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© 2007 Wikipedia    

Eritrea (Ge'ez ኤርትራ ʾĒrtrā) is a country in northern East Africa bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast. The east and northeast of the country have an extensive coastline on the Red Sea, directly across from Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The Dahlak Archipelago and several of the Hanish Islands are part of Eritrea.

Eritrea was consolidated into a colony by the Italian government on January 1, 1890. The modern state of Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia following a thirty year war which lasted from 1961 to 1991. Eritrea's constitution adopted in 1997 stipulates that the state is a presidential republic with a unicameral parliamentary democracy. But the constitution was never ratified and since the outbreak of hostilities with Ethiopia in May of 1998, the country is under a de-facto (undeclared) state of emergency ruled by presidential decree.

Eritrea is a multilingual and multicultural country with two dominant religions and nine ethnic groups. The country has no official language, but it has three working languages: Tigrinya, Arabic, and English.

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