He thus established Christianity as the religion of the court and state, making the Ethiopian/Eritrean Christian Church one of the oldest in the world.

The decline of the Axumite empire began around 800, when its area of dominance became too big to administer efficiently.

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.

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

The three main national holidays all commemorate the war of liberation: 24 May, Liberation Day; 20 June, Martyr's Day; and 1 September, a holiday that commemorates the start of the liberation war.

The official Eritrean flag, adopted in 1993, is a combination of the flag of the Eritrean People's Liberation Front, the liberation movement that achieved a military victory over the Ethiopian government, and the old flag given to Eritrea by United Nations in 1952. The Eritrean-Ethiopian region has been exposed to population movements and migrations from northern Africa, across the Red Sea, and from the south.

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gave to the body of water between the Arabian Peninsula and the Africa continent (now known as the Red Sea).

Many of the nine ethnic groups within Eritrea are also found in Ethiopia, and the dominant Christian Orthodox highland culture of Ethiopia also stretches into the Eritrean highland plateau.

Historically, there has been a division in Eritrea between the Christian highlands, which are culturally and linguistically homogenous, and the predominantly Muslim lowlands, which are culturally and linguistically heterogeneous.

The Italian colonization of Eritrea in 1890 marked the first time that Eritrean territory was ruled as a single entity.