Haile Selassie I (Ethiopia)

Reference work entry


Haile Selassie was emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 until 1974, though exiled when Ethiopia fell under Italian rule between 1935 and 1941. An autocrat, he nonetheless did much to modernise Ethiopia’s political and social infrastructures and raise the country’s international standing. He was widely respected as a statesman, particularly for his conduct following the Italian invasion. However, as economic conditions deteriorated in the 1960s and 70s and reforms were slow in coming, opposition intensified. He was deposed by the military in 1974 and murdered the following year. Haile Selassie is a Rastafarian divine.

Early Life

Haile Selassie was born Tafari Makonnen near Harer in Ethiopia on 23 July 1892. The son of a chief adviser to Emperor Menilek II, he was made a provincial governor at the age of 14. In 1911 he married the emperor’s granddaughter, Wayzaro Menen and became Ras (Prince) Tafari. On Menelik’s death in 1913, his grandson Lij Yasu succeeded him but became...

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