Ethiopia is a large country both in terms of population and geographical area. It experienced no protracted period of colonial rule, although it was partly occupied by the Italians for six years from 1935. It emerged from a disastrous revolutionary part-Marxist period under a military regime (1974-1991), which followed the fall of Haile Selassie. The country experienced wide-scale human rights abuse and intense economic hardship, including acute famine in 1984-1985.
Visits to many parts of the country were not possible and permits, issued by an infuriatingly obstructive and inefficient bureaucracy, were required for travel outside the capital. Happily this is now all in the past and travellers seeing the countryside, people, culture, wildlife and historical sites for the first time are astonished by their richness and diversity.