The government sought international assistance for various development projects and mobilized young Eritreans serving in the national service to repair crumbling roads and dams.
The modern name Eritrea was first employed by Italian colonialists in the late nineteenth century.
The marginal industrial base in Eritrea provides the domestic market with textiles, shoes, food products, beverages, and building materials.
Popular sports in Eritrea are football and bicycle racing.
Exports have collapsed due to strict controls on foreign currencies and trade, as well as a closed border with Ethiopia, which was the major trading partner for Eritrea prior to the war.
Eritrea, officially State of Eritrea, is a country situated in northern East Africa.
The main traditional food in Eritrean cuisine is tsebhi (stew) served with injera (flatbread made from teff, wheat, or sorghum), and hilbet (paste made from legumes, mainly lentils, faba beans).
During the medieval period, contemporary with and following the disintegration of the Axumite state, several states as well as tribal and clan lands emerged in the area known today as Eritrea.
After the war, a U.N. plebiscite voted for federation with Ethiopia, though Eritrea would have its own parliament and administration and would be represented in the federal parliament.
Eritrea has two dominant religions, Christianity and Islam.
Following the decline of the Soviet Union in 1989 and diminishing support for the Ethiopian war, Eritrean rebels advanced farther, capturing the port of Massawa.
Eritrea lost many valuable economic assets, in particular during the last round of fighting in May-June 2000, when a significant portion of its territory in the agriculturally important west and south was occupied by Ethiopia.
The Beja brought Islam to large parts of Eritrea and connected the region to the greater Islamic world dominated by the Ummayad Caliphate, followed by the Abbasid (and Mamluk) and later the Ottoman Empire.
Perhaps the conflict with the deepest impact on independent Eritrea was the renewed hostility with Ethiopia.
Upon Eritrea's declaration of independence, the leader of the EPLF, Isaias Afewerki, became Eritrea's first provisional president.
The Eritrean economy is largely based on agriculture, which employs 80 percent of the population.
Eritrea now plays a prominent role in the internal Sudanese peace and reconciliation effort.
Between the eighth and thirteenth centuries, northern and western Eritrea largely came under the domination of the Beja, an Islamic, Cushitic people from northeastern Sudan.
In April 1993, an overwhelming number of Eritreans voted for independence.
Drought, famine, and intensive offensives launched by the Ethiopian army on Eritrea took a heavy toll on the population— more than half a million fled to Sudan as refugees.
The Cushitic languages in Eritrea are just as numerous, including Afar, Beja, Blin, and Saho.
In 2004 the U.S. State Department declared Eritrea a Country of Particular Concern for its record of religious persecution.
Defining the border with Ethiopia is the primary external issue facing Eritrea.
In 2006, Eritrea normalized relations with Sudan and is beginning to open the border to trade between the two countries.
After independence, Eritrea had established a growing and healthy economy.
On July 26, 2007, the Associated Press reported that Eritrea had been supplying weapons for a Somali insurgent group with ties to Al Qaeda.
In 1991, Eritrean and Ethiopian rebels jointly held the Ethiopian capital under siege as the Ethiopian communist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam fled to Zimbabwe, where he lives despite requests for extradition.
Eritrea is located in East Africa, more specifically the Horn of Africa, and is bordered on the northeast and east by the Red Sea.
Nevertheless, the Italians consolidated their possessions into one colony, henceforth known as Eritrea, in 1890.
Nevertheless, Eritrean resistance continued, mainly in the northern parts of the country around the Sudanese border, where the most important supply lines were.
Eritrea's relationship with the United States is complicated.
Kunama and Nara are also spoken in Eritrea and belong to the Nilo-Saharan language family.
In 2006, Eritrea announced it would become the first country in the world to turn its entire coast into an environmentally protected zone.
Kitcha fit-fit is also a staple of Eritrean cuisine.
Despite the tension over the border with Sudan, Eritrea has been recognized as a broker for peace between the separate factions of the Sudanese civil war.
The highest point of the country, Amba Soira, is located in the center of Eritrea, at 9,902 feet (3,018 m) above sea level.
Internal divisions within the ELF based on religion, ethnicity, clan, and sometimes personalities and ideologies, led to the weakening and factioning of the ELF, from which sprang the Eritrean People's Liberation Front.
Eritrea is divided into six regions (zobas) and subdivided into districts.
Barriers to education in Eritrea include traditional taboos and school fees (for registration and materials).
Remains of one of the oldest known hominids, dated to over one million years ago, were discovered in Eritrea in 1995.
The ELF continued to dominate the Eritrean landscape well into the 1970s, when the struggle for independence neared victory due to Ethiopia's internal turmoil caused by the socialist revolution against the monarchy.
The highlands are drier and cooler, and half of Eritrea's population lives here.
The verdict in April 2002 awarded Badme to Eritrea.
The momentum for long-distance running in Eritrea can be seen in the successes of Zersenay Tadesse and Mebrahtom (Meb) Keflezighi, both Olympians.
The president of Eritrea urged the UN to take action against Ethiopia.
Cave paintings in central and northern Eritrea attest to the early settlement of hunter-gatherers in this region.
The earliest evidence of agriculture, urban settlement, and trade in Eritrea was found in the region inhabited by people dating back to 3,500 B.C.E.
Eritrea's economic future depends upon its ability to overcome such fundamental social problems as illiteracy and low skills.
The new Ethiopian government conceded to Eritrea's demands to have an internationally (UN) supervised referendum.
Eritrea currently suffers from large structural fiscal deficits caused by high levels of spending on defense, which have resulted in the stock of debt rising to unsustainable levels.
The Ethiopian army finally capitulated and Eritrea was completely in Eritrean hands on May 24, 1991, when the rebels marched into Asmara while Ethiopian rebels with Eritrean assistance overtook the government in Ethiopia.
The Christians (another half) consist primarily of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church, which is the local Eastern Orthodox church, but small groups of Roman Catholics, Protestants, and other denominations also exist.
A UN Monitoring Group report indicated that Eritrea has played a key role in financing, funding, and arming the terror and insurgency activities in Somalia and is the primary source of support for that insurgency.
The Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) was initially a conservative grass-roots movement dominated by Muslim lowlanders and thus received backing from Arab socialist governments such as Syria and Egypt.
The situation was further escalated by the continued efforts of the Eritrean and Ethiopian leaders to support each other's opposition movements.
The oldest written reference to the territory now known as Eritrea is the chronicled expedition launched to the fabled Punt by the Ancient Egyptians in the twenty-fifth century B.C.E.
Traditional Eritrean dress is quite varied, with the Kunama traditionally dressing in brightly colored clothes while the Tigrinya and Tigre traditionally wear white costumes resembling traditional Oriental and Indian clothing.
Eritrea's government has been accused of using the prolonged conflict as an excuse to crack down on all dissidents and restrict freedom of the press and religious freedom.
According to World Bank estimates, Eritreans also lost livestock worth some $225 million, and 55,000 homes worth $41 million were destroyed during the war.
Bitter fighting broke out between the ELF and EPLF during the late 1970s and 1980s for dominance over Eritrea.
Ancient Egyptian sources also cite cities and trading posts along the southwestern Red Sea coast, roughly corresponding to modern-day Eritrea, calling this the land of Punt famed for its incense.
The UN also established a demilitarized buffer zone within Eritrea running along the length of the disputed border.
The Eritrean region has traditionally been a nexus for trade throughout the world.
English is spoken to a degree by more educated Eritreans, and there are still some speakers of Italian left over from colonial times.
Eritrea's relationship with Italy and the European Union has become equally strained in many areas.
The Italians met with stiffer resistance in the Eritrean highlands from the army of the Ethiopian emperor.