Eritrea is a relatively new country, officially and legally recognized in 1993. Though Eritrea is a newer country, the culture and history of the Eritrean people dates back many years. Did you know:
- Before gaining its independence in 1993, Eritrea was under the rule of Italy, the UK and then Ethiopia
- The official languages of Eritrea are Tigrinya, Arabic and English
- It is estimated that 80% of the population farms or is involved in agriculture in some way
- Soccer and cycling are the most popular sports in Eritrea
- Kitcha fit-fit is the most common cuisine in Eritrea. It is a breaded dish served with oil, spices and yogurt
- Eritrea is less than 27 miles away from Yemen
All evangelical churches were closed following the government’s ban on all religious groups other than state-approved Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran or Islamic groups in 2002. Anyone discovered to be an evangelical is tortured and forced to revert to the registered denominations. If they don’t, they are held in military camps without trial. Around 1500 are believed to be imprisoned; at least five died in 2011. Others were released so they wouldn’t die in custody. In 2011 there was a renewed crackdown on house churches; at least 23 believers were imprisoned.