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Haile Selassie I ( gez, ቀዳማዊ ኀይለ ሥላሴ, Qädamawi Häylä Səllasé, ; born Tafari Makonnen; 23 July 189227 August 1975) was
Emperor of Ethiopia The Emperor of Ethiopia ( gez, ንጉሠ ነገሥት, nəgusä nägäst, " King of Kings") was the hereditary ruler of the Ethiopian Empire, until the abolition of the monarchy in 1975. The Emperor was the head of state A head of sta ...
from 1930 to 1974. Prior to his coronation, he had been the Regent Plenipotentiary of Ethiopia from 1916. He is a defining figure in modern Ethiopian history, and the key figure of
Rastafari Rastafari, also known as the Rastafari movement or Rastafarianism, is a religion that developed in Jamaica during the 1930s. It is classified as both a new religious movement and a social movement by Religious studies, scholars of religion. The ...

Rastafari
, a religious movement in
Jamaica Jamaica (; ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or c ...

Jamaica
which emerged shortly after he became emperor in the 1930s. He was a member of the
Solomonic dynasty The Solomonic dynasty ( ''Selemonawīwi širiwe menigišiti''), also known as the House of Solomon, was a dynasty of the Ethiopian Empire The Ethiopian Empire (), also formerly known by the exonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'na ...
which claims to trace lineage to Emperor
Menelik I Menelik I, or Menilek ( Ge`ez: ምኒልክ ''Mənilək'') was the first Solomonic Emperor of Ethiopia Ethiopia (; am, ኢትዮጵያ, , aa, Itiyoophiyaa, gez, ኢትዮጵያ, om , Itoophiyaa, so, Itoobiya, ti , ኢትዮጵያ) ...
, supposedly the son of
King Solomon of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg"> Aztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen ...

King Solomon
and Makeda the
Queen of Sheba The Queen of Sheba ( he, מלכת שבא; ar, ملكة سبأ, Malikat Saba) is a figure first mentioned in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebr ...
. Haile Selassie attempted to modernize the country through a series of political and social reforms, including the introduction of Ethiopia's constitution of 1931, its first written constitution, and the
abolition of slavery Abolitionism, or the abolitionist movement, was the movement to end slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for another person (a slaver), w ...
. He led the failed efforts to defend Ethiopia during the
Second Italo-Ethiopian War The Second Italo-Ethiopian War, also referred to as the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, was a war of aggression A war of aggression, sometimes also war of conquest, is a military conflict waged without the justification of self-defense, usually ...

Second Italo-Ethiopian War
and spent the period of
Italian occupation Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian occupation
in exile in England. In 1941, he returned to lead Ethiopia, after the British Empire defeated the Italian occupiers in the East African campaign. He dissolved the
Federation of Ethiopia and Eritrea The Eritrean-Ethiopian Federation was a coalition between the former Italian colony of Eritrea Eritrea ( ), officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in Eastern Africa, with its capital at Asmara. It is bordered by Ethiopia in the sout ...
, which was established by the UN General Assembly in 1950, and integrated Eritrea into Ethiopia as one of its provinces, while fighting to prevent secession. Haile Selassie's internationalist views led to Ethiopia becoming a charter member of the United Nations. In 1963, he presided over the formation of the
Organisation of African Unity The Organisation of African Unity (OAU; french: Organisation de l'unité africaine, OUA) was an intergovernmental organization established on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with 32 signatory governments. One of the main heads for OAU's ...
, the precursor of the
African Union The African Union (AU) is a continental union A continental union is a regional organization which facilitates pan-continental integration. Continental unions vary from collaborative intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental organizat ...
, and served as its first chairman. In 1974, he was overthrown in a military coup by a Marxist–Leninist
junta Junta may refer to: Government and military * Junta (governing body), referring to various military governments and other governing bodies ** Military junta, one form of junta * Junta (Habsburg), an administrative body that ruled in personal union ...
, the
Derg The Derg (also spelled Dergue; from Amharic: ደርግ, "committee" or "council"; om, Dergii), officially the Provisional Military Government of Ethiopia, was the military junta that ruled Ethiopia Ethiopia (; am, ኢትዮጵያ, , ...

Derg
. Selassie was assassinated on 27 August 1975. Among some members of the
Rastafari movement Rastafari, also known as the Rastafari movement or Rastafarianism, is a religion that developed in Jamaica Jamaica () is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Anti ...
, Haile Selassie is referred to as the returned
messiah In Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic people, Semitic-originated religions that claim descent from the Judaism of the ancient I ...
of the Bible, God
incarnate Incarnation literally means ''embodied in flesh'' or ''taking on flesh''. It refers to the conception and birth of a sentient being who is the material manifestation of an entity, god God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the sup ...

incarnate
. This distinction notwithstanding, he was a Christian and adhered to the tenets and liturgy of the
Ethiopian Orthodox Church The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church ( am, የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያን, ''Yäityop'ya ortodoks täwahedo bétäkrestyan'') is the largest of Eastern Christianity Eastern Christianity compri ...
. The Rastafari movement was founded in Jamaica sometime around 1930 and its followers are estimated at between 700,000 and one million as of 2012. He has been criticized by some historians for his suppression of rebellions among the landed aristocracy (the '' mesafint''), which consistently opposed his reforms; some critics have also criticized Ethiopia's failure to modernize rapidly enough.. During his rule the
Harari people The Harari people (Harari language, Harari: Gēyusuach, "People of the City") are an ethnic group inhabiting the Horn of Africa. Members traditionally reside in the walled city of Harar, called simply ''Gēy'' "the City" in Harari, situated in th ...
were persecuted and many left the
Harari Region The Harari Region (; ), officially the Harari People's National Regional State ( am, የሀረሪ ህዝብ ብሄራዊ ክልላዊ መንግስት; om, Mootummaa Naannoo Ummata Hararii), is a Regions of Ethiopia, regional state in eastern Eth ...
. His regime was also criticized by human rights groups, such as
Human Rights Watch Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an international non-governmental organization, headquartered in New York City, that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. The group pressures governments, policy makers, companies, and individual human r ...
, as autocratic and illiberal. (taken from Chapter 3 of ''Evil Days: Thirty Years of War and Famine in Ethiopia'' Alexander de Waal (Africa Watch, 1991). Late during his regime, the Oromo language was banned from education, public speaking and use in administration. The
Amhara Amhara may refer to: * Amhara, Bihar, India * Amhara people, an ethnic group of Ethiopia * Amhara Province, a medieval province of Ethiopia * Amhara Region, an administrative region of modern Ethiopia * Amhara, a subdivision of the former Italian Ea ...
culture dominated throughout the era of monarchic rule. The Haile Selassie government relocated numerous Amharas into southern Ethiopia where they served in government administration, courts, church. Following the death of
Hachalu Hundessa Hachalu Hundessa ( om, Haacaaluu Hundeessaa Boonsaa; am, ሃጫሉ ሁንዴሳ; 1986 – 29 June 2020) was an Ethiopian singer, songwriter, and civil rights activist. Hundessa played a significant role in the 2016 Oromo protests that led to A ...
in June 2020, the Statue of Haile Selassie in
Cannizaro Park Cannizaro Park is a public park in Wimbledon, London, Wimbledon in the London Borough of Merton. Located towards the south-western edge of Wimbledon Common, it is known for its ornamental landscaped gardens with ponds and sculpture. The park is ...
, London was destroyed by Oromo protesters, and his father's equestrian monument in
Harar Harar ( amh, ሐረር; Gē "the City", om, Harar, ar, هرر) is a walled city in eastern Ethiopia. It is known in Arabic as the City of Wali, Saints ( ar, مدينة الأَوْلِيَاء). Harar is the capital of the East Hararghe Zone ...

Harar
was removed.


Name

, spoken = ; ''djānhoi'', lit. ''"O steemedroyal"'' , alternative = ; ''getochu'', lit. ''"Our master"'' (pl.) Haile Selassie was known as a child as Lij Tafari Makonnen (Amharic: ; ''Lij Teferī Mekōnnin''). '' Lij'' is translated as "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 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 A regnal name, or reign name, is the name used by monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the head of state o ...
in 1930. On 1 November 1905, at the age of thirteen years and three months old, his father appointed him Dejazmatch of Gara Mulatta (a region some twenty miles southwest of Harar). The literal translation of Dejazmatch is "keeper of the door" and it's a title of nobility equivalent to a
Count Count (feminine: countess) is a historical title of nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility ...
. On 27 September 1916, he was pronounced Crown Prince, Heir Apparent to the Throne (Alga Worrach) and appointed to the position of
Regent A regent (from the Latin : ruling, governing) is a person appointed to govern a state ''pro tempore'' (Latin Language, Latin: 'for the time being') because the regnant monarch is a minor, is absent, abdicated the throne, is incapacitated or dea ...
Plenipotentiary (''Balemulu Silt'an
Enderase Until the end of the Ethiopian Empire, Ethiopian monarchy in 1974, there were two categories of nobility in Ethiopia and Eritrea. The Mesafint ( gez, መሳፍንት , modern , singular gez, መስፍን , modern , "prince"), the hereditary nob ...
''). On 11 February 1917 he was crowned Le'ul-Ras and became known as
Ras Ras or RAS may refer to: Arts and media * RAS Records RAS Records, also known as Real Authentic Sound, is a reggae record label. History RAS Records was founded in 1979 by Doctor Dread. In his travels to Jamaica Jamaica () is an island ...
Tafari Makonnen . ''
Ras Ras or RAS may refer to: Arts and media * RAS Records RAS Records, also known as Real Authentic Sound, is a reggae record label. History RAS Records was founded in 1979 by Doctor Dread. In his travels to Jamaica Jamaica () is an island ...
'' is translated as "head"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. . p.114 and is a rank of nobility equivalent to
Duke Duke is a male title either of a monarch ruling over a duchy, or of a member of Royal family, royalty, or nobility. As rulers, dukes are ranked below emperors, kings, grand princes, grand dukes, and sovereign princes. As royalty or nobility, th ...
; though it is often rendered in translation as "prince." Originally the title Le'ul, which means "Your Highness," was only ever used as a form of address however in 1917 the title Le'ul-Ras replaced the senior office of Ras
Bitwoded Until the end of the Ethiopian monarchy in 1974, there were two categories of nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class) ...
and is the equivalent of a Royal Duke. In 1928,
Empress An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife (empress consort), m ...
Zewditu Zewditu ( gez, ዘውዲቱ, born Askala Maryam; 29 April 1876 – 2 April 1930) was Empress of Ethiopia The Emperor of Ethiopia ( gez, ንጉሠ ነገሥት, nəgusä nägäst, "King of Kings") was the hereditary monarchy, hereditary ruler ...
planned on granting him the throne of Shewa, however at the last moment opposition from certain provincial rulers caused a change and his title ''
Negus Negus ( gez, ንጉሥ, ' ; cf. ti, ነጋሲ ' ) is a title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualific ...

Negus
'' or "King" was conferred without geographical qualification or definition. On 2 November 1930, after the death of Empress Zewditu, Tafari was crowned ''Negusa Nagast'', literally
King of Kings King of Kings ( Akkadian: ''šar šarrāni''; Old Persian: ''Xšâyathiya Xšâyathiyânâm'';' Middle Persian: ''šāhān šāh'';' Modern Persian: شاهنشاه, ''Šâhanšâh''; Greek: Βασιλεὺς Βασιλέων, ''Basileùs Ba ...
, rendered in English as "Emperor". Upon his ascension, he took as his regnal name Haile Selassie I. ''Haile'' means in Ge'ez "Power of" and ''Selassie'' means
trinity The Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ''Christian' ...

trinity
—therefore ''Haile Selassie'' roughly translates to "Power of the Trinity". Haile Selassie's full title in office was "By the Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah,
His Imperial Majesty Imperial Majesty (''His/Her Imperial Majesty'', abbreviated as ''HIM'') is a style (manner of address), style used by Emperors and Empresses. It distinguishes the status of an emperor/empress from that of a King/Queen regnant, Queen, who are simply ...
Haile Selassie I,
King of Kings King of Kings ( Akkadian: ''šar šarrāni''; Old Persian: ''Xšâyathiya Xšâyathiyânâm'';' Middle Persian: ''šāhān šāh'';' Modern Persian: شاهنشاه, ''Šâhanšâh''; Greek: Βασιλεὺς Βασιλέων, ''Basileùs Ba ...
, Lord of Lords, Elect of God".Lee, V. (July 1983), "The Roots of Rastafari", ''Yoga Journal No. 51''. , p. 18. This title reflects Ethiopian dynastic traditions, which hold that all monarchs must trace their lineage to
Menelik I Menelik I, or Menilek ( Ge`ez: ምኒልክ ''Mənilək'') was the first Solomonic Emperor of Ethiopia Ethiopia (; am, ኢትዮጵያ, , aa, Itiyoophiyaa, gez, ኢትዮጵያ, om , Itoophiyaa, so, Itoobiya, ti , ኢትዮጵያ) ...
, who is described by the
Kebra Nagast The ''Kebra Nagast'', var. ''Kebra Negast'' ( Ge'ez: ክብረ ነገሥት, ''kəbrä nägäśt''), or ''The Glory of the Kings'', is a 14th-century national epic Image:Inha runonlaulajat.jpg, Republic of Karelia, Karelian poem singing brothers ...
(a 14th-century CE national epic) as the son of the 10th-century BCE
King Solomon of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg"> Aztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen ...

King Solomon
and the
Queen of Sheba The Queen of Sheba ( he, מלכת שבא; ar, ملكة سبأ, Malikat Saba) is a figure first mentioned in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebr ...
. To Ethiopians, Haile Selassie has been known by many names, including Janhoy, Talaqu Meri, and Abba Tekel. The
Rastafari movement Rastafari, also known as the Rastafari movement or Rastafarianism, is a religion that developed in Jamaica Jamaica () is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Anti ...
employs many of these appellations, also referring to him as
Jah Jah or Yah ( he, יה, ''Yah'') is a short form of he, יהוה (YHWH), the four letters that form the tetragrammaton The Tetragrammaton () or Tetragram (from Greek , meaning " onsisting offour letters") is the four-letter Hebrew He ...
, Jah Jah, Jah Rastafari, and HIM (the abbreviation of "His Imperial Majesty").


Biography


Early life

Haile Selassie's royal line (through his father's mother) descended from the Shewan
Amhara Amhara may refer to: * Amhara, Bihar, India * Amhara people, an ethnic group of Ethiopia * Amhara Province, a medieval province of Ethiopia * Amhara Region, an administrative region of modern Ethiopia * Amhara, a subdivision of the former Italian Ea ...
Solomonic King,
Sahle Selassie Sahle Selassie ( Amharic: ሣህለ ሥላሴ) (c. 1795 – 22 October 1847) was a ruler and later King of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg">Aztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Te ...
. He was born on 23 July 1892, in the village of
Ejersa Goro Ejersa Goro is a town in eastern Ethiopia. Located outside the city of Harar in the Misraq Hararghe Zone, East Hararghe Zone of the Oromia Region, it has a latitude and longitude of and an elevation of 2780 meters above sea level. It is the admin ...
, in the
Harar Harar ( amh, ሐረር; Gē "the City", om, Harar, ar, هرر) is a walled city in eastern Ethiopia. It is known in Arabic as the City of Wali, Saints ( ar, مدينة الأَوْلِيَاء). Harar is the capital of the East Hararghe Zone ...

Harar
province of Ethiopia. Haile Selassie's mother was paternally of descent and maternally of
Gurage The Gurage () (Gurage The Gurage people () ( Ge’ez: ጉራጌ) are Habesha peoples speaking the Gurage languages inhabiting Ethiopia.G. W. E. Huntingford, "William A. Shack: The Gurage: a people of the ensete culture" The Gurage people traditio ...
heritage, while his father was both maternally and paternally
Amhara Amhara may refer to: * Amhara, Bihar, India * Amhara people, an ethnic group of Ethiopia * Amhara Province, a medieval province of Ethiopia * Amhara Region, an administrative region of modern Ethiopia * Amhara, a subdivision of the former Italian Ea ...
. It's through his paternal grandmother's royal lineage that he was able to ascend to the Imperial throne. His mother was Woizero ("Lady") Yeshimebet Ali Abba Jifar, daughter of a ruling chief from Were Ilu in
Wollo Wollo (Amharic Amharic ( or ; (Amharic: ), ', ) is an Ethiopian Semitic language, which is a subgrouping within the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-H ...
province,
Dejazmach Until the end of the Ethiopian Empire, Ethiopian monarchy in 1974, there were two categories of nobility in Ethiopia and Eritrea. The Mesafint ( gez, መሳፍንት , modern , singular gez, መስፍን , modern , "prince"), the hereditary nob ...
Ali Abba Jifar.de Moor, Jaap, and Wesseling, H. L. (1989), ''Imperialism and War: Essays on Colonial Wars in Asia and Africa''. Brill. , p. 189. His maternal grandmother was of
Gurage The Gurage () (Gurage The Gurage people () ( Ge’ez: ጉራጌ) are Habesha peoples speaking the Gurage languages inhabiting Ethiopia.G. W. E. Huntingford, "William A. Shack: The Gurage: a people of the ensete culture" The Gurage people traditio ...
heritage.Woodward, Peter (1994), ''Conflict and Peace in the Horn of Africa: federalism and its alternatives''. Dartmouth Pub. Co. , p. 29. Haile Selassie's father was
Ras Ras or RAS may refer to: Arts and media * RAS Records RAS Records, also known as Real Authentic Sound, is a reggae record label. History RAS Records was founded in 1979 by Doctor Dread. In his travels to Jamaica Jamaica () is an island ...
Makonnen Wolde Mikael Ethiopian aristocratic and court titles, ''Ras'' Makonnen Wolde Mikael Gudissa (Amharic: ራስ መኮንን ወልደ ሚካኤል ጉዲሳ), or simply Makonnen Wolde Mikael, Ras Makonnen (May 8, 1852 – March 21, 1906), was a Shewan ro ...
, the grandson of King Sahle Selassie who was once the ruler of
Shewa Shewa ( am, ሸዋ; om, Shawaa), formerly romanized as Shua, Shoa, Showa, Shuwa (''Scioà'' in Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of ...
. Ras Makonnen was both maternally and paternally
Amhara Amhara may refer to: * Amhara, Bihar, India * Amhara people, an ethnic group of Ethiopia * Amhara Province, a medieval province of Ethiopia * Amhara Region, an administrative region of modern Ethiopia * Amhara, a subdivision of the former Italian Ea ...
. He served as a general in the
First Italo–Ethiopian War The First Italo-Ethiopian War, lit. ''Abyssinian War'' was fought between Kingdom of Italy, Italy and Ethiopian Empire, Ethiopia from 1895 to 1896. It originated from the disputed Treaty of Wuchale, which the Italians claimed turned Ethiopia in ...
, playing a key role at the
Battle of Adwa The Battle of Adwa (Amharic: አድዋ; ti, ዓድዋ; Italian language, Italian ''Adua'', also spelled ''Adowa'') was the climactic battle of the First Italo-Ethiopian War. The Ethiopian forces, who had high numerical superiority and weapons ...
; 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 Menelik II ( gez, ዳግማዊ ምኒልክ ; horse name Abba Dagnew (Amharic: አባ ዳኘው ''abba daññäw''); 17 August 1844 – 12 December 1913), baptised as Sahle Maryam (ሣህለ ማርያም ''sahlä maryam'') was Emperor of Ethiopia ...

Menelik II
and daughter of the Solomonic Amhara King of Shewa,
Negus Negus ( gez, ንጉሥ, ' ; cf. ti, ነጋሲ ' ) is a title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualific ...

Negus
Sahle Selassie. As such, Haile Selassie claimed direct descent from , the Queen of Sheba, and King Solomon of ancient
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
. Ras Makonnen arranged for Tafari as well as his first cousin,
Imru Haile Selassie Ethiopian aristocratic and court titles, Leul Ras Imru Haile Selassie, Order of the British Empire, CBE (Amharic: ዕምሩ ኀይለ ሥላሴ; 23 November 1892 – 15 August 1980) was an Ethiopian noble, soldier, and diplomat. He was also ...
, to receive instruction in Harar from
Abba Samuel Wolde KahinAbba Samuel Wolde Kahin (also spelled Walda Kahen; Amharic: አባ ሳሙኤል ወልደ ካህን) was the tutor and mentor of ''Ras (title), Ras'' Tafari Makonnen (later Emperor Haile Selassie I) and his cousin, ''Ras'' Imru Haile Selassie, when t ...
, an Ethiopian Capuchin monk, and from Dr. Vitalien, a surgeon from
Guadeloupe Guadeloupe (; ; gcf, label=Antillean Creole, Gwadloup, ) is an archipelago and Overseas departments and regions of France, overseas department and region of France in the Caribbean. It consists of six inhabited islands—Basse-Terre Island, ...
. Tafari was named
Dejazmach Until the end of the Ethiopian Empire, Ethiopian monarchy in 1974, there were two categories of nobility in Ethiopia and Eritrea. The Mesafint ( gez, መሳፍንት , modern , singular gez, መስፍን , modern , "prince"), the hereditary nob ...
(literally "commander of the gate", roughly equivalent to "
count Count (feminine: countess) is a historical title of nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility ...
") at the age of 13, on 1 November 1905. Shortly thereafter, his father Ras Makonnen died at Kulibi, in 1906..


Governorship

Tafari assumed the titular governorship of Selale in 1906, a realm of marginal importance,. but one that enabled him to continue his studies. 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 Princess Romanework Haile Selassie, sometimes spelt as Romane Work Haile Selassie (died in Turin on 14 October 1940), was the eldest child of Emperor Haile Selassie Haile Selassie I ( gez, ቀዳማዊ ኀይለ ሥላሴ, Qädamawi Häylä S ...
was born. Following the death of his brother Yelma in 1907, the governorate of Harar was left vacant, and its administration was left to Menelik's loyal general, ''Dejazmach''
Balcha Safo '' Dejazmach'' Balcha Safo (1863 – 6 November 1936), popularly referred to by his "horse-name" of Balcha Aba Nefso, was an accomplished Ethiopian people, Ethiopian military commander and lord protector of the crown, who served in both the Firs ...

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 Taytu Betul ( am, ጣይቱ ብጡል; baptismal name Wälättä Mikael; 17 August 1851 – 11 February 1918) was the Empress of the Ethiopian Empire, ruling from 1889 to 1913. She was the third wife of Emperor of Ethiopia, Emperor Menelik II, M ...
, Tafari was made governor of Harar in 1910 or 1911. Mockler, p. 387. On 3 August 1911, he married
Menen Asfaw Menen Asfaw (Baptismal name ''Walatta Giyorgis'') (26 Magabit 1881 Ethiopian Calendar, 3 April 1891 Gregorian Calendar – 15 February 1962) was the Empress consort of the Ethiopian Empire. She was the wife of Emperor Haile Selassie. Fam ...
of
Ambassel Ambassel (Amharic language, Amharic: አምባሰል) is a Districts of Ethiopia, woreda of the Amhara Region in Ethiopia, and an ''Amba (geology), amba'', or mountain fortress, located in the woreda; The word Ambasel is derived from two words “ ...
, niece of the heir to the throne
Lij Iyasu ''Lij'' Iyasu ( gez, ልጅ ኢያሱ), (4 February 1895 – 25 November 1935), was the designated Emperor of Ethiopia from 1913 to 1916. His baptismal name was Kifle Yaqob (ክፍለ ያዕቆብ ''kəflä y’aqob''). Ethiopian emperors traditi ...
.


Regency

The extent to which Tafari Makonnen contributed to the movement that would come to depose
Lij Iyasu ''Lij'' Iyasu ( gez, ልጅ ኢያሱ), (4 February 1895 – 25 November 1935), was the designated Emperor of Ethiopia from 1913 to 1916. His baptismal name was Kifle Yaqob (ክፍለ ያዕቆብ ''kəflä y’aqob''). Ethiopian emperors traditi ...
has been discussed extensively, particularly in Haile Selassie's own detailed account of the matter. 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, 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. Contributing to the movement that deposed Iyasu were conservatives such as ''
Fitawrari Until the end of the Ethiopian Empire, Ethiopian monarchy in 1974, there were two categories of nobility in Ethiopia and Eritrea. The Mesafint ( gez, መሳፍንት , modern , singular gez, መስፍን , modern , "prince"), the hereditary nob ...
''
Habte Giyorgis ''Fitawrari'' Habte Giyorgis Dinagde (Quse Dinagde; am, ሀብተ ጊዮርጊስ ዲነግዴ; ; 1851 – 12 December 1926) was an Ethiopian military commander and government official who, among several other posts, served as President of ...
, Menelik II's longtime Minister of War. The movement to depose Iyasu preferred Tafari, as he attracted support from both progressive and conservative factions. Ultimately, Iyasu was deposed on the grounds of conversion to Islam.. In his place, the daughter of Menelik II (the aunt of Iyasu) was named Empress
Zewditu Zewditu ( gez, ዘውዲቱ, born Askala Maryam; 29 April 1876 – 2 April 1930) was Empress of Ethiopia The Emperor of Ethiopia ( gez, ንጉሠ ነገሥት, nəgusä nägäst, "King of Kings") was the hereditary monarchy, hereditary ruler ...
, while Tafari was elevated to the rank of ''Ras'' and was made
heir apparent An heir apparent is a person who is first in an order of succession An order of succession or right of succession is the line of individuals entitled to hold a high office when it becomes vacated such as head of state A head of state ( ...
and . In the power arrangement that followed, Tafari accepted the role of Regent Plenipotentiary (''Balemulu 'Inderase'')''Bālemulu'' literally means "fully empowered" or "wholly authorised," thus distinguishing it from the general use of ''Enderase'', that being a representative or lieutenant of the Emperor to fiefs or vassals, essentially a Governor-General or
Viceroy A viceroy () is an official who runs a polity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of institutionalized social relations, and have a capacity to mo ...

Viceroy
, by which term provincial governors in the contemporary Imperial period, during Haile Selassie's reign, were referred.
and became the ''de facto'' ruler of the
Ethiopian Empire The Ethiopian Empire (), also formerly known by the exonym Abyssinia (derived from the Arabic ''al-Habash''), or just simply known as Ethiopia (; Amharic and Tigrinya language, Tigrinya: ኢትዮጵያ , , Oromo language, Oromo: Itoophiyaa, S ...
(''Mangista Ityop'p'ya''). Zewditu would govern while Tafari would administer. While Iyasu had been deposed on 27 September 1916, on 8 October he managed to escape into the and his father, ''Negus''
Mikael of Wollo '' Negus'' Mikael of Wollo (1850 – 8 September 1918), born Ras Mohammed Ali was an army commander and a member of the nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some soc ...
, had time to come to his aid.. On 27 October, ''Negus'' Mikael and his army met an army under ''Fitawrari'' Habte Giyorgis loyal to Zewditu and Tafari. During the
Battle of Segale The Battle of Segale, fought on 27 October 1916, was a victory for the supporters of Empress Zewditu over those of Emperor Iyasu V of Ethiopia. Henze states that "Segale was Ethiopia's greatest battle since Adwa" (1896). Background The nobili ...
, ''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 SelassieGugsa Araya Selassie (1885 – 28 April 1932) was an army commander and a member of the royal family A royal family is the immediate family of kings/ queens, emirs/emiras, or sultans/ sultanas, and sometimes their extended family. The te ...
. 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. 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. 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 The Spanish flu, also known as the 1918 influenza pandemic, was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic caused by the H1N1 influenza A virus. Lasting from February 1918 to April 1920, it infected 500 million peopleabout a third of the wo ...
, having come down with the illness. He secured Ethiopia's admission to the
League of Nations The League of Nations, abbreviated as LON (french: Société des Nations , abbreviated as SDN or SdN), was the first worldwide Intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. ...
in 1923 by promising to eradicate slavery; each emperor since
Tewodros II Tewodros II ( gez, ቴዎድሮስ, baptized as Sahle Dingil; 14 January 1818 – 14 April 1868) was the Emperor of Ethiopia The Emperor of Ethiopia ( gez, ንጉሠ ነገሥት, nəgusä nägäst, " King of Kings") was the hereditary ruler ...
had issued proclamations to halt
slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for another person (a slaver), while treated as property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and co ...
, but without effect: the internationally scorned practice persisted well into Haile Selassie's reign with an estimated 2 million slaves in Ethiopia in the early 1930s.


Travel abroad

In 1924, ''Ras'' Tafari toured Europe and the Middle East visiting
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusałē ...

Jerusalem
,
Alexandria ) , name = Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; cop, ⲣⲁⲕⲟϯ, Rakotī; el, Αλεξάνδρεια ''Alexándria'') is the third-largest city in Egypt after Cairo Cairo ...
, Paris, Luxembourg, Brussels,
Amsterdam Amsterdam ( , , ) is the Capital of the Netherlands, capital and Municipalities of the Netherlands, most populous city of the Netherlands; with a population of 872,680 within the city proper, 1,558,755 in the City Region of Amsterdam, urban a ...
, Stockholm, London,
Geneva , neighboring_municipalities= Carouge, Chêne-Bougeries, Cologny, Lancy, Grand-Saconnex, Pregny-Chambésy, Vernier, Switzerland, Vernier, Veyrier , website = geneve.ch Geneva ( ; french: Genève ; frp, Genèva ; german: link=no, Genf ; it, G ...

Geneva
, and
Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica (region), Attica region and is one of the List of oldest ...
. With him on his tour was a group that included ''Ras''
Seyum Mangasha Seyoum Mengesha KBE (Amharic Amharic ( or ; (Amharic: ), ', ) is an Ethiopian Semitic language, which is a subgrouping within the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Sem ...
of western
Tigray Province Tigray Province is an historical province of northern Ethiopia that exists in the present day Tigray Region The Tigray Region (, ; , ''kilil Tigrāy''; official name: , ''Bəh̩erawi Kəllelawi Mängəśti Təgray'', ) is the northernmo ...
; ''Ras''
Hailu Tekle Haymanot Hailu Tekle Haymanot (1868–1950), also named Hailu II of Gojjam, was an army commander and a member of the nobility of the Ethiopian Empire The Ethiopian Empire (), also formerly known by the exonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'n ...
of
Gojjam Gojjam (Amharic Amharic ( or ; (Amharic: ), ', ) is an Ethiopian Semitic language, which is a subgrouping within the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semit ...
province; ''Ras''
Mulugeta Yeggazu '' Ras'' Mulugeta Yeggazu, (Amharic Amharic ( or ; (Amharic: ), ', ) is an Ethiopian Semitic language, which is a subgrouping within the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Ham ...
of
Illubabor Province Illubabor (Amharic: ኢሉባቦር) was a province in the south-western part of Ethiopia, along the border with Sudan. The name Illubabor is said to come from two Oromo language, Oromo words, "Illu" and "Abba Bor(a)". "Illu" is a name of a clan, ...
; ''Ras''
Makonnen Endelkachew ''Ethiopian aristocratic and religious titles, Ras Betwoded'' Mekonnen Endelkachew (16 February 1890 – 27 February 1963) was an Ethiopian aristocrat and Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Prime Minister under Emperor Haile Selassie. Mekonnen was bo ...

Makonnen Endelkachew
; and '' Blattengeta''
Heruy Welde Sellase ''Ethiopian aristocratic and court titles#Mekwanint, Blattengeta'' Heruy Welde Sellase (8 May 1878 – 19 September 1938; ብላቴን፡ጌታ፡ኅሩይ፡ወልደ፡ሥላሴ ''Blatten-Geta Həruy Wäldä-səllase'') was a Ministry of For ...
. 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 Minister of Foreign Affairs (France), French Foreign Ministry (''Quai d'Orsay'') that this goal would not be realized. 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. 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." Throughout Tafari's travels in Europe, the Levant, and Egypt, he and his entourage were greeted with enthusiasm and fascination. Seyum Mangasha accompanied him and Hailu Tekle Haymanot who, like Tafari, were sons of generals who contributed to the victorious war against Italy a quarter-century earlier at the
Battle of Adwa The Battle of Adwa (Amharic: አድዋ; ti, ዓድዋ; Italian language, Italian ''Adua'', also spelled ''Adowa'') was the climactic battle of the First Italo-Ethiopian War. The Ethiopian forces, who had high numerical superiority and weapons ...
.. Another member of his entourage, Mulugeta Yeggazu, actually fought at Adwa as a young man. The "Oriental Dignity" of the Ethiopians and their "rich, picturesque court dress" were sensationalized in the media; among his entourage he even included a pride of lions, which he distributed as gifts to President Alexandre Millerand and Prime Minister Raymond Poincaré of French Third Republic, France, to Monarchy of the United Kingdom, King George V of the United Kingdom, and to the Zoological Garden (''Jardin d'Acclimatation, Jardin Zoologique'') of Paris, France. As one historian noted, "Rarely can a tour have inspired so many anecdotes". In return for two lions, the United Kingdom presented Tafari with the imperial crown of Emperor
Tewodros II Tewodros II ( gez, ቴዎድሮስ, baptized as Sahle Dingil; 14 January 1818 – 14 April 1868) was the Emperor of Ethiopia The Emperor of Ethiopia ( gez, ንጉሠ ነገሥት, nəgusä nägäst, " King of Kings") was the hereditary ruler ...
for its safe return to Empress Zewditu. The crown had been taken by General (United Kingdom), General Robert Napier, 1st Baron Napier of Magdala, Sir Robert Napier during the 1868 Expedition to Abyssinia. In this period, the Crown Prince visited the Armenian monastery of
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusałē ...

Jerusalem
. There, he adopted 40 Armenians, Armenian orphans (አርባ ልጆች ''Arba Lijoch'', "forty children"), who had lost their parents during the Armenian Genocide. Tafari arranged for the musical education of the youths, and they came to form the imperial brass band.


King and Emperor

Tafari's authority was challenged in 1928 when ''Ethiopian aristocratic and court titles, Dejazmach''
Balcha Safo '' Dejazmach'' Balcha Safo (1863 – 6 November 1936), popularly referred to by his "horse-name" of Balcha Aba Nefso, was an accomplished Ethiopian people, Ethiopian military commander and lord protector of the crown, who served in both the Firs ...

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. The ''Dejazmatch'' paid homage to Empress Zewditu, but snubbed Tafari.. On 18 February, while Balcha Safo and his personal bodyguard were in Addis Ababa, Tafari had ''Ras'' Kassa Haile Darge buy off his army and arranged to have him displaced as the ''Shum'' of Sidamo Province by Birru Wolde Gabriel who himself was replaced by Desta Damtew. 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 Italo–Ethiopian Treaty of 1928, 20-year peace accord which was signed on 2 August.. In September, a group of palace reactionaries including some courtiers of the empress, made a 1928 Ethiopian coup d'état, 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 decided the outcome in his favor with superiority of arms. Popular support, as well as the support of the police, remained with Tafari. Ultimately, the Empress relented and, on 7 October 1928, she crowned Tafari as ''
Negus Negus ( gez, ንጉሥ, ' ; cf. ti, ነጋሲ ' ) is a title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualific ...

Negus
'' (Amharic: "King"). 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 History of Ethiopia, Ethiopian history. Conservatives agitated to redress this perceived insult to the crown's dignity, leading to the Gugsa Wale's rebellion, 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. 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 her husband's defeat, or alternately that she died from shock upon hearing of the death of her estranged yet beloved husband, it has since been documented that the Empress succumbed to a flu-like fever and complications from diabetes. 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 St. George's Cathedral, Addis Ababa, Addis Ababa's Cathedral of St. George. The coronation was by all accounts "a most splendid affair",. and it was attended by royals and dignitaries from all over the world. Among those in attendance were Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, The Duke of Gloucester (King George V's son), Marshal of France, Marshal Louis Franchet d'Espèrey of France, and the Prince Ferdinando, Duke of Genoa (1884–1963), Prince of Udine representing King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy. Emissaries from the United States, Egypt, Turkey, Sweden, Belgium, and Japan were also present. 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. One newspaper report suggested that the celebration had incurred a cost in excess of $3,000,000. Many of those in attendance received lavish gifts; 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. Haile Selassie introduced 1931 Constitution of Ethiopia, Ethiopia's first written constitution on 16 July 1931, providing for a bicameral legislature.Fasil (1997), ''Constitution for a Nation of Nations'', p. 22. 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." 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 Tigray Province, Tigrai and even the emperor's loyal cousin, Ras Kassa Haile Darge. In 1932, the Kingdom of Jimma, Sultanate of Jimma was formally absorbed into Ethiopia following the death of Sultan Abba Jifar II of Jimma.


Conflict with Italy

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 Battle of Adwa, Adwa.Carlton, Eric (1992), ''Occupation: The Policies and Practices of Military Conquerors''. Taylor & Francis. , pp. 88–9.Vandervort, Bruce (1998), ''Wars of Imperial Conquest in Africa, 1830–1914''. Indiana University Press. , p. 158. A conquest of Ethiopia could also empower the cause of fascism and embolden its empire's rhetoric. 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.


Mobilization

Following 5 December 1934 Italian invasion of Ethiopia at Welwel, Ogaden Province, Haile Selassie joined his northern armies and set up headquarters at Dessie, Desse in
Wollo Wollo (Amharic Amharic ( or ; (Amharic: ), ', ) is an Ethiopian Semitic language, which is a subgrouping within the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-H ...
province. He issued his mobilization order on 3 October 1935: On 19 October 1935, Haile Selassie gave more precise orders for his army to his Commander-in-Chief, Ras Kassa Haile Darge, Kassa: 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.


Progress of the war

Starting in early October 1935, the De Bono's invasion of Abyssinia, 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 "Ethiopian Christmas Offensive, Christmas Offensive". During this offensive, the Italians were forced back in places and put on the defensive. 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 Province, 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. Haile Selassie made a solitary pilgrimage to the churches at Lalibela, at considerable risk of capture, before returning to his capital.. 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, Ethiopia, Gore, and that in the interest of preserving the Imperial house, the emperor's wife
Menen Asfaw Menen Asfaw (Baptismal name ''Walatta Giyorgis'') (26 Magabit 1881 Ethiopian Calendar, 3 April 1891 Gregorian Calendar – 15 February 1962) was the Empress consort of the Ethiopian Empire. She was the wife of Emperor Haile Selassie. Fam ...
and the rest of the imperial family should immediately depart for French Somaliland, and from there continue on to
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusałē ...

Jerusalem
.


Exile debate

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 The League of Nations, abbreviated as LON (french: Société des Nations , abbreviated as SDN or SdN), was the first worldwide Intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. ...
at
Geneva , neighboring_municipalities= Carouge, Chêne-Bougeries, Cologny, Lancy, Grand-Saconnex, Pregny-Chambésy, Vernier, Switzerland, Vernier, Veyrier , website = geneve.ch Geneva ( ; french: Genève ; frp, Genèva ; german: link=no, Genf ; it, G ...

Geneva
. The decision was not unanimous and several participants, including the nobleman Ethiopian aristocratic and court titles, Blatta Tekle Wolde Hawariat, strenuously objected to the idea of an Ethiopian monarch fleeing before an invading force. Haile Selassie appointed his cousin Ras
Imru Haile Selassie Ethiopian aristocratic and court titles, Leul Ras Imru Haile Selassie, Order of the British Empire, CBE (Amharic: ዕምሩ ኀይለ ሥላሴ; 23 November 1892 – 15 August 1980) was an Ethiopian noble, soldier, and diplomat. He was also ...
as Prince Regent in his absence, departing with his family for French Somaliland on 2 May 1936. On 5 May, Marshal Pietro Badoglio led Italian troops into Addis Ababa, and Mussolini declared Ethiopia an Italian province. Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, Victor Emanuel III was proclaimed as the new
Emperor of Ethiopia The Emperor of Ethiopia ( gez, ንጉሠ ነገሥት, nəgusä nägäst, " King of Kings") was the hereditary ruler of the Ethiopian Empire, until the abolition of the monarchy in 1975. The Emperor was the head of state A head of sta ...
. On the previous day, the Ethiopian exiles had left French Somaliland aboard the British cruiser HMS Enterprise (D52), HMS ''Enterprise''. They were bound for
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusałē ...

Jerusalem
in the Mandatory Palestine, 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 Davidic line, House of David. Leaving the Holy Land, Haile Selassie and his entourage sailed aboard the British cruiser HMS Capetown (D88), HMS ''Capetown'' for Gibraltar, where he stayed at the Rock Hotel. From Gibraltar, the exiles were transferred to an ordinary liner. By doing this, the United Kingdom government was spared the expense of a state reception.


Collective security and the League of Nations, 1936

Mussolini invaded Ethiopia and promptly declared his own "Italian Empire". After the League of Nations afforded Haile Selassie the opportunity to address the assembly, Italy withdrew its League delegation, on 12 May 1936. 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'Éthiopie''). 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. The Romanian delegate, Nicolae Titulescu, famously jumped to his feet in response and cried "To the door with the savages!", and the offending journalists were removed from the hall. Haile Selassie waited calmly for the hall to be cleared, and responded "majestically" with a Appeal to the League of Nations Haile Selassie June 1936, speech considered by some among the most stirring of the 20th century. Although fluent in French, the League's working language, 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. 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 the aggression threatened all small states, 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." The speech made the emperor an icon for anti-fascists around the world, and ''Time (magazine), Time'' named him "Man of the Year". 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: China, New Zealand, the Soviet Union, the Republic of Spain, Mexico and the United States. It is often said the League of Nations effectively collapsed due to its failure to condemn Italy's invasion of Abyssinia.


Exile

Haile Selassie spent his exile years (1936–41) in Bath, Somerset, Bath, England, in Fairfield House, Bath, Fairfield House, which he bought. The emperor and Kassa Haile Darge took morning walks together behind the 14-room Victorian house's high walls. Haile Selassie's favorite reading was "diplomatic history." But most of his serious hours were occupied with the 90,000-word story of his life that he was laboriously writing in Amharic. Prior to Fairfield House, he briefly stayed at Warne's Hotel in Worthing and in Parkside, Wimbledon, London, Wimbledon. A Statue of Haile Selassie (Wimbledon), bust of Haile Selassie by Hilda Seligman stood in nearby
Cannizaro Park Cannizaro Park is a public park in Wimbledon, London, Wimbledon in the London Borough of Merton. Located towards the south-western edge of Wimbledon Common, it is known for its ornamental landscaped gardens with ponds and sculpture. The park is ...
to commemorate this time, and was a popular place of pilgrimage for London's Rastafari community, until it was destroyed by protestors on 30 June 2020. Haile Selassie stayed at the Abbey Hotel in Malvern, Worcestershire, Malvern in the 1930s, and his granddaughters and daughters of court officials were educated at Clarendon School for Girls 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. 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. 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. 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", 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.Ofcansky, Thomas P. and Berry, Laverle (2004), ''Ethiopia: A Country Study''. Kessinger Publishing. , pp. 60–61. The emperor's pleas for international support did take root in the United States, particularly among African-American organizations sympathetic to the Ethiopian cause. 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. Rather than canceling the radio broadcast, he delivered 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": 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.. 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.. His daughter Tsehai died during childbirth shortly after the restoration in 1942. After his return to Ethiopia, he donated Fairfield House to the city of Bath as a residence for the aged.


1940s and 1950s

File:Placa de la Plaza de Etiopía conmemorando visita de Haile Selassie - Ciudad de México.JPG, Plaque commemorating the visit of Haile Selassie I to Mexico, 1954 – Etiopía Station, line 3 of the Mexico City Metro 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. On 18 January 1941, during the East African Campaign (World War II), 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. Italy was defeated by a force of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth of Nations, Free French Forces, Free France, Free Belgian Forces, Free Belgium, and Ethiopian patriots. On 5 May 1941, Haile Selassie entered Addis Ababa and personally addressed the Ethiopian people, exactly five years after the fascist forces entered Addis Ababa: On 27 August 1942, Haile Selassie confirmed the legal basis for the abolition of African slave trade, slavery that had been enacted by Italy throughout the empire and imposed severe penalties, including death, for slave trading. After World War II, Ethiopia became a charter member of the United Nations. In 1948, the Ogaden, a region disputed with both Italian Somaliland and British Somaliland, was granted to Ethiopia. On 2 December 1950, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 390 (V), establishing the federation of Eritrea (the former Italian colony) into Ethiopia.#CITEREFShinn, Shinn, pp. 140–1. 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. Despite his centralization policies that had been made before World War II, Haile Selassie still found himself unable to push for all the programmes 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.Ofcansky, Thomas P. and Berry, Laverle (2004). ''Ethiopia A Country Study''. Kessinger Publishing. . pp. 63–4. Ethiopia was still "semi-feudal", 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 post-war era. Where Haile Selassie actually did succeed in effecting new land taxes, the burdens were often still passed by the landowners to the peasants. Between 1941 and 1959, Haile Selassie worked to establish the autocephaly of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.Watson, John H. (2000), ''Among the Copts''. Sussex Academic Press. , p. 56. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church had been headed by the ''Abuna'', a bishop who answered to the Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. In 1942 and 1945, Haile Selassie applied to the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church to establish the independence of Ethiopian bishops, and when his appeals were denied he threatened to sever relations with the Coptic Church of Alexandria. Finally, in 1959, Pope Kyrillos VI elevated the ''Abuna'' to Patriarch-Catholicos. The Ethiopian Church remained affiliated with the Alexandrian Church. 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. In 1948, the Harari people, Harari Muslims of
Harar Harar ( amh, ሐረር; Gē "the City", om, Harar, ar, هرر) is a walled city in eastern Ethiopia. It is known in Arabic as the City of Wali, Saints ( ar, مدينة الأَوْلِيَاء). Harar is the capital of the East Hararghe Zone ...

Harar
peacefully protested against religious oppression; however, the state responded violently. Hundreds were arrested and the entire town of Harar was put under house arrest. The government also took control of many assets and estates belonging to the people. This led to a massive exodus of Hararis from the
Harari Region The Harari Region (; ), officially the Harari People's National Regional State ( am, የሀረሪ ህዝብ ብሄራዊ ክልላዊ መንግስት; om, Mootummaa Naannoo Ummata Hararii), is a Regions of Ethiopia, regional state in eastern Eth ...
, which had not occurred in their history prior. The dissatisfaction of the Harari stemmed from the fact that they had never received limited autonomy of Harar, which was promised by
Menelik II Menelik II ( gez, ዳግማዊ ምኒልክ ; horse name Abba Dagnew (Amharic: አባ ዳኘው ''abba daññäw''); 17 August 1844 – 12 December 1913), baptised as Sahle Maryam (ሣህለ ማርያም ''sahlä maryam'') was Emperor of Ethiopia ...

Menelik II
after his conquest of the kingdom. The promise was eroded by successive
Amhara Amhara may refer to: * Amhara, Bihar, India * Amhara people, an ethnic group of Ethiopia * Amhara Province, a medieval province of Ethiopia * Amhara Region, an administrative region of modern Ethiopia * Amhara, a subdivision of the former Italian Ea ...
governors. According to historian Tim Carmicheal, Haile Selassie was directly involved in the suppression of the Harari movement through his policies. In keeping with the principle of collective security, for which he was an outspoken proponent, Haile Selassie 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 (Korea), United Nations Command. It was attached to the American 7th Infantry Division (United States), 7th Infantry Division, and fought in a number of engagements including the Battle of Pork Chop Hill. In a 1954 speech, the Selassie spoke of Ethiopian participation in the Korean War as a redemption of the principles of collective security: During the celebrations of his Silver Jubilee in November 1955, Haile Selassie introduced a 1955 Constitution of Ethiopia, revised constitution, 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. The country embarked on a development scheme and plans for modernization, tempered by Ethiopian traditions, and within the framework of the state's ancient monarchical structure. 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 people, 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. Haile Selassie also maintained cordial relations with the government of the United Kingdom through charitable gestures. 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." He also left his home in exile, Fairfield House, Bath, to the City of Bath for the use of the aged in 1959.


1958 famine of Tigray

In 1958, there was a widespread famine in the Tigray province of northern Ethiopia. Despite this, Emperor Haile Selassie refused to send significant emergency food aid, resulting in the deaths of approximately 100,000 people.


1960s

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 ''Kebur Zabagna'' (Imperial Guard) forces staged 1960 Ethiopian coup, an unsuccessful coup, briefly proclaiming Haile Selassie's eldest son Amha Selassie, Asfa Wossen as emperor. The regular army and police forces crushed the coup d'état. The coup attempt lacked broad popular support, was denounced by the
Ethiopian Orthodox Church The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church ( am, የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያን, ''Yäityop'ya ortodoks täwahedo bétäkrestyan'') is the largest of Eastern Christianity Eastern Christianity compri ...
, and was unpopular with the army, Ethiopian Air Force, air force and police. Nonetheless, the effort to depose the emperor had support among students and the educated classes.Zewde, Bahru (2001), ''A History of Modern Ethiopia''. Oxford: James Currey. , pp. 220–26. 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".Mammo, Tirfe (1999), ''The Paradox of Africa's Poverty: The Role of Indigenous Knowledge.''The Red Sea Press. , p. 100. Student populations began to empathize with the peasantry and poor and advocate on their behalf. The coup spurred Haile Selassie to accelerate reform, which was manifested in the form of land grants to military and police officials. 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 Eritrea's status, with the superpowers each vying for a stake in the state's future. Britain, the administrator at the time, suggested Eritrea's partition between Sudan and Ethiopia, separating Christians and Muslims. The idea was instantly rejected by Eritrean political parties, as well as the UN. A UN plebiscite voted 46 to 10 to have Eritrea be federation, 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. Haile Selassie would have none of the 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 War for Independence, Eritrean Struggle for Independence began, followed by Haile Selassie's dissolution of the federation and shutting down of Eritrea's parliament. In September 1961, Haile Selassie attended the Conference of Heads of State of Government of Non-Aligned Countries in Belgrade, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, FPR Yugoslavia. This is considered to be the founding conference of the Non-Aligned Movement. 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. The war would continue for 30 years; first Haile Selassie, then the Soviet-backed junta that succeeded him, attempted to retain Eritrea by force. In 1963, Haile Selassie presided over the formation of the
Organisation of African Unity The Organisation of African Unity (OAU; french: Organisation de l'unité africaine, OUA) was an intergovernmental organization established on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with 32 signatory governments. One of the main heads for OAU's ...
(OAU), the precursor of the continent-wide
African Union The African Union (AU) is a continental union A continental union is a regional organization which facilitates pan-continental integration. Continental unions vary from collaborative intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental organizat ...
(AU). The new organization would establish its headquarters in 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. On 4 October 1963, Haile Selassie addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations referring in his address to his earlier speech to the League of Nations: 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 State funeral of John F. Kennedy, funeral of assassinated President John F. Kennedy. In 1966, Haile Selassie attempted to replace the historical tax system with a single progressive income tax, which would significantly weaken the nobility who had previously avoided paying most of their taxes. Even with alterations, this law led to a revolt in Gojjam, which was repressed although enforcement of the tax was abandoned. Having achieved its design in undermining the tax, the revolt encouraged other landowners to defy Haile Selassie. While he had fully approved and assured Ethiopia's participation in UN-approved collective security operations, including Korea and Congo, Haile Selassie drew a distinction between it and the non-UN-approved foreign intervention in Indochina, consistently deploring it as needless suffering and 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. In 1967, he visited Montréal, Canada, to open the Ethiopian Pavilion at the Expo '67 World's Fair where he received great acclaim among other World leaders there for the occasion. Student unrest became a regular feature of Ethiopian life in the 1960s and 1970s. Communism 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. 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, Aklilu Habte Wold, and concentrated more on foreign affairs.


1970s

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 State funeral of John F. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy and Charles de Gaulle, the summits of the Non-Aligned Movement, and the 2,500 year celebration of Iran's monarchy, 1971 celebration of the 2,500 years of the History of Iran, 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. 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. Common human rights abuses included imprisonment and torture of political prisoners and very poor prison conditions. The Ethiopian Army, Imperial Ethiopian Army also carried out a number of these atrocities while fighting the Eritrean separatists. This was due to a policy of destroying Eritrean villages that supported the rebels. There were a number of List of massacres committed during the Eritrean War of Independence, mass killings of hundreds of civilians during the war in the late 1960s and early '70s.


Wollo famine

Famines in Ethiopia, 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 between 1972 and 1974. A BBC News reportDickinson, Daniel
"The last of the Ethiopian emperors"
BBC News, Addis Ababa, 12 May 2005.
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". Although the region is infamous for recurrent crop failures and continuous Famine, food shortage and starvation risk, this episode was remarkably severe. A 1973 production of the ITV (TV network), ITV programme ''The Unknown Famine'' by Jonathan Dimbleby relied on the unverified estimate of 200,000 dead, stimulating a massive influx of aid while at the same time destabilizing Haile Selassie's regime. Some reports suggest that the emperor was unaware of the famine's extent, while others assert that he was well aware of it. 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. The famine and its image in the media undermined the government's popular support, and Haile Selassie's once unassailable personal popularity fell. 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.


Revolution

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.Launhardt, Johannes (2005). ''Evangelicals in Addis Ababa (1919–1991)''. LIT Verlag. , pp. 239–40. 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. Despite Endalkatchew's many concessions, discontent continued in March with a four-day general strike that paralyzed the nation.


Imprisonment

The
Derg The Derg (also spelled Dergue; from Amharic: ደርግ, "committee" or "council"; om, Dergii), officially the Provisional Military Government of Ethiopia, was the military junta that ruled Ethiopia Ethiopia (; am, ኢትዮጵያ, , ...

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 the 82-year-old Selassie on General Aman Andom, Aman Mikael Andom, a Protestant of Eritrean origin, served briefly as provisional head of state pending the return of Amha Selassie, Asfa Wossen, who was then receiving medical treatment abroad. Selassie was placed under house arrest briefly at the 4th Army Division in Addis Ababa. At the same time, most of his family was detained at the late Prince Makonnen, 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.Meredith, Martin (2005), ''The Fate of Africa: From the Hopes of Freedom to the Heart of Despair''. Public Affairs, , p. 216. Reportedly, his mental condition was such that he believed he was still Emperor of Ethiopia. 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 60 former high officials of the imperial government were Execution by firing squad, executed by firing squad without which included Selassie's grandson Iskinder Desta, a rear admiral, as well as General Andom and two former 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 The Solomonic dynasty ( ''Selemonawīwi širiwe menigišiti''), also known as the House of Solomon, was a dynasty of the Ethiopian Empire The Ethiopian Empire (), also formerly known by the exonym An endonym (from Greek: , 'inner' + , 'na ...
.


Death and interment

On 28 August 1975, state media reported that Selassie had died on 27 August of "respiratory failure" following complications from a prostate examination followed up by a prostate operation. Dr. Asrat Woldeyes denied that complications had occurred and rejected the government version of his death. The prostate operation in question apparently had taken place months before the state media claimed, and Selassie had apparently enjoyed strong health in his last days. In 1994, an Ethiopian court found several former military officers guilty of strangling the emperor in his bed in 1975. Three years after the military socialist
Derg The Derg (also spelled Dergue; from Amharic: ደርግ, "committee" or "council"; om, Dergii), officially the Provisional Military Government of Ethiopia, was the military junta that ruled Ethiopia Ethiopia (; am, ኢትዮጵያ, , ...

Derg
regime was overthrown the court charged them with genocide and murder, claiming that it had obtained documents attesting to a high-level order from the military regime to assassinate Selassie for leading a "feudal regime". Documents have been widely circulated online showing the Derg's final assassination order and bearing the military regime's seal and signature. The veracity of these documents has been corroborated by multiple former members of the military Derg regime. The Soviet-backed People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Derg's successor, fell in 1991. In 1992, Selassie's bones were found under a concrete slab on the palace grounds,"An Imperial Burial for Haile Selassie, 25 Years After Death"
''The New York Times'', 6 November 2000.
though some reports suggest that his remains were discovered beneath a latrine. Selassie's coffin rested in Bhata Church for nearly a decade, near his great-uncle
Menelik II Menelik II ( gez, ዳግማዊ ምኒልክ ; horse name Abba Dagnew (Amharic: አባ ዳኘው ''abba daññäw''); 17 August 1844 – 12 December 1913), baptised as Sahle Maryam (ሣህለ ማርያም ''sahlä maryam'') was Emperor of Ethiopia ...

Menelik II
's resting place.Lorch, Donatella (31 December 1995).
"Ethiopia Deals With Legacy of Kings and Colonels"
''The New York Times''.
On 5 November 2000, the Ethiopian Orthodox church gave him a funeral, but the government refused calls to declare the ceremony an official imperial funeral. Prominent Rastafari figures such as Rita Marley participated in the funeral, but most Rastafari rejected the event and refused to accept that the bones were Selassie's remains. There is some debate within the
Rastafari movement Rastafari, also known as the Rastafari movement or Rastafarianism, is a religion that developed in Jamaica Jamaica () is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Anti ...
whether he actually died in 1975.


Descendants

Haile Selassie had six children with
Menen Asfaw Menen Asfaw (Baptismal name ''Walatta Giyorgis'') (26 Magabit 1881 Ethiopian Calendar, 3 April 1891 Gregorian Calendar – 15 February 1962) was the Empress consort of the Ethiopian Empire. She was the wife of Emperor Haile Selassie. Fam ...
: Princess Tenagnework, Amha Selassie, Asfaw Wossen, Princess Zenebework, Princess Tsehai, Prince Makonnen, and Prince Sahle Selassie. There is some controversy about the maternity of Haile Selassie's eldest daughter,
Princess Romanework Princess Romanework Haile Selassie, sometimes spelt as Romane Work Haile Selassie (died in Turin on 14 October 1940), was the eldest child of Emperor Haile Selassie Haile Selassie I ( gez, ቀዳማዊ ኀይለ ሥላሴ, Qädamawi Häylä S ...
. While the living members of the royal family state that Romanework is the eldest daughter of Empress Menen, it has been asserted that Princess Romanework is actually the daughter of a previous union of the emperor with a ''Woizero'' Altayech. 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 ''Woizero'' Woinetu Amede and mentions her attending the wedding of her daughter to ''Dejazmatch'' Beyene Merid in a firsthand account in his book about the years before the Italian occupation. The emperor's autobiography makes no mention of this previous marriage or having fathered children with anyone other than Empress Menen. However, he mentions the death of this daughter in captivity at Turin. 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 Tenagnework first married Ras Desta Damtew, and after she was widowed, married Ras Andargachew Messai. Princess Zenebework married Dejazmatch Haile Selassie Gugsa. Princess Tsehai married Lt. General Abiye Abebe. A public rift between some of the descendants ensued when the late Emperor's Patek Philippe SA, Patek Philippe watch came up for auction in 2017. In the end it was sold for $2.9 million by leading international auction house Christie's.


Rastafari messiah

Today, Haile Selassie is worshipped as God incarnate among some followers of the
Rastafari movement Rastafari, also known as the Rastafari movement or Rastafarianism, is a religion that developed in Jamaica Jamaica () is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Anti ...
(taken from Haile Selassie's pre-imperial name ''Ras''—meaning ''Head'', a title looking equivalent to Duke—Tafari Makonnen), which emerged in
Jamaica Jamaica (; ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or c ...

Jamaica
during the 1930s under the influence of Leonard Howell, a follower of Marcus Garvey's "African Redemption" movement. He is viewed as the messiah who will lead the peoples of Africa and the African diaspora to freedom. His official titles are ''Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah'' and ''King of Kings of Ethiopia, Lord of Lords and Elect of God'', and his traditional lineage is thought to be from Solomon and Sheba. These notions are perceived by Rastafari 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 began after news reports of his coronation reached Jamaica,Joseph Owens (Jesuit), Owens, Joseph (1974), ''Dread, The Rastafarians of Jamaica''. . 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. 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." Haile Selassie visited Jamaica on 21 April 1966, and approximately one hundred thousand Rastafari from all over Jamaica descended on Palisadoes Airport in Kingston, Jamaica, Kingston to greet him. Joint (cannabis), Spliffs and Chalice (pipe), chalices were openly smoked, causing "a haze of cannabis (drug), ganja smoke" to drift through the air. Haile Selassie arrived at the airport but was unable to come down the airplane's mobile steps, 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 Planner, Mortimer Planno, a well-known Rasta leader, to climb the steps, enter the plane, and negotiate the emperor's descent. 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". This day is widely held by scholars to be a major turning point for the movement,Edmonds, Ennis Barrington (2002), ''Rastafari: From Outcasts to Culture Bearers''. Oxford University Press. . p. 86.Habekost, Christian (1993), ''Verbal Riddim: The Politics and Aesthetics of African-Caribbean Dub Poetry''. Rodopi. , p. 83. 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. 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, and Rastafari elders also ensured that they obtained a private audience with the emperor, 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 "Liberty, liberation before repatriation". Haile Selassie defied expectations of the Jamaican authorities and never rebuked the Rastafari for their belief in him as God. Instead, he presented the movement's faithful elders with gold medallions—the only recipients of such an honor on this visit. During People's National Party, 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. 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. 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. 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. Bob Marley's posthumously released song "Iron Lion Zion" refers to Haile Selassie.


Selassie's position

In a 1967 recorded interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC, Haile Selassie denied his alleged divinity. In the interview Bill McNeil says: "there are millions of Christians throughout the world, your Imperial Majesty, who regard you as the reincarnation of Jesus Christ." Selassie replied in his native language: For many Rastafari the CBC interview is not interpreted as a denial of his divinity. According to Robert Earl Hood, Haile Selassie neither denied nor affirmed his divinity either way. In ''Reggae Routes: The Story of Jamaican Music'', Kevin Chang and Wayne Chen note: After his return to Ethiopia, he dispatched Archbishop Abuna Yesehaq Mandefro to the Caribbean and according to Yesehaq this was done to help draw Rastafari and other West Indians to the Ethiopian church. However some sources suggest that certain islanders and their leaders were resenting the services of their former colonial churches and vocalized their interest of establishing the Ethiopian church in the Caribbean to which the Emperor obliged. In 1948, Haile Selassie donated a piece of land at Shashamane, 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.


Titles and styles

* 23 July 1892 – 1 November 1905: ''Ethiopian aristocratic and court titles#Lij, Lij'' Tafari Makonnen * 1 November 1905 – 11 February 1917: ''
Dejazmach Until the end of the Ethiopian Empire, Ethiopian monarchy in 1974, there were two categories of nobility in Ethiopia and Eritrea. The Mesafint ( gez, መሳፍንት , modern , singular gez, መስፍን , modern , "prince"), the hereditary nob ...
'' Tafari Makonnen * 11 February 1917 – 7 October 1928: Le'ul-Rastafari, ''Ras'' Tafari Makonnen * 7 October 1928 – 2 November 1930: ''
Negus Negus ( gez, ንጉሥ, ' ; cf. ti, ነጋሲ ' ) is a title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualific ...

Negus
'' Tafari Makonnen * 2 November 1930 – 12 September 1974: ''His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie'' I, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God and Light of the Universe. * 134th Christian ruler of Ethiopia *On 21 January 1965, Haile Selassie I was venerated with the title of "Defender of the Faith" by the Patriarchs of the Oriental Orthodox Churches of the World.


National orders

* Chief Commander of the Order of the Star of Ethiopia (1909) * Grand Collar of the Order of Solomon (1930) * Grand Cordon of the Order of the Seal of Solomon * Grand Cordon with Collar of the Order of the Queen of Sheba * Grand Cordon of the Order of the Holy Trinity (Ethiopia) * Grand Cordon of the Order of Menelik II * Order of Fidelity


Military ranks

Haile Selassie held the following ranks: * Field Marshal, Ethiopian National Defense Force, Imperial Ethiopian Army * Admiral of the Fleet, Ethiopian Navy, Imperial Ethiopian Navy * Marshal of the Ethiopian Air Force, Imperial Ethiopian Air Force * Field marshal (United Kingdom), Field Marshal, British Army, 20 January 1965The London Gazette, Issue: 43567 Page: 1235. Retrieved op 17 January 2017.
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In popular culture

* William Saroyan wrote a short story about him titled "The Lion of Judah" in his 1971 book ''Letters from 74 rue Taitbout or Don't Go But If You Must Say Hello To Everybody''. * In 2008 a full-length feature film dedicated to Haile Selassie, ''Man of the Millennium'', was produced by an Ethiopian film-maker Tikher Teferra Kidane of Exodus Films, in collaboration with the Alaskan TV station Tanana Valley TV and 4th Avenue Films. *Haile Selassie is Ethiopia's leader in the expansion pack of ''Civilization V: Gods & Kings.'' *In 2014 music artist Lupe Fiasco released a song named after Haile Selassie titled "Haile Selassie", which appears on his 2018 album Drogas Wave


See also

* Black Lions * List of people who have been considered deities * List of unsolved deaths


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

* * * * * . * . * * * *


Further reading

* . * . * ''Haile Selassie I: Ethiopia's Lion of Judah'', 1979, * ''Haile Selassie's war: the Italian-Ethiopian Campaign, 1935–1941'', 1984, * ''Haile Selassie, western education, and political revolution in Ethiopia'', 2006, * ''King of Kings: the triumph and tragedy of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia'', 2015, *


External links


Ethiopian Treasures – Emperor Haile Selassie I




(full text)
Rare and Unseen: Haile Selassie
– slideshow by ''Life magazine''
Marcus Garvey's prophecy of Haile Selassie I as the returned messiah





A critical look at the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia

BBC article, memories of his personal servant
* * – The Church of Haile Selassie I


Collection by Martin Rikli in 1935–1936, including photos of Haile Selassie
open access through th
University of Florida Digital Collections

The Emperor's Clothes

A History of Ethiopia
* {{DEFAULTSORT:Haile Selassie Haile Selassie, 1892 births 1975 deaths Chairpersons of the African Union Burials at Holy Trinity Cathedral (Addis Ababa) Deified people Emperors of Ethiopia Ethiopian anti-communists Ethiopian Oriental Orthodox Christians Ethiopian Orthodox Christians Ethiopian pan-Africanists Ethiopian princes Governments in exile during World War II Leaders ousted by a coup Marshals of the air force Oriental Orthodox monarchs People from Addis Ababa People executed by Ethiopia Rastafari Rulers of Ethiopia Foreign ministers of Ethiopia Solomonic dynasty World War II political leaders Heads of government who were later imprisoned Deaths by strangulation Chief Commanders of the Legion of Merit Chiefs of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya Dethroned monarchs Extra Knights Companion of the Garter Grand Commanders of the Order of the Federal Republic Grand Cordons of the Order of Valour Grand Croix of the Légion d'honneur Grand Crosses of the Order of the Sun of Peru Grand Crosses of the Order of Christ (Portugal), 3 Grand Crosses of the Order of Aviz, 3 Grand Crosses of the Order of Saint James of the Sword, 3 Grand Crosses Special Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany 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 Knights Grand Cross of the Military Order of William Knights of the Order of Pope Pius IX Monarchs who abdicated People of the Eritrean War of Independence People of the Second Italo-Ethiopian War People from Oromia Region Recipients of Hilal-i-Pakistan Recipients of the National Order of Vietnam Recipients of the Order of Merit for National Foundation Recipients of the Order of Polonia Restituta Recipients of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus Recipients of the Order of the Liberator General San Martin Recipients of the Order of the Star of Ghana Recipients of the Order of the White Eagle (Poland) Time Person of the Year Unsolved deaths