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During colonial times as European powers steadily exploited the resources of most African countries, the Ethiopian kingdom—situated in the Horn of Africa—maintained its independence except for a brief Italian occupation during World War I. The last emperor was replaced with a socialist military junta in 1974, setting the stage for two decades of fighting marked by massive famine. By the mid – 1990s, Ethiopian rebels had overthrown the government and established the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. When Eritrea won its independence in 1993, Ethiopia lost access to the Red Sea.

Agriculture has a long history in Ethiopia, and scholars have traced the origin of coffee, grain sorghum, and castor bean to the ancient kingdom. While the constant threat of drought has frequently played havoc with ...

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