|Coptic Empire of Ethiopia
|Motto: ኢትዮጵያ ታበፅዕ እደዊሃ ሃበ አግዚአብሐር "Ethiopia Stretches Her Hands unto God"|
|Anthem: ኢትዮጵያ ሆይ ደስ ይበልሽ
"Ethiopia, Be happy"
|Recognised regional languages||Coptic|
|-||Beginning of the Solomonic Dynasty||1270|
|-||First Arab-Ethiopian War||1551-1555|
|-||Second Arab-Ethiopian War||1703-1718|
|-||Total|| 1,900,000 km2
733,594 sq mi
|-||1780 estimate||46 Million|
See also: History of Ethiopia
Early Solomonic Dynasty
In 1270, a female usurper overthrew the last ruler of the Zagwe Dynasty, which had ruled the Empire since the old Kingdom of Axum. Shortly after, the ruler Iyasu I killed the usurper and established the new Solomonic Dynasty over Ethiopia. According to legend, the Iyasu and the Solomonics traced their descent through the kings of Axum back to King Solomon himself, when he inseminated his children to the Queen of Sheba that ruled Ethiopia.
In the early Solomonic period, Ethiopia was divided into provinces with local nobility. The early Ethiopian Emperors utilized the title of Emperor to exact tribute from these provinces and further centralize the nation. However, at the same time this caused a decline of urbanization that forced the capital to become more migratory than fixed. Externally, many emperors worked to expand their authority against the Muslim and pagan nations around them. The most successful of these campaigns was under Emperor Tsiyon, that established power over the whole horn of Africa in the 1330s. As Coptic Christianity continued to grow as a significant force in the nation, monasticism grew significantly along with monastic religious movements.
In the 15th century, Ethiopia focused much less on external expansion, and instead directed their attention to internal reforms and modernization: standardized Amharic language, reformed education, modernized military and irrigation system, etc. This also saw a further increase of piety and monasticism as the Empire looked closer to the Pope of Alexandria as head of their religion. This was easiest in the early 15th century, as the collapsing Mamluk Sultanate was unable to prevent such communication.
This piety particularly put pressure on the Ethiopian Emperors to demonstrate their piety in their recorded personality traits. David I (d. 1413) was known as the "people's king" by how frequently he would appear in public places leading prayers for the people. In addition, he was known to begin international trade with Egypt and Turkey, and expanded the navy to the point of visiting Madagascar in 1413. Theodore I (r.1413-1415), albeit reigned very briefly, was known to utilize invocations while dealing with the Smallpox Plague of 1413 that ravaged the nation. Isaac I (r.1415-1429), after completing the reconstruction of Axum in 1416, was known to wear more lavish clothing, which put him off as unpopular among the people. Constantine I (r.1434-1468), one of the most famous rulers of the dynasty, revived the practices of David I to the extent of wearing common clothes and traveling in disguise. Constantine was known as so dynamic with his fascination of history, he would often go missing from the palace as he went seeking the archaeological sites.
Colonization in AfricaConstantine additionally held a dream of expanding Ethiopia's influence across Africa, particularly by colonizing along the Nile and Red Sea. The colonies of Mogran and Tana were set up during the 1440s. Trade with the Benin Empire began in 1441, in the hope of feeding on their inexplicable growth of technology. Baeda Maryam his son was betrothed to Princess Tiosa in 1451 and was sent to Benin for education from 1456-1460. Just after he returned to Constantine in 1461, the First Benin Civil War broke out between the Monarchists and more liberal Irredentists. Constantine sent military and resources to intervene in the war on the Irredentist side, although this was largely unused.
After the Abbasid Caliphate was largely ruined in the First Arab-Persian War, Ethiopia took the opportunity to colonize further north in the Nile, sending a single ship all the way to the sea in 1458. The Caliph responded by tightening their trade with non-Muslim African nations in 1460, particularly the Ethiopian Empire. Ethiopia continued to secretly trade with Adal and the Ottoman Empire, until the order became mute in 1470. Even so, the lack of trade caused a financial crisis in the capital in 1475. During this time of restricted access to Egypt, the Empire was approached by the Roman Pope frequently in an attempt of merging the Coptic and Catholic Churches.
In reaction to increasing tensions with the Caliphate, the reign of Maryam I (r.1468-1492) sought more dynamic action to enforce their claims in Egypt. During the Fifth Fitna which ravaged the Caliphate from 1478-1483, Maryam sent militia forces up the Red Sea to intervene in the war and collect more territory. In the early 1490s, Maryam opened negotiations with Persia, Castile, and the Hospitaller Knights on the possibility of attacking Egypt on all four sides. Unfortunately, this plan was abandoned after Maryam died. After Maryam's death, Ethiopia largely went into decline and stagnation for the remainder of its history until its conquest by the Caliphate.
Muslim RuleIn the mid 16th century, the Abbasid Caliphate under Al-Rahim I was pushing for more direct colonial expansion across Africa. After previous conquests under Al-Najm the Great removed all other threats from the Middle East and Europe, Ethiopia was isolated once more for attack. The resulting First Arab-Ethiopian War from 1551-1555 caused the complete annexation of the nation to the Caliph, as well as killed or enslaved up to a million Ethiopians.
Al-Rahim and his successors would work towards colonizing the region with new, Arab-centric cities, incorporating Ethiopia directly as core territory. Axum was largely left unused, but instead a new regional capital was built around the town of Ziway, officially renamed as Beit Dawud, but quickly gained the colloquial name Medina Jamil. Al-Rahim assumed the title of Imbrator Iftiqiya (Emperor of Africa) in 1560. However, the Solomonic dynasty itself was given a great deal of respect from the Muslim overlords, and allowed to live comfortably in Axum during this period.
In the latter half of the 16th century, as the Abbasid Caliphate started to collapse, Ethiopia saw a substantial growth in population that allowed it to thrive more than it had before the conquest. As Egypt and Ethiopia were now under the same nation, the Coptic populations in both nations were freely in contact and administrated by the Pope of Alexandria. During Egypt's growth in education, the Coptic church became more involved with running the public schools in Egypt, causing more growth of Ethiopian influence through that as well. By the time of the Sixth Fitna, the Coptic church was a formidable force that was carefully allied with the new Rashidun Caliphate.
In the early 17th century, reforms of the Coptic Church centralized their influence of Coptics in both Egypt and Ethiopia. Starting in the 1640s, the Amharic Sojourn saw a large migration of Ethiopians northward into Egypt, and general migrations of Coptics around East Africa that was cause of both growth and discrimination. The Sojourn came to a head in the 1660s with the Coptic Revolt under Theodore the Hermit, which was then brutally put down by the Caliph Murad Al-Jaffar. The subsequent persecutions of Al-Jaffar killed over 100,000 Coptics. During the Seventh and final Fitna in 1668, the Coptics revolted again to take advantage of the weakened Rashidun government.
When the Fitna ended in 1675, the Rashidun greatly de-centralized the government as an attempt to accommodate the people groups that revolted during the previous war. One aspect of this was to grant Ethiopia and East Africa a lot more autonomy and domestic power. This put an end to the Amharic Sojourn, but starting in the 1680s the Amharic Aliyah saw large numbers of Coptics formally in Egypt to immigrate south back to Ethiopia.
Second Arab-Ethiopian WarFinally, in 1693 the Pope of Alexandria traveled down to Ethiopia and crowned Emperor John in Medina Jamil. John declared the Ethiopian Empire restored, but he was careful to remain nominally a vassal of the Caliphate at this time. At the same time, however, this new autonomoy quickly allowed most of Ethiopia proper to fall under feudal Coptic lords, called Princes. Emperor John worked to reform the military and the government, bringing cooporation among the Princes to start economic projects for roads and canals. Very soon, the military swelled due to large numbers of volunteers among the Amharics migrated from Egypt.
After Emperor John died in 1703, Ethiopia fell under the command of two personalities: Emperor Iyasu and Prince Theodore. After the nation had built up its military and infrastructure for ten years, Iyasu took the opportunity to launch a full invasion of Egypt up from the south. The military itself was led by Prince Theodore, a legendary commander for the Ethiopians. Iyasu stayed to administrate in Medina Jamil, using the war to centralize control of the Princes under a single military authority from the capital.
The resulting Second Arab-Ethiopian War not only saw Egypt overwhelmed by the Coptic invasion, but also led to the total collapse of the Caliphate altogether, breaking off its vassals and territories as separate states. The intervention of the neighboring states of Morocco, Jaffarid Arabia, and Swahili made the war long and arduous, killing up to 1 million people on both sides. At the same time, the steady growth of Coptic Christianity in Egypt over the last 150 years helped to quickly gain native support for the invaders. Eventually, in 1718 the Treaty of Cairo solidified the new borders of the Empire and Caliphate.
AdministrationThe Emperor of Ethiopia is the sole and absolute monarch over the entire nation, having no check against him except the Coptic Church. The Emperor is also the head of the Solomonic dynasty, a royal family that traces its ancestry through the Kings of Axum back to the Biblical monarch Solomon - the son of David - in 1000 BC. The members of the Solomonic dynasty live In Axum, and function as the highest class of citizens in the nation.
Administration of the Empire consists of three provinces and 4 New Territories: Tigray (with its capital Adulis), Amhara (with its capital Axum), and Showa (with its capital Shoba), The Abyssia Territory (In the north of modern day Ethiopia) The Abdula Territory (In the Far East of Modern Day Ethiopia) Tula Territory (South of modern day Ethiopia) and Tiemark Territory (Far West of Modern Day Ethiopia). Each of these cities were most urbanized and expanded between 1400 and 1440, the territories are being Assimulated and Populated into Ethiopia,troops Occupy villages and such and act as law enforcement for the Region. Originally, the Solomonic emperors would exact tribute and service from these provinces, which were officially given such sovereignty in 1412. In 1461, the governors of each province was elevated to the status Ras (or head), made as more independent entities under the emperor. As these were removed during Muslim rule, the current system goes back to the original model of governors, except now they function more as representatives of the Emperor in each region.
Egypt is administrated as its own Kingdom, in personal union with the Emperor. While the Emperor administrates from the south, a local governor is appointed to run Egypt in his place. The next class of citizens are a series of feudal nobles, or Princes, who hold local authority over their own personal lands. However, after the Second Arab-Ethiopian War the Emperor assumed direct control over all the Princes' lands and titles. In addition to these offices, there exist a number of artificial communities, or colonies that exist further within the rural parts of Africa. The first of these colonies existed along the Nile established in the 1440s, namely the towns of Mogran and Tana.
The title of Emperor is passed by hereditary primogeniture, or by whoever else the previous monarch names as his successor. Upon the death of the previous emperor, the new claimant must then be crowned by the Pope of Alexandria in the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion. For this reason, the Pope holds considerable authority over the Emperor, and is attributed the highest respect across all of Africa.
MilitaryEthiopia is a land empire, and its army is the best equipped and trained of any pre-industrial military in the world. Most of the ranks of cavalry, infantry and artillery are borroed the same way from the earlier Rashidun Caliphate they broke off from, including the Sipahi, Hussars, Dragoons, and Musketeers. Other military units for artilery, such as cannon crew and grenadiers, were speficially added, utilizing cannons such as falconets and bombards. Firearms had existed since an alchimaic accident in 1454, and cannons as early as 1485, but under Muslim rule their military was vastly updated.
Within the standard military is the Royal Ethiopian Guard, a more traditional elite warrior class that dates back to the early Solomonic dynasty. It was first established by David I as 500 men in 1409, utilizing face masks representing the emperor they served under. After Emperor David died in 1413, Theodore I increased it to 600 men in 1415. Emperor Isaac then increased it to 800 men in 1424. By the reign of Constantine I in 1441, the royal guard was 1,500 men, but he increased it to 2,500 in 1457. In 1468, Baeda Maryam increased it to 5,000 men. However, due to financial constraints it was reduced to 4,000 men in 1475. Finally, in 1500 David II increased the Royal guard to 7,000 men, Under Alexander I it was increased to 300,000 where it roughly remains the same
The navy of Ethiopia is an institution that existed for a temporary period of time prior to the First Arab-Ethiopian War. starting in 1404, the Empire sought out more sources of timber to make ships, and in 1408 created the first crude dock at Adulis. In 1409, Ethiopia developed the first 10 ships of its trade fleet, which was increased to 13 by Emperor Isaac in 1416. Under Isaac, the navy began to expand beyond the Red sea trading as far as Madagasgar. Under Emperor Constantine, the navy within the Nile and various tributaries were increased to form a force formidable to the Caliphate, reaching as far as the Mediterranean in 1458.
Bow ships were introduced to make the ships more mordernized in 1470, but the Red Sea navy never exceeded 15 ships at any time. Leading up to the First Arab-Ethiopian War in the 1540s, the entire fleet was wiped out very quickly. The Nile fleet, however, was largely retained and became very useful to counter Morocco's forces during the Second Arab-Ethiopian War. However, after Egypt was conquered the Ethiopians largely decomissioned the fleet, but under The Current emperor: Joshua The First, The Navy is being rebuilt with 10 new Battle ships being Built in 1789, one of those 10 was the Flagship the: S.S. Theodore Mark I, the famous Ethiopian Envoy captain: Johnathan T. Abu is put in charge of Charge Of the Ethiopian Navy under the Title 'Admiral General'
List of Solomonic Emperors
The full title of the Ethiopian Emperor is: His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of Ethiopia, King of Egypt, King of Nubia, Eritrea and Libya, Emperor of Africa, Conquering Lion of Judah, the Elect of God
|Imperial name||Personal name||Reigned||Notes|
|David I||Dawit Krestos||1382-1413 (31 years)||Helped to grow monasticism|
|Theodore I||Walda Ambasa||1413-1415 (2 years)||Smallpox Plague of 1413|
|Isaac I||Gabra Masqal||1415-1429 (14 years)||Expanded military and navy|
|Andrew||Andreyas Tadbaba||1429-1434 (5 years)|
|Constantine I||Zara Yaqub||1434-1468 (34 years)||Intervened in the First Benin Civil War|
|Maryam I||Baeda Maryam||1468-1492 (24 years)||Intervened in the Fifth Fitna|
|David II||Amda Seyon||1492-1503 (11 years)||Attempted to colonize the Red Sea|
|Isaac II||Wanag Segad||1503-1521 (18 years)|
|Constantine II||Lebna Dengel||1521-1538 (17 years)|
|Maryam II||Sarsa Dengel||1538-1549 (11 years)|
|Iyasu I||Za Dengel||1549-1555 (6 years)||Deposed in the First Arab-Ethiopian War|
|Muhammad||Caliph Al-Rahim I||1555-1560 (5 years)||Held the title by right of conquest until Ethiopia was annexed.|
|From 1560-1692, Ethiopia was ruled as a province of the Abbasid Caliphate and later the Rashidun Caliphate|
|John||A'ilaf Sagad||1693-1703 (10 years)||Ruled as a vassal of the Rashidun Caliphate|
|Iyasu II||Adyam Sagad||1703-1721 (18 years)||Lead the Second Arab-Ethiopian War|
|Theodore II||Tekle Haymanot||1721-1747 (26 years)||Lead the Third Arab-Ethiopian War|
|Alexander I||Tabu Mohammad||Supported the "Rise of the Modern Caliphate"||1747-1755 (Was Overthrown due to Conspiracies that he was secretly a Muslim)|
|Joshua I||Addis Ababa||1755-Present||Is Currently leading Ethiopia Through A "Golden Age" and is attempting to establish economic relations with the Empire's Neighbors|
Laws and policies
The Law of the Realm have their similarities and Differences From The Powers of Europe (Ever since Ethiopia gained Egypt, European Influence has skyrocketed over the years, and with their Status as a Christian State, European Powers are more likely to Ally and side with the Ethiopians.
One difference in the Imperial Realm of Ethiopia would be that Slavery has been Abolished, which is Quicker then most European states, which still have Slavery or are having Trouble with Abolishing it. Some similarities that Ethiopia Has with The Countries of Europe is its Policies on Religion due to The 1790: Egyptian Revolution, Islam has been Restricted Across the land, And force conversions are Common, Muslims are most of the time Refused entry, the only exceptions are Diplomats from Muslim countries and/or Leaders of Muslim States, or Visitors from Allied countries, Coptic Religious Organizations Are given more power in Egypt Then ever before to Try and stomp out Islam, Muslim names are Given An Outright BAN temporarily, most European countries have the same restrictions. In fact, 3 countries have gone to war with The Jaffarid Sultanate, a neighbor to Ethiopia and a Muslim State, Over their religion. Murder, crime and rape is, Of course, Illegal in Ethiopia as every Nation does the same. The Ten Commandments are also apart of the Ethiopian Legal System, making the What not to do's in the Ten Commandments illegal, And Teaching kids not to disobey There parents or Government. Anyone and everyone who Violates the Ten Commandments will be sent to the "King's Court of Justice" and put on trial before a Coptic Judge and the Emperor, Egyptian Jihadists and Revolters/Rebels will also be Tried here. Anyone who violates the normal laws will be arrested and put on trial at the "Imperial Court of House and Law" which is basically the Local Courts that Every Criminal that hasn't violated the 10 commandments goes to for trial and will get a Normal and Justified Jail Sentence.
Drinking is also Illegal in Ethiopia, though you won't get Executed or Severaly punished for Drinking, you will sentenced to 3 years in prison and subject to Councelors to help with your drinking habit, this is the same with drugs but you get 5 Years in jail instead of 3 for smoking or taking Weed or etc.
Woman Aren't Allowed to serve in the Military, if they try no Legal Action will be taken, she will just be outright rejected and Thrown out,Woman Usually stick to traditional Ethiopian Roles for woman as it has been for Centuries And so Restrictions were put in place to prevent from traditions to be lost (This Also is the same with Men) these traditions are: Helping Around the house (The Husband also Aids the wife if he is there), Raise and grow a family, take up the role for men during war, Taking care of The Family when the husband is At work, woman do have more power though, Such as having the option to Go to work to help with the family Salary if it is low, Sueing the husband for Beatings or Enslavement,Not having to Obey the husband at all times, So woman do get the right to Protect themselves and do have a say in basic society. Gays are unheard of in Ethiopia, as the main religions in Ethiopia (Christianity and Islam) Look down on Homosexuality, but If any gays pop up in Ethiopia, they will be Tolerated but must keep it a secret or else they might get beat,Insulted/Harrased, or Even Killed.
CultureThe culture of Ethiopia is a balance between their connection to traditional, religious values and an innate desire for exotic, vibrant beauty. Various cultural elements in terms of vocabulary, philosophy and outlook is deep-seated in their desire for a stronger spiritual connection to God. Voluntary poverty in the way of helping others is seen as the ultimate virtue, owing to the great popularity of monasticism. Ethiopian clothing is known for its vibrant colors created from dying pieces of cotton cloth known as shemma. On men this becomes a knee-length shirt, while women either wear a netela shawl or a habesha kemis dress. Hats are produced as cylindrical caps based on the Rashidun fez.
Ethiopian cuisine typically consists of injera bread accompanied by beef, lamb, vegetables, and assorted lentils. These dishes can include wat, a meaty stew, or tibs, which are sateed vegetables, as well as a breakfast casserole called kinche. Other ingredients can include cili peppers along with mitmita seasoning, coupled with the standard beverage as coffee. The pious heritage of the Ethiopians measures time in the year by the Paschal cycle. However, various festivals and fairs throughout the year have been integral to Ethiopian culture since 1418.
A certain level of antiquarianism and proto-archeology predated its use by the modern Caliphates. After the Sword of Ezana was uncovered by Emperor Constantine in 1461, the entire legacy of Ezana and his dynasty at Axum was carefully excavated. Ezana's tomb and place of residence has since become a place of veneration and sacrifice starting with the education of Baeda Maryam. After Ethiopia's independence in the 18th century, more formal antiquarianism and archeology was inherited from the Rashidun Caliphate.
Art and Architecture
Ethiopian art for painting, weather appear on books, walls, or icons, has been known as a very unique and distinctive style since antiquity. Simplified, if not cartoonish depictions of various saints, biblical figures and the Virgin Mary adorn many churches and caverns throughout the nation. Renaissance art was introduced in the 1480s by Emperor Maryam, but it was largely experimental during the old Solomonic Dynasty.
During its Muslim rule, Ethiopia largely adopted the more Arab baroque style, which vastly changed their style completely. Cartoonish depictions were replaced with realistic proportions on human anatomy, coupled with dramatic poses in a variety of vivid colors and shading. Even after Ethiopia's independence, the Baroque style still remains dominant among iconography.
Architecture started with the Aksumite architecture during the first millennium AD. A variety of different churches, villas, and small towns were originally dug directly out of the cleft of rocks, taking on a distinctive arched curvature. Over time, stand-alone structures were built in the same style, consisting of roundhouses built from sandstone and basalt. The Royal Palace of Axum was built in this style in 1412 for Emperor David I.
Similar to the painting, however, architecture was reinvented in the Baroque style during Muslim rule, and this was how the city of Medina Jamil was built. After Ethiopia gained independence, architecture took on a fused nature with rock-hewn roundhouses incorporating many baroque elements. This is how the royal palace of Medinah Jamil, made in the 1690s, is distinguished from the Royal Palace of Axum.
LiteratureEarly Ethiopian writings in the Empire's history was mostly restricted to stone inscriptions in the Ge'ez language, either as monuments or stelae. Even into the early 15th century, Emperor David would erect stellae to commemorate historic events such as the death of Pope Matthew in 1408. However, starting under Emperor Theodore a system began to standardize and systematize the Amharic language of the Ethiopian people, this time utilizing it for literary works instead of inscriptions.
In 1419, Emperor Isaac started instituting education reforms to teach the common people to read Amharic. As Amharic became more ubiquitous among literate people, later generations would institute higher education for richer literary traditions. In 1452, the College of Axum would be the first university within the Empire. Similarly, the second university became the College of Adulis founded in 1485.
The earlier history of Ethiopia was not abandoned to this new tradition, however. During the reign of Emperor David, the records of Axum and the older Kingdom of Kush were carefully uncovered and investigated for wisdom on the new era. A sort of proto-Antiquarianism took off in the 1450s with uncovering of the artifacts of Ezana, the most famous ruler of ancient Axum.
Specific contributions of literature revolved mainly around saint lives and medieval travelers. Ali Al-Aswed's voyage came through Adulis in 1413. Between 1456-1460, the prince Baeda Maryam lived in Benin and wrote extensively on all his adventures there, including the outbreak of the First Benin Civil War. As proper antiquarianism and history was introduced by the Caliphate in the 17th century, literature has shifted towards chronicling more legendary times of history.
EconomyJust like the Caliphate it broke from, Ethiopia depends strongly on its agricultural basis. In the early Solomonic Dynasty, agriculture was very loosely run owned by private citizens. Starting in 1402, farmers were invited by the Emperor to come to Axum to work, which allowed the dynasty more direct control over the farmland. Nationalized lifestock similarly began in 1417. Between 1462-1485, running water with iron pumps were installed within the city of Axum.
There are many natural resources in Ethiopia that are harvested for export from the region. Gold and iron have been mined since 1404, and salt since 1408. From these resources, coins were first minted by Emperor David in 1412. During its conquest by the Caliphate, more organic materials such as coffee and cotton were also grown in the region, having imported cotten from India after the Golden Jihad. However, leather clothing had been a thriving industry since at least 1448. The coins of the mining industry eventually gave rise to the Bank of Axum established in 1449, which is still the largest bank of Ethiopia to this day.
In contrast to the early Solomonic dynasty, the 15th century saw imrpoved infrastructure and urbanization to combat the growing rural class. Starting in 1403, a policy was implemented to hire third sons of middle class artisans to design and construct road systems across the major cities of Ethiopia. By 1450, the Nile was completely crossed by major highways. As soon as John became emperor in the 1690s, he completed modern highway system to connect all the major cities together.
International trade was a huge component of Ethiopia in order to export their resources to other nations. Trade with the Ottoman Empire began in 1402, and briefly Swahili in 1413. In the 1440s, communication crossed Africa far enough to open trade with Benin, which helped relieve a current struggle with national funds. Trade with the Mamluk Sultanate began in 1404, but after the Abbasid restoration it would become increasingly difficult to trade with Egypt.
As Emperor Constantine worked to expand the Nile navy in the 1450s, trade managed to work its way up the Nile to Khartoum in 1456. In 1458, a single Ethiopian trade ship sailed up the Nile all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. In 1460, fearing the growing influence of Ethiopia in Egyptian economy, the Caliphate cut off all trade to the Empire and other Christian nations in Africa. Starting in 1461, Constantine orderd fishing ports placed further up the Red Sea coast into Abbasid lands, to circumvent this ruling. During this time, secret trade from the Ottoman Empire was frequent, and even the Papal States tried to intervene. By 1470, the order was not enforced at all, but it did eventually cause a financial crisis in 1475.
ReligionThe preservation and advancement of Coptic Christianity is the heart and sole of Ethiopian religious culture. According to legend, the Solomonic Dynasty traces back to the Queen of Sheba who was converted to Judaism by King Solomon, but also bore his children back in her nation. After the fall of Judea to the Babylonians, the Ark of the Covenant was carried into Africa and kept in Ethiopia. Christianity first reached Ethiopia by the Ethiopian eunuch converted by the Apostle Philip, but more directly by the Apostle Matthew. In the 4th century AD, the missionary Saint Frumentius was ordained by Pope Athenasius of Alexandria as the first Patriarch of Ethiopia.
However, after the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 642 AD, Ethiopia was cut off from the Holy See of Alexandria directly. Many emperors over the years would launch military expeditions and envoys to contact the Pope, with varying success. At last, with the collapsing Mamluk Sultanate the envoy sent in 1402 was returned by Pope Matthew I in 1405. At the announcement of his death, however, all of Ethiopia mourned for Matthew in 1408. However, after the restoration of the Caliphate in 1412 communication was restricted once again. Looking for other opportunities for leadership, Ethiopian envoys first visited Rome in 1441, and after the Abbasid trade embargo in 1460 these Roman envoys returned to Ethiopia from the Catholic Pope.
Following the tradition of Coptics in Egypt, Ethiopia has a large following of monasteries, which started in vigor in the early 15th century. The Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion is the most holy of these monasteries, as it contains the famed Ark of the Covenant from the Bible. The Church of St Isaac was established in 1418 in Adulis as it was being constructed. Missionary work is also very important to the Coptic Church, and has been sending missions into Africa since 1403. Starting in 1418, Emperor Isaac worked speeches to call for greater holiness and piety in the nation. To that end, mandatory education systems under Coptic priests was enforced on children starting in 1443. This Coptic education system grew in prominence during Muslim rule, and was utilized all across east Africa as far as Lower Egypt.
Islam is the second largest religion in Ethiopia, consisting of 10% of the population. Islam is tolerated under Christian rule, as agreed by the Emperor within the Treaty of Cairo, but under a large amount of discrimination to prevent any Islamic prosylatization. Judaism also exists in smaller, undisclosed numbers, perhaps as much as 2%.