Pre–History

  • 200,000 Years Ago: Homo Sapiens emerged out of Ethiopia
  • 6,000 BC: Agriculture is developed leading to an age of settlement in the region

Pre–Axumite


Reused pre-Axumite stones in the Church of Abuna Astse, Yeha
Reused pre-Axumite stones in the Church of Abuna Astse, Yeha
  • 800 BC: The kingdom of Da’mt is established in northern Ethiopia, and became the center of trade in ivory, gold, silver, and slaves to Arabian merchants.
  • 300 BC: Trade route courses are turned east rather than west to gain easier access to coastal ports; the kingdom of Da’mt is absorbed into a small city–states due to the decline in trade, and eventually overtaken by the Kingdom of Aksum



The Axumite Kingdom

  • 1st Century AD: Aksum flourished as a regional trading power
  • 341 AD: Coptic Christianity is introduced to the Axum Empire by Frumentius, from Syria
  • 500 AD: The Axum Empire boundaries are extended across the Red Sea to Yemen
  • 700 AD: The First Migration (Hijra) of the companions and relatives of the Prophet Muhammad took place to Ethiopia. Note that Ethiopia celebrates the birth of freedom of expression and beliefs, whereas, the second migration of the Prophet Muhammad to the Madina celebrates the end of oppression
  • 900 AD: The declining stage of Axum Empire due to internal and external factors


The Zagwe Dynasty

  • 1137—1270: The dynasty was known for its role in the expansion of Christianity and building churches out of a single rock


The Restoration of The Solomonic Dynasty

  • 1270: Yekuno Amlak restored the Solomonic Dynasty

Muslim Invasion and Foreign Missionaries

  • 1508: Portuguese traders made contact with Ethiopian Emperor Lebna Dengel, and assisted with aid during the Ethiopian–Adal War
  • 1531: Ethiopia is invaded by Muslim leader Ahmad Gran
  • 1543: Ahmad Gran is killed at the Battle of Wayna Daga; the Ethiopian Emperor struggled to regain control, however under Gran’s ten year occupation thousands of citizens had converted to Islam
  • 1557: Neighboring regions are conquered by the Ottoman Empire limiting Ethiopia’s access to the rest of the world
  • 1624: Years of revolt and unrest followed Emperor Susenyos’ conversion to Roman Catholicism

Gondar and Era of the Princes (Zemene Mesafint)



  • 1632: The state religion of Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity is reinstated, and Jesuit missionaries are expelled along with other Europeans and Gondar become the permanent capital as well as trade center, named Camelot of Africa
  • 1755—1855: Ethiopia entered an age of isolation, referred to as the Zemene Mesafint (“Era of the Princes”)