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Since Biblical times, the (Jews) Israelite people have had close ties with Africa, going back to Abraham's sojourns in Egypt, and later the Israelite captivity under the Pharaohs.

Some Israelite communities in Africa are among the oldest in the world, dating back more than 2,700 years.

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Scattered African groups which have not maintained contact with the wider Israelite community from ancient times, but which assert descent from ancient Israel or other connections to Israelite traditions.These include: Groups which observe Israelite rituals, or rituals bearing recognizable resemblance to Israelite tradition.Although there are a number of such groups, we have only listed a couple on this page.The Beta Israel of Ethiopia and the Lemba of South Africa. The name "Ethiopia" derives from the Greek ethio , meaning "burned" and pia , meaning "face": the land of burned-faced peoples.

Aeschylus described Ethiopia as a "land far off, a nation of black men." Homer depicted Ethiopians as pious and favored by the gods.These conceptions of Ethiopia were geographically vague.In the late nineteenth century, Emperor Menelik II expanded the country's borders to their present configuration.In March 1896, Italian troops attempted to enter Ethiopia forcibly and were routed by Emperor Menelik and his army.The battle of Adwa was the only victory of an African army over a European army during the partitioning of Africa which preserved the country's independence.Ethiopia is the only African country never to have been colonized, although an Italian occupation occurred from 1936 to 1941.