Today, May 23rd, marks the 21st celebration since the East African nation of Eritrea gained its full independence from Ethiopia, after having previously been colonized by Italy in 1885 - who they gained independence from in 1941, and England - who they gained independence from in 1951. Before the Italian occupation of what is now modern-day Eritrea, the Ottoman Empire maintained control of over much of this territory between 1557–1885.
Eritrean history is home to some of the oldest civilizations on the continent. Together with northern Somalia, Djibouti, and the Red Sea coast of Sudan, Eritrea is considered the most likely location of the land known to the ancient Egyptiansas Punt (or “Ta Netjeru,” meaning god’s land), whose first mention dates to the 25th century BC. The ancient Puntites were a nation of people that had close relations with Pharaonic Egypt during the times of Pharaoh Sahure and Queen Hatshepsut.
Around the 8th century BC, a kingdom known as D’mt was established in Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, with its capital at Yeha in northern Ethiopia. Its successor, the Kingdom of Aksum, emerged around the 1st century BC or 1st century AD and grew to be, according to the Persian philosopher Mani described Axum as one of the four greatest civilizations in the world, along withChina, Persia, and Rome.