It wouldn’t come as a surprise to many that Egypt has the highest number of Archaeological historical discoveries in Africa. Epic stories of Egyptian mummies, ancient tombs and sculptures which have been portrayed in various movie scenes and best-selling books of our time makes it easy for people to know that. However, I bet you don’t know the next country to come close to this feat (well, if not for the title of this article).
But did you know?
Eritrea after Egypt has the second highest archaeological historical discoveries in Africa. The number of archaeological sites in the country which was 45,000 has now increased to 80,000.
If you didn’t know that, you are not alone. Eritrea is seen by many as one of Africa’s most unpopular countries; with only a handful of tourist visits recorded annually. Unlike any other country in Africa, its media presence is minimal and only a few recent articles related to this country can be found on the internet.
Eritrea is situated in East Africa, with its capital city in Asmara. It is located between Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti and the Red Sea. Eritrea is a multi-ethnic country, with 9 ethnic groups and with 3 official languages. The country has had its long bout of colonial oppression by the western world and even by Ethiopia, which it finally gained independence from in 1993.
In recent years, archaeologists have made major discoveries in Eritrea which they believe could impact the history of human evolution. Some of these discoveries include: 6 human footprints dating back around 800,000 years, 2 human skulls of 1,000,000 years of age, and the port city – Adulis, one of the oldest cities in the world is located in Eritrea.
Aside from its rich historical heritage, this unpopular country has other uncommon facts we should know. It is:
1. One of the Worst Governed Countries: Since it gained independence in 1993, Eritrea has been ruled by Isaias Afwerki. The politics of Eritrea revolves around a single-party presidential dictatorship system. Till date, no presidential or legislative election has been held in this country and the people of Eritrea do not have democratic freedom. Elections have been regularly scheduled but none have ever been held.
2. World's Most-Censored Country: According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Eritrea is currently the world’s most-censored country. This could be attributed to the fact that all the media channels and enterprises in the country are state-owned and citizens are not allowed to express their views and rights. In 2001, the government had shut down all independent media. The CPJ report also highlight that Eritrea is the “worst jailer” of journalists in sub-Saharan Africa.
3. Sim cards are as rare as gold: Citizens need to apply to the local government to get a Sim card! Those who eventually get a Sim card, can not use it to access the internet because the service which is provided by the state-owned EriTel (sole provider of telecom services) is terrible. Only about 1 % of Eritreans have internet access.
4. But, the capital city -Asmara is beautiful with old Italian-style structures: It's worth the visit, if only you can get a visa. The visa process is also tedious.
Photo credit: CGTN
Article Credit: Ima-Abasi Joseph Pius