Eritrea is a country in the Horn of Africa. It borders the Red Sea, Sudan, Djibouti, and Ethiopia. The country has nine local languages, but use Tigrinya, Arabic and English as the de facto languages of commerce.
Eritrea’s longest border is with the Red Sea, with a mainland coastline of nearly 2,234 km (1,388 mi) though it has over 100 islands. Eritrea’s longest land border is with Ethiopia at 912 km (567 mi) – covering mountains, desert plains and coastal desert. The second longest land border is with Sudan stretching over 605 km (376 mi) of the Sahelian desert. Eritrea’s shortest border is with Djibouti at just 113 km (70 mi) of coastal desert.
Eritrea has nine ethno-linguistic groups, each with a varied history and culture. Eritrea is also home to one of the last surviving narrow-gauge steam locomotive railways in the world. The railroad, today, climbs from the Red Sea coast at Massawa to the highland plateau capital, Asmara.
Although most Eritreans are involved in agriculture, Eritrea’s primary economic mover is mining, with gold, silver, and zinc successfully mined. In spite of mining, Eritrea is still classified as a low-income country with a GDP per capita of $545.
Eritrea was an Italian colony from 1890 through 1941 and was subject to occupation by its neighbor Ethiopia between 1952 and 1991. Various peoples however, have created countries, empires and kingdoms throughout modern Eritrea since the time of the Pharoahs of Egypt.
Cycling however did not reach Eritrea until the 20th century. In spite of its late arrival, it is universally followed by Eritreans in Eritrea and throughout its large Diaspora.