- a republic in NE Africa, on the Red Sea: Italian colony 1890–1941; province of Ethiopia 1962–93; independent since 1993. 47,076 sq. mi. (121,927 sq. km). Capital: Asmara.
- 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: 6 233 682 (2013 est). Area: 117 400 sq km (45 300 sq miles)
named 1890 when it was an Italian colony, from Mare Erythreum, Roman name of the Red Sea, from Greek Erythre Thalassa, literally “Red Sea” (to the Greeks also including the Gulf of Arabia and the Indian Ocean), from erythros “red” (see red (1)).
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.