World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Haile Selassie

Article Id: WHEBN0000042120
Reproduction Date:

Title: Haile Selassie  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Imru Haile Selassie, List of covers of Time magazine (1930s), Kagnew Battalion, 1970s, Woyane rebellion
Collection: 1892 Births, 1975 Deaths, African Pan-Africanists, African Union Chairpersons, Burials at Holy Trinity Cathedral (Addis Ababa), Chief Commanders of the Legion of Merit, Chiefs of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya, Cold War Leaders, Collars of the Order of the Aztec Eagle, Deified People, Emperors of Ethiopia, Ethiopian Anti-Communists, Ethiopian Oriental Orthodox Christians, Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, Ethiopian Princes, Extra Knights Companion of the Garter, Governments in Exile During World War II, Grand Collars of the Order of Sikatuna, Grand Collars of the Order of the Southern Cross, Grand Commanders of the Order of the Federal Republic, Grand Commanders of the Order of the Federal Republic (Nigeria), Grand Cordons of the Order of the Nile, Grand Cordons of the Order of the Queen of Sheba, Grand Cordons of the Order of the Seal of Solomon, Grand Cordons of the Order of Valour, Grand Croix of the Légion D'Honneur, Grand Cross of the Order of the Sun (Peru), Grand Crosses of the National Order of Honour and Merit, Grand Crosses of the National Order of Honour and Merit (Haiti), Grand Crosses of the National Order of Merit (Benin), Grand Crosses of the Order of Christ (Portugal), Grand Crosses of the Order of the Sun of Peru, Grand Crosses of the Order of the Tower and Sword, Grand Crosses with Collar of the Order of Charles III, Haile Selassie, Haile Selassie I, Honorary Knights Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George, Honorary Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, Honorary Knights Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, International Opponents of Apartheid in South Africa, Knights Grand Cross of the Military William Order, Knights Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav, Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion, Knights of Pius IX, Knights of the Elephant, Knights of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau, Knights of the Order of the Most Holy Annunciation, Knights of the Order of the Royal House of Chakri, Leaders Ousted by a Coup, Marshals of the Air Force, Non-Chalcedonian Christian Monarchs, Order of Umayyad, Pan-Africanists, People from Addis Ababa, People of the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, Rastafari Movement, Recipients of the National Order of Madagascar, Recipients of the National Order of Vietnam, Recipients of the Order of Leopold (Belgium), Recipients of the Order of Menelik II, Recipients of the Order of Pahlevi, Recipients of the Order of Polonia Restituta, Recipients of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, Recipients of the Order of Solomon, Recipients of the Order of the Chrysanthemum, Recipients of the Order of the Condor of the Andes, Recipients of the Order of the Crown of Italy, Recipients of the Order of the Crown of the Realm, Recipients of the Order of the Liberator General San Martin, Recipients of the Order of the Star (Ghana), Recipients of the Order of the Star of Ghana, Recipients of the Order of the White Eagle (Poland), Recipients of the Order of the Yugoslav Star, Recipients of the Royal Victorian Chain, Recipients of Thiri Thudhamma Thingaha, Rulers of Ethiopia, Solomonic Dynasty, World War II Political Leaders
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Haile Selassie

Haile Selassie
Haile Selassie
Emperor of Ethiopia
Reign 2 November 1930 – 12 September 1974
Coronation 2 November 1930
Predecessor Zewditu I
Successor De jure Amha Selassie I (crowned in exile)
De facto Aman Andom (as Chairman of the Derg)
Spouse Empress Menen
Issue Princess Romanework
Princess Tenagnework
Asfaw Wossen
Princess Zenebework
Princess Tsehai
Prince Makonnen
Prince Sahle Selassie
Full name
Tafari Makonnen Woldemikae
House House of Solomon
Father Ras Makonnen Woldemikael Gudessa
Mother Woizero Yeshimebet Ali Abba Jifar
Born Tafari Makonnen Woldemikael
(1892-07-23)23 July 1892
Ejersa Goro, Ethiopia
Died 27 August 1975(1975-08-27) (aged 83)
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Burial Holy Trinity Cathedral
Religion Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo
Styles of
Haile Selassie of Ethiopia
Reference style His Imperial Majesty
Spoken style Your Imperial Majesty
Alternative style Sire

Haile Selassie (Ge'ez: ቀዳማዊ ኃይለ ሥላሴ qädamawi haylä səllasé[nb 1]; Amharic: [nb 2]    ) (23 July 1892 – 27 August 1975), born Tafari Makonnen Woldemikael,[4] was Ethiopia's regent from 1916 to 1930 and Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. He was the heir to a dynasty that traced its origins by tradition from King Solomon and Queen Makeda, Empress of Axum, known in the Abrahamic tradition as the Queen of Sheba.

At the League of Nations in 1936, the Emperor condemned the use of chemical weapons by Italy against his people during the Second Italo–Ethiopian War.[5] His internationalist views led to Ethiopia's becoming a charter member of the United Nations, and his political thought and experience in promoting multilateralism and collective security have proved seminal and enduring.[6] His suppression of rebellions among the nobles (mekwannint), as well as what some critics perceived to be Ethiopia's failure to modernize adequately,[7] earned him criticism among some contemporaries and historians.[8] His regime was also criticized by human rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch, as repressive and undemocratic.[8][9]

Among the Rastafari movement, whose followers are estimated at between 600,000 and 1,000,000, Haile Selassie is revered as the returned messiah of the Bible, God incarnate.[10][11] Beginning in Jamaica in the 1930s, the Rastafari movement perceives Haile Selassie as a messianic figure who will lead a future golden age of eternal peace, righteousness, and prosperity.[12] Haile Selassie was an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian throughout his life. Haile Selassie is a defining figure in both Ethiopian and African history.[13][14]


  • Name 1
  • Biography 2
    • Early life 2.1
    • Governorship 2.2
    • Regency 2.3
      • Travel abroad 2.3.1
    • King and emperor 2.4
    • Conflict with Italy 2.5
      • Mobilization 2.5.1
      • Progress of the war 2.5.2
      • Exile debate 2.5.3
      • Collective security and the League of Nations, 1936 2.5.4
      • Exile 2.5.5
    • 1940s and 1950s 2.6
    • Charitable gesture 2.7
    • 1960s 2.8
    • 1970s 2.9
      • Wollo famine 2.9.1
      • Revolution 2.9.2
  • Imprisonment 3
    • Death and interment 3.1
  • Descendants 4
  • Rastafari messiah 5
    • Question of his divinity 5.1
  • Biographical film 6
  • Quotations 7
  • Title as Emperor 8
  • Honours 9
  • Ancestry 10
  • Military ranks 11
  • See also 12
  • Notes 13
  • References 14
  • Further reading 15
  • External links 16


Lij Teferi Makonnen at age 3

Haile Selassie was known as a child as Lij Tafari Makonnen (Amharic ልጅ ተፈሪ መኮንን; lij teferī mekōnnin). Lij translates to "child", and serves to indicate that a youth is of noble blood. His given name, Tafari, means "one who is respected or feared". Like most Ethiopians, his personal name Tafari is followed by that of his father Makonnen and rarely that of his grandfather Woldemikael. His Ge'ez name Haile Selassie was given to him at his infant baptism and adopted again as part of his regnal name in 1930.

As Governor of Harer, he became known as Ras Teferi Makonnen    . Ras translates to "head"[15] and is a rank of nobility equivalent to Duke;[16] though it is often rendered in translation as "prince". In 1916, Empress Zewditu I appointed him to the position of Balemulu Silt'an Enderase (Regent Plenipotentiary). In 1928, she granted him the throne of Shoa, elevating his title to Negus or "King".[17][18]

On 2 November 1930, after the death of Empress Zewditu, Ras Tafari was crowned King of Kings, often rendered imprecisely in English as "Emperor".[19] Upon his ascension, he took as his regnal name Haile Selassie I. Haile means in Ge'ez "Power of" and Selassie means trinity—therefore Haile Selassie roughly translates to "Power of the Trinity".[20] Haile Selassie's full title in office was "By the Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, King of Kings of Ethiopia, Elect of God".[21][nb 3] This title reflects Ethiopian dynastic traditions, which hold that all monarchs must trace their lineage back to Menelik I, who in the Ethiopian tradition was the offspring of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.[22]

To Ethiopians, Haile Selassie has been known by many names, including Janhoy, Talaqu Meri, and Abba Tekel.[23] The Rastafari movement employs many of these appellations, also referring to him as Jah, Jah Rastafari, and HIM (the abbreviation of "His Imperial Majesty").[23]


Early life

Ras Makonnen Woldemikael and his son Lij Tafari Makonnen

Haile Selassie's royal line (through his father's mother) originated from the Amhara people,[24] but he also had Oromo, and Gurage[25] roots. He was born on 23 July 1892, in the village of Ejersa Goro, in the Harar province of Ethiopia. His mother was Woizero ("Lady") Yeshimebet Ali Abba Jifar, daughter of the renowned Oromo ruler of Wollo province Dejazmach Ali Abba Jifar.[26] His maternal grandmother was of Gurage heritage.[27] Tafari's father was Ras Makonnen Woldemikael Gudessa, the governor of Harar. Ras Makonnen served as a general in the First Italo–Ethiopian War, playing a key role at the Battle of Adwa;[26] he too was paternally Oromo but maternally Amhara.[27] Haile Selassie was thus able to ascend to the imperial throne through his paternal grandmother, Woizero Tenagnework Sahle Selassie, who was an aunt of Emperor Menelik II and daughter of Negus Sahle Selassie of Shewa. As such, Haile Selassie claimed direct descent from Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, and King Solomon of ancient Israel.[28]

Ras Makonnen arranged for Tafari as well as his first cousin, Imru Haile Selassie, to receive instruction in Harar from Abba Samuel Wolde Kahin, an Ethiopian capuchin monk, and from Dr. Vitalien, a surgeon from Guadeloupe. Tafari was named Dejazmach (literally "commander of the gate", roughly equivalent to "count")[29] at the age of 13, on 1 November 1905.[30] Shortly thereafter, his father Ras Makonnen died at Kulibi, in 1906.[31]


Dejazmatch Tafari, as governor of Harar

Tafari assumed the titular governorship of Selale in 1906, a realm of marginal importance,[32] but one that enabled him to continue his studies.[30] In 1907, he was appointed governor over part of the province of Sidamo. It is alleged that during his late teens, Haile Selassie was married to Woizero Altayech, and that from this union, his daughter Princess Romanework was born.[33]

Following the death of his brother Yelma in 1907, the governorate of Harar was left vacant,[32] and its administration was left to Menelik's loyal general, Dejazmach Balcha Safo. Balcha Safo's administration of Harar was ineffective, and so during the last illness of Menelik II, and the brief reign of Empress Taitu Bitul, Tafari was made governor of Harar in 1910[31] or 1911.[25]

On 3 August, he married Menen Asfaw of Ambassel, niece of heir to the throne Lij Iyasu.


The extent to which Tafari Makonnen contributed to the movement that would come to depose Iyasu V has been discussed extensively, particularly in Haile Selassie's own detailed account of the matter. Iyasu V, or Lij Iyasu, was the designated but uncrowned Emperor of Ethiopia from 1913 to 1916. Iyasu's reputation for scandalous behavior and a disrespectful attitude towards the nobles at the court of his grandfather, Menelik II,[34] damaged his reputation. Iyasu's flirtation with Islam was considered treasonous among the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian leadership of the empire. On 27 September 1916, Iyasu was deposed.[35]

Contributing to the movement that deposed Iyasu were conservatives such as

Haile Selassie
Born: 23 July 1892 Died: 27 August 1975
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Zewditu I
Emperor of Ethiopia
2 November 1930 – 12 September 1974
Monarchy abolished
Titles in pretence
Loss of title
Emperor of Ethiopia
12 September 1974 – 27 August 1975
Succeeded by
Crown Prince Amha Selassie
  • Ethiopian Treasures – Emperor Haile Selassie I
  • Imperial Crown Council of Ethiopia
  • Speech to the League of Nations, June 1936 (full text)
  • Rare and Unseen: Haile Selassie – slideshow by Life magazine
  • Marcus Garvey's prophecy of Haile Selassie I as the returned messiah
  • Haile Selassie I and the Italo-Ethiopian war
  • Haile Selassie I, the Later Years
  • A critical look at the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia
  • BBC article, memories of his personal servant
  • Watch News Reel: His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia visits Jamaica, 21 April 1966
  • Ba Beta Kristiyan Haile Selassie I – The Church of Haile Selassie I
  • Haile Selassie I Speaks -Text & Audio-
  • Collection by Martin Rikli in 1935–1936, including photos of Haile Selassie, open access through the University of Florida Digital Collections
  • The Emperor's Clothes
  • A History of Ethiopia
  • "Distressed Negus.". Time Magazine. 15 November 1937. Retrieved 19 January 2010. 

External links

  • Paul B. Henze. "The Rise of Haile Selassie: Time of Troubles, Regent, Emperor, Exile" and "Ethiopia in the Modern World: Haile Selassie from Triumph to Tragedy" in Layers of Time: A History of Ethiopia. New York: Palgrave, 2000. ISBN 0-312-22719-1
  • Ryszard Kapuściński, The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat. 1978. ISBN 0-679-72203-3
  • Haile Selassie I: Ethiopia's Lion of Judah, 1979, ISBN 0-88229-342-7
  • Haile Selassie's war: the Italian-Ethiopian Campaign, 1935–1941, 1984, ISBN 0-394-54222-3
  • Haile Selassie, western education, and political revolution in Ethiopia, 2006, ISBN 978-1-934043-20-2

Further reading

  • Haile Selassie I. My Life and Ethiopia's Progress: The Autobiography of Emperor Haile Selassie I. Translated from Amharic by Edward Ullendorff. New York: Frontline Books, 1999. ISBN 0-948390-40-9
  • Marcus, Harold G. (1994). A History of Ethiopia. London: University of California Press. p. 316.  
  • Mockler, Anthony (2003). Haile Selassie's War. Signal Books.  
  • Murrell, Nathaniel Samuel and Spencer, William David and McFarlane, Adrian Anthony (1998). Chanting Down Babylon: The Rastafari Reader. Temple University Press.  
  • Roberts, Andrew Dunlop (1986). The Cambridge History of Africa: From 1905 to 1940, Volume 7. Cambridge: Press Sindicate of the University of Cambridge.  
  • Shinn, David Hamilton and Ofcansky, Thomas P. (2004). Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia. Scarecrow Press.  
  • De Waal, Alexander (1991). Evil Days: Thirty Years of War and Famine in Ethiopia. Human Rights Watch.  


  1. ^ Gates, Henry Louis and Appiah, Anthony, Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience. 1999, p. 902.
  2. ^ Haile Selassie. Retrieved on 24 April 2014.
  3. ^ Haile Selassie. Retrieved on 24 April 2014.
  4. ^ Page, Melvin Eugene and Sonnenburg, Penny M. (2003). Colonialism: an international, social, cultural, and political encyclopedia. Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 247.  
  5. ^ a b Safire, William (1997). Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History. W.W. Norton. ISBN 0393040054. pp. 297–8.
  6. ^ Karsh, Efraim (1988) Neutrality and Small States. Routledge. ISBN 0415005078. p. 112.
  7. ^ Meredith, Martin (2005). The Fate of Africa: From the Hopes of Freedom to the Heart of Despair. Public Affairs. ISBN 1586483986. pp. 212–3.
  8. ^ a b c Rebellion and Famine in the North under Haile Selassie, Human Rights Watch
  9. ^ Jonathan Dimbleby, in Feeding on Ethiopia's Famine in The Independent, 8 December 1998
  10. ^ Major religions ranked by size – Rastafarian
  11. ^ Barrett, Leonard E. (1988). The Rastafarians. Beacon Press.  
  12. ^ Sullivan, Michael, C. (2005) In Search of a Perfect World. AuthorHouse. ISBN 1420841610. p. 86.
  13. ^ Erlich, Haggai (2002) The Cross and the River: Ethiopia, Egypt, and the Nile. Lynne Rienner Publishers. ISBN 1555879705. p. 192.
  14. ^ Murrell, p. 148.
  15. ^ a b Murrell, pp. 172–3.
  16. ^ My Life and Ethiopia's Progress. Vol. 2, 1999, p. xiii.
  17. ^ Selasie: 120th anniversary of his birth "Throne of shoa, granted Kingship by Empress Zewditu". Haile Selassie's reign in Shoa. 
  18. ^ "Haile Selassie bestowed position (reign) as regent, by Empress Zewditu, in 1916 and king in 1928". Selassie's reign history. 
  19. ^ a b "Haile Selassie". Retrieved 20 June 2011. 
  20. ^ Murrell, p. 159.
  21. ^ Lee V. (1983, July) The Roots of Rastafari. Yoga Journal No. 51. ISSN 0191-0965. p. 18
  22. ^ Ghai, Yash P. (2000) Autonomy and Ethnicity: Negotiating Competing Claims in Multi-Ethnic States. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521786428. p. 176.
  23. ^ a b Kasuka, Bridgette. Prominent African Leaders Since Independence. Bankole Kamara Taylor, 2012. p. 19.  
  24. ^ "Shoa3". Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  25. ^ a b Mockler, p. 387.
  26. ^ a b de Moor, Jaap and Wesseling, H. L. (1989) Imperialism and War: Essays on Colonial Wars in Asia and Africa. BRILL. ISBN 9004088342. p. 189.
  27. ^ a b Woodward, Peter (1994) Conflict and Peace in the Horn of Africa: federalism and its alternatives. Dartmouth Pub. Co. ISBN 1855214865. p. 29.
  28. ^ Shinn, p. 265.
  29. ^ My Life and Ethiopia's Progress. Vol. 2, 1999, p. xii.
  30. ^ a b c Shinn, pp. 193–4.
  31. ^ a b Roberts, p. 712.
  32. ^ a b White, pp. 34–5.
  33. ^ "Apis Networks – Engineered Hosting". Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  34. ^ Lentakis, Michael B. (2004) Ethiopia: Land of the Lotus Eaters. Janus Publishing Company. ISBN. 1857565584. p. 41.
  35. ^ a b Shinn, p. 228.
  36. ^ Marcus, p. 126.
  37. ^ a b c d e Marcus, p. 127.
  38. ^ Marcus, Harold (1996) Haile Selassie I: The formative years, 1892–1936. Trenton: Red Sea Press. ISBN 1569020078. pp. 36ff
  39. ^ Clarence-Smith, W. G. The Economics of the Indian Ocean Slave Trade in the Nineteenth Century. 1989, p. 103.
  40. ^ Twentieth Century Solutions of the Abolition of Slavery.
  41. ^ Brody, J. Kenneth (2000). The Avoidable War. Transaction Publishers. ISBN 0765804980. p. 209.
  42. ^ Marcus, p. 123.
  43. ^ Gates and Appiah, Africana (1999), p. 698.
  44. ^ Rogers, Joel Augustus (1936). The Real Facts about Ethiopia. p. 27.
  45. ^ a b c Mockler, pp. 3–4.
  46. ^ ETHIOPIAN RULER WINS PLAUDITS OF PARISIANS, The New York Times. 17 May 1924.
  47. ^ ETHIOPIAN ROYALTIES DON SHOES IN CAIRO, The New York Times. 5 May 1924.
  48. ^ Mockler, p. 4.
  49. ^ Nidel, Richard (2005). World Music: The Basics. Routledge. ISBN 0415968003. p. 56.
  50. ^ a b Roberts, p. 723.
  51. ^ Marcus, p. 129.
  52. ^ Mockler, p. 8.
  53. ^ Marcus, pp. 127–28.
  54. ^ Roberts, p. 724.
  55. ^ Sorenson, John (2001). Ghosts and Shadows: Construction of Identity and Community in an African Diaspora. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0802083315. p. 34.
  56. ^ Brockman, Norbert C. (1994) An African Biographical Dictionary. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 0874367484. p. 381.
  57. ^ Henze, Paul B. (2000) Layers of Time: A History of Ethiopia. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. ISBN 1850653933. p. 205.
  58. ^ a b Mockler, p. 12.
  59. ^ ABYSSINIAN RULER HONORS AMERICANS. The New York Times. 24 October 1930.
  60. ^ Wallace, Irving (1965). "Everybody's Rover Boy", p. 113 in The Sunday Gentleman. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  61. ^ "Emperor is Crowned in Regal Splendor at African Capital". The New York Times. 3 November 1930.
  62. ^ ABYSSINIA'S GUESTS RECEIVE COSTLY GIFTS. The New York Times. 12 November 1930.
  63. ^ Emperor of Ethiopia Honors Bishop Freeman; Sends Gold-Encased Bible and Cross for Prayer. The New York Times. 27 January 1931.
  64. ^ Nahum, Fasil (1997). Constitution for a Nation of Nations: The Ethiopian Prospect. Red Sea Press. ISBN 1569020515. p. 17.
  65. ^ a b Nahum, Fasil (1997). Constitution for a Nation of Nations: The Ethiopian Prospect. Red Sea Press. ISBN 1569020515. p. 22.
  66. ^ Mockler, p. 61
  67. ^ a b Carlton, Eric (1992) Occupation: The Policies and Practices of Military Conquerors. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0203143469. pp. 88–9.
  68. ^ a b Vandervort, Bruce (1998). Wars of Imperial Conquest in Africa, 1830–1914. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253211786. p. 158.
  69. ^ Churchill, Winston (1986). The Second World War. p. 165.
  70. ^ Chapter 35 – We proclaim mobilization at the Wayback Machine (archived June 11, 2009) in Words of RasTafarI, Haile Selassie I. Retrieved on 24 April 2014.
  71. ^ Baudendistel, Rainer (2006) Between Bombs And Good Intentions: The Red Cross And the Italo-Ethiopian War. Berghahn Books. ISBN 1845450353. p. 168.
  72. ^ Young, John (1997). Peasant Revolution in Ethiopia. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521026067. p. 51.
  73. ^ Garvey, Marcus. The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers. 1991, p. 685.
  74. ^ Mockler, p. 123.
  75. ^ Spencer, John (2006). Ethiopia at Bay: A Personal Account of the Haile Selassie Years. Tsehai Publishers. ISBN 1599070006. p. 62.
  76. ^ Barker, A. J. (1936) The Rape of Ethiopia. p. 132
  77. ^ Spencer, John (2006). Ethiopia at Bay: A Personal Account of the Haile Selassie Years. Tsehai Publishers. ISBN 1599070006. p. 72.
  78. ^ Moseley, Ray (1999). Mussolini's Shadow: The Double Life of Count Galeazzo Ciano. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300079176. p. 27.
  79. ^ Jarrett-Macauley, Delia (1998) The Life of Una Marson, 1905–65. Manchester University Press. ISBN 071905284X. pp. 102–3.
  80. ^ Safire, William (1997). Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History. W.W. Norton. ISBN 0393040054. p. 318.
  81. ^ Ferraro, Vincent. "Haile Selassie, "Appeal to the League of Nations", June 1936". Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  82. ^ Man of the YearTime Magazine. 6 January 1936.
  83. ^ Time Magazine, "Distressed Negus".
  84. ^ Elleray, D. Robert (1998). A Millennium Encyclopaedia of Worthing History. Worthing: Optimus Books. p. 119.  
  85. ^ The Anglo-Ethiopian Society. Retrieved on 24 April 2014.
  86. ^ "Exiled emperor at home in hotel". Malvern Gazette. 18 October 2002. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  87. ^ "Emperor's life in town is recalled in BBC film". Malvern Gazette. 14 February 2003. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  88. ^ "'Princesses were my school chums'". Malvern Gazette (Newsquest Media Group). 5 May 2006. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  89. ^ "Emperor will be remembered as part of civic week". Malvern Gazette. 6 June 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  90. ^ "Civic week to be launched with ceremony". Malvern Gazette. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  91. ^ My Life and Ethiopia's Progress. Vol. 2, 1999, pp. 11–2.
  92. ^ My Life and Ethiopia's Progress. Vol. 2, 1999, pp. 26–7.
  93. ^ a b My Life and Ethiopia's Progress. Vol. 2, 1999, p. 25.
  94. ^ a b Ofcansky, Thomas P. and Berry, Laverle (2004). Ethiopia A Country Study. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 1419118579. pp. 60–1.
  95. ^ My Life and Ethiopia's Progress. Vol. 2, 1999, p. 27.
  96. ^ a b c My Life and Ethiopia's Progress. Vol. 2, 1999, pp. 40–2.
  97. ^ My Life and Ethiopia's Progress. Vol. 2, 1999, p. 170.
  98. ^ Shinn, p. 3.
  99. ^ Haber, Lutz. The Emperor Haile Selassie I in Bath 1936 – 1940. The Anglo-Ethiopian Society.
  100. ^ Barker, A. J. (1936) The Rape of Ethiopia. p. 156.
  101. ^ My Life and Ethiopia's Progress, Vol. 2, 1999, p. 165.
  102. ^ Hinks, Peter P.; McKivigan, John R. and Williams, R. Owen (2007). Encyclopedia of Antislavery and Abolition, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 248. ISBN 0-313-33143-X.
  103. ^ Shinn, p. 201.
  104. ^ a b Shinn, pp. 140–1.
  105. ^ a b c d e Ofcansky, Thomas P. and Berry, Laverle (2004). Ethiopia A Country Study. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 1419118579. pp. 63–4.
  106. ^ Willcox Seidman, Ann (1990). Apartheid, Militarism, and the U.S. Southeast. Africa World Press. ISBN 0865431515. p. 78.
  107. ^ a b c Watson, John H. (2000) Among the Copts. Sussex Academic Press. ISBN 978-1-902210-56-8. p. 56.
  108. ^ As described at the Ethiopian Korean War Veterans website.
  109. ^ Nathaniel, Ras (2004). 50th Anniversary of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 1412037026. p. 30.
  110. ^ "Ethiopia Administrative Change and the 1955 Constitution". Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  111. ^ a b c Mammo, Tirfe (1999). The Paradox of Africa's Poverty: The Role of Indigenous Knowledge.The Red Sea Press. ISBN 1569020493. p. 103.
  112. ^ Addis Zemen newspaper, 3 October 1947.
  113. ^ a b Zewde, Bahru (2001) A History of Modern Ethiopia. Oxford: James Currey. ISBN 0852557868. pp. 220–26.
  114. ^ a b Mammo, Tirfe (1999). The Paradox of Africa's Poverty: The Role of Indigenous Knowledge.The Red Sea Press. ISBN 1569020493. p. 100.
  115. ^ "General Assembly Resolutions 5th Session". United Nations. Retrieved 16 October 2007. 
  116. ^ Haile, Semere (1987) "The Origins and Demise of the Ethiopia-Eritrea Federation", Issue: A Journal of Opinion, 15, pp. 9–17.
  117. ^ Ethiopia: New African Union Building and Kwame Statue (Video) at the Wayback Machine (archived June 15, 2012). 29 January 2012
  118. ^ Brewer, Sam Pope (5 October 1963) Selassie, at U.N., Recalls 1936 Plea to Leagu. The New York Times.
  119. ^ Emperor of Ethiopia Addresses General Assembly, Photo # 84497, United Nations, New York. 4 October 1963.
  120. ^ """Wikiquote "Selassie's Address to the United Nations. Retrieved 4 February 2010. 
  121. ^  
  122. ^ Jonathan Dimbleby, in Feeding on Ethiopia's Famine in The Independent, 8 December 1998
  123. ^ "40th anniversary of Hazemo Massacre commemorated". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  124. ^ "Eritrean Martyrs’ Day". Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  125. ^ Louise Latt. "Eritrea Re-photographed: Landscape Changes in the Eritrean Highlands 1890-2004" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  126. ^ "Dates in Eritrean History". Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  127. ^ a b De Waal, p. 58.
  128. ^ a b c Dickinson, Daniel, "The last of the Ethiopian emperors", BBC News, Addis Ababa, 12 May 2005.
  129. ^ 3. Rebellion and famine in the north under Haile Selassie, p. 58. n. 7; from De Waal
  130. ^ "The Unknown Famine in Ethiopia 1973". BBC. Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  131. ^ Dimbleby, Jonathan (28 July 2002). "Jonathan Dimbleby and the hidden famine". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  132. ^ Eldridge, John Eric Thomas (1993) Getting the Message: News, Truth and Power. Psychology Press. ISBN 0415079837. p. 26.
  133. ^ "Feeding on Ethiopia's famine". The Independent. Retrieved 8 December 1998. 
  134. ^ De Waal, p. 61.
  135. ^ Woodward, Peter (2003). The Horn of Africa: Politics and International Relations. I. B. Tauris. ISBN 1860648703. p. 175.
  136. ^ Kumar, Krishna (1998). Postconflict Elections, Democratization, and International Assistance. Lynne Rienner Publishers. ISBN 1555877788. p. 114.
  137. ^ Ethiopia – Government and Politics. Retrieved on 24 April 2014.
  138. ^ a b c Launhardt, Johannes (2005). Evangelicals in Addis Ababa (1919–1991). LIT Verlag. ISBN 3825877914. p. 239-40.
  139. ^ a b Meredith, Martin (2005). The Fate of Africa: From the Hopes of Freedom to the Heart of Despair. Public Affairs. ISBN 1586483986. p. 216.
  140. ^ a b Shinn, p. 44.
  141. ^ "Haile Selassie of Ethiopia Dies at 83". New York Times. 28 August 1975. Retrieved 21 July 2007. Haile Selassie, the last emperor in the 3,000-year-old Ethiopian monarchy, who ruled for half a century before he was deposed in a military coup last September, died yesterday in a small apartment in his former palace. He was 83 years old. His death was played down by the military rulers who succeeded him in  
  142. ^ a b An Imperial Burial for Haile Selassie, 25 Years After Death. New York Times. 6 November 2000.
  143. ^ Ottaway, Marina and Ottaway, David (1978) Ethiopia: Empire in Revolution. New York: Africana. ISBN 0841903638. p. 109, n. 22.
  144. ^ "Ethiopians Celebrate a Mass for Exhumed Haile Selassie". New York Times. 1 March 1992.
  145. ^ a b Lorch, Donatella (31 December 1995). "Ethiopia Deals With Legacy of Kings and Colonels". The New York Times.
  146. ^ Edmonds, Ennis Barrington (2002) Rastafari: From Outcasts to Culture Bearers. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198030606. p. 55.
  147. ^ "Granddaughter Esther Selassie's website genealogy". Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  148. ^ Mockler, p. xxvii.
  149. ^ "Rastafarian beliefs". BBC. 9 October 2009. Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  150. ^ "The African Diaspora, Ethiopianism, and Rastafari". Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  151. ^ "Haile Selassie King of Kings, Conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah". Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  152. ^ "Haile Selassie". Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  153. ^ a b c Owens, Joseph (1974) Dread, The Rastafarians of Jamaica. ISBN 0-435-98650-3
  154. ^ "The Re-evolution of Rastafari". 20 January 2003. Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  155. ^ Barrett, Leonard E. (1988). The Rastafarians. Beacon Press. pp. 118–.  
  156. ^ Christopher John Farley, Before the Legend: The Rise of Bob Marley, p. 145.
  157. ^ David Katz, People Funny Boy (Lee Perry biography), p. 41.
  158. ^ Murrell, p. 64.
  159. ^ David Howard, Kingston: A Cultural and Literary History, p. 176.
  160. ^ "The State Visit of Emperor Haile Selassie I". Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  161. ^ "Commemorating The Royal Visit by Ijahnya Christian", The Anguillian Newspaper, 22 April 2005.
  162. ^ White, pp. 15, 210, 211.
  163. ^ Bogues, Anthony (2003) Black Heretics, Black Prophets: Radical Political Intellectuals. Psychology Press. ISBN 0415943256. p. 189.
  164. ^ Bradley, Lloyd (2001) This Is Reggae Music: The Story of Jamaica's Music. Grove Press. ISBN 0802138284. pp. 192–93.
  165. ^ a b c Edmonds, Ennis Barrington (2002) Rastafari: From Outcasts to Culture Bearers. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198030606. p. 86.
  166. ^ a b Habekost, Christian (1993) Verbal Riddim: The Politics and Aesthetics of African-Caribbean Dub Poetry. Rodopi. ISBN 9051835493. p. 83.
  167. ^ a b O'Brien Chang, Kevin and Chen, Wayne (1998). Reggae Routes: The Story of Jamaican Music. Temple University Press. p. 243.  
  168. ^ "African Crossroads – Spiritual Kinsmen" at the Wayback Machine (archived January 15, 2008) Dr. Ikael Tafari, The Daily Nation, 24 December 2007.
  169. ^ White, p. 211.
  170. ^ Funk, Jerry (2007) Life Is an Excellent Adventure. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 1412215005. p. 149.
  171. ^ Marley, Rita (2004). No Woman No Cry: My Life with Bob Marley. Hyperion. p. 43.  
  172. ^ "Bob Marley the Devoted Rastafarian!". Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  173. ^ King, Jawara (June 8, 2009). Transform Your World Through the Powers of Your Mind. AuthorHouse. p. 295.  
  174. ^ "Emperor Haile Selassie's Denial Of Being The Messiah". Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
  175. ^ Hood, Robert Earl (January 1990). Must God Remain Greek?: Afro Cultures and God-talk. Fortress Press. pp. 93–.  
  176. ^ "Ethiopians in D.C. Region Mourn Archbishop's Death". Washington Post. 13 January 2006. 
  177. ^ "Bob Marley Anniversary Spotlights Rasta Religion". National Geographic. 28 October 2010. 
  178. ^ "Haile Selassie I – God of the Black race". BBC. 
  179. ^ Nettleford, Rex (1970) Mirror, Mirror: Identity, Race and Protest in Jamaica, William Collins and Sangster Ltd, Jamaica.
  180. ^ "The History and Location of the Shashamane Settlement Community Development Foundation, Inc., USA". Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  181. ^ Man of the Millennium' - Message from the Director"'". Retrieved 2014. 
  182. ^ a b c d e Copley, Gregory R. Ethiopia Reaches Her Hand Unto God: Imperial Ethiopia's Unique Symbols, Structures and Role in the Modern World. Published by Defense & Foreign Affairs, part of the International Strategic Studies Association, 1998. ISBN 1892998009. p.17
  183. ^ Religious, Traditional & Ceremonial. The Official Website of The Crown Council of Ethiopia. The Crown Council of Ethiopia. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  184. ^ "Đilas podržao predlog". Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  185. ^ Badraie. None. Retrieved on 24 April 2014.
  186. ^ Abbott, Elizabeth (1988) Haiti: An insider's history of the rise and fall of the Duvaliers. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0671686208. p. 139.
  187. ^ Odluka o proglašenju Njegovog Carskog Veličanstva Cara Etiopije Haila Selasija Prvog za počasnog građanina SFRJ ("Službeni list SFRJ", br. 33/72 319–655
  188. ^ "Shoa6". Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  1. ^ Translates to "Power of the Trinity"[1]
  2. ^ Pronounced in English as or [2][3]
  3. ^ (Ge'ez ግርማዊ ቀዳማዊ አፄ ኃይለ ሥላሴ ሞዓ አንበሳ ዘእምነገደ ይሁዳ ንጉሠ ነገሥት ዘኢትዮጵያ ሰዩመ እግዚአብሔር; girmāwī ḳedāmāwī 'aṣē ḫayle śillāsē, mō'ā 'anbessā ze'imneggede yihudā niguse negest ze'ītyōṗṗyā, siyume 'igzī'a'bihēr)
  4. ^ Balcha Safo brought an army of ten thousand with him from Sidamo.[37]
  5. ^ Balcha Safo's personal bodyguard numbered about five hundred.[37]


See also

Haile Selassie held the following ranks:[188]

Military ranks




  • 2 November 1930 – 12 September 1974: His Imperial Majesty the King of Kings of Ethiopia, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God.

Title as Emperor

A qualified man with vision, unmoved by daily selfish interests, will be led to right decisions by his conscience. In general, a man who knows from whence he comes and where he is going will co-operate with his fellow human beings. He will not be satisfied with merely doing his ordinary duties but will inspire others by his good example. You are being watched by the nation and you should realize that you will satisfy it if you do good; but if, on the contrary, you do evil, it will lose its hope and its confidence in you."
— 2 July 1963 – University Graduation
I have heard of that idea [i.e., of Haile Selassie being the reincarnation of Jesus Christ]. I also met certain Rastafarians. I told them clearly that I am a man, that I am mortal, and that I would be replaced by the oncoming generation, and that they should never make a mistake in assuming or pretending that the human being is emanated from a deity."
— Interview with Bill McNeil.
Misguided people sometimes create misguided ideas. Some of my ancestors were Oromo. How can I colonize myself?
— in response to accusations by dissidents
Today I stand before the world organization which has succeeded to the mantle discarded by its discredited predecessor.
—In a speech to the United Nations.
Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.
We have finished the job. What shall we do with the tools?
— Telegram to Winston Churchill, 1941.
Apart from the Kingdom of the Lord there is not on this earth any nation that is superior to any other. Should it happen that a strong Government finds it may with impunity destroy a weak people, then the hour strikes for that weak people to appeal to the League of Nations to give its judgment in all freedom. God and history will remember your judgment.
—Address to the League of Nations, 1936.
That until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned: That until there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation; That until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained and until the ignoble but unhappy regimes that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique, and in South Africa in subhuman bondage have been toppled and destroyed; until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self-interest have been replaced by understanding and tolerance and goodwill; until all Africans stand and speak as free human beings, equal in the eyes of the Almighty; until that day, the African continent shall not know peace. We Africans will fight if necessary and we know that we shall win as we are confident in the victory of good over evil.
—English translation of 1963 Speech delivered to the United Nations and popularized in a song called "War" by Bob Marley.
A house built on granite and strong foundations, not even the onslaught of pouring rain, gushing torrents and strong winds will be able to pull down. Some people have written the story of my life representing as truth what in fact derives from ignorance, error or envy; but they cannot shake the truth from its place, even if they attempt to make others believe it.
—Preface to My Life and Ethiopia's Progress, Autobiography of H.I.M. Haile Selassie I (English translation)


In 2008 a full-length feature film, Man of the Millennium, was produced by an Ethiopian film-maker Tikher Teferra Kidane of Exodus Films, in collaboration with an Alaskan TV station Tanana Valley TV and 4th Avenue Films.[181]

Biographical film

In 1948, Haile Selassie donated a piece of land at Shashamane, 250 km south of Addis Ababa, for the use of people of African descent from the West Indies. Numerous Rastafari families settled there and still live as a community to this day.[180]

After his return to Ethiopia, he dispatched Archbishop Abuna Yesehaq Mandefro to the Caribbean to help draw Rastafari and other West Indians to the Ethiopian church and, according to some sources, denied his divinity.[176][177][178][179]

It's often said, though no definite date is ever cited, that Haile Selassie himself denied his divinity. Former senator and Gleaner editor, Hector Wynter, tells of asking him, during his visit to Jamaica in 1966, when he was going to tell Rastafari he was not God. "Who am I to disturb their belief?" replied the emperor.[167]
, Kevin Chang and Wayne Chen note Reggae Routes: The Story of Jamaican Music In [175] For many Rastafarians the CBC interview is not interpreted as a denial of his divinity and according to Robert Earl Hood Haile Selassie neither denied or affirmed his divinity either way.
"I have heard of that idea. I also met certain Rastafarians. I told them clearly that I am a man, that I am mortal, and that I will be replaced by the oncoming generation, and that they should never make a mistake in assuming or pretending that a human being is emanated from a deity." [173] [174]
" Selassie replied in his native language: there are millions of Christians throughout the world, your Imperial Majesty, who regard you as the reincarnation of Jesus Christ.In a 1967 recorded interview Haile Salassie appeared to deny his divinity. In the interview Bill McNeil says: "

Question of his divinity

Rita Marley, Bob Marley's wife, converted to the Rastafari faith after seeing Haile Selassie on his Jamaican trip. She claimed in interviews (and in her book No Woman, No Cry) that she saw a stigmata print on the palm of Haile Selassie's hand as he waved to the crowd which resembled the markings on Christ's hands from being nailed to the cross—a claim that was not supported by other sources, but was used as evidence for her and other Rastafari to suggest that Haile Selassie I was indeed their messiah.[171] She was also influential in the conversion of Bob Marley, who then became internationally recognized. As a result, Rastafari became much better known throughout much of the world.[172] Bob Marley's posthumously released song Iron Lion Zion refers to Haile Selassie.

Haile Selassie defied expectations of the Jamaican authorities,[167] and never rebuked the Rastafari for their belief in him as the returned Jesus. Instead, he presented the movement's faithful elders with gold medallions – the only recipients of such an honor on this visit.[168][169] During PNP leader (later Jamaican Prime Minister) Michael Manley's visit to Ethiopia in October 1969, the emperor allegedly still recalled his 1966 reception with amazement, and stated that he felt that he had to be respectful of their beliefs.[170] This was the visit when Manley received the Rod of Correction or Rod of Joshua as a present from the emperor, which is thought to have helped him to win the 1972 election in Jamaica.

From then on, as a result of Planno's actions, the Jamaican authorities were asked to ensure that Rastafari representatives were present at all state functions attended by the emperor,[165][166] and Rastafari elders also ensured that they obtained a private audience with the emperor,[165] where he reportedly told them that they should not emigrate to Ethiopia until they had first liberated the people of Jamaica. This dictum came to be known as "liberation before repatriation".

Haile Selassie visited Jamaica on 21 April 1966, and approximately one hundred thousand Rastafari from all over Jamaica descended on Palisadoes Airport in Kingston,[153] having heard that the man whom they considered to be their messiah was coming to visit them. Spliffs[156] and chalices[157] were openly[158] smoked, causing "a haze of ganja smoke" to drift through the air.[159][160][161] Haile Selassie arrived at the airport but was unable to come down the mobile steps of the airplane, as the crowd rushed the tarmac. He then returned into the plane, disappearing for several more minutes. Finally, Jamaican authorities were obliged to request Ras Mortimer Planno, a well-known Rasta leader, to climb the steps, enter the plane, and negotiate the emperor's descent.[162] Planno re-emerged and announced to the crowd: "The Emperor has instructed me to tell you to be calm. Step back and let the Emperor land".[163] This day is widely held by scholars to be a major turning point for the movement,[164][165][166] and it is still commemorated by Rastafari as Grounation Day, the anniversary of which is celebrated as the second holiest holiday after 2 November, the emperor's Coronation Day.

In 1961, the Jamaican government sent a delegation composed of both Rastafari and non-Rastafari leaders to Ethiopia to discuss the matter of repatriation, among other issues, with the emperor. He reportedly told the Rastafari delegation (which included Mortimer Planno), "Tell the Brethren to be not dismayed, I personally will give my assistance in the matter of repatriation."[155]

Today, Haile Selassie is worshipped as God incarnate[149] among followers of the Rastafari movement (taken from Haile Selassie's pre-imperial name Ras – meaning Head – a title equivalent to Duke – Tafari Makonnen), which emerged in Jamaica during the 1930s under the influence of Marcus Garvey's "Pan Africanism" movement. He is viewed as the messiah who will lead the peoples of Africa and the African diaspora to freedom.[150] His official titles are Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah and King of Kings and Elect of God, and his traditional lineage is thought to be from Solomon and Sheba.[151] These notions are perceived by Rastafarians as confirmation of the return of the messiah in the prophetic Book of Revelation in the New Testament: King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and Root of David. Rastafari faith in the incarnate divinity of Haile Selassie[152] began after news reports of his coronation reached Jamaica,[153] particularly via the two Time magazine articles on the coronation the week before and the week after the event. Haile Selassie's own perspectives permeate the philosophy of the movement.[153][154]

Rastafari messiah

Name Birth Death Spouse Children
Princess Romanework Circa 1909 14 October 1941 Dejazmatch Beyene Merid Dejazmatch Merid Beyene
Dejazmatch Samson Beyene
Lij Getachew Beyene
Lij Gideon Beyene
Princess Tenagnework 12 January 1912 6 April 2003 1st Ras Desta Damtew
2nd Ras Andargatchew Messai
Princess Aida Desta
Prince Amha Desta
Princess Seble Desta
Rear Admiral Prince Iskinder Desta
Princess Hirut Desta
Princess Sophia Desta
Emebet Tsige Mariam Abebe Retta
Emebet Mentewab Andargatchew(died in childhood)
Crown Prince Asfaw Wossen 27 July 1916 17 February 1997 1st Princess Wolete Israel Seyoum
2nd Princess Medferiashwork Abebe
Princess Ijigayehu
Princess Maryam Senna
Princess Sehin Azebe
Princess Sifrash Bizu
Crown Prince Zera Yacob
Princess Zenebework 25 July 1918 25 March 1933 Dejazmatch Haile Selassie Guglsa
Princess Tsehai 13 October 1919 17 August 1942 Lt. General Abiye Abebe
Prince Makonnen Duke of Harrar 16 October 1923 13 May 1957 Princess Sara Gizaw Duchess of Harrar Prince Paul Wossen Seged Makonnen Duke of Harrar
Prince Mikael Makonnen
Prince Tefferi Makonnen
Prince Dawit Makonnen (or Makonnen Makonnen)
Prince Beede Mariam Makonnen
Prince Sahle Selassie 27 February 1931 24 April 1962 Princess Mahisente Habte Mariam Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie

Prince Asfaw Wossen was first married to Princess Wolete Israel Seyoum and then following their divorce to Princess Medferiashwork Abebe. Prince Makonnen was married to Princess Sara Gizaw. Prince Sahle Selassie was married to Princess Mahisente Habte Mariam. Princess Romanework married Dejazmatch Beyene Merid. Princess Tenagnework first married Ras Desta Damtew, and after she was widowed later married Ras Andargachew Messai. Princess Zenebework married Dejazmatch Haile Selassie Gugsa. Princess Tsehai married Lt. General Abiye Abebe.

There is some controversy as to Haile Selassie's eldest daughter, Princess Romanework. While the living members of the royal family state that Romanework is the eldest daughter of Empress Menen,[147] it has been asserted that Princess Romanework is actually the daughter of a previous union of the emperor with Woizero Altayech.[148] This may be a nickname she used, as nobleman Blata Merse Hazen Wolde Kirkos, a contemporary source prominent in both the Imperial Court and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church names her as Woizero Woinetu Amede. The emperor's own autobiography makes no mention of this previous marriage or having fathered children with anyone other than Empress Menen, although he mentions the death of this daughter in captivity at Turin. Other sources such as Blata Merse Hazen Wolde Kirkos mentions Princess Romanework's mother Woizero Woinetu Amede as attending the wedding of her daughter to Dejazmatch Beyene Merid in a first hand account in his book about the years before the Italian occupation.

By Menen Asfaw, Haile Selassie had six children: Princess Tenagnework, Crown Prince Asfaw Wossen, Princess Tsehai, Princess Zenebework, Prince Makonnen, and Prince Sahle Selassie.

Asfaw Wossen, eldest son of Haile Selassie I, on a voyage to Jerusalem in 1923.


Although such prominent Rastafari figures as Rita Marley and others participated in the grand funeral, most Rastafari rejected the event and refused to accept that the bones were the remains of Haile Selassie. There remains some debate within the Rastafari movement whether Haile Selassie actually died in 1975.[146]

The Soviet-backed Derg fell in 1991. In 1992, the emperor's bones were found under a concrete slab on the palace grounds;[142] some reports suggest that his remains were discovered beneath a latrine.[144] For almost a decade thereafter, as Ethiopian courts attempted to sort out the circumstances of his death, his coffin rested in Bhata Church, near his great-uncle Menelik II's resting place.[145] On 5 November 2000, Haile Selassie was given an imperial-style funeral by the Ethiopian Orthodox church. The post-communist government refused calls to declare the ceremony an official imperial funeral.[145]

On 28 August 1975, the state media reported that the "ex-monarch" Haile Selassie had died on 27 August of "respiratory failure" following complications from a prostate examination followed up by a prostate operation.[141] His doctor, Asrat Woldeyes, denied that complications had occurred and rejected the government version of his death. Some imperial loyalists believed that the emperor had in fact been assassinated, and this belief remains widely held to this day.[142] One western correspondent in Ethiopia at the time commented, "While it is not known what actually happened, there are strong indications that no efforts were made to save him. It is unlikely that he was actually killed. Such rumors were bound to arise no matter what happened, given the atmosphere of suspicion and distrust prevailing in Addis Ababa at the time."[143]

Death and interment

Later, most of the imperial family was imprisoned in the Addis Ababa prison Kerchele, also known as "Alem Bekagne", or "I've had Enough of This World". On 23 November 1974, sixty former high officials of the imperial government were executed without trial.[140] The executed included Haile Selassie's grandson and two former Prime Ministers.[139] These killings, known to Ethiopians as "Bloody Saturday", were condemned by Crown Prince Asfa Wossen; the Derg responded to his rebuke by revoking its acknowledgment of his imperial legitimacy, and announcing the end of the Solomonic dynasty.[140]

The Derg, a committee of low-ranking military officers and enlisted men, set up in June to investigate the military's demands, took advantage of the government's disarray to depose Haile Selassie on 12 September 1974. General Aman Mikael Andom, a Protestant of Eritrean origin,[138] served briefly as provisional head of state pending the return of Crown Prince Asfa Wossen, who was then receiving medical treatment abroad. Haile Selassie was placed under house arrest briefly at the 4th Army Division in Addis Ababa,[138] while most of his family was detained at the late Duke of Harar's residence in the north of the capital. The last months of the emperor's life were spent in imprisonment, in the Grand Palace.[139]

The deposition of Emperor Haile Selassie I (above rear window) from the Jubilee Palace on 12 September 1974, marking the coup d'état's action on that day and the assumption of power by Derg


In February 1974, four days of serious riots in Addis Ababa against a sudden economic inflation left five dead. The emperor responded by announcing on national television a reduction in petrol prices and a freeze on the cost of basic commodities. This calmed the public, but the promised 33% military wage hike was not substantial enough to pacify the army, which then mutinied, beginning in Asmara and spreading throughout the empire. This mutiny led to the resignation of Prime Minister Aklilu Habte Wold on 27 February 1974.[138] Haile Selassie again went on television to agree to the army's demands for still greater pay, and named Endelkachew Makonnen as his new Prime Minister. However, despite Endalkatchew's many concessions, discontent continued in March with a four-day general strike that paralyzed the nation.


The crisis was exacerbated by military mutinies and high oil prices, the latter a result of the 1973 oil crisis. The international economic crisis triggered by the oil crisis caused the costs of imported goods, gasoline, and food to skyrocket, while unemployment spiked.[111]

Some reports suggest that the emperor was unaware of the extent of the famine,[128] while others assert that he was well aware of it.[134][135] In addition to the exposure of attempts by corrupt local officials to cover up the famine from the imperial government, the Kremlin's depiction of Haile Selassie's Ethiopia as backwards and inept (relative to the purported utopia of Marxism-Leninism) contributed to the popular uprising that led to its downfall and the rise of Mengistu Haile Mariam.[136] The famine and its image in the media undermined popular support of the government, and Haile Selassie's once unassailable personal popularity fell.[137]

The 1973 oil crisis, the severity of which is demonstrated by this graph, hit Ethiopia amidst a devastating famine, compounding its effect and undermining support for the emperor.[111]

Famine—mostly in Wollo, north-eastern Ethiopia, as well as in some parts of Tigray—is estimated to have killed 40,000 to 80,000 Ethiopians[8][127] between 1972 and 1974. A BBC News report[128] has cited a 1973 estimate that 200,000 deaths occurred, based on a contemporaneous estimate from the Ethiopian Nutrition Institute. While this figure is still repeated in some texts and media sources, it was an estimate that was later found to be "over-pessimistic".[129] Although the region is infamous for recurrent crop failures and continuous food shortage and starvation risk, this episode was remarkably severe. A 1973 production of the ITV programme The Unknown Famine by Jonathan Dimbleby.[130][131] relied on the unverified estimate of 200,000 dead,[128][132] stimulating a massive influx of aid while at the same time destabilizing Haile Selassie's regime.[127] Against that background, a group of dissident army officers instigated a creeping coup against the emperor's faltering regime. To guard against a public backlash in favour of Haile Selassie (who was still widely revered), they contrived to obtain a copy of The Unknown Famine which they intercut with images of Africa's grand old man presiding at a wedding feast in the grounds of his palace. Retitled The Hidden Hunger, this film noir was shown round the clock on Ethiopian television to coincide with the day that they finally summoned the nerve to seize the Emperor himself.[133]

Wollo famine

Human rights in Ethiopia under Selassie's regime were poor. Civil liberties and political rights were low with Freedom House giving Ethiopia a "Not Free" score for both civil liberties and political rights in the last years of Selassie's rule.[121] Common human right abuses included imprisonment and torture of political prisoners and very poor prison conditions.[122] The Ethiopian army also carried out a number of the atrocities whilst fighting the Eritrean separatists fighters. This was due to a policy of destroying Eritrean villages that supported the rebels. There were a number of mass killings of hundreds of civilians during the war in the late 60s and early 70s.[123][124][125][126]

Outside of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie continued to enjoy enormous prestige and respect. As the longest-serving head of state in power, he was often given precedence over other leaders at state events, such as the state funerals of John F. Kennedy and Charles de Gaulle, the summits of the Non-Aligned Movement, and the 1971 celebration of the 2,500 years of the Persian Empire. In 1970 he visited Italy as a guest of President Giuseppe Saragat, and in Milan he met Giordano Dell'Amore, President of Italian Savings Banks Association. He visited China in October 1971, and was the first foreign head of state to meet Mao Zedong following the death of Mao's designated successor Lin Biao in a plane crash in Mongolia.


Student unrest became a regular feature of Ethiopian life in the 1960s and 1970s. Marxism took root in large segments of the Ethiopian intelligentsia, particularly among those who had studied abroad and had thus been exposed to radical and left-wing sentiments that were becoming popular in other parts of the globe.[113] Resistance by conservative elements at the Imperial Court and Parliament, and by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, made Haile Selassie's land reform proposals difficult to implement, and also damaged the standing of the government, costing Haile Selassie much of the goodwill he had once enjoyed. This bred resentment among the peasant population. Efforts to weaken unions also hurt his image. As these issues began to pile up, Haile Selassie left much of domestic governance to his Prime Minister, Aklilu Habte Wold, and concentrated more on foreign affairs.

In 1967, He visited Montreal, Canada to open the Ethiopian Pavilion at the Expo '67 World's Fair where he received great acclaim amongst other World leaders there for the occasion.

While he had fully approved of, and assured Ethiopia's participation in, UN-approved collective security operations, including Korea and Congo, Haile Selassie drew a distinction with the non-UN approved foreign intervention in Indochina, and consistently deplored it as needless suffering, calling for the Vietnam War to end on several occasions. At the same time he remained open toward the United States and commended it for making progress with African Americans' Civil Rights legislation in the 1950s and 1960s, while visiting the US several times during these years.

Haile Selassie on a state visit to Washington, 1963

In 1966, Haile Selassie attempted to create a modern, progressive tax that included registration of land, which would significantly weaken the nobility. Even with alterations, this law led to a revolt in Gojjam, which was repressed although enforcement of the tax was abandoned. The revolt, having achieved its design in undermining the tax, encouraged other landowners to defy Haile Selassie.

On 25 November 1963, the Emperor was among other heads of state, including France's President Charles de Gaulle, who traveled to Washington D.C. and attended the funeral of assassinated President John F. Kennedy.

Twenty-seven years ago, as Emperor of Ethiopia, I mounted the rostrum in Geneva, Switzerland, to address the League of Nations and to appeal for relief from the destruction which had been unleashed against my defenceless nation, by the fascist invader. I spoke then both to and for the conscience of the world. My words went unheeded, but history testifies to the accuracy of the warning that I gave in 1936. Today, I stand before the world organization which has succeeded to the mantle discarded by its discredited predecessor. In this body is enshrined the principle of collective security which I unsuccessfully invoked at Geneva. Here, in this Assembly, reposes the best – perhaps the last – hope for the peaceful survival of mankind.[120]

On 4 October 1963, Haile Selassie addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations[118][119] referring in his address to his earlier speech to the League of Nations:

In 1963, Haile Selassie presided over the formation of the Addis Ababa. In May of that year, Haile Selassie was elected as the OAU's first official chairperson, a rotating seat. Along with Modibo Keïta of Mali, the Ethiopian leader would later help successfully negotiate the Bamako Accords, which brought an end to the border conflict between Morocco and Algeria. In 1964, Haile Selassie would initiate the concept of the United States of Africa, a proposition later taken up by Muammar Gaddafi.[117]

In 1961, tensions between independence-minded Eritreans and Ethiopian forces culminated in the Eritrean War of Independence. The emperor declared Eritrea the fourteenth province of Ethiopia in 1962.[116] The war would continue for 30 years, as first Haile Selassie, then the Soviet-backed junta that succeeded him, attempted to retain Eritrea by force.

In September 1961, Haile Selassie attended the Conference of Heads of State of Government of Non-Aligned Countries in Belgrade, FPR Yugoslavia. This is considered to be the founding conference of the Non-Aligned Movement.

A UN plebiscite voted 46 to 10 to have Eritrea be federated with Ethiopia, which was later stipulated on 2 December 1950 in resolution 390 (V). Eritrea would have its own parliament and administration and would be represented in what had been the Ethiopian parliament and would become the federal parliament.[115] However, Haile Selassie would have none of European attempts to draft a separate Constitution under which Eritrea would be governed, and wanted his own 1955 Constitution protecting families to apply in both Ethiopia and Eritrea. In 1961 the 30-year Eritrean Struggle for Independence began, followed by Haile Selassie's dissolution of the federation and shutting down of Eritrea's parliament.

The emperor continued to be a staunch ally of the West, while pursuing a firm policy of decolonization in Africa, which was still largely under European colonial rule. The United Nations conducted a lengthy inquiry regarding the status of Eritrea, with the superpowers each vying for a stake in the state's future. Britain, the administrator at the time, suggested the partition of Eritrea between Sudan and Ethiopia, separating Christians and Muslims. The idea was instantly rejected by Eritrean political parties, as well as the UN.

Haile Selassie contributed Ethiopian troops to the United Nations Operation in the Congo peacekeeping force during the 1960 Congo Crisis, to preserve Congolese integrity, per United Nations Security Council Resolution 143. On 13 December 1960, while Haile Selassie was on a state visit to Brazil, his Imperial Guard forces staged an unsuccessful coup, briefly proclaiming Haile Selassie's eldest son Asfa Wossen as emperor. The coup d'état was crushed by the regular army and police forces. The coup attempt lacked broad popular support, was denounced by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and was unpopular with the army, air force and police. Nonetheless, the effort to depose the emperor had support among students and the educated classes.[113] The coup attempt has been characterized as a pivotal moment in Ethiopian history, the point at which Ethiopians "for the first time questioned the power of the king to rule without the people's consent".[114] Student populations began to empathize with the peasantry and poor, and to advocate on their behalf.[114] The coup spurred Haile Selassie to accelerate reform, which was manifested in the form of land grants to military and police officials.

Haile Selassie
1st & 5th Chairman of the Organization of African Unity
In office
25 May 1963 – 17 July 1964
Succeeded by Gamal Abdel Nasser
In office
5 November 1966 – 11 September 1967
Preceded by Joseph Arthur Ankrah
Succeeded by Joseph-Désiré Mobutu
Hailé Selassié


He sent aid to the British government in 1947 when Britain was affected by heavy flooding. His letter to Lord Meork, National Distress Fund, London said, "even though We are busy of helping our people who didn't recover from the crises of the war, We heard that your fertile and beautiful country is devastated by the unusually heavy rain, and your request for aid. "Therefore, We are sending small amount of money, about one thousand pounds through our embassy to show our sympathy and cooperation."[112]

Charitable gesture

Haile Selassie compromised when practical with the traditionalists in the nobility and church. He also tried to improve relations between the state and ethnic groups, and granted autonomy to Afar lands that were difficult to control. Still, his reforms to end feudalism were slow and weakened by the compromises he made with the entrenched aristocracy. The Revised Constitution of 1955 has been criticized for reasserting "the indisputable power of the monarch" and maintaining the relative powerlessness of the peasants.[111]

During the celebrations of his Silver Jubilee in November 1955, Haile Selassie introduced a revised constitution,[110] whereby he retained effective power, while extending political participation to the people by allowing the lower house of parliament to become an elected body. Party politics were not provided for. Modern educational methods were more widely spread throughout the Empire, and the country embarked on a development scheme and plans for modernization, tempered by Ethiopian traditions, and within the framework of the ancient monarchical structure of the state.

Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, photographed during a radio broadcast
Nearly two decades ago, I personally assumed before history the responsibility of placing the fate of my beloved people on the issue of collective security, for surely, at that time and for the first time in world history, that issue was posed in all its clarity. My searching of conscience convinced me of the rightness of my course and if, after untold sufferings and, indeed, unaided resistance at the time of aggression, we now see the final vindication of that principle in our joint action in Korea, I can only be thankful that God gave me strength to persist in our faith until the moment of its recent glorious vindication.[109]

In keeping with the principle of collective security, for which he was an outspoken proponent, he sent a contingent under General Mulugueta Bulli, known as the Kagnew Battalion, to take part in the Korean War by supporting the United Nations Command. It was attached to the American 7th Infantry Division, and fought in a number of engagements including the Battle of Pork Chop Hill.[108] In a 1954 speech, the emperor spoke of Ethiopian participation in the Korean War as a redemption of the principles of collective security:

Between 1941 and 1959, Haile Selassie worked to establish the autocephaly of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.[107] The Ethiopian Orthodox Church had been headed by the abuna, a bishop who answered to the Partriarchate in Egypt. Haile Selassie applied to Egypt's Holy Synod in 1942 and 1945 to establish the independence of Ethiopian bishops, and when his appeals were denied he threatened to sever relations with the See of St. Mark.[107] Finally, in 1959, Pope Kyrillos VI elevated the Abuna to Patriarch-Catholicos.[107] The Ethiopian Church remained affiliated with the Alexandrian Church.[105] In addition to these efforts, Haile Selassie changed the Ethiopian church-state relationship by introducing taxation of church lands, and by restricting the legal privileges of the clergy, who had formerly been tried in their own courts for civil offenses.[105]

Despite his centralization policies that had been made before World War II, Haile Selassie still found himself unable to push for all the programs he wanted. In 1942, he attempted to institute a progressive tax scheme, but this failed due to opposition from the nobility, and only a flat tax was passed; in 1951, he agreed to reduce this as well.[105] Ethiopia was still "semi-feudal",[106] and the emperor's attempts to alter its social and economic form by reforming its modes of taxation met with resistance from the nobility and clergy, which were eager to resume their privileges in the postwar era.[105] Where Haile Selassie actually did succeed in effecting new land taxes, the burdens were often passed by the landowners to the peasants.[105] Despite his wishes, the tax burden remained primarily on the peasants.

On 27 August 1942, Haile Selassie abolished the legal basis of slavery throughout the empire and imposed severe penalties, including death, for slave trading.[102] After World War II, Ethiopia became a charter member of the United Nations. In 1948, the Ogaden, a region disputed with Somalia, was granted to Ethiopia.[103] On 2 December 1950, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 390 (V), establishing the federation of Eritrea (the former Italian colony) into Ethiopia.[104] Eritrea was to have its own constitution, which would provide for ethnic, linguistic, and cultural balance, while Ethiopia was to manage its finances, defense, and foreign policy.[104]

Take care not to spoil the good name of Ethiopia by acts which are worthy of the enemy. We shall see that our enemies are disarmed and sent out the same way they came. As Saint George who killed the dragon is the Patron Saint of our army as well as of our allies, let us unite with our allies in everlasting friendship and amity in order to be able to stand against the godless and cruel dragon which has newly risen and which is oppressing mankind.[101]
Today is the day on which we defeated our enemy. Therefore, when we say let us rejoice with our hearts, let not our rejoicing be in any other way but in the spirit of Christ. Do not return evil for evil. Do not indulge in the atrocities which the enemy has been practicing in his usual way, even to the last.

On 18 January 1941, during the East African Campaign, Haile Selassie crossed the border between Sudan and Ethiopia near the village of Um Iddla. The standard of the Lion of Judah was raised again. Two days later, he and a force of Ethiopian patriots joined Gideon Force which was already in Ethiopia and preparing the way.[100] Italy was defeated by a force of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth of Nations, Free France, Free Belgium, and Ethiopian patriots. On 5 May 1941, Haile Selassie entered Addis Ababa and personally addressed the Ethiopian people, five years to the day since his 1936 exile:

British forces, which consisted primarily of Ethiopian-backed African and South African colonial troops under the "Gideon Force" of Colonel Orde Wingate, coordinated the military effort to liberate Ethiopia. The emperor himself issued several imperial proclamations in this period, demonstrating that, while authority was not divided up in any formal way, British military might and the emperor's populist appeal could be joined in the concerted effort to liberate Ethiopia.[94]

Meeting with Crown Prince Akihito in 1955
Newspaper illustration drawn by Charles H. Alston for the U.S. Office of War Information Domestic Operations Branch News Bureau, 1943

1940s and 1950s

After his return to Ethiopia, he donated Fairfield House to the city of Bath as a residence for the aged, until modified in the 1990s where it is now used as a residential meeting centre.[99]

During this period, Haile Selassie suffered several personal tragedies. His two sons-in-law, Ras Desta Damtew and Dejazmach Beyene Merid, were both executed by the Italians.[93] The emperor's daughter, Princess Romanework, wife of Dejazmach Beyene Merid, was herself taken into captivity with her children, and she died in Italy in 1941.[97] His daughter Tsehai died during childbirth shortly after the restoration in 1942.[98]

[...] Although the toils of wise people may earn them respect, it is a fact of life that the spirit of the wicked continues to cast its shadow on this world. The arrogant are seen visibly leading their people into crime and destruction. The laws of the League of Nations are constantly violated and wars and acts of aggression repeatedly take place... So that the spirit of the cursed will not gain predominance over the human race whom Christ redeemed with his blood, all peace-loving people should cooperate to stand firm in order to preserve and promote lawfulness and peace.[96]
With the birth of the Son of God, an unprecedented, an unrepeatable, and a long-anticipated phenomenon occurred. He was born in a stable instead of a palace, in a manger instead of a crib. The hearts of the Wise men were struck by fear and wonder due to His Majestic Humbleness. The kings prostrated themselves before Him and worshipped Him. 'Peace be to those who have good will'. This became the first message.

The emperor's pleas for international support did take root in the United States, particularly among African-American organizations sympathetic to the Ethiopian cause.[95] In 1937, Haile Selassie was to give a Christmas Day radio address to the American people to thank his supporters when his taxi was involved in a traffic accident, leaving him with a fractured knee.[96] Rather than canceling the radio appearance, he proceeded in much pain to complete the address, in which he linked Christianity and goodwill with the Covenant of the League of Nations, and asserted that "War is not the only means to stop war":[96]

Haile Selassie's activity in this period was focused on countering Italian propaganda as to the state of Ethiopian resistance and the legality of the occupation.[91] He spoke out against the desecration of houses of worship and historical artifacts (including the theft of a 1,600-year-old imperial obelisk), and condemned the atrocities suffered by the Ethiopian civilian population.[92] He continued to plead for League intervention and to voice his certainty that "God's judgment will eventually visit the weak and the mighty alike",[93] though his attempts to gain support for the struggle against Italy were largely unsuccessful until Italy entered World War II on the German side in June 1940.[94]

Haile Selassie stayed at the Abbey Hotel in Malvern in the 1930s and his granddaughters and daughters of court officials were educated at Clarendon School in North Malvern. During his time in Malvern he attended services at Holy Trinity Church, in Link Top. A blue plaque, commemorating his stay in Malvern, was unveiled on Saturday, 25 June 2011. As part of the ceremony, a delegation from the Rastafari movement gave a short address and a drum recital.[86][87][88][89][90]

Blue plaque commemorating Haile Selassie's stay at the Abbey Hotel in Malvern.

Prior to Fairfield House, he briefly stayed at Warne's Hotel in Worthing[84] and in Parkside, Wimbledon.[85] A bust of Haile Selassie is in nearby Cannizaro Park to commemorate this time and is a popular place of pilgrimage for London's Rastafarian community.

Haile Selassie spent his exile years (1936–1941) in [83]

Haile Selassie in 1942


The speech made the emperor an icon for anti-fascists around the world, and Time named him "Man of the Year".[82] He failed, however, to get what he most needed: the League agreed to only partial and ineffective sanctions on Italy. Only six nations in 1937 did not recognize Italy's occupation; they were China, New Zealand, the Soviet Union, the Republic of Spain, Mexico and the United States.[67]

It is collective security: it is the very existence of the League of Nations. It is the confidence that each State is to place in international treaties.... In a word, it is international morality that is at stake. Have the signatures appended to a Treaty value only in so far as the signatory Powers have a personal, direct and immediate interest involved?

Noting that his own "small people of 12 million inhabitants, without arms, without resources" could never withstand an attack by a large power such as Italy, with its 42 million people and "unlimited quantities of the most death-dealing weapons", he contended that all small states were threatened by the aggression, and that all small states were in effect reduced to vassal states in the absence of collective action. He admonished the League that "God and history will remember your judgment."[81]

It was at the time when the operations for the encircling of Makale were taking place that the Italian command, fearing a rout, followed the procedure which it is now my duty to denounce to the world. Special sprayers were installed on board aircraft so that they could vaporize, over vast areas of territory, a fine, death-dealing rain. Groups of nine, fifteen, eighteen aircraft followed one another so that the fog issuing from them formed a continuous sheet. It was thus that, as from the end of January 1936, soldiers, women, children, cattle, rivers, lakes, and pastures were drenched continually with this deadly rain. In order to kill off systematically all living creatures, in order to more surely poison waters and pastures, the Italian command made its aircraft pass over and over again. That was its chief method of warfare.[80]

Although fluent in French, the working language of the League, Haile Selassie chose to deliver his historic speech in his native Amharic. He asserted that, because his "confidence in the League was absolute", his people were now being slaughtered. He pointed out that the same European states that found in Ethiopia's favor at the League of Nations were refusing Ethiopia credit and matériel while aiding Italy, which was employing chemical weapons on military and civilian targets alike.

Mussolini, upon invading Ethiopia, had promptly declared his own "Italian Empire"; because the League of Nations afforded Haile Selassie the opportunity to address the assembly, Italy even withdrew its League delegation, on 12 May 1936.[77] It was in this context that Haile Selassie walked into the hall of the League of Nations, introduced by the President of the Assembly as "His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of Ethiopia" (Sa Majesté Imperiale, l'Empereur d'Ethiopie). The introduction caused a great many Italian journalists in the galleries to erupt into jeering, heckling, and whistling. As it turned out, they had earlier been issued whistles by Mussolini's son-in-law, Count Galeazzo Ciano.[78] Haile Selassie waited calmly for the hall to be cleared, and responded "majestically"[79] with a speech sometimes considered among the most stirring of the 20th century.[5]

Collective security and the League of Nations, 1936

On 5 May, Marshal Pietro Badoglio led Italian troops into Addis Ababa, and Mussolini declared Ethiopia an Italian province. Victor Emanuel III was proclaimed as the new Emperor of Ethiopia. However, on the previous day, the Ethiopian exiles had left Djibouti aboard the British cruiser HMS Enterprise. They were bound for Jerusalem in the British Mandate of Palestine, where the Ethiopian royal family maintained a residence. The Imperial family disembarked at Haifa and then went on to Jerusalem. Once there, Haile Selassie and his retinue prepared to make their case at Geneva. The choice of Jerusalem was highly symbolic, since the Solomonic Dynasty claimed descent from the House of David. Leaving the Holy Land, Haile Selassie and his entourage sailed for Gibraltar aboard the British cruiser HMS Capetown. From Gibraltar, the exiles were transferred to an ordinary liner. By doing this, the government of the United Kingdom was spared the expense of a state reception.[76]

After further debate as to whether Haile Selassie should go to Gore or accompany his family into exile, it was agreed that he should leave Ethiopia with his family and present the case of Ethiopia to the League of Nations at Geneva. The decision was not unanimous and several participants, including the nobleman Blatta Tekle Wolde Hawariat, strenuously objected to the idea of an Ethiopian monarch fleeing before an invading force.[75] Haile Selassie appointed his cousin Ras Imru Haile Selassie as Prince Regent in his absence, departing with his family for Djibouti on 2 May 1936.

The emperor arrives in Jerusalem. May 1936

Exile debate

Haile Selassie made a solitary pilgrimage to the churches at Lalibela, at considerable risk of capture, before returning to his capital.[74] After a stormy session of the council of state, it was agreed that because Addis Ababa could not be defended, the government would relocate to the southern town of Gore, and that in the interest of preserving the Imperial house, the emperor's wife Menen Asfaw and the rest of the imperial family should immediately depart for Djibouti, and from there continue on to Jerusalem.

When the struggle to resist Italy appeared doomed, Haile Selassie traveled to the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela for fasting and prayer.[73]

Starting in early October 1935, the Italians invaded Ethiopia. But, by November, the pace of invasion had slowed appreciably and Haile Selassie's northern armies were able to launch what was known as the "Christmas Offensive". During this offensive, the Italians were forced back in places and put on the defensive. However, in early 1936, the First Battle of Tembien stopped the progress of the Ethiopian offensive and the Italians were ready to continue their offensive. Following the defeat and destruction of the northern Ethiopian armies at the Battle of Amba Aradam, the Second Battle of Tembien, and the Battle of Shire, Haile Selassie took the field with the last Ethiopian army on the northern front. On 31 March 1936, he launched a counterattack against the Italians himself at the Battle of Maychew in southern Tigray. The emperor's army was defeated and retreated in disarray. As Haile Selassie's army withdrew, the Italians attacked from the air along with rebellious Raya and Azebo tribesmen on the ground, who were armed and paid by the Italians.[72]

Progress of the war

Compared to the Ethiopians, the Italians had an advanced, modern military which included a large air force. The Italians would also come to employ chemical weapons extensively throughout the conflict, even targeting Red Cross field hospitals in violation of the Geneva Conventions.[71]

  1. When you set up tents, it is to be in caves and by trees and in a wood, if the place happens to be adjoining to these―and separated in the various platoons. Tents are to be set up at a distance of 30 cubits from each other.
  2. When an aeroplane is sighted, one should leave large open roads and wide meadows and march in valleys and trenches and by zigzag routes, along places which have trees and woods.
  3. When an aeroplane comes to drop bombs, it will not suit it to do so unless it comes down to about 100 metres; hence when it flies low for such action, one should fire a volley with a good and very long gun and then quickly disperse. When three or four bullets have hit it, the aeroplane is bound to fall down. But let only those fire who have been ordered to shoot with a weapon that has been selected for such firing, for if everyone shoots who possesses a gun, there is no advantage in this except to waste bullets and to disclose the men's whereabouts.
  4. Lest the aeroplane, when rising again, should detect the whereabouts of those who are dispersed, it is well to remain cautiously scattered as long as it is still fairly close. In time of war it suits the enemy to aim his guns at adorned shields, ornaments, silver and gold cloaks, silk shirts and all similar things. Whether one possesses a jacket or not, it is best to wear a narrow-sleeved shirt with faded colours. When we return, with God's help, you can wear your gold and silver decorations then. Now it is time to go and fight. We offer you all these words of advice in the hope that no great harm should befall you through lack of caution. At the same time, We are glad to assure you that in time of war We are ready to shed Our blood in your midst for the sake of Ethiopia's freedom..."[70]

On 19 October 1935, Haile Selassie gave more precise orders for his army to his Commander-in-Chief, Ras Kassa:

province. He issued his mobilization order on 3 October 1935: Wollo in DesseFollowing the 5 December 1934 Italian invasion of Ethiopia at Walwal, Ogeden Province, Haile Selassie joined his northern armies and set up headquarters at


Ethiopia became the target of renewed Italian imperialist designs in the 1930s. Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime was keen to avenge the military defeats Italy had suffered to Ethiopia in the First Italo-Abyssinian War, and to efface the failed attempt by "liberal" Italy to conquer the country, as epitomised by the defeat at Adowa.[66][67][68] A conquest of Ethiopia could also empower the cause of fascism and embolden its rhetoric of empire.[68] Ethiopia would also provide a bridge between Italy's Eritrean and Italian Somaliland possessions. Ethiopia's position in the League of Nations did not dissuade the Italians from invading in 1935; the "collective security" envisaged by the League proved useless, and a scandal erupted when the Hoare-Laval Pact revealed that Ethiopia's League allies were scheming to appease Italy.[69]

Conflict with Italy

In 1932, the Sultanate of Jimma was formally absorbed into Ethiopia following the death of Sultan Abba Jifar II of Jimma.

Haile Selassie introduced Ethiopia's first written constitution on 16 July 1931,[64] providing for a bicameral legislature.[65] The constitution kept power in the hands of the nobility, but it did establish democratic standards among the nobility, envisaging a transition to democratic rule: it would prevail "until the people are in a position to elect themselves."[65] The constitution limited the succession to the throne to the descendants of Haile Selassie, a point that met with the disapprobation of other dynastic princes, including the princes of Tigrai and even the emperor's loyal cousin, Ras Kassa Haile Darge.

With the passing of Zewditu, Tafari himself rose to emperor and was proclaimed Neguse Negest ze-'Ityopp'ya, "King of Kings of Ethiopia". He was crowned on 2 November 1930, at the Duke of Gloucester, Marshal Franchet d'Esperey of France, and the Prince of Udine representing the King of Italy. Emissaries from the United States,[59] Egypt, Turkey, Sweden, Belgium, and Japan were also present.[58] British author Evelyn Waugh was also present, penning a contemporary report on the event, and American travel lecturer Burton Holmes shot the only known film footage of the event.[60] One newspaper report suggested that the celebration may have incurred a cost in excess of $3,000,000.[61] Many of those in attendance received lavish gifts;[62] in one instance, the Christian emperor even sent a gold-encased Bible to an American bishop who had not attended the coronation, but who had dedicated a prayer to the emperor on the day of the coronation.[63]

The crowning of Tafari as King was controversial. He occupied the same territory as the Empress rather than going off to a regional kingdom of the empire. Two monarchs, even with one being the vassal and the other the emperor (in this case empress), had never occupied the same location as their seat in Ethiopian history. Conservatives agitated to redress this perceived insult to the dignity of the crown, leading to the rebellion of Ras Gugsa Welle. Gugsa Welle was the husband of the Empress and the Shum of Begemder Province. In early 1930, he raised an army and marched it from his governorate at Gondar towards Addis Ababa. On 31 March 1930, Gugsa Welle was met by forces loyal to Negus Tafari and was defeated at the Battle of Anchem. Gugsa Welle was killed in action.[54] News of Gugsa Welle's defeat and death had hardly spread through Addis Ababa when the Empress died suddenly on 2 April 1930. Although it was long rumored that the Empress was poisoned upon the defeat of her husband,[55] or alternately that she died from shock upon hearing of the death of her estranged yet beloved husband,[56] it has since been documented that the Empress succumbed to a flu-like fever and complications from diabetes.[57]

Even so, the gesture of Balcha Safo empowered Empress Zewditu politically and she attempted to have Tafari tried for treason. He was tried for his benevolent dealings with Italy including a 20-year peace accord which was signed on 2 August.[30] In September, a group of palace reactionaries including some courtiers of the Empress, made a final bid to get rid of Tafari. The attempted coup d'état was tragic in its origins and comic in its end. When confronted by Tafari and a company of his troops, the ringleaders of the coup took refuge on the palace grounds in Menelik's mausoleum. Tafari and his men surrounded them only to be surrounded themselves by the personal guard of Zewditu. More of Tafari's khaki clad soldiers arrived and, with superiority of arms, decided the outcome in his favor.[53] Popular support, as well as the support of the police,[50] remained with Tafari. Ultimately, the Empress relented and, on 7 October 1928, she crowned Tafari as Negus (Amharic: "King").

Cover of Time magazine, 3 November 1930

In 1928, the authority of Ras Tafari Makonnen was challenged when Dejazmatch Balcha Safo went to Addis Ababa with a sizeable armed force. When Tafari consolidated his hold over the provinces, many of Menelik's appointees refused to abide by the new regulations. Balcha Safo, the governor (Shum) of coffee-rich Sidamo Province, was particularly troublesome. The revenues he remitted to the central government did not reflect the accrued profits and Tafari recalled him to Addis Ababa. The old man came in high dudgeon and, insultingly, with a large army.[nb 4] The Dejazmatch paid homage to Empress Zewditu, but snubbed Ras Tafari.[50][51] On 18 February, while Balcha Safo and his personal bodyguard[nb 5] were in Addis Ababa, Ras Tafari had Ras Kassa Haile Darge bought off his army and arranged to have him displaced as the Shum of Sidamo Province[52] by Birru Wolde Gabriel who himself was replaced by Desta Damtew.[37]

King and emperor

In this period, the Crown Prince visited the Armenian monastery of Jerusalem. There, he adopted 40 Armenian orphans (አርባ ልጆች Arba Lijoch, "forty children"), who had lost their parents in Ottoman massacres. Ras Tafari arranged for the musical education of the youths, and they came to form the imperial brass band.[49]

Throughout Ras Tafari's travels in Europe, the United Kingdom, and to the Zoological Garden (Jardin Zoologique) of Paris.[45] As one historian noted, "Rarely can a tour have inspired so many anecdotes".[45] In return for two lions, the United Kingdom presented Ras Tafari with the imperial crown of Emperor Tewodros II for its safe return to Empress Zewditu. The crown had been taken by Robert Napier during the 1868 Expedition to Abyssinia.[48]

In 1924, Ras Tafari toured Europe and the Middle East visiting Jerusalem, Cairo, Alexandria, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Stockholm, London, Geneva, and Athens. With him on his tour was a group that included Ras Seyum Mangasha of western Tigre Province; Ras Hailu Tekle Haymanot of Gojjam Province; Ras Mulugeta Yeggazu of Illubabor Province; Ras Makonnen Endelkachew; and Blattengeta Heruy Welde Sellase. The primary goal of the trip to Europe was for Ethiopia to gain access to the sea. In Paris, Tafari was to find out from the French Foreign Ministry (Quai d'Orsay) that this goal would not be realized.[42] However, failing this, he and his retinue inspected schools, hospitals, factories, and churches. Although patterning many reforms after European models, Tafari remained wary of European pressure. To guard against economic imperialism, Tafari required that all enterprises have at least partial local ownership.[43] Of his modernization campaign, he remarked, "We need European progress only because we are surrounded by it. That is at once a benefit and a misfortune."[44]

Travel abroad

During his Regency, the new Crown Prince developed the policy of cautious modernization initiated by Menelik II. Also, during this time, he survived the 1918 flu pandemic, having come down with the illness.[38] He secured Ethiopia's admission to the League of Nations in 1923 by promising to eradicate slavery; each emperor since Tewodros II had issued proclamations to halt slavery,[39] but without effect: the internationally scorned practice persisted well into Haile Selassie's reign with an estimated 2 million slaves in Ethiopia the early 1930s.[40][41]

On 11 February 1917, the coronation for Zewditu took place. She pledged to rule justly through her Regent, Tafari. While Tafari was the more visible of the two, Zewditu was far from an honorary ruler. Her position required that she arbitrate the claims of competing factions. In other words, she had the last word. Tafari carried the burden of daily administration but, because his position was relatively weak, this was often an exercise in futility for him. Initially his personal army was poorly equipped, his finances were limited, and he had little leverage to withstand the combined influence of the Empress, the Minister of War, or the provincial governors.[37]

While Iyasu had been deposed on 27 September 1916, on 8 October he managed to escape into the Battle of Segale, Negus Mikael was defeated and captured. Any chance that Iyasu would regain the throne was ended and he went into hiding. On 11 January 1921, after avoiding capture for about five years, Iyasu was taken into custody by Gugsa Araya Selassie.

Empress Zewditu with one of her trusted priests

[36]). Zewditu would govern while Tafari would administer.Mangista Ityop'p'ya (Ethiopian Empire ruler of the de facto) and became the Balemulu 'Inderase (Regent Plenipotentiary. In the power arrangement that followed, Tafari accepted the role of Crown Prince and heir apparent and was made Ras, while Tafari was elevated to the rank of Zewditu In his place, the daughter of Menelik II (the aunt of Iyasu) was named Empress [35][15]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.