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Eritrea’s History

Archaeological sources date as far back as the Stone Ages. Microlithic tools found in Barka Valley are evidence of a “stone age” in the 8th and 7th millennia BC and appear to offer the first concrete evidence of human settlement.The earliest inhabitants, according to the Italian historian Conti Rossini, were related to the Pygmies of Central Africa. Nilotic people arrived from middle course of the Nile; the Kushitic element of the population arrived with subsequent waves of Hamitic stock, and was forerunners of the Beja people. From 1000 to 400 BC, the southern Arabian tribes introduced the Semitic element, settling in the highlands. It is very difficult to classify the present-day population by reference to these arrivals, or by reference to linguistic groups, but broadly their origins are as follows:

Nilotic
Nara
Kunama
Kushitic
Hedareb
Bilen
Afar
Saho
Semitic
Tigrinya  (mainly in the highlands)
Tigre
Rashaida (a group of Arab origin that recently arrived)
The Greeks knew of Eritrea, and it was part of the early Kingdom of the Habeshat. Over the centuries Eritrea has been held under the sway of the Turks and the Egyptians. In 1860 the arrival of Italian colonizers until their defeat in 1941, signaled a turning point in Eritrean history. A period of mandated British rule and an unlawful annexation by Ethiopia started the 30 years struggle for independence in 1961. On 24 May 1991, Eritrea become an independent country after 100 years of successive colonial rule, and declared formal independence from Ethiopia following a referendum in 1993.