A country of northeast Africa bordering on the Red Sea. Once part of the Ethiopian kingdom of Aksum, it became an Italian colony in 1890 and was named after the Roman term for the Red Sea, Mare erythraeum. Captured by the British during World War II, Eritrea later became a federated part (1952) and then a province (1962) of Ethiopia, from which it gained its independence in 1993. Asmara is the capital and largest city. Population: 4,910,000.