Egyptian traders from about 3000 BC refer to lands south of Nubia or Kush as Punt and Yam.The Ancient Egyptians were in possession of myrrh (found in Punt), which Richard Pankhurst interprets to indicate trade between the two countries was extant from Ancient Egypt's beginnings. Breasted posited that this early trade relationship could have been realized through overland trade down the Nile and its tributaries (i.e. The Greek historian and geographer Agatharchides had documented seafaring among the early Egyptians: "During the prosperous period of the Old Kingdom, between the 30th and 25th centuries B.Homo sapiens idaltu, found in the Middle Awash in Ethiopia in 1997, lived about 160,000 years ago.

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Due to migration and imperial expansion, it grew to include many other primarily Afro-Asiatic-speaking communities, including Oromos, Amhara, Somalis, Tigray, Afars, Sidama, Gurage, Agaw and Harari, among others.

One of the earliest kingdoms to rise to power in the territory was the kingdom of D'mt in the 10th century BC, which established its capital at Yeha.

There have been many other notable fossil findings in the country.

Near Gona stone tools were uncovered in 1992 that were 2.52 million years old, these are the oldest such tools ever discovered anywhere in the world.

The Aksumites gave way to the Zagwe Dynasty who established a new capital at Lalibela, before giving way to the Solomonic Dynasty in the 13th century.

During the early Solomonic period Ethiopia went through military reforms and imperial expansion that made it dominate the Horn of Africa. In 1529, a conquest of Abyssinia (Futuh al-Habash) by the Ottoman-allied Somali Muslim Adal Sultanate devastated the highlands, and was only deterred by a Portuguese intervention.Since then many important finds have propelled Ethiopia to the forefront of palaeontology.The oldest hominid discovered to date in Ethiopia is the 4.2 million year old Ardipithicus ramidus (Ardi) found by Tim D. The most well known hominid discovery is Lucy, found in the Awash Valley of Ethiopia's Afar region in 1974 by Donald Johanson, and is one of the most complete and best preserved, adult Australopithecine fossils ever uncovered.Haile Selassie was overthrown in 1974 and the militaristic Derg Regime came to power.In 1977 Somalia invaded, trying to annex the Ogaden region, but were pushed back by Ethiopian, Soviet, and Cuban forces.It was not until 1963 that evidence of the presence of ancient hominids was discovered in Ethiopia, many years after similar such discoveries had been made in neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania.