The area now knows as Eritrea was awarded to Ethiopia in 1952 as part of a federation. Ten years later Ethiopia annexed Eritrea as a province, which started a 30-year struggle for Eritrean independence. A long struggle for independence ended May 24, 1991 with Eritrean rebels defeating governmental forces. Independence was overwhelmingly approved in a 1993 referendum.
eastern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Djibouti and Sudan
total: 117,600 sq km land: 101,000 sq km
water: 16,600 sq km
population: 5,647,168 (July 2009 est.)
ethnic groups: Tigrinya 50%, Tigre and Kunama 40%, Afar 4%, Saho (Red Sea coast dwellers) 3%, other 3%
religious: Muslim, Coptic Christian, Roman Catholic, Protestant