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"The first known civilization in Ethiopia was that of the mighty Aksumite Kingdom. Having established itself in 1000 BC, in northern Ethiopia, it eventually spread over all of northern and even central Ethiopia. The ancient city of Axum, which was started by the Aksumites, was Ethiopia’s first capital city (Kurtz 45).

During the reign of the Aksumites, King Solomon, who was in power from 970-930 BC, was visited by the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10: 1-13). Different theories have been presented as to where the queen was actually from. One Ethiopian story, called the Kibra Negast, states that the queen was actually Queen Makeda (said to have reigned from 1005-955 BC in the coastal regions of Ethiopia). This story claims that when Queen Makeda went to visit King Solomon, she converted to Judaism, and they became romantically involved. She bore him a son, Menelik I, and at the age of thirteen he went back to Jerusalem to get his father’s blessing. Solomon, as the story states, appointed Menelik the first king of Ethiopia (Sorenson 23).

Because of this, Judaism spread throughout Ethiopia. Falashas, or black Jews, practiced a simple form of Judaism. Because they lived in near isolation, the Falashas had only the first five books of the Bible, known as the laws of Moses (Kurtz 31)."

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