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Egyptian traders from about 3000 BC refer to lands south of Nubia or Kush as Punt and Yam.The Ancient Egyptians were in possession of myrrh (found in Punt), which Richard Pankhurst interprets to indicate trade between the two countries was extant from Ancient Egypt's beginnings. Breasted posited that this early trade relationship could have been realized through overland trade down the Nile and its tributaries (i.e. The Greek historian and geographer Agatharchides had documented seafaring among the early Egyptians: "During the prosperous period of the Old Kingdom, between the 30th and 25th centuries B.The Portuguese brought modern weapons and baroque architecture to Ethiopia, and in 1622 converted the emperor Susenyos I to Catholicism, sparking a civil war which ended in his abdication and an expulsion of all Catholics from Ethiopia.A new capital was established at Gondar in 1632, and a period of peace and prosperity ensued until the country was split apart by warlords in the 18th century during the Zemene Mesafint.Pharaonic records indicate this possession of myrrh as early as the First and Second dynasties (3407–2888 BC), which was also a prized product of the Horn of Africa Region; inscriptions and pictorial reliefs also indicate ivory, panther and other animal skins, myrrh-trees and ostrich feathers from the African coastal belt; and in the Fourth Egyptian Dynasty (2789–2767 BC) a Puntite is mentioned to be in the service of the son of Cheops, the builder of the Great Pyramid. C., the river-routes were kept in order, and Egyptian ships sailed the Red Sea as far as the myrrh-country." The first known voyage to Punt occurred in the 25th century BC under the reign of Pharaoh Sahure.The most famous expedition to Punt, however, comes during the reign of Queen Hatshepsut probably around 1495 BC, as the expedition was recorded in detailed reliefs on the temple of Deir el-Bahri at Thebes.This article covers the prehistory and history of Ethiopia, from emergence as an empire under the Aksumites to its current form as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, as well as the history of other areas in what is now Ethiopia such as the Afar Triangle.The Ethiopian Empire (Abyssinia) was first founded by Habesha people in the Ethiopian Highlands.

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During the early Solomonic period Ethiopia went through military reforms and imperial expansion that made it dominate the Horn of Africa. In 1529, a conquest of Abyssinia (Futuh al-Habash) by the Ottoman-allied Somali Muslim Adal Sultanate devastated the highlands, and was only deterred by a Portuguese intervention.

Since then many important finds have propelled Ethiopia to the forefront of palaeontology.

The oldest hominid discovered to date in Ethiopia is the 4.2 million year old Ardipithicus ramidus (Ardi) found by Tim D. The most well known hominid discovery is Lucy, found in the Awash Valley of Ethiopia's Afar region in 1974 by Donald Johanson, and is one of the most complete and best preserved, adult Australopithecine fossils ever uncovered.

There have been many other notable fossil findings in the country.

Near Gona stone tools were uncovered in 1992 that were 2.52 million years old, these are the oldest such tools ever discovered anywhere in the world.