Derg

The Derg (also spelled Dergue; from Amharic: ደርግ, "committee" or "council"; Oromo: Dergii), officially the Provisional Military Administrative Council (PMAC),[4][5] was the military junta that ruled present-day Ethiopia and Eritrea from 1974 to 1987, when the military leadership formally 'civilianized' the administration but stayed in power until 1991.

Provisional Military Government of Socialist Ethiopia
የኅብረተሰብአዊት ኢትዮጵያ ጊዜያዊ ወታደራዊ መንግሥት (Amharic)
Ye-Hebratasabʼāwit Ītyōṗṗyā Gizéyāwi Watādarāwi Mangeśt
1974–1987
Flags
Top: Flag of Ethiopia
Bottom: The state flag
Anthem: ኢትዮጵያ, ኢትዮጵያ, ኢትዮጵያ ቅደሚ
Ītyoṗya, Ītyoṗya, Ītyoṗya, qidä mī
(English: "Ethiopia, Ethiopia, Ethiopia be first")
CapitalAddis Ababa
Official languagesAmharic[1]
Religion
State atheism
Demonym(s)Ethiopian
GovernmentUnitary Marxist-Leninist one-party provisional government under a military junta
Head of state 
 1974
Aman Andom
 1974–1974
Mengistu Haile Mariam
 1974–1977
Tafari Benti
 1977–1987
Mengistu Haile Mariam
Historical eraCold War
12 September 1974
21 March 1975[2]
22 February 1987
Area
1987[3]1,221,900 km2 (471,800 sq mi)
Population
 1987[3]
46,706,229
CurrencyEthiopian birr (ETB)
Calling code251
ISO 3166 codeET
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Ethiopian Empire
People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Today part of

The Derg was established in June 1974 as the Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces, Police and Territorial Army, by officers of the Ethiopian Army and police led initially by chairman Mengistu Haile Mariam. On 12 September 1974, the Derg overthrew the government of the Ethiopian Empire and Emperor Haile Selassie during nationwide mass protests, and three days later formally renamed itself the Provisional Military Administrative Council. In March 1975 the Derg abolished the monarchy and established Ethiopia as a Marxist-Leninist state with itself as the vanguard party in a provisional government. The abolition of feudalism, increased literacy, nationalization, and sweeping land reform including the resettlement and villagization from the Ethiopian Highlands became priorities. Mengistu Haile Mariam became chairman in 1977, launching the Red Terror political repression campaign (Qey Shibir) to eliminate political opponents, with tens of thousands imprisoned and executed without trial.[6]

By the mid-1980s, Ethiopia was plagued by multiple issues, such as recovering from an invasion attempt by neighbouring Somalia, droughts, economic decline and the 1983–1985 famine. (The Derg itself estimated more than a million deaths from famine during its time in power.[7]) This was followed by an increasing reliance on foreign aid and a gradual resurgence of conflicts, particularly the Eritrean War of Independence, and the Ethiopian Civil War between it and various ethnic militias. In 1987, Mengistu abolished the Derg and formed the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia led by the Workers' Party of Ethiopia, with a new government containing civilians but still dominated by members of the Derg.[8]