SIZE - Ethipia is 472,000 square miles, about the size of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico combined.

PEOPLE - The population is approximately 28 million. A little more than a third are Christian and a little less than a half are Moslem, with the rest animist.

HISTORY - Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in African and one of the oldest in the world. Under Emperor Menelik II in the late 1800s and early 1900s the country began to move toward modernization. In 1935 it was invaded and occupied by Italy, and Haile Selassie, who had become emperor in 1930, went into exile. He returned to the throne in 1941 after the Italians were driven out with British aid. In 1974 haile Selassie was deposed in a peaceful revolution, and a military government took control of the country and moved it toward Marxism. Since then there have been recurrent turbulences among the military leaders. Gen. Teferi Bante, head of state, was killed in a struggle with other membes of the military junta in February and Lt. Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam took power. For the past 15 years, rebels, supported by several Moslem governments, have fought with Ethiopian authorities for independence of Eritrea, the northernmost province of the country, which has 10 per cent of Ethiopia's land area.

GOVERNMENT - A monarchy for centuries, Ethiopia has been ruled since 1974 by a Provisional Military Council, which has full executive, legislative and judicial authority. Within the Council, or Dergue, its Amharic name, a smaller group of officers is understood to exercise control. The Council's chairman acts as head of state on ceremonial occasions.

ECONOMY - Grazing and farming are the major occupations, with coffee accounting for half of Ethiopia's exports. Some gold, copper and potash are mined.