This article examines the impact of Ethiopia’s historical development on the nature, volume, and direction of internal and international migration.describe three important trends associated with an emerging ‘mobility transition’: the sedentarization of nomadic and semi-nomadic populations; the urbanization of internal migration trajectories; and the diversification of international migration. Within these overarching trends, they discuss periods of political conflict, resettlement, and famine that led to significant internal and international displacement. They then explore the drivers of these mobility shifts, evaluating the relative influence of various political, economic, cultural, and technological developments on migration patterns over time. The analyses distinguish between the deep drivers of an emerging mobility transition (e.g. nation-state formation, rising educational attainment, infrastructure development, and industrialization) and the drivers of displacement (e.g. political conflict or resettlement programs) that can suddenly affect the movements of large population segments. This detailed case study contributes to a growing body of research on the ‘mobility transition’ by revealing how a society’s entire mobility complex changes—not only levels of international migration—as the social transformations associated with modern-day development proceed.