The war between Ethiopia and Eritrea—two of the poorest countries in the world—began in 1998. Eritrea was once part of the Ethiopian empire, but it was colonized by Italy from 1869 to 1941. Following Italy's defeat in World War II, the United Nations determined that Eritrea would become part of Ethiopia, though Eritrea would maintain a great deal of autonomy. In 1961 Ethiopia removed Eritrea's independence, and Eritrea became just another Ethiopian province. In 1991 following a revolution in Ethiopia, Eritrea gained its independence. However, the borders between Ethiopia and Eritrea had never been clearly marked. Following arguments and skirmishes, Eritrea invaded the area of Ethiopia it viewed as its own. Trench warfare—and the deaths of many soldiers and civilians—has continued since then.

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From . History Behind the Headlines, 0E. © 2002 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, Inc. Reproduced by permission. www.cengage.com/permissions

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