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Ethiopia is the only African nation that was never colonized, but this has not made any difference and Ethiopia is cursed with the same problems found in the rest of Africa. One of the oldest continuously functioning cultures on the planet, Ethiopia replaced it's ancient aristocracy with a communist dictatorship in the 1970s. This in turn went away with the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the end of Soviet subsidies. The resulting democratic government has been weak at times, but still it functioned. There were religious and ethnic minorities that continued centuries old disputes with the central government. The principal rebel groups are from the Oromo tribes (40 percent of the population) and Somalis living along the Somali border. The independent minded province of Eritrean was allowed to go its own way without a fight in 1993. But some of the borders were vaguely defined, and this led to a war between Ethiopia and Eritrea in May of 1998. The fighting was often intense until March of 1999, when things settled down and peace talks were arranged. But the peace has been shaky. Meanwhile, the government has to deal with the usual problems found in developing countries (corruption and inefficiency).