The Aksumite Empire: Daughter of Kemet
The Aksumite Empire arose as a direct result of the fall of the last Ptolemaic dynasty at the beginning of the first millennium . Those members of Egypt fled south to conquer the Kingdom of Kush and formed Aksum.
Under Emperor Ezana (fl 320–360), Axum became the first major empire to convert to Christianity, and was named by Mani (216–276) as one of the four great powers of his time along with Persia, Rome, and China. Axum’s ancient capital is found in northern Ethiopia.
The Aksumite Empire used the name “Ethiopia” as early as the 4th century, and is also the alleged resting place of the Ark of the Covenant (in the 16th century Cathedral of St. Mary of Zion) and the purported home of the Queen of Sheba.
Axum was the first state ever to use the image of the cross on its coins, in around 300 A.D. Axum was a crucial participant in international trade, sending gold and ivory as far away as China and Java and as far North as modern-day France.
Like many other African kingdoms, Axum began its decline when Islam arrived, but did not fall completely. Axum has remained Christian up to today, and the Axumites live on in the blood lines of today’s Ethiopians and Eritreans.
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