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English is the most widely spoken foreign language and the language in which secondary school and university classes are taught.
French is heard occasionally in parts of the country near Djibouti, formerly French Somaliland.
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.
War, drought, and health problems have left the nation one of the poorest African countries economically, but the people's fierce independence and historical pride account for a people rich in self-determination. Ethiopia is the tenth largest country in Africa, covering 439,580 square miles (1,138,512 square kilometers) and is the major constituent of the landmass known as the Horn of Africa.
The Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) defeated the Derge, established democratic rule, and currently governs Ethiopia.
The last twenty-five years of the twentieth century have been a time of revolt and political unrest but represent only a small portion of the time during which Ethiopia has been a politically active entity.
The urban population is estimated to be 11 percent of the total population.
The rural lowland population is composed of many nomadic and seminomadic peoples.
The high central plateau is mild, with a mean average temperature of 62 degrees Fahrenheit.
The combination of church and state was an indissoluble alliance that controlled the nation from King 'Ēzānā's adoption of Christianity in 333 until the overthrow of Haile Selassie in 1974.
A socialist government (the Derge) known for its brutality governed the nation until 1991.
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.
The bulk of the rain in the highlands falls in the major rainy season from mid-June to mid-September, with an average of forty inches of rain during that season.