Full Text

Haile Selassie (1892–1976)

Subject History

Place Eastern Africa » Ethiopia

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631209379.1999.x


Emperor of Ethiopia (1930–6, 1941–74). Baptized Tafari Makonnen, a Coptic Christian, he was related to the Emperor Menelik II and was appointed governor of Harar province shortly before Menelik's death in 1913. As Ras (Prince) Tafari he was Regent and effective ruler of Ethiopia when Zawditu, Menelik's daughter, was Empress (1916–30), making Ethiopia a member of the League of Nations in 1923. When Zawditu died he became Emperor, taking the new name Haile Selassie (Power of the Trinity). In 1935 Italy invaded Ethiopia. The Emperor unsuccessfully appealed to the League of Nations for help and after Ethiopia's defeat lived in exile in England. When Italy entered the Second World War on Hitler's side British-led troops enabled him to recover control of his country in 1941. The former Italian colony of Eritrea was joined in 1952 to Ethiopia in a federation with internal self-government, but in 1962 Haile Selassie annexed Eritrea and became involved in the eritrean war of independence (1961–91). He played an active role in 1963 in the formation of the oau (Organization of African Unity), which made its headquarters in Addis Ababa. The dominant northern groups in Ethiopia imposed Christianity and the Amharic language on all others, including the Muslim majority in the south, and this caused discontent, as did the southern system of landholding, in which most peasants were tenants who had ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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