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The Great Rift Valley (known for discoveries of early hominids such as Lucy, whose bones reside in the Ethiopian National Museum) bisects the central plateau.The valley extends southwest through the country and includes the Danakil Depression, a desert containing the lowest dry point on the earth.Unfortunately, however, the country's international standing has declined since the reign of Emperor Selassie, when it was the only African member of the League of Nations and its capital, Addis Ababa, was home to a substantial international community.

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These conceptions of Ethiopia were geographically vague.

In the late nineteenth century, Emperor Menelik II expanded the country's borders to their present configuration.

In March 1896, Italian troops attempted to enter Ethiopia forcibly and were routed by Emperor Menelik and his army.

The battle of Adwa was the only victory of an African army over a European army during the partitioning of Africa which preserved the country's independence.

The plateau is between six thousand and ten thousand feet above sea level, with the highest peak being Ras Deshan, the fourth-tallest mountain in Africa.

Addis Ababa is the third-highest capital city in the world.It is bordered on the north and northeast by Eritrea, on the east by Djibouti and Somalia, on the south by Kenya, and on the west and southwest by Sudan.The central plateau, known as the highlands, is surrounded on three sides by desert with a significantly lower elevation.The vast majority of the languages spoken in the country can be classified within three families of the Afro-Asiatic super language family: the Semitic, Cushitic, and Omotic.Semitic-language speakers predominantly live in the highlands in the center and north.The urban population is estimated to be 11 percent of the total population.

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