Preface: "The Civil Code has been promulgated by Us at a time when the progress achieved by Ethiopia requires the modemisation of the legal framework 01 Our Empire's social structure so as to keep pace with the c1umpn, circumstances of ehis world of today. In order to consolidate the progreu already achieved and to facilitate yet further growth and development, precise and detailed rules must be laid down regarding those problems which do not only jace the individual citizen bue ehe nation. as a whole. The rules contained in this Code are in harmony with the well-established legal traditions of our Empire and the principles enshrined in the Revised Constitution. granted by Us on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of Our Coronation, and have called, as well, upon the best systems of law in the world"
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Unique among African countries, the ancient Ethiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule with the exception of a short-lived Italian occupation from 1936-41. In 1974, a military junta, the Derg, deposed Emperor Haile SELASSIE (who had ruled since 1930) and established a socialist state. Torn by bloody coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought, and massive refugee problems, the regime was finally toppled in 1991 by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front.