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Kingdom of Aksum

Aksumite Empire
Mangiśta Aksum
c. 100 – c. 940
Capital Aksum
Languages Ge'ez
Religion Judaism, Polytheism
(before c. 330)
Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity
(after c. 330)
Government Monarchy
 •  c. 100 Zoskales (first known)
 •  c. 940 Dil Na'od (last)
Historical era Iron Age
 •  Established c. 100
 •  Conquest by Gudit c. 960
 •  350 1,250,000 km² (482,628 sq mi)
Currency AU, AR, AE units
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Himyarite Kingdom
Medri Bahri
Zagwe Dynasty
Today part of  Eritrea
 Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Aksum or Axum, also known as the Aksumite Empire, was a trading nation in the area of Eritrea and Northern Ethiopia. It existed from approximately 100–940 AD. It grew from the proto-Aksumite Iron Age period c. 4th century BC to achieve prominence by the 1st century AD, and was a major player in the commercial route between the Roman Empire and Ancient India. The Aksumite rulers facilitated trade by minting their own Aksumite currency, the state established its hegemony over the declining Kingdom of Kush and regularly entered the politics of the kingdoms on the Arabian Peninsula, eventually extending its rule over the region with the conquest of the Himyarite Kingdom. The Persian Prophet Mani regarded Axum as one of the four great powers of his time, with the other three being Persia, Rome, and China.

The Axumites erected a number of large stelae, which served a religious purpose in pre-Christian times. One of these granite columns is the largest such structure in the world, standing at 90 feet. Under Ezana (fl. 320–360) Aksum adopted Christianity. In the 7th century, early Muslims from Mecca also sought refuge from Quraysh persecution by travelling to the kingdom, a journey known in Islamic history as the First Hijra.

Its ancient capital, also called Aksum, was in northern Ethiopia. The Kingdom used the name "Ethiopia" as early as the 4th century. It is also the alleged resting place of the Ark of the Covenant and the purported home of the Queen of Sheba.