After weeks of illness, Ethiopia's Prime Minister and US ally Meles Zenawi died in Brussels at the age of 57 on August, 20, 2012.
Credit: Peter Macdiarmid

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has died in Brussels after weeks of illness and avoiding public appearances. Zenawi was a key US ally and African strongman. He has ruled Ethiopia as president and then prime minister since 1991, and his death brings up many questions about what will happen to a region that has faced so many changes over the years.

GlobalPost takes a look at Ethiopia over the past few decades, through it's days of socialism, democracy, war, famine, and recovery.

  • Ethiopia suffered through many famines throughout the 1980s. Here, aid such as rice and grain is loaded onto Doctors Without Borders trucks in 1985.
    Credit: Joel Robine
  • Thousands of people from southern Ethiopia traveled to refugees in the northern part of the country to await food and medical supplies in 1985.
    Credit: Joel Robine
  • Ethiopian ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam led the country from 1977 to 1991, during which time he attempted to create a socialist state. In this photo from 1987, members of the communist Ethiopian Workers' party celebrate Mengistu's revolution.
    Credit: Alexander Joe
  • The Ethiopian People's Democratic Front overthrew Mengistu's socialist state in 1991, leading to this crowd toppling a statue of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin two days after Mengistu was exiled.
    Credit: Jerome Delay
  • After Mengistu is overthrown in 1991, Meles Zenawi takes over as interim leader and chairman of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front. Here, Zenawi gives his first press conference.
    Credit: Alexander Joe
  • Women gather around posters for Ethiopia's first multi-party elections in 1995, during which Meles Zenawi is elected as Prime Minister.
    Credit: Alexander Joe
  • In 2000, Ethiopia struggles to avoid famine after three years of drought.
    Credit: Joel Robine
  • A girl is treated for malnutrition and tuberculosis as Ethiopia continues to suffer from drought and awaits the delivery of emergency food aid in 2000.
    Credit: Joel Robine
  • From 1998 to 2000, Ethiopia was at war with neighboring Eritrea over a border dispute. In this photo from 2000, Ethiopian soldiers celebrate after a victory.
    Credit: Alexander Joe
  • Like this woman in 2003, many Jews in Ethiopia were forced to convert to Christianity.
    Credit: Marco Longari
  • A businessman reads a newspaper on May 14, 2004, the eve of an Ethiopian general election filled with government harassment and political arrests.
    Credit: Marco Longari
  • Border tensions with Eritrea continued in 2005, although Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki claimed Ethiopia was manufacturing the crisis in order to divert attention from problems at home.
    Credit: Marco Longari
  • A woman walks through Ethiopia's mountains on 2007 as the country celebrates the third millennium seven years after the rest of the world thanks to the Julian calendar, which it still follows.
    Credit: Roberto Schmidt
  • Ethiopians sing and dance in celebration of 20 years of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Front in 2011.
    Credit: Simon Maina
  • A view of the controversial Gibe III dam, currently under construction and expected to give about half of Ethiopia access to power.
    Credit: Jenny Vaughan
  • After weeks of illness, Ethiopia's Prime Minister and US ally Meles Zenawi died in Brussels at the age of 57 on August, 20, 2012.
    Credit: Peter Macdiarmid

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