a country of eastern africa, west of the red sea. In ancient times, it formed a part of many kingdoms at different periods. Its capital is asmara. Under italian rule from 1869 to 1890 and under the british as a protectorate until 1952, it was federated with ethiopia in 1952 and was made one of its provinces in 1962. In 1991 eritrea was established as a de facto independent state and became fully independent in 1993. The name eritrea alludes to its location near the red sea since it comes from the greek erythros, red.