Haile Selassie I
Emperor of Ethiopia
Haile Selassie I
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.
Biography
Haile Selassie I's personal information overview.
{{personal_detail.supertitle}}
{{personal_detail.title}}
{{personal_detail.title}}
Photo Albums
Popular photos of Haile Selassie I
News
News abour Haile Selassie I from around the web
Rencontre avec Ijahman Levy - Reggae.fr
Google News - over 5 years
Mais il faut aussi dire que la sortie de mon premier album «Haile I Hymn» , ainsi celle du suivant «Are we warrior», ont été rendues possibles grâce à Island Records et surtout Chris Blackwell lui-même , je le remercie de m'avoir aidé et de m'avoir
Article Link:
Google News article
Strange things riddim part 2: Sizzla, Lutan Fyah, Chezidek… - Tropicalizer
Google News - almost 6 years
On peut y découvrir Sizzla qui, fidèle à lui-même, signe une ganja tune intitulée Smoke my herb ainsi qu'Ilements qui rend hommage à l'Empereur éthiopien Selassie avec Haile I. Pour l'occasion, le label français a également remixé les versions des
Article Link:
Google News article
Gebrselassie takes fourth Manchester 10Km victory, Clitheroe surprises - International Association of Athletics Foundation
Google News - almost 6 years
“By going with Haile I was sacrificing myself a little. But it was the right thing to do and I held on quite well,” said Thompson, the 10000m silver medallist from the European Championships in Barcelona 2010. “I was quite surprised how well he ran,
Article Link:
Google News article
STRANGE THINGS HIP-HOP - Reggaefrance.com
Google News - almost 6 years
Avec Sizzla, Chezidek, Haile I, et Lutan Fyah. Disponible le 20 mai en 7" et en téléchargement légal. En Jamaïque, le nerf de l'industrie du disque est le riddim (contraction de rhythm), un instrumental produit par un label
Article Link:
Google News article
SYDNEY 2000: TRACK; Gebrselassie Finishes Like a Sprinter to Beat Tergat in 10,000
NYTimes - over 16 years
He finished second to Haile Gebrselassie in the last Summer Olympics; finished second again in the 1997 world championships and the 1999 world championships. But this major race felt different to Paul Tergat of Kenya as he sprinted into the lead with the finish line in sight. Hadn't Gebrselassie, the diminutive Ethiopian with the wicked kick, been
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Haile Selassie I
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1975
    Age 82
    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.
    More Details Hide Details By Menen Asfaw, Haile Selassie had six children: Princess Tenagnework, Crown Prince Asfaw Wossen, Princess Tsehai, Princess Zenebework, Prince Makonnen, and Prince Sahle Selassie. There is some controversy as to Haile Selassie's eldest daughter, Princess Romanework. While the living members of the royal family state that Romanework is the eldest daughter of Empress Menen, it has been asserted that Princess Romanework is actually the daughter of a previous union of the emperor with Woizero Altayech. The emperor's own autobiography makes no mention of a previous marriage or having fathered children with anyone other than Empress Menen. Prince Asfaw Wossen was first married to Princess Wolete Israel Seyoum and then following their divorce to Princess Medferiashwork Abebe. Prince Makonnen was married to Princess Sara Gizaw. Prince Sahle Selassie was married to Princess Mahisente Habte Mariam. Princess Romanework married Dejazmatch Beyene Merid. Princess Tenagnework first married Ras Desta Damtew, and after she was widowed later married Ras Andargachew Messai. Princess Zenebework married Dejazmatch Haile Selassie Gugsa. Princess Tsehai married Lt. General Abiye Abebe.
  • 1974
    Age 81
    The Derg, a committee of low-ranking military officers and enlisted men, set up in June to investigate the military's demands, took advantage of the government's disarray to depose Haile Selassie on 12 September 1974.
    More Details Hide Details General Aman Mikael Andom, a Protestant of Eritrean origin, served briefly as provisional head of state pending the return of Crown Prince Asfa Wossen, who was then receiving medical treatment abroad. Haile Selassie was placed under house arrest briefly at the 4th Army Division in Addis Ababa, while most of his family was detained at the late Duke of Harar's residence in the north of the capital. The last months of the emperor's life were spent in imprisonment, in the Grand Palace. Later, most of the imperial family was imprisoned in the Addis Ababa prison Kerchele, also known as "Alem Bekagne", or "Goodbye, cruel world". On 23 November 1974, sixty former high officials of the imperial government were executed without trial. The executed included Haile Selassie's grandson and two former Prime Ministers. 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.
    This mutiny led to the resignation of Prime Minister Aklilu Habte Wold on 27 February 1974.
    More Details Hide Details Haile Selassie again went on television to agree to the army's demands for still greater pay, and named Endelkachew Makonnen as his new Prime Minister. However, despite Endalkatchew's many concessions, discontent continued in March with a four-day general strike that paralyzed the nation.
  • 1973
    Age 80
    The crisis was exacerbated by military mutinies and high oil prices, the latter a result of the 1973 oil crisis.
    More Details Hide Details The international economic crisis triggered by the oil crisis caused the costs of imported goods, gasoline, and food to skyrocket, while unemployment spiked. In February 1974, four days of serious riots in Addis against a sudden economic inflation left five dead. The emperor responded by announcing on national television a rollback of gasoline 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.
  • 1971
    Age 78
    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.
    More Details Hide Details A BBC News report 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 food shortage and starvation risk, this episode was remarkably severe. A 1973 production of the 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 extent of the famine, 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 popular support of the government, and Haile Selassie's once unassailable personal popularity fell.
  • 1969
    Age 76
    During PNP leader (later Jamaican Prime Minister) Michael Manley's visit to Ethiopia in October 1969, the emperor allegedly still recalled his 1966 reception with amazement, and stated that he felt that he had to be respectful of their beliefs.
    More Details Hide Details 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 Rastafarians 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.
  • 1966
    Age 73
    In 1966, Haile Selassie attempted to create a modern, progressive tax that included registration of land, which would significantly weaken the nobility.
    More Details Hide Details Even with alterations, this law led to a revolt in Gojjam, which was repressed although enforcement of the tax was abandoned. The revolt, having achieved its design in undermining the tax, encouraged other landowners to defy Haile Selassie. Student unrest became a regular feature of Ethiopian life in the 1960s and 1970s. Marxism took root in large segments of the Ethiopian intelligentsia, particularly among those who had studied abroad and had thus been exposed to radical and left-wing sentiments that were becoming popular in other parts of the globe. Resistance by conservative elements at the Imperial Court and Parliament, and by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, made Haile Selassie's land reform proposals difficult to implement, and also damaged the standing of the government, costing Haile Selassie much of the goodwill he had once enjoyed. This bred resentment among the peasant population. Efforts to weaken unions also hurt his image. As these issues began to pile up, Haile Selassie left much of domestic governance to his Prime Minister, Aklilu Habte Wold, and concentrated more on foreign affairs.
  • 1963
    Age 70
    On 25 November 1963, the emperor was among other heads of state, including France's President Charles de Gaulle, who traveled to Washington D.C. and attended the funeral of assassinated President John F. Kennedy.
    More Details Hide Details
    On 6 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:
    More Details Hide Details Twenty-seven years ago, as Emperor of Ethiopia, I mounted the rostrum in Geneva, Switzerland, to address the League of Nations and to appeal for relief from the destruction which had been unleashed against my defenceless nation, by the fascist invader. I spoke then both to and for the conscience of the world. My words went unheeded, but history testifies to the accuracy of the warning that I gave in 1936. Today, I stand before the world organization which has succeeded to the mantle discarded by its discredited predecessor. In this body is enshrined the principle of collective security which I unsuccessfully invoked at Geneva. Here, in this Assembly, reposes the best – perhaps the last – hope for the peaceful survival of mankind.
    In 1963, Haile Selassie presided over the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the precursor of the continent-wide African Union (AU).
    More Details Hide Details 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.
  • 1961
    Age 68
    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.
    More Details Hide Details 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, as first Haile Selassie, then the Soviet-backed junta that succeeded him, attempted to retain Eritrea by force.
  • 1960
    Age 67
    On 13 December 1960, while Haile Selassie was on a state visit to Brazil, his Imperial Guard forces staged an unsuccessful coup, briefly proclaiming Haile Selassie's eldest son Asfa Wossen as emperor.
    More Details Hide Details The coup d'état was crushed by the regular army and police forces. The coup attempt lacked broad popular support, was denounced by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and was unpopular with the army, air force and police. Nonetheless, the effort to depose the emperor had support among students and the educated classes. 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". Student populations began to empathize with the peasantry and poor, and to 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 the status of Eritrea, with the superpowers each vying for a stake in the state's future. Britain, the administrator at the time, suggested the partition of Eritrea between Sudan and Ethiopia, separating Christians and Muslims. The idea was instantly rejected by Eritrean political parties, as well as the UN.
    Haile Selassie contributed Ethiopian troops to the United Nations Operation in the Congo peacekeeping force during the 1960 Congo Crisis, to consolidate Congolese integrity and independence from Belgian troops, per United Nations Security Council Resolution 143.
    More Details Hide Details
  • FIFTIES
  • 1947
    Age 54
    He sent aid to the British government in 1947 when Britain was affected by heavy flooding.
    More Details Hide Details 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."
  • FORTIES
  • 1942
    Age 49
    Haile Selassie applied to Egypt's Holy Synod in 1942 and 1945 to establish the independence of Ethiopian bishops, and when his appeals were denied he threatened to sever relations with the See of St. Mark.
    More Details Hide Details 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 keeping with the principle of collective security, for which he was an outspoken proponent, he sent a contingent under General Mulugueta Bulli, known as the Kagnew Battalion, to take part in the Korean War by supporting the United Nations Command. It was attached to the American 7th Infantry Division, and fought in a number of engagements including the Battle of Pork Chop Hill. In a 1954 speech, the emperor spoke of Ethiopian participation in the Korean War as a redemption of the principles of collective security:
    Despite his centralization policies that had been made before World War II, Haile Selassie still found himself unable to push for all the programs he wanted. In 1942, he attempted to institute a progressive tax scheme, but this failed due to opposition from the nobility, and only a flat tax was passed; in 1951, he agreed to reduce this as well.
    More Details Hide Details 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 postwar era. Where Haile Selassie actually did succeed in effecting new land taxes, the burdens were often passed by the landowners to the peasants. Despite his wishes, the tax burden remained primarily on the peasants. Between 1941 and 1959, Haile Selassie worked to establish the autocephaly of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church had been headed by the abuna, a bishop who answered to the Partriarchate in Egypt.
    On 27 August 1942, Haile Selassie abolished the legal basis of slavery throughout the empire and imposed severe penalties, including death, for slave trading.
    More Details Hide Details After World War II, Ethiopia became a charter member of the United Nations. In 1948, the Ogaden, a region disputed with Somalia, was granted to Ethiopia. On 2 December 1950, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 390 (V), establishing the federation of Eritrea (the former Italian colony) into Ethiopia. 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.
  • 1941
    Age 48
    On 5 May 1941, Haile Selassie entered Addis Ababa and personally addressed the Ethiopian people, five years to the day since his 1936 exile:
    More Details Hide Details Today is the day on which we defeated our enemy. Therefore, when we say let us rejoice with our hearts, let not our rejoicing be in any other way but in the spirit of Christ. Do not return evil for evil. Do not indulge in the atrocities which the enemy has been practicing in his usual way, even to the last. Take care not to spoil the good name of Ethiopia by acts which are worthy of the enemy. We shall see that our enemies are disarmed and sent out the same way they came. As Saint George who killed the dragon is the Patron Saint of our army as well as of our allies, let us unite with our allies in everlasting friendship and amity in order to be able to stand against the godless and cruel dragon which has newly risen and which is oppressing mankind.
    On 18 January 1941, during the East African Campaign, Haile Selassie crossed the border between Sudan and Ethiopia near the village of Um Iddla.
    More Details Hide Details 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 France, Free Belgium, and Ethiopian patriots.
  • 1937
    Age 44
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Rather than canceling the radio appearance, he proceeded in much pain to complete the address, in which he linked Christianity and goodwill with the Covenant of the League of Nations, and asserted that "War is not the only means to stop war": With the birth of the Son of God, an unprecedented, an unrepeatable, and a long-anticipated phenomenon occurred. He was born in a stable instead of a palace, in a manger instead of a crib. The hearts of the Wise men were struck by fear and wonder due to His Majestic Humbleness. The kings prostrated themselves before Him and worshipped Him. 'Peace be to those who have good will'. This became the first message. Although the toils of wise people may earn them respect, it is a fact of life that the spirit of the wicked continues to cast its shadow on this world. The arrogant are seen visibly leading their people into crime and destruction. The laws of the League of Nations are constantly violated and wars and acts of aggression repeatedly take place... So that the spirit of the cursed will not gain predominance over the human race whom Christ redeemed with his blood, all peace-loving people should cooperate to stand firm in order to preserve and promote lawfulness and peace.
  • 1936
    Age 43
    Mussolini, upon invading Ethiopia, had promptly declared his own "Italian Empire"; because the League of Nations afforded Haile Selassie the opportunity to address the assembly, Italy even withdrew its League delegation, on 12 May 1936.
    More Details Hide Details It was in this context that Haile Selassie walked into the hall of the League of Nations, introduced by the President of the Assembly as "His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of Ethiopia" (Sa Majesté Imperiale, l'Empereur d'Ethiopie). The introduction caused a great many Italian journalists in the galleries to erupt into jeering, heckling, and whistling. As it turned out, they had earlier been issued whistles by Mussolini's son-in-law, Count Galeazzo Ciano. Haile Selassie waited calmly for the hall to be cleared, and responded "majestically" with a speech sometimes considered among the most stirring of the 20th century. Although fluent in French, the working language of the League, Haile Selassie chose to deliver his historic speech in his native Amharic. He asserted that, because his "confidence in the League was absolute", his people were now being slaughtered. He pointed out that the same European states that found in Ethiopia's favor at the League of Nations were refusing Ethiopia credit and matériel while aiding Italy, which was employing chemical weapons on military and civilian targets alike.
    Haile Selassie appointed his cousin Ras Imru Haile Selassie as Prince Regent in his absence, departing with his family for Djibouti on 2 May 1936.
    More Details Hide Details On 5 May, Marshal Pietro Badoglio led Italian troops into Addis Ababa, and Mussolini declared Ethiopia an Italian province. Victor Emanuel III was proclaimed as the new Emperor of Ethiopia. However, on the previous day, the Ethiopian exiles had left Djibouti aboard the British cruiser HMS Enterprise. They were bound for Jerusalem in the British Mandate of Palestine, where the Ethiopian royal family maintained a residence. The Imperial family disembarked at Haifa and then went on to Jerusalem. Once there, Haile Selassie and his retinue prepared to make their case at Geneva. The choice of Jerusalem was highly symbolic, since the Solomonic Dynasty claimed descent from the House of David. Leaving the Holy Land, Haile Selassie and his entourage sailed for Gibraltar aboard the British cruiser HMS Capetown. From Gibraltar, the exiles were transferred to an ordinary liner. By doing this, the government of the United Kingdom was spared the expense of a state reception.
    On 31 March 1936, he launched a counterattack against the Italians himself at the Battle of Maychew in southern Tigray.
    More Details Hide Details 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, and that in the interest of preserving the Imperial house, the emperor's wife Menen Asfaw and the rest of the imperial family should immediately depart for Djibouti, and from there continue on to Jerusalem. After further debate as to whether Haile Selassie should go to Gore or accompany his family into exile, it was agreed that Haile Selassie should leave Ethiopia with his family and present the case of Ethiopia to the League of Nations at Geneva. The decision was not unanimous and several participants, including the nobleman Page (Blatta) Tekle Wolde Hawariat, objected to the idea of an Ethiopian monarch fleeing before an invading force.
  • 1935
    Age 42
    On 19 October 1935, Haile Selassie gave more precise orders for his army to his Commander-in-Chief, Ras Kassa:
    More Details Hide Details 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 Convention. Starting in early October 1935, the Italians invaded Ethiopia. But, by November, the pace of invasion had slowed appreciably and Haile Selassie's northern armies were able to launch what was known as the "Christmas Offensive". During this offensive, the Italians were forced back in places and put on the defensive. However, in early 1936, the First Battle of Tembien stopped the progress of the Ethiopian offensive and the Italians were ready to continue their offensive. Following the defeat and destruction of the northern Ethiopian armies at the Battle of Amba Aradam, the Second Battle of Tembien, and the Battle of Shire, Haile Selassie took the field with the last Ethiopian army on the northern front.
    He issued his famous mobilization order on 3 October 1935:
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1934
    Age 41
    Following 5 December 1934 Italian invasion of Ethiopia at Walwal, Ogeden Province, Haile Selassie joined his northern armies and set up headquarters at Desse in Wollo province.
    More Details Hide Details
  • THIRTIES
  • 1931
    Age 38
    Haile Selassie introduced Ethiopia's first written constitution on 16 July 1931, providing for a bicameral legislature.
    More Details Hide Details 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 Tigrai and even the emperor's loyal cousin, Ras Kassa Haile Darge. In 1932, the Kingdom of Jimma was formally absorbed into Ethiopia following the death of King Abba Jifar II of Jimma. Ethiopia became the target of renewed Italian imperialist designs in the 1930s. Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime was keen to avenge the military defeats Italy had suffered to Ethiopia in the First Italo-Abyssinian War, and to efface the failed attempt by "liberal" Italy to conquer the country, as epitomised by the defeat at Adowa. A conquest of Ethiopia could also empower the cause of fascism and embolden its rhetoric of empire. 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.
  • 1930
    Age 37
    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 Addis Ababa's Cathedral of St. George.
    More Details Hide Details 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 George V's son Prince Henry, Marshal Franchet d'Esperey of France, and the Prince of Udine representing 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 may have 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.
    In early 1930, he raised an army and marched it from his governorate at Gondar towards Addis Ababa.
    More Details Hide Details 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 the defeat of her husband, 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.
  • 1923
    Age 30
    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.
    More Details Hide Details In 1924, Ras Tafari toured Europe and the Middle East visiting Jerusalem, Cairo, Alexandria, Brussels, Amsterdam, Stockholm, London, Geneva, and Athens. With him on his tour was a group that included Ras Seyum Mangasha of western Tigre Province, Ras Hailu Tekle Haymanot of Gojjam Province, Ras Mulugeta Yeggazu of Illubabor Province, Ras Makonnen Endelkachew, and Blattengeta Heruy Welde Sellase. The primary goal of the trip to Europe was for Ethiopia to gain access to the sea. In Paris, Tafari was to find out from the French Foreign Ministry (Quai d'Orsay) that this goal would not be realized. 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."
  • TWENTIES
  • 1921
    Age 28
    On 11 January 1921, after avoiding capture for about five years, Iyasu was taken into custody by Gugsa Araya Selassie.
    More Details Hide Details On 11 February 1917, the coronation for Zewditu took place. She pledged to rule justly through her Regent, Tafari. While Tafari was the more visible of the two, Zewditu was far from an honorary ruler. Her position required that she arbitrate the claims of competing factions. In other words, she had the last word. Tafari carried the burden of daily administration but, because his position was relatively weak, this was often an exercise in futility for him. Initially his personal army was poorly equipped, his finances were limited, and he had little leverage to withstand the combined influence of the Empress, the Minister of War, or the provincial governors.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1907
    Age 14
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Balcha Safo's administration of Harar was ineffective, and so during the last illness of Menelik II, and the brief reign of Empress Taitu Bitul, Tafari was made governor of Harar in 1910 or 1911. On 3 August he married Menen Asfaw of Ambassel, niece of heir to the throne Lij Iyasu. The extent to which Tafari Makonnen contributed to the movement that would come to depose Iyasu V is unclear. Iyasu V, or Lij Iyasu, was the designated but uncrowned Emperor of Ethiopia from 1913 to 1916. Iyasu's reputation for scandalous behavior and a disrespectful attitude towards the nobles at the court of his grandfather, Menelik II, damaged his reputation. His 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 Habte Giyorgis, 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 and made Regent for Tafari during his minority. Tafari was elevated to the rank of Ras and was made heir apparent and Crown Prince. In the power arrangement that followed, Tafari accepted the role of Regent Plenipotentiary (Balemulu 'Inderase) and became the de facto ruler of the Ethiopian Empire (Mangista Ityop'p'ya).
    In 1907, he was appointed governor over part of the province of Sidamo.
    More Details Hide Details It is alleged that during his late teens, Haile Selassie was married to Woizero Altayech, and that from this union, his daughter Princess Romanework was born.
  • 1906
    Age 13
    Tafari assumed the titular governorship of Selale in 1906, a realm of marginal importance but one that enabled him to continue his studies.
    More Details Hide Details
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1892
    Born
    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.
    More Details Hide Details His mother was Woizero ("Lady") Yeshimebet Ali Abajifar, daughter of the renowned Oromo ruler of Wollo province Dejazmach Ali Abajifar. His maternal grandmother was of Gurage heritage. Haile Selassie's father was Ras Makonnen Woldemikael Gudessa, the governor of Harar. Ras Makonnen served as a general in the First Italo–Ethiopian War, playing a key role at the Battle of Adwa; he too was paternally Oromo but maternally Amhara. Haile Selassie was thus able to ascend to the imperial throne through his paternal grandmother, Woizero Tenagnework Sahle Selassie, who was an aunt of Emperor Menelik II and daughter of Negus Sahle Selassie of Shewa. As such, Haile Selassie claimed direct descent from Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, and King Solomon of ancient Israel. Ras Makonnen arranged for Tafari as well as his first cousin, Ras Imru Haile Selassie to receive instruction in Harar from Abba Samuel Wolde Kahin, an Ethiopian capuchin monk, and from Dr. Vitalien, a surgeon from Guadeloupe. Tafari was named Dejazmach (literally "commander of the gate", roughly equivalent to "count") at the age of 13, on 1 November 1905. Shortly thereafter, his father Ras Makonnen died at Kulibi, in 1906.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
All data offered is derived from public sources. Spokeo does not verify or evaluate each piece of data, and makes no warranties or guarantees about any of the information offered. Spokeo does not possess or have access to secure or private financial information. Spokeo is not a consumer reporting agency and does not offer consumer reports. None of the information offered by Spokeo is to be considered for purposes of determining any entity or person's eligibility for credit, insurance, employment, housing, or for any other purposes covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)