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The high central plateau is mild, with a mean average temperature of 62 degrees Fahrenheit.
The bulk of the rain in the highlands falls in the major rainy season from mid-June to mid-September, with an average of forty inches of rain during that season.
In addition to the monarchy, whose imperial line can be traced to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church was a major force in that, in combination with the political system, it fostered nationalism with its geographic center in the highlands.
The combination of church and state was an indissoluble alliance that controlled the nation from King 'Ēzānā's adoption of Christianity in 333 until the overthrow of Haile Selassie in 1974.
War, drought, and health problems have left the nation one of the poorest African countries economically, but the people's fierce independence and historical pride account for a people rich in self-determination. Ethiopia is the tenth largest country in Africa, covering 439,580 square miles (1,138,512 square kilometers) and is the major constituent of the landmass known as the Horn of Africa.
It is bordered on the north and northeast by Eritrea, on the east by Djibouti and Somalia, on the south by Kenya, and on the west and southwest by Sudan.
The urban population is estimated to be 11 percent of the total population.
A minor rainy season occurs from February to April. In the year 2000, the population was approximately 61 million, with over eighty different ethnic groups.
The northeastern provinces of Tigre and Welo are prone to drought, which tends to occur about once every ten years. The Oromo, Amhara, and Tigreans account for more than 75 percent of the population, or 35 percent, 30 percent, and 10 percent respectively.
Amharic has been the dominant and official language for the last 150 years as a result of the political power of the Amhara ethnic group.
The spread of Amharic has been strongly linked to Ethiopian nationalism.
The rural lowland population is composed of many nomadic and seminomadic peoples.