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To the north and northwest, the country borders the Sudan, to the south, Ethiopia, and to the southwest, Djibouti.

Eritrean territory covers about 48,000 square miles (125,000 square kilometers) and contains a wide variety of rugged landscapes: mountains, desert, highland plateau, lowland plains, and off the coast some 150 coral islands.

The notion that Eritrea was more developed and modern than Tigray and the rest of Ethiopia helped to boost Eritrean national consciousness.

Italy—which had occupied Ethiopia in 1935— saw its dream of an East African empire crushed in World War II.

British forces liberated Ethiopia from the Italian colonizers and took control of Eritrea in 1941.

Eritrea was administered by the British Military Administration until 1952, when the United Nations (UN) federated Eritrea with Ethiopia.

The Axumite empire, which emerges into the light of history in the first century , comprised the Akkele-Guzai region of highland Eritrea and the Agame region of Tigray, Ethiopia.

The empire expanded and its port city of Adulis, south of present-day Massawa, became an important trading post hosting ships from Egypt, Greece, the Arab world, and other far-off areas.

Eritrea's long war of liberation, however, managed to bridge some of the traditional differences between the highland and lowland populations. Located in northeastern Africa, Eritrea has about 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) of coastline along the west coast of the Red Sea.Ethiopia soon violated the federal arrangement, however, and in 1962 Ethiopia annexed Eritrea as its fourteenth province.The year before the annexation, the Eritrean armed resistance against Ethiopian rule commenced.Eritrean pupils are today taught in their mother tongue in primary levels (one through five), and English takes over to be the language of instruction from sixth grade (at least in theory).English is taught as a second language from second grade.

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