|a small country in NE Africa, on the Red Sea: became an Italian colony in 1890; federated with Ethiopia (1952--93); an independence movement was engaged in war with the Ethiopian government from 1961 until independence was gained in 1993; consists of hot and arid coastal lowlands, rising to the foothills of the Ethiopian highlands. Languages: Tigrinya, Arabic, English, Afar, and others. Religions: Muslim and Christian. Currency: nakfa. Capital: Asmara. Pop: 4 296 000 (2004 est). Area: 117 400 sq km (45 300 sq miles)|
Country in northeastern Africa bordered by Sudan to the north and west, Ethiopia to the south, Djibouti to the southeast, and the Red Sea to the east. Its capital is Asmara. After a long struggle, Eritrea declared its independence from Ethiopia in 1993. A border conflict with Ethiopia flared between 1998 and 2000.