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Meaning and derivation of the name Ethiopia

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The name Ethiopia derived, from the Greek form, aithiopia, from the two words aitho, “I burn”, and ops, “face”. It would hence mean the colored man’s land — the land of the scorched faces.

The Greeks called all peoples south of Egypt (particularly the area now known as Nubia; modern usage has transferred this name further south to the land and peoples known in the late 19th and early 20th century as Abyssinia) Ethiopians.

The former name of Ethiopia is Abyssinia, a word of uncertain origin. Some people consider it comes from an Arabic word meaning “mixed” – a reference to the country’s many ethnic groups; others believe that the name belonged to an early Ethiopian tribe.

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