The Aksum or Axum Empire was an important military power and trading nation in the area which is now Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, existing from approximately 100–940 A.D. At its height, it was one of only four major international super powers of its day along with Persia, Rome and China. Axum controlled northern Ethiopia, Eritrea, northern Sudan, southern Egypt, Djibouti, Western Yemen, and southern Saudi Arabia, totaling 1.25 million square kilometers. This is almost half the size of India. Axum traded and projected its influence as far as China and India, where coins minted in Axum were discovered in 1990.
Axum was previously thought to have been founded by Semitic-speaking Sabaeans who crossed the Red Sea from South Arabia (modern Yemen) on the basis of Conti Rossini’s theories —but most scholars now agree that when it was founded it was an indigenous African development.
According to historians, GDRT was most likely the first Axumite king to be involved in South Arabian affairs, as well as the first known king to be mentioned in South Arabian inscriptions. His reign resulted in the control of much of western Yemen, such as the Tihāmah, Najrā, Ma`afir, Ẓafār (until c. 230), and parts of Hashid territory around Hamir in the northern highlands. His involvement would mark the beginning of centuries of Axumite involvement in South Arabia, culminating with the full-scale invasion of Yemen by King Kaleb in 520 (or 525). This resulted in the establishment of an Axumite province covering all of South Arabia.