Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa

(ăd`ĭs ăb`əbə) [Amharic,=new flower], city (1994 pop. 2,112,737), capital of Ethiopia. It is situated at c.8,000 ft (2,440 m) on a well-watered plateau surrounded by hills and mountains. Addis Ababa is Ethiopia's largest city and its administrative and communications center. It is the main trade center for coffee, the country's chief export, and for tobacco, grains, and hides. The major industries produce food, beverages, processed tobacco, plastics, chemical products, textiles, and shoes. In addition, the city is the center of the nation's service and finance sectors. Addis Ababa has a large tourist industry. It is the hub of a highway network and a terminus of a railroad that runs to DjiboutiDjibouti
, officially Republic of Djibouti, republic (2015 est. pop. 828,000), c.8,900 sq mi (23,057 sq km), E Africa, on the Gulf of Aden. It is bounded by Eritrea (N), Ethiopia (W, S), Somalia (S), and the Gulf of Aden (E).
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, making Addis Ababa an important distribution center. The city also has a rapid transit system (opened 2015). An international airport is near Addis Ababa.

In 1886 the city, then known as Finfinnie, was chosen by Menelik IIMenelik II
, 1844–1913, emperor of Ethiopia after 1889. He was originally ras (ruler) of Shoa (central Ethiopia). After the death (1868) of Emperor Tewodros II, Menelik, with Italian support, gained strength steadily. He seized the throne after Emperor Johannes IV died.
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 as the capital of his kingdom of Shoa and was renamed Addis Ababa. In 1889 it was made the capital of Ethiopia. In 1936 (during the Italo-Ethiopian War), Italy captured Addis Ababa and made it the capital of Italian East AfricaItalian East Africa,
former federation of the Italian colonies of Eritrea and Italian Somaliland and the kingdom of Ethiopia. The federation was formed (1936) to consolidate the administration of the three areas.
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. The city was recaptured by the Allies in 1941 and returned to Ethiopian rule. After World War II, the city experienced rapid growth.

The African Union (AU; the successor of the Organization of African UnityOrganization of African Unity
(OAU), former international organization, established 1963 at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by 37 independent African nations to promote unity and development; defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of members; eradicate all forms of colonialism;
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) and the UN Economic Commission on Africa are headquartered in Addis Ababa, which also hosts numerous international conferences. The Univ. of Addis Ababa, whose Institute of Ethiopian Studies runs an ethnological and traditional arts museum, and Ethiopian National Theatre are in Addis Ababa. The AU center, the imperial palace, the parliament building, and the Coptic and Roman Catholic cathedrals are notable buildings.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Addis Ababa


(“new flower” in Amharic), the capital of Ethiopia; the country’s largest city and its industrial and cultural center. Located on the Ethiopian plateau at an elevation of more than 2,400 m, it has a population of 664,000 (1968; about 400,000 in 1958). A highway junction, it is connected by a railroad with the port of Djibouti in French Somaliland and has an international airport. The main industrial enterprises in Addis Ababa are light industry (textiles, leather, and footwear), the food industry (flour mills, butter plants, and meat and dairy plants), woodworking, and the construction materials industry. Handicraft production includes woven, leather, ceramic, metal, and wooden items. There is trade in coffee, hides, grain, oils, honey, livestock, and handmade goods.

Founded in 1887, Addis Ababa was made capital of Ethiopia by Emperor Menelik II in 1889. A conference of African heads of states and governments was held in Addis Ababa in May 1963 at which the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was founded.

Most of the buildings in the city are one-story houses of mud, stone, or wood. The few modern high-rise buildings include the state bank, the city hall, the television center, the ministry of foreign affairs, the chamber of commerce (all built in 1965), and Africa Hall (1963) with a huge stained-glass panel (150 sq m), designed by Afewerk Tekle. In the southern part of the city there is the Haile Selassie I Square (Aduwa Square) with a stone statue of a lion, the symbol of the Ethiopian state. In the center of the city there is the Menelik II Square with an equestrian statue of Menelik II and St. George’s Cathedral (built in the late 19th century), which was restored in the 1950’s and decorated by Afewerk Tekle and Millaf Khiruyu. The Holy Trinity Cathedral (1941), the palace of Menelik II (1894), and the 27 Miyadziya Square with a monument honoring the liberation from Italian occupation are located in the eastern part. A memorial to the victims of Fascism has been erected on the 12 Yagatit Square (1955, sculptor A. Augustinčić).

Addis Ababa has a university, the University Library, the National Library, a museum of history and ethnology, a national theater, and the Institute of Ethiopian Studies (1963). Addis Ababa has been the residence of the UN Economic Commission for Africa since 1958 and of the OAU since 1963.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Addis Ababa

the capital of Ethiopia, on a central plateau 2400 m (8000 ft.) above sea level: founded in 1887; became capital in 1896. Pop.: 2 899 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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