ABYSSINIA is an extensive country of Eastern Africa, the
limits of which are not well defined, and authorities be regarded
as lying between 7° 30' and 15° 40' N. lat., and 35° and 40° 30' E.
long., having, N. and N.W., Nubia; E., the territory of the
Danakils; S; the country of the Gallas; and W., the regions of the
Upper Nile (61-1). It has an area of about 200,000 square miles,
and a population of from 3,000,000 to 4,000,000.
The name Abyssinia, or more properly Habessinia, is derived from the Arabic word Habesch, which signifies mixture or confusion, and was applied to this country by the Arabs on account of the mixed character of the people. This was subsequently Latinised by the Portuguese into Abassia and Abassinos, and hence the present name. The Abyssinians call themselves Itiopyavan, and their country Itiopia, or Manghesta Itiopia, the kingdom of Ethiopia.