The Info List - Ethiopian Empire

The Ethiopian Empire
(Amharic: የኢትዮጵያ ንጉሠ ነገሥት መንግሥተ, Mängəstä Ityop'p'ya), also known as Abyssinia (derived from the Arabic al-Habash),[10] was a kingdom that spanned a geographical area in the current state of Ethiopia. It began with the establishment of the Solomonic dynasty
Solomonic dynasty
from approximately 1270 until 1974, when the ruling Solomonic dynasty
Solomonic dynasty
was overthrown in a coup d'état by the Derg. Following the British occupation of Egypt
in 1882, Ethiopia
and Liberia
were the only two African nations to remain independent during the Scramble for Africa
Scramble for Africa
by the European imperial powers in the late 19th century, though after the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, the Italian Empire
Italian Empire
established the Italian East Africa
Italian East Africa
colony in the region after conquering the Ethiopian Empire. The country was one of the founding members of the United Nations
United Nations
in 1945. In 1974, Ethiopia
was one of only three countries in the world to have the title of Emperor
for its head of state, together with Japan, which still has the Emperor
as its nominal ruler, and Iran
under the Pahlavi dynasty. It was the second-to-last country in Africa to use the title of Emperor; the only one later was the Central African Empire, which was implemented between 1976 and 1979 by Emperor
Bokassa I.


1 Historical background

1.1 D'mt and Kingdom of Aksum 1.2 Zagwe dynasty

2 Solomonic dynasty 3 Adal Sultanate
Adal Sultanate
invasion 4 Princes Era 5 Reign of Emperor
Tewodros II
Tewodros II
and scramble for Africa 6 Italian invasion and conquest of Ethiopia
during World War II 7 Fall of monarchy 8 See also 9 References 10 Bibliography 11 External links

Historical background[edit] Main article: History of Ethiopia Further information: Ethiopian historiography D'mt and Kingdom of Aksum[edit] Main articles: Dʿmt
and Kingdom of Aksum

A Kingdom of Aksum
Kingdom of Aksum
jar spout

Ethiopia's human occupation began early, as evidenced by the findings. It is believed that the ancient Egyptians claimed that Punt, known as gold country, was in Ethiopia
in 980 BC. According to the Kebra Nagast, Menelik I founded the Ethiopian empire in the 1st century BC, around when the Axumite Empire
was established. In the 4th century, under King Ezana of Axum, the kingdom adopted Christianity (Ethiopian Orthodox Church) as the state religion. It was thus one of the first Christian states.[11] After the conquest of Aksum by Queen Gudit
or Yodit, a period began which some scholars refer to as the Ethiopian Dark Ages.[11] According to Ethiopian tradition, she ruled over the remains of the Aksumite Empire
for 40 years before transmitting the crown to her descendants.[11] Very little is known about the queen or the state, if indeed there even was one she set up. What is evident, however, is that her reign marked the end of Aksumite control in Ethiopia. Zagwe dynasty[edit] Main article: Zagwe dynasty The last of Queen Yodit's successors were overthrown by Mara Takla Haymanot. He founded the Zagwe dynasty
Zagwe dynasty
in 1137,[11] and married a female descendant of the last Aksumite emperor to stake his claim as the legitimate heir to the long dead empire.[11] The Zagwe kingdom's capital was at Adafa, not far from modern day Lalibela
in the Lasta mountains.[12] The Zagwe continued the Orthodox Christianity
Orthodox Christianity
of Aksum and constructed many rock-hewn churches such as the Church of Saint George in Lalibela. The dynasty would last until its overthrow by a new regime claiming descent from the old Aksumite kings. Solomonic dynasty[edit]

Dawit II
Dawit II
of Ethiopia
(Lebna Dengel), Emperor of Ethiopia
Emperor of Ethiopia
(nəgusä Nagast) and member of the Solomonic dynasty

In 1270, the Zagwe dynasty
Zagwe dynasty
was overthrown by a king claiming lineage from the Aksumite kings and, hence, from Solomon.[12] The eponymously named Solomonic dynasty
Solomonic dynasty
was founded and ruled by the Abyssinians, from whom Abyssinia gets its name. The Abyssinians reigned with only a few interruptions from 1270 until the late 20th century. This dynasty governed large parts of Ethiopia
through much of its modern history. During this time, the empire conquered and annexed various kingdoms into its realm. The dynasty also successfully fought off Italian, Ottoman and Egyptian forces and made fruitful contacts with some European powers. Adal Sultanate
Adal Sultanate
invasion[edit] Further information: Abyssinian–Adal war

Abyssinian King Yagbea-Sion and his forces (left) battling the Sultan of Adal and his troops (Le Livre des Merveilles, 15th century)

In 1529, the Adal Sultanate's forces led by Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi invaded the Ethiopian Empire
in what is known as the Abyssinian–Adal war. The Adal occupation lasted fourteen years. During the conflict, the Adal Sultanate
Adal Sultanate
employed cannons provided by the Ottoman Empire. In the aftermath of the war, Adal annexed Ethiopia, uniting it with territories in what is now Somalia. In 1543, with the help of the Portuguese Empire, the Solomonic dynasty
Solomonic dynasty
was restored. Princes Era[edit] Main article: Zemene Mesafint

Tewodros II's rise to the throne marked the end of the Zemene Mesafint.

From 1769 to 1855, the Ethiopian empire passed through a period known as the "Princes Era" (in Amharic
Zemene Mesafint). This was a period of Ethiopian history with numerous conflicts between the various ras (equivalent to the English dukes) and the emperor, who had only limited power and only dominated the area around the contemporary capital of Gondar. Both the development of society and culture stagnated in this period. Religious conflict, both within the Ethiopian Orthodox Church
Ethiopian Orthodox Church
and between them and the Muslims were often used as a pretext for mutual strife. The Princes Era ended with the reign of the Emperor
Tewodros II. Reign of Emperor
Tewodros II
Tewodros II
and scramble for Africa[edit]

Abyssinia, c. 1891

In 1868, following the imprisonment of several missionaries and representatives of the British government, the British engaged in the punitive Expedition to Abyssinia. This campaign was a success for Britain and the Ethiopian emperor committed suicide. The 1880s were marked by the Scramble for Africa. Italy, seeking a colonial presence in Africa, invaded Ethiopia
and following a successful conquest of some coastal regions, forced the Treaty of Wuchale upon Shewa
(an autonomous kingdom within the Ethiopian Empire), creating the colony of Eritrea.

Ethiopia in 1911, following the conquests and treaties of Menelik II

Due to significant differences between the Italian and Amharic translations of the Treaty of Wuchale, Italy
believed they had subsumed Ethiopia
as a client state. Ethiopia
repudiated the treaty in 1893. Insulted, Italy
declared war on Ethiopia
in 1895. The First Italo-Ethiopian War resulted in the 1896 Battle of Adwa, in which Italy
was decisively defeated. As a result, the Treaty of Addis Ababa was signed in October, which strictly delineated the borders of Eritrea
and forced Italy
to recognize the independence of Ethiopia. Beginning in the 1880s, under the reign of the Emperor
Menelik II, the empire's forces set off from the central province of Shoa to incorporate through conquest inhabited lands to the west, east and south of its realm.[13] The territories that were annexed included those of the western Oromo (non Shoan Oromo), Sidama, Gurage, Wolayta,[14] and Dizi.[15] Among the imperial troops was Ras Gobena's Shewan Oromo militia. Many of the lands that they annexed had never been under the empire's rule, with the newly incorporated territories resulting in the modern borders of Ethiopia.[16] Delegations from the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
and France – European powers whose colonial possessions lay next to Ethiopia – soon arrived in the Ethiopian capital to negotiate their own treaties with this newly-proven power. Italian invasion and conquest of Ethiopia
during World War II[edit] Further information: Second Italo-Ethiopian War
Second Italo-Ethiopian War
and East African Campaign (World War II)

The Emperors palace, 1934

In 1935 Italian soldiers, commanded by Marshal Emilio De Bono, invaded Ethiopia
in what is known as the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. The war lasted seven months before an Italian victory was declared. The Ethiopian Empire
was incorporated into the Italian colony of Italian East Africa. The invasion was condemned by the League of Nations, though not much was done to end the hostility. During the conflict, Italy
used sulfur mustard in chemical warfare, ignoring the Geneva Protocol
Geneva Protocol
that it had signed seven years earlier. The Italian military dropped mustard gas in bombs, sprayed it from airplanes and spread it in powdered form on the ground. 150,000 chemical casualties were reported, mostly from mustard gas. In the aftermath of the war Italy
annexed Ethiopia, uniting it with Italy's other colonies in eastern Africa to form the new colony of Italian East Africa, and Victor Emmanuel III of Italy
adopted the title " Emperor
of Abyssinia". On 10 June 1940, Italy
declared war on the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
and France, as France
was in the process of being conquered by Germany
at the time and Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
wished to expand Italy's colonial holdings. The Italian conquest of British Somaliland
Italian conquest of British Somaliland
in August 1940 was successful, but the war turned against Italy
afterward. Haile Selassie
Haile Selassie
returned to Ethiopia
from England to help rally the resistance. The British began their own invasion in January 1941 with the help of Ethiopian freedom fighters, and the last organized Italian resistance in Italian East Africa surrendered in November 1941, ending Italian rule. Fall of monarchy[edit]

Haile Selassie
Haile Selassie
was the last Emperor
of the Ethiopian Empire.

In 1974 a pro-Soviet Marxist–Leninist military junta, the "Derg", led by Mengistu Haile Mariam, deposed Haile Selassie
Haile Selassie
and established a one-party communist state. Haile Selassie
Haile Selassie
was imprisoned and died in unclear circumstances, a rumor being that he was suffocated with an ether-soaked pillow.[17] See also[edit]

Part of a series on the

History of Ethiopia

Early history


Antiquity to 1st century BC

Aksum to 10th century AD

Middle Ages


Antiquity to 1st century BC

Aksum to 10th century AD

Zagwe dynasty to 1268

Early Solomonic period 1270–1529

Early modern history

Ethiopian–Adal War 1527–1543

Oromo migrations 1543 – 17th century

Eyalet 1557 – 17th century

Early Gondar
period 1632–1769

Aussa Sultanate 1734–1974

Zemene Mesafint 1769–1855

Modern history

Unification 1855–1913

First Italo–Ethiopian War 1895–1896

Pre-Italian Modernization 1913–1936

Second Italo–Ethiopian War 1935–1936

Italian East Africa 1936–1941

East African Campaign 1941

Italian guerrilla war 1941–1943

Post-Italian Modernization 1941–1974

Federation with Eritrea 1952–1962

Eritrean Independence 1961–1991

Ethiopian Civil War 1974–1991

Recent history

Ethiopian general election 2005

Ogaden conflict 2007–2008

War in Somalia 2006–2009


Military Aristocracy Currency (Aksumite) Emperor


v t e

Adal Sultanate Army of the Ethiopian Empire Crown Council of Ethiopia East African Campaign (World War II)
East African Campaign (World War II)
(1941) Ethiopian Civil War
Ethiopian Civil War
(1974–1991) First Italo-Ethiopian War
First Italo-Ethiopian War
(1895–1896) History of Ethiopia Ethiopian historiography Italian East Africa
Italian East Africa
(1936–1941) Italian guerrilla war in Ethiopia
(1941–1943) List of Emperors of Ethiopia Second Italo-Ethiopian War
Second Italo-Ethiopian War
(1935–1936) Sultanate of Ifat Sultanate of Showa Sultanate of Harar Zemene Mesafint
Zemene Mesafint


^ " Ethiopia
(1930-1975)". 16 January 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2016.  ^ Nathaniel T. Kenney (1965). "Ethiopian Adventure". National Geographic. 127: 555.  ^ https://www.jstor.org/stable/40761842?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents ^ Constitution of Ethiopia, 4 November 1955, Article 76 (source: Constitutions of Nations: Volume I, Africa by Amos Jenkins Peaslee) ^ " Ethiopia
Ends 3,000 Year Monarchy". Milwaukee Sentinel. 22 March 1975. p. 3.  ^ " Ethiopia
ends old monarchy". The Day. 22 March 1975. p. 7.  ^ Henc van Maarseveen; Ger van der Tang (1978). Written Constitutions: A Computerized Comparative Study. Brill. p. 47.  ^ "Ethiopia". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. 1987.  ^ "Ethiopia". Worldstatesmen.org.  ^ E. A. Wallis Budge (1 August 2014). A History of Ethiopia: Volume I: Nubia and Abyssinia. Routledge. p. 7.  ^ a b c d e Adekumobi (2007), p. 10 ^ a b Pankhurst (2001), p. 45 ^ John Young (1998). "Regionalism and Democracy in Ethiopia". Third World Quarterly. 19 (2): 192. doi:10.1080/01436599814415. JSTOR 3993156.  ^ International Crisis Group, "Ethnic Federalism and its Discontents". Issue 153 of ICG Africa report (4 September 2009) p. 2. ^ Haberland, Eike (1983). "An Amharic
Manuscript on the Mythical History of the Adi kyaz (Dizi, South-West Ethiopia)". Cambridge University Press on behalf of School of Oriental and African Studies. 46 (2): 240. Retrieved 18 December 2017.  ^ Edward C. Keefer (1973). "Great Britain and Ethiopia
1897–1910: Competition for Empire". International Journal of African Studies. 6 (3): 470. JSTOR 216612.  ^ Jack, Ian (2001). Necessary Journeys. Granta. p. 124. ISBN 978-1-929001-03-3. 


Adekumobi, Saheed A. (2007). The History of Ethiopia. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-313-32273-2.  Pankhurst, Richard (2001). The Ethiopians: A History. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. pp. 299 Pages. ISBN 0-631-22493-9.  Shillington, Kevin (2004). Encyclopedia of African History, Vol. 1. London: Routledge. pp. 1912 Pages. ISBN 1-57958-245-1. 

External links[edit]

Texts on Wikisource:

"Abyssinia". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). 1911.  "Ethiopia". Encyclopædia Britannica. 9 (11th ed.). 1911.  "Abyssinia". Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921. 

v t e



Akkadian Egyptian Assyrian Babylonian Carthaginian Chinese

Qin Han Jin Northern Wei Tang


Macedonian Seleucid

Hittite Indian

Nanda Maurya Satavahana Shunga Gupta Harsha


Elamite Median Achaemenid Parthian Sasanian

Kushan Mongol

Xianbei Xiongnu


Western Eastern




Rashidun Umayyad Abbasid Fatimid Córdoba

Aragonese Angevin Aztec Benin Bornu Bruneian Bulgarian

First Second


Nicaea Trebizond

Carolingian Chinese

Sui Tang Song Yuan


Zagwe Solomonic

Georgian Hunnic Inca Indian

Chola Gurjara-Pratihara Pala Eastern Ganga dynasty Delhi Vijayanagara



Kanem Khmer Latin Majapahit Malaccan Mali Mongol

Yuan Golden Horde Chagatai Khanate Ilkhanate


Idrisid Almoravid Almohad Marinid

North Sea Oyo Roman Serbian Somali

Ajuran Ifatite Adalite Mogadishan Warsangali

Songhai Srivijaya Tibetan Turko-Persian

Ghaznavid Great Seljuk Khwarezmian Timurid


Ly Tran Le



Ashanti Austrian Austro-Hungarian Brazilian Central African Chinese

Ming Qing China Manchukuo

Ethiopian French

First Second


First/Old Reich Second Reich Third Reich


First Second


Maratha Sikh Mughal British Raj


Safavid Afsharid

Japanese Johor Korean Mexican

First Second


Saadi Alaouite

Russian USSR Somali

Gobroon Majeerteen Hobyo Dervish

Swedish Tongan Turkish

Ottoman Karaman Ramazan


Tay Son Nguyen Vietnam


American Belgian British


Danish Dutch French German Italian Japanese Omani Norwegian Portuguese Spanish Swedish




ancient great powers medieval great powers modern great powers

v t e

Kingdoms and dynasties of the medieval Horn of Africa


Islamic sultanates & Empires

Somali Sultanates

Adal Ajuran Aussa Imamate Sultanate of Harar Ifat Mogadishu Warsangali

Aussa Sultanate Arababni Argobba Aymallal Bale Baqulin Dahlak Dobe'a Bazin Belgin Dara Dawaro Dewe Gabaal Ganz Gidaya Gurage Hadiya Harar Jarin Maya Mora Nagash Qita'a Sharkha Showa (Menz, Gedem) Tankish Werjih

Christian kingdoms and Empires

Ambassel Agame Akkele Guzay Amhara Angot Bahr Begemder Bugna Delanta Dembela Enderta Entitcho Gheralta Hamasien Haramat Lasta Mai-Tsade Tembien Tigray Tselemt Salowa Semada Serae Shewa
(Efrata, Geshe) Shire Wag

Kingdom of Beta Israel

Dembiya Gafat Gojjam Waldebba Semien Wegera Qwara Tsegede Wolqayt

Kingdom of Damot

Dawro Enarya Janjero Kaffa Sheka Wolayta

Sidama kingdoms

Bahargamo Buzamo Garo Kambaata Sidamo Sigamo


Ethiopian–Adal war Adal conquest of Ethiopia Oromo migrations First Ajuran-Portuguese war Second Ajuran-Portuguese war


Solomonic dynasty Walashma dynasty Gareen dynasty Goobroon dynasty Zagwe dynasty

v t e

Former monarchies

List of monarchs who lost their thrones in the 20th and 21st centuries List of monarchs who lost their thrones in the 19th century


Ethiopia Libya Tunisia Egypt Madagascar South Africa Burundi Central Africa Zanzibar Ghana Nigeria Sierra Leone Tanganyika Uganda Kenya Rhodesia The Gambia Mauritius Wituland


China Korea Vietnam Georgia India Manchukuo Iran Iraq Syria Yemen Afghanistan Turkey Pakistan Sri Lanka Tibet Nepal Mongolia



Bavaria Prussia Saxony Württemberg

Austria-Hungary Russia France Portugal Italy Two Sicilies Hungary Bulgaria Romania Yugoslavia Serbia Montenegro Greece Albania Lithuania Hanover Iceland Tuscany Polish-Lithuania Malta Papal States Finland


Bora Bora Fiji Hawaii Rarotonga Tahiti


Brazil Mexico Haiti Trinidad and Tobago Guya