middens 125,000 years old have been found in Eritrea,
 indicating the diet of early humans included seafood obtained by
According to both genetic and fossil evidence,
archaic Homo sapiens evolved into
anatomically modern humans solely in Africa between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago. Evidence to support the theory that recent modern humans originated in
East Africa is not conclusive.
Today at the
Bab-el-Mandeb straits, the Red Sea is about 12 miles (20 kilometres) wide, but 50,000 years ago it was much narrower and sea levels were 70 meters lower. Though the straits were never completely closed, there may have been islands in between which could be reached using simple rafts.
It has been estimated that from a population of 2,000 to 5,000 individuals in Africa,
 only a small group of possibly as few as 150 to 1,000 people crossed the
According to linguists, the first
Afro-Asiatic-speaking populations arrived in the region during the ensuing
Neolithic era from the family's proposed
urheimat ("original homeland") in the
 or the
 Other scholars propose that the Afro-Asiatic family developed in situ in the Horn, with its speakers subsequently dispersing from there.
 Genetic analysis also indicates that, beginning in the pre-agricultural period, settlers from the Near East founded communities in Northeast Africa. These early settlements eventually gave rise to the Afro-Asiatic-speaking populations in the Horn and
Maghreb as the groups spread.
Together with northern
Red Sea coast of
Eritrea is considered the most likely location of the land known to the ancient
Punt (or "Ta Netjeru," meaning god's land), whose first mention dates to the 25th century BCE.
Dʿmt was a kingdom located in Eritrea and northern
Ethiopia, which existed during the 8th and 7th centuries BCE. With its capital at
Yeha, the kingdom developed
irrigation schemes, used
millet, and made
iron tools and weapons. After the fall of Dʿmt in the 5th century BCE, the plateau came to be dominated by smaller successor kingdoms, until the rise of one of these kingdoms during the 1st century, the
Aksumite Kingdom, which was able to reunite the area.
Kingdom of Aksum (also known as the Aksumite Empire) was an ancient state located in the highlands of present-day Ethiopia and Eritrea, which thrived between the 1st and 7th centuries CE. A major player in the commerce between the
Roman Empire and
Ancient India, Aksum's rulers facilitated trade by minting their own
currency. The state also established its
hegemony over the declining
Kingdom of Kush and regularly entered the politics of the kingdoms on the
Arabian peninsula, eventually extending its rule over the region with the conquest of the
Himyarite Kingdom. Under
Ezana (fl. 320–360), the kingdom of Aksum became the first major empire to adopt
Christianity, and was named by
Mani as one of the four great powers of his time, along with
Northern Somalia was an important link in the Horn, connecting the region's commerce with the rest of the ancient world. Somali sailors and merchants were the main suppliers of
myrrh and spices, all of which were valuable luxuries to the
 The Romans consequently began to refer to the region as Regio Aromatica. In the
classical era, several flourishing Somali city-states such as
Malao also competed with the
Axumites for the rich
birth of Islam opposite the Horn's Red Sea coast meant that local merchants and sailors living on the
Arabian Peninsula gradually came under the influence of the new religion through their converted
Arab Muslim trading partners. With the migration of Muslim families from the
Islamic world to the Horn in the early centuries of Islam, and the peaceful conversion of the local population by Muslim scholars in the following centuries, the ancient city-states eventually transformed into Islamic
Merka, which were part of the
 The city of Mogadishu came to be known as the "City of Islam"
 and controlled the East African gold trade for several centuries.
Middle Ages and Early Modern era
In ancient and medieval times, the Horn of Africa was referred to as the
Bilad al Barbar ("Land of the Berbers").
 It is also known as the Somali peninsula.
Middle Ages, several powerful empires dominated the regional trade in the Horn, including the
Adal Sultanate, the
Ajuran Sultanate, the
Warsangali Sultanate, the
Zagwe dynasty, and the
Sultanate of the Geledi.
Sultanate of Showa, established in 896, was one of the oldest local
Islamic states. It was centered in the former
Shewa province in central Ethiopia. The polity was succeeded by the
Sultanate of Ifat around 1285. Ifat was governed from its capital at
Zeila in northern Somalia and was the easternmost district of the former Shewa Sultanate.
Adal Sultanate was a medieval multi-ethnic
Muslim state centered in the Horn region. At its height, it controlled large parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Eritrea. Many of the historic cities in the region, such as
Harar, flourished during the kingdom's golden age. This period that left behind numerous
walled enclosures. Under the leadership of rulers such as
Sabr ad-Din II,
Jamal ad-Din II,
Shams ad-Din, General
Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi, Adalite armies continued the struggle against the
Solomonic dynasty, a campaign historically known as the
Conquest of Abyssinia or Futuh al Habash.
Warsangali Sultanate was a kingdom centered in northeastern and in some parts of southeastern Somalia. It was one of the largest sultanates ever established in the territory, and, at the height of its power, included the
Sanaag region and parts of the northeastern
Bari region of the country, an area historically known as
Maakhir or the
Maakhir Coast. The Sultanate was founded in the late 13th century in northern Somalia by a group of Somalis from the
Warsangali branch of the
Darod clan, and was ruled by the descendants of the
Through a strong centralized administration and an aggressive military stance towards invaders, the
Ajuran Sultanate successfully resisted an
Oromo invasion from the west and a
Portuguese incursion from the east during the Gaal Madow and the
Ajuran-Portuguese wars. Trading routes dating from the ancient and early medieval periods of
Somali maritime enterprise were also strengthened or re-established, and the state left behind an extensive
architectural legacy. Many of the hundreds of ruined castles and fortresses that dot the landscape of Somalia today are attributed to Ajuran engineers,
 including a lot of the
pillar tomb fields,
necropolises and ruined cities built during that era. The royal family, the House of Gareen, also expanded its territories and established its hegemonic rule through a skillful combination of warfare, trade linkages and alliances.
Zagwe dynasty ruled many parts of modern Ethiopia and Eritrea from approximately 1137 to 1270. The name of the dynasty comes from the
Agaw people of northern Ethiopia. From 1270 onwards for many centuries, the
Solomonic dynasty ruled the
In the early 15th century, Ethiopia sought to make diplomatic contact with European kingdoms for the first time since Aksumite times. A letter from King
Henry IV of England to the Emperor of Abyssinia survives.
 In 1428, the Emperor
Yeshaq sent two emissaries to
Alfonso V of Aragon, who sent return emissaries who failed to complete the return trip.
The first continuous relations with a European country began in 1508 with Portugal under Emperor
Lebna Dengel, who had just inherited the throne from his father.
 This proved to be an important development, for when Abyssinia was subjected to the attacks of the
Adal Sultanate General and
Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi (called "Gurey" or "Grañ", both meaning "the Left-handed"), Portugal assisted the Ethiopian emperor by sending weapons and four hundred men, who helped his son
Gelawdewos defeat Ahmad and re-establish his rule.
Abyssinian–Adal War was also one of the first proxy wars in the region as the
Ottoman Empire, and Portugal took sides in the conflict.
Susenyos converted to
Roman Catholicism in 1624, years of revolt and civil unrest followed resulting in thousands of deaths.
Jesuit missionaries had offended the Orthodox faith of the local Ethiopians. On June 25, 1632, Susenyos's son, Emperor
Fasilides, declared the state religion to again be
Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, and expelled the Jesuit missionaries and other Europeans.
During the end of 18th and the beginning of 19th century the Yejju dynasty (more specifically, the Warasek) ruled north Ethiopia changing the official language of Amhara people to Afaan Oromo, including inside the court of Gondar which was capital of the empire. Founded by
Ali I of Yejju several successive descendants of him and
Abba Seru Gwangul ruled with their army coming from mainly their clan the
Yejju Oromo tribe as well as Wollo and Raya Oromo.
Sultanate of the Geledi was a Somali kingdom administered by the Gobroon dynasty, which ruled parts of the Horn of Africa during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was established by the Ajuran soldier
Ibrahim Adeer, who had defeated various
vassals of the Ajuran Empire and established the House of Gobroon. The
dynasty reached its apex under the successive reigns of Sultan
Yusuf Mahamud Ibrahim, who successfully consolidated Gobroon power during the
Bardera wars, and Sultan
Ahmed Yusuf, who forced regional powers such as the
Omani Empire to submit
Majeerteen Sultanate (Migiurtinia) was another prominent Somali sultanate based in the Horn region. Ruled by
Osman Mahamuud during its golden age, it controlled much of northeastern and central Somalia in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The polity had all of the organs of an integrated modern state and maintained a robust trading network. It also entered into treaties with foreign powers and exerted strong centralized authority on the domestic front.
 Much of the Sultanate's former domain is today coextensive with the autonomous
Puntland region in northeastern Somalia.
Sultanate of Hobyo was a 19th-century Somali kingdom founded by Sultan
Yusuf Ali Kenadid. Initially, Kenadid's goal was to seize control of the neighboring Majeerteen Sultanate, which was then ruled by his cousin Boqor Osman Mahamuud. However, he was unsuccessful in this endeavor, and was eventually forced into exile in
Yemen. A decade later, in the 1870s, Kenadid returned from the
Arabian Peninsula with a band of
musketeers and a group of devoted lieutenants. With their assistance, he managed to establish the kingdom of Hobyo, which would rule much of northeastern and central Somalia during the early modern period.
Building of regional administration in
In the period following the opening of the
Suez canal in 1869, when European powers scrambled for territory in Africa and tried to establish
coaling stations for their ships, Italy invaded and occupied
Eritrea. On January 1, 1890, Eritrea officially became a colony of
Italy. In 1896 further Italian incursion into the horn was decisively halted by Ethiopian forces. By 1936 however, Eritrea became a province of
Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana), along with
Italian Somaliland. By 1941, Eritrea had about 760,000 inhabitants, including 70,000 Italians.
 The Commonwealth armed forces, along with the Ethiopian patriotic resistance, expelled those of Italy in 1941,
 and took over the area's administration. The British continued to administer the territory under a
UN Mandate until 1951, when Eritrea was federated with Ethiopia, as per UN resolution 390(A) and under the prompting of the United States adopted in December 1950.
Map of Africa in 1909, the Horn region is the easternmost projection of the African continent.
The strategic importance of Eritrea, due to its Red Sea coastline and mineral resources, was the main cause for the federation with Ethiopia, which in turn led to Eritrea's annexation as Ethiopia's 14th province in 1952. This was the culmination of a gradual process of takeover by the Ethiopian authorities, a process which included a 1959 edict establishing the compulsory teaching of
Amharic, the main language of Ethiopia, in all Eritrean schools. The lack of regard for the Eritrean population led to the formation of an independence movement in the early 1960s (1961), which erupted into a
30-year war against successive Ethiopian governments that ended in 1991. Following a UN-supervised
referendum in Eritrea (dubbed
UNOVER) in which the Eritrean people overwhelmingly voted for independence, Eritrea declared its independence and gained international recognition in 1993.
 In 1998, a border dispute with Ethiopia led to the
From 1862 until 1894, the land to the north of the
Gulf of Tadjoura situated in modern-day
Djibouti was called Obock and was ruled by
Sultans, local authorities with whom
France signed various treaties between 1883 and 1887 to first gain a foothold in the region.
 In 1894,
Léonce Lagarde established a permanent French administration in the
city of Djibouti and named the region Côte française des Somalis (
French Somaliland), a name which continued until 1967.
In 1958, on the eve of neighboring
Somalia's independence in 1960, a
referendum was held in the territory to decide whether or not to join the Somali Republic or to remain with France. The referendum turned out in favour of a continued association with France, partly due to a combined yes vote by the sizable Afar ethnic group and resident Europeans.
 There was also reports of widespread
vote rigging, with the French expelling thousands of Somalis before the referendum reached the polls.
 The majority of those who voted no were Somalis who were strongly in favour of joining a united Somalia, as had been proposed by
Mahmoud Harbi, Vice President of the Government Council. Harbi was killed in a plane crash two years later.
 Djibouti finally gained its independence from France in 1977, and
Hassan Gouled Aptidon, a Somali politician who had campaigned for a yes vote in the referendum of 1958, eventually wound up as the nation's first president (1977–1999).
 In early 2011, the Djiboutian citizenry took part in a
series of protests against the long-serving government, which were associated with the larger
Arab Spring demonstrations. The unrest eventually subsided by April of the year, and Djibouti's ruling
People's Rally for Progress party was re-elected to office.
Mohammed Abdullah Hassan's
Dervish State successfully repulsed the
British Empire four times and forced it to retreat to the coastal region.
 Due to these successful expeditions, the Dervish State was recognized as an ally by the
German Empires. The
Turks also named Hassan
Emir of the Somali nation,
 and the
Germans promised to officially recognize any territories the Dervishes were to acquire.
 After a quarter of a century of holding the British at bay, the Dervishes were finally defeated in 1920 as a direct consequence of Britain's new policy of
 As a result of this bombardment, former Dervish territories were turned into a
protectorate of Britain.
Italy faced similar opposition from Somali
Sultans and armies, and did not acquire full control of parts of modern Somalia until the
Fascist era in late 1927. This occupation lasted until 1941, and was replaced by a
military administration. Northern Somalia would remain a
protectorate, while southern Somalia became a
trusteeship. The Union of the two regions in 1960 formed the Somali Republic. A civilian government was formed, and on July 20, 1961, through a popular
referendum, a new
constitution that had first been drafted the year before was ratified.
Due to its longstanding ties with the
Arab world, Somalia was accepted in 1974 as a member of the
 During the same year, the nation's former
socialist administration also chaired the
Organization of African Unity, the predecessor of the
 In 1991, the
Somali Civil War broke out, which saw the collapse of the federal government and the emergence of numerous autonomous polities, including the
Puntland administration in the northeast and
sovereign state that is internationally recognised as an
autonomous region of Somalia,
 in the northwest. Somalia's inhabitants subsequently reverted to local forms of conflict resolution, either
customary law, with a provision for appeal of all sentences. A
Transitional Federal Government was subsequently created in 2004.
Federal Government of Somalia was established on August 20, 2012, concurrent with the end of the TFG's interim mandate.
 It represents the first permanent central government in the country since the start of the civil war.
Federal Parliament of Somalia serves as the government's
's reign as emperor of
is the best known and perhaps most influential in the nation's history.
Modern Ethiopia and its current borders are a result of significant territorial reduction in the north and expansion in the east and south toward its present borders, owing to several migrations, commercial integration, treaties as well as conquests, particularly by
Emperor Menelik II and
 From the central province of Shoa, Menelik set off to subjugate and incorporate ‘the lands and people of the South, East and West into an empire.’
 He did this with the help of Ras Gobena's Shewan Oromo militia, began expanding his kingdom to the south and east, expanding into areas that had not been held since the invasion of
Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi, and other areas that had never been under his rule, resulting in the borders of Ethiopia of today.
 Menelik had signed the Treaty of Wichale with Italy in May 1889, in which Italy would recognize Ethiopia’s sovereignty so long as Italy could control a small area of northern Tigray (part of modern Eritrea).
 In return Italy, was to provide Menelik with arms and support him as emperor.
 The Italians used the time between the signing of the treaty and its ratification by the Italian government to further expand their territorial claims. Italy began a state funded program of resettlement for landless Italians in Eritrea, which increased tensions between the Eritrean peasants and the Italians.
 This conflict erupted in the
Battle of Adwa on 1 March 1896, in which Italy’s colonial forces were defeated by the Ethiopians.
The early 20th century in Ethiopia was marked by the reign of Emperor
Haile Selassie I, who came to power after
Iyasu V was deposed. In 1935, Haile Selassie's troops fought and lost the
Second Italo-Abyssinian War, after which point Italy annexed Ethiopia to
Italian East Africa.
 Haile Selassie subsequently appealed to the
League of Nations, delivering an address that made him a worldwide figure and 1935's
Time magazine Man of the Year.
 Following the entry of Italy into World War II,
British Empire forces, together with patriot Ethiopian fighters, liberated Ethiopia in the course of the
East African Campaign in 1941.
Haile Selassie's reign came to an end in 1974, when a Soviet-backed
military junta, the
Derg led by
Mengistu Haile Mariam, deposed him, and established a one-party
communist state, which was called the
People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. In July 1977, the
Ogaden War broke out after the government of President of Somalia
Siad Barre sought to incorporate the predominantly Somali-inhabited
Ogaden region into a Pan-Somali
Greater Somalia. By September 1977, the
Somali army controlled 90% of the Ogaden, but was later forced to withdraw after Ethiopia's Derg received assistance from the
North Korea, including around 15,000 Cuban combat troops.
In 1989, the
Tigrayan Peoples' Liberation Front (TPLF) merged with other ethnically based opposition movements to form the
Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), and eventually managed to overthrow Mengistu's dictatorial regime in 1991. A transitional government, composed of an 87-member Council of Representatives and guided by a national charter that functioned as a transitional constitution, was then set up. The first free and democratic election took place later in 1995, when Ethiopia's longest-serving Prime Minister
Meles Zenawi was elected to office. As with other nations in the Horn region, Ethiopia maintained its historically close relations with countries in the Middle East during this period of change.
 Zenawi died in 2012, but his
Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) party remains the ruling political coalition in Ethiopia.