Eritrea (/ˌɛrᵻˈtreɪ.ə/ or /ˌɛrᵻˈtriːə/;, officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the East Africa. With its capital at Asmara, it is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast. The northeastern and eastern parts of Eritrea have an extensive coastline along the Red Sea. The nation has a total area of approximately 117,600km2 (45,406sqmi), and includes the Dahlak Archipelago and several of the Hanish Islands. Its name Eritrea is based on the Greek name for the Red Sea (Ἐρυθρὰ Θάλασσα Erythra Thalassa), which was first adopted for Italian Eritrea in 1890.
Eritrea is a multi-ethnic country, with nine recognized ethnic groups in its population of around six million. Most residents speak Afroasiatic languages, either of the Semitic or Cushitic branches. Among these communities, the Tigrinya make up about 55% of the population, with the Tigre people constituting around 30% of inhabitants. In addition, there are a number of Nilo-Saharan-speaking Nilotic ethnic minorities. Most people in the territory adhere to Christianity or Islam.
The Italian colonial ship Eritrea (named officially nave appoggio Eritrea in the Italian Navy) was constructed in the Castellammare Shipyards near Napoli. Construction started in 1935 and she was commissioned in 1937. She served mainly in the Indian and western Pacific Oceans
The Eritrea (2,170 tons displacement) was constructed for duties as a typical "colonial ship" and was sometimes referred to as a "sloop." She had a novel diesel-electric machinery outfit designed to maximise range.
She was armed with four 120mm guns, two 40mm guns, and two 13.2mm machine guns. The ship also had an extensive engineering workshop on board and could provide repair support to Italian submarines based in East Africa.
A modified sister ship to be called Etiopia was planned, but cancelled on the outbreak of war.