and Justice); named secretary general of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front in ...