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Ethiopia's tumultuous history (PHOTOS)
Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has died in Brussels after weeks of illness and avoiding public appearances. Zenawi was a key US ally and African strongman. He has ruled Ethiopia as president and then prime minister since 1991, and his death brings up many questions about what will happen to a region that has faced so many changes over the years.

GlobalPost takes a look at Ethiopia over the past few decades, through it's days of socialism, democracy, war, famine, and recovery.

Ethiopia famine supplies 2012 8 21
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Ethiopia suffered through many famines throughout the 1980s. Here, aid such as rice and grain is loaded onto Doctors Without Borders trucks in 1985.

(Joel Robine - AFP/Getty Images)
Ethiopia refugees 2012 8 21
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Thousands of people from southern Ethiopia traveled to refugees in the northern part of the country to await food and medical supplies in 1985.

(Joel Robine - AFP/Getty Images)
Ethiopia commiunism 2012 8 21
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Ethiopian ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam led the country from 1977 to 1991, during which time he attempted to create a socialist state. In this photo from 1987, members of the communist Ethiopian Workers' party celebrate Mengistu's revolution.

(Alexander Joe - AFP/Getty Images)
Ethiopia lenin toppled 2012 8 21
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The Ethiopian People's Democratic Front overthrew Mengistu's socialist state in 1991, leading to this crowd toppling a statue of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin two days after Mengistu was exiled.

(Jerome Delay - AFP/Getty Images)
Ethiopia meles takes over 2012 8 21
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After Mengistu is overthrown in 1991, Meles Zenawi takes over as interim leader and chairman of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front. Here, Zenawi gives his first press conference.

(Alexander Joe - AFP/Getty Images)
Ethiopia elections 1995 2012 8 21
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Women gather around posters for Ethiopia's first multi-party elections in 1995, during which Meles Zenawi is elected as Prime Minister.

(Alexander Joe - AFP/Getty Images)
Ethiopia drought cows 2012 8 21
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In 2000, Ethiopia struggles to avoid famine after three years of drought.

(Joel Robine - AFP/Getty Images)
Ethiopia girl famine 2012 8 21
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A girl is treated for malnutrition and tuberculosis as Ethiopia continues to suffer from drought and awaits the delivery of emergency food aid in 2000.

(Joel Robine - AFP/Getty Images)
Ethiopia soldiers 2012 8 21
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From 1998 to 2000, Ethiopia was at war with neighboring Eritrea over a border dispute. In this photo from 2000, Ethiopian soldiers celebrate after a victory.

(Alexander Joe - AFP/Getty Images)
Ethiopia jewish conversion 2012 8 21
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Like this woman in 2003, many Jews in Ethiopia were forced to convert to Christianity.

(Marco Longari - AFP/Getty Images)
Ethipia election 2005 2012 8 21
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A businessman reads a newspaper on May 14, 2004, the eve of an Ethiopian general election filled with government harassment and political arrests.

(Marco Longari - AFP/Getty Images)
Ethipia border 2005 2012 8 21
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Border tensions with Eritrea continued in 2005, although Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki claimed Ethiopia was manufacturing the crisis in order to divert attention from problems at home.

(Marco Longari - AFP/Getty Images)
Ethiopia mountains 2012 8 21
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A woman walks through Ethiopia's mountains on 2007 as the country celebrates the third millennium seven years after the rest of the world thanks to the Julian calendar, which it still follows.

(Roberto Schmidt - AFP/Getty Images)
Ethiopia goods 2012 8 21
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A man waters roses at a flower farm in 2007 as flower sales begin to compete with coffee, Ethiopia's top foreign currency earner.

(Jose Cendon - AFP/Getty Images)
Ethiopia meles supporters 2012 8 21
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Supporters hold up a poster of Meles Zenawi during the 2010 elections.

(Simon Maina - AFP/Getty Images)
Ethiopa celebration 2012 8 21
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Ethiopians sing and dance in celebration of 20 years of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Front in 2011.

(Simon Maina - AFP/Getty Images)
Ethiopia dam 2012 8 21
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A view of the controversial Gibe III dam, currently under construction and expected to give about half of Ethiopia access to power.

(Jenny Vaughan - AFP/Getty Images)
Ethiopia meles 2012 8 21
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After weeks of illness, Ethiopia's Prime Minister and US ally Meles Zenawi died in Brussels at the age of 57 on August, 20, 2012.

(Peter Macdiarmid - Getty Images)
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