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The vast majority of the languages spoken in the country can be classified within three families of the Afro-Asiatic super language family: the Semitic, Cushitic, and Omotic.

Semitic-language speakers predominantly live in the highlands in the center and north.

In March 1896, Italian troops attempted to enter Ethiopia forcibly and were routed by Emperor Menelik and his army.

The battle of Adwa was the only victory of an African army over a European army during the partitioning of Africa which preserved the country's independence.

French is heard occasionally in parts of the country near Djibouti, formerly French Somaliland.Cushitic-language speakers live in the highlands and lowlands of the south-central region as well as in the north-central area. The Nilo-Saharan super language family accounts for about 2 percent of the population, and these languages are spoken near the Sudanese border.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.In the highlands is Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, which supplies the great majority of water to the Nile River Valley in Egypt.Variation in altitude results in dramatic climatic variation.

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