Haile Selassie I

Emperor of Ethiopia
Born Jul 23, 1892

Haile Selassie I, born Tafari Makonnen, was Ethiopia's regent from 1916 to 1930 and Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. He was the heir to a dynasty that traced its origins to the 13th century, and from there by tradition back to King Solomon and Queen Makeda, Empress of Axum, known in the Abrahamic tradition as the Queen of Sheba. Haile Selassie is a defining figure in both Ethiopian and African history.… Read More

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1892 Birth Haile Selassie I's royal line (through his father's mother) originated from the Amhara people, but he also had Oromo, and Gurage roots. He was born on 23 July 1892, in the village of Ejersa Goro, in the Harar province of Ethiopia. … Read More


1906 13 Years Old Tafari assumed the titular governorship of Selale in 1906, a realm of marginal importance but one that enabled him to continue his studies.
1907 14 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1907, he was appointed governor over part of the province of Sidamo. … Read More


1921 28 Years Old …  On 11 January 1921, after avoiding capture for about five years, Iyasu was taken into custody by Gugsa Araya Selassie. … Read More


1923 30 Years Old During his Regency, the new Crown Prince developed the policy of cautious modernization initiated by Menelik II. He secured Ethiopia's admission to the League of Nations in 1923 by promising to eradicate slavery; each emperor since Tewodros II had issued proclamations to halt slavery, but without effect: the internationally scorned practice persisted well into Haile Selassie's reign with an estimated 2 million slaves in Ethiopia the early 1930s. … Read More
1930 37 Years Old 1 More Event
…  In early 1930, he raised an army and marched it from his governorate at Gondar towards Addis Ababa. … Read More
1931 38 Years Old Haile Selassie introduced Ethiopia's first written constitution on 16 July 1931, providing for a bicameral legislature. … Read More


1934 - 1935 3 More Events
On 31 March 1936, he launched a counterattack against the Italians himself at the Battle of Maychew in southern Tigray. … Read More
1937 44 Years Old 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. … Read More
1941 48 Years Old 1 More Event
On 18 January 1941, during the East African Campaign, Haile Selassie crossed the border between Sudan and Ethiopia near the village of Um Iddla. … Read More
On 27 August 1942, Haile Selassie abolished the legal basis of slavery throughout the empire and imposed severe penalties, including death, for slave trading. … Read More


1947 54 Years Old He sent aid to the British government in 1947 when Britain was affected by heavy flooding. … Read More


1960 67 Years Old 1 More Event
Haile Selassie contributed Ethiopian troops to the United Nations Operation in the Congo peacekeeping force during the 1960 Congo Crisis, to consolidate Congolese integrity and independence from Belgian troops, per United Nations Security Council Resolution 143.
1961 68 Years Old …  In 1961 the 30-year Eritrean Struggle for Independence began, followed by Haile Selassie's dissolution of the federation and shutting down of Eritrea's parliament. … Read More
In 1963, Haile Selassie presided over the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the precursor of the continent-wide African Union (AU). … Read More
1966 - 1969 2 More Events
1971 78 Years Old Outside of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie continued to enjoy enormous prestige and respect. As the longest-serving head of state in power, Haile Selassie was often given precedence over other leaders at state events, such as the state funerals of John F. Kennedy and Charles de Gaulle, the summits of the Non-Aligned Movement, and the 1971 celebration of the 2,500 years of the Persian Empire. In 1970 visited Italy, guest of President Giuseppe Saragat, and in Milan met Giordano Dell'Amore, President of Italian Savings Banks Association. 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. … Read More
1973 80 Years Old The crisis was exacerbated by military mutinies and high oil prices, the latter a result of the 1973 oil crisis. … Read More
1974 81 Years Old 1 More Event
This mutiny led to the resignation of Prime Minister Aklilu Habte Wold on 27 February 1974. … Read More
1975 82 Years Old 1 More Event
Although such prominent Rastafarian figures as Rita Marley and others participated in the grand funeral, most Rastafari rejected the event and refused to accept that the bones were the remains of Haile Selassie. There remains some debate within the Rastafari movement as to whether Haile Selassie actually died in 1975. … Read More
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