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The Kingdom of Aksum (alternatively Axum), located in present-day Ethiopia, traced its roots to the migration of Arabs across the Red Sea into the Horn of Africa in 1000 B.C. The kingdom had a written language called "Ge'ez" (a Semitic language using Arabic characters) and controlled the southwestern portion of the Arabian Peninsula.

The peak of its power came under the strong rule of a king named Ezana in A.D. 325-360. Ezana conquered Kush and destroyed the city of Meroe. He also converted to Christianity and a Coptic Church formed in the Aksum kingdom.

Aksum developed a coin currency and a unique architectural style based on the "stelae", large stone pillars. But in A.D. 710, the Muslims conquered Aksum and destroyed its principle trading city of Adulis.