Ethiopia is one of the oldest continuous civilizations in the world. Most of us identify Ethiopia with Emperor Hailie Selassie or the Queen of Sheba (Saba). The land of Sheba was referred to as Saba by the Ethiopians. The actual name of the Queen of Sheba was Queen Makeda. The time span between the reigns of Queen Makeda and Emperor Hailie Selassie is approximately 3000 years. Most of the world is familiar with this period of history wherein Ethiopians ruled a great civilization. Most people are unaware of the existence of at least 97 other sovereign rulers who reigned prior to Queen Makeda. Once we include the rule of these 97 sovereigns, Ethiopian civilization can be traced back to 3000 BC. We are familiar with Ethiopia from passages in the Old and New Testaments of the bible. Genesis, Chapter 2, verse 13 refers to 4 rivers that flowed out of Eden.
One of these is the River Gihon which is the river that encircles Cush (sometimes in the bible Cush and Ethiopia are used interchangeably). The Gihon is another name for the Blue Nile River of Ethiopia. While visiting Ethiopia my family and I had the pleasure to stay at the Gihon Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In addition to Ethiopia being one of the oldest civilizations in the world, Ethiopia is also one of the oldest Christian nations in the world. The Ethiopian court (governing officials) was first introduced to Christianity in approximately the year 42.
Some of you may remember the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch as written in Acts, Chapter 8, verse 27: “Then the angel of the Lord said to Philip, Start out and go south to the road that leads down from Jerusalem to Gaza. So he set out and was on his way when he caught sight of an Ethiopian. This man was a eunuch, a high official of the Kandake (Candace) Queen of Ethiopia in charge of all her treasure.” The passage continues by describing how Philip helped the Ethiopian understand one passage of Isaiah that the Ethiopian was reading. After the Ethiopian received an explanation of the passage, he requested that Philip baptize him, which Philip obliged.
I cross referenced some of my Ethiopian materials and discovered that Queen Gersamot Hendeke VII (very similar to Kandake) was the Queen of Ethiopia from the year 42 to 52. The aforementioned reveals that the Ethiopian court was introduced to Christianity in the 1st century. Another very interesting fact with respect to Christianity that remains hidden is that Christianity became the official state religion of Ethiopia in the year 320 (the 4th century) during the rule of Emperor Ezana.
Further, the Ethiopians commemorated the event (acceptance of Christianity as the state religion) by removing the image of the crescent from their coins and replacing it with the Christian cross!! The Ethiopians of what was known as the Axumite Empire minted, distributed and utilized coins for money. Hundreds of varieties of coins were minted in gold, silver and bronze during the Axumite Empire over a period that spanned 700 to 1000 years. Ethiopians (Axumites) also built numerous monuments, palaces, temples and other structures in northern Ethiopia. Some remain standing after 2000 years.