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Ethiopian & Rastafari
by Aster Sellassie, Millennium Ed.
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Unique among African countries, the ancient Ethiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule, one exception being the Italian occupation of 1936-41. In 1974 a military junta, the Derg, deposed Emperor Haile Salassie (who had ruled since 1930) and established a socialist state. Torn by bloody coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought, and massive refugee problems, the regime was finally toppled by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), in 1991. A constitution was adopted in 1994 and Ethiopia's first multiparty elections were held in 1995. A border war with Eritrea that erupted in May 1998 has strengthened the ruling coalition, but has hurt the nation's economy.
One of the most important chapters is not written -- 1917. The year of the Russian Revolution, the year when Ras Tafari became the Regent.

We live at the time of fake names and dates. We force to remember things which has no meaning or significance. But what do we know about history?

What do we know?

Maybe, it was his most decisive move -- he became a leader.

There were many years ahead, but he wasn't a prince anymore -- he became a man.

Today we all are private men... Alas, there were times of great men, rulers and leaders....

What do we know about history?

What do we want to know?

Yasu vanished and Ras Tafari became the master in Addis Ababa.

There were the court and many kings -- Ethiopia still was a name, not a state...

My Life and Ethiopia's Progress
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Kebra Nagast

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The pages in this directory are mostly about one man -- HIM Haile Sellassie I contents


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"An Ethiopian Boyhood"



This is one of very few pages I made, there are many new pages, which you need to read, including Birth of Tafari and some background pages on history, Religion and Culture. Some pages are about Ethiopian traditional Art (scrolls) and some are simply about our family.
2004 & After

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2004 & After

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... read 1892 page

Part I. Prince and King

He became a governor at the age of eighteen. He became a regent at the age of 25. He became a king at 36. He became an emperor in 1930, he was 38. He was a leader long before the world knew his name...
Fallaci: Your Majesty, I would like you to tell me something about yourself. Tell me were you ever an disobedient youth? But maybe I ought to ask you first whether you have ever had time to be young, Your Majesty?
Selassie: We don't understand that question. What kind of question is it? It is obvious that We have been young: We weren't born old! We have been a child, a boy, a youth, an adult, and finally an old man. Like everyone else. Our Lord the Creator made Us like everyone else. Maybe you wish to know what kind of youth We were. Well, We were a very serious, very diligent, very obedient youth. We were sometimes punished, but do you know why? Because what We were made to study did not seem enough and We wished to study further. We wanted to stay on at school after lessons were over. We were loath to amuse Ourselves, to go riding, to play. We didn't want to waste time on games. (From his last interview)

Boy Tafari and his father Ras Makonnen. Turn of the century. Last century, last millenium, the past...

[ for historical dates and more info see : several kingdoms, see HARAR -- Eastern Ethiopia, the deserts and mountains below the Amhara Plateau sweeping eastward into the Somali angle. ]


The boy was born on July 23, 1892, in the year of St. John, according to Ethiopian tradition of dedicating each year to one of the four evangelists. John the divine, who recieved the Revelation of the end of the world and the Judgement Day. It all was ahead. Menelik and teenager Tafari
In 1904 Tafari was made governor of a district in province of Harrar. He was twelve.

Iyassu, Menelik's grandson, (center) was Ethiopian Emperor till 1917, when he was deposed by Ras Tafari (left). Ras Beru Welde Gebreal (right).

Empress Zewditu.

Ras (Prince) Tafari was a regent since 1917, in 1927 he became Negus (King). Here is the photo of this period. Ras Tafari in a traditional warrior dress.


In 1930 he became Negusa Negus (King of Kings). I'll find better photos of the coronation. Here is one.

"At 8 am on November the Second coronation began at the St. George Cathedral. Two hours later a 101-gun salute was fired and the Emperor went for a two-mile journey through his capital."

"The staus accorded to the Ethiopian monarch corresponded very largely with his position as laid down in the country's traditional legal code, the Fetha Negast, or `Laws of the Kings,' which proclaimed the Divine Right of Kings on Scriptual basis." (Pankhurst)

The doctrine remains monophysite in holding that Christ had but one nature -- the divine, rather than two natures, the numan and the divine, while still recognizing the Trinity (Sellassie). (Spencer)

Sellassie (Power of Trinity),
the Emperor (official well known picture)
He was 38.

"The imperial dignity shall remain perpetually attached to the line of Haile Sellassie I,
descendent of King Sahle Sellassie,
whose line descends without interruption from the dynasty of Menelik I,
son of the Queen of Ethiopia, the Queen of Sheba,
and King Solomon of Jerusalem."
(Ethiopian Constitution)

[ from ]


During the Italian war in 1935
The front.

The boy on the left is Prince Mekonnen (the Emperor's second son).

His speech to the League of Nations
Exile in England and return to Ethiopia in 1941. 1960 Coup -- go for HISTORY II: PHOTOS & TEXTS



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Get Site Info TIME EUROPE November 3, 1930

Back to Haile Selassie TIME Trail homepage

Abyssinia: Coronation

With the cross of Jesus on his breast, Taffari Makonnen, already King of Kings, Conquering Lion of Judah and the Elect of God, proceeded last week to his Second Coronation, this time as Power of Trinity the First, Emperor of Ethiopia.

The complexion and features of Haile Selassie, or Power of Trinity, resemble those of a Spanish Jew. But throughout the world last week Negro newsorgans hailed him as their own, recalled the honors conferred by His Majesty on "The Black Eagle of Harlem," Colonel Hubert Julian, "The Negro Lindbergh".* Matter of fact the people of Ethiopia, or Abyssinia, are of every color from coal black through tawny brown to olive, include many non-Afric races. Centuries ago scornful Arabs nicknamed them Abyssinians ("mixed peoples"). Today members of the Royal House are strongly Semitized, claim descent from Hebrew King Solomon's Queen of Sheba, profess the religion of Coptic Christianity, acknowledge as their pope the Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria.

Ben Hur & Admiral Byrd. Twelve nations sent envoys to the Coronation. First to arrive was Special Ambassador Herman Murray Jacoby. Born 38 years ago in Germany, two years ago he sold out his Manhattan bond house, announced that he had retired "to cultivate my hobbies," proceeded to explore Brazil's Amazon, turned up in Abyssinia last week as President Hoover's representative.

Landing at Jibuti on the Gulf of Aden, Ambassador & Mrs. Jacoby and their suite entered a private train for the 780-mi. journey to New Flower, the tin-roofed capital of the King of Kings. New Flower, or Addis Ababa, is hidden among mighty mountains at an altitude of more than 6,000 ft. To this barbaric stronghold the Jacobys carried officially an autographed photograph of President Hoover, described as "handsomely framed." Unofficial, privately-paid-for U. S. Coronation gifts include: One electric refrigerator. One red typewriter emblazoned with the Ethiopian Royal Arms. One radio set with phonograph attachment. One hundred records of "distinctly American music. Five hundred rose bushes, including several dozen President Hoovers. A new kind of amaryllis developed by the U. S. Department of Agriculture. A bound set of National Geographic Society publications. A bound report of the Chicago Field Museum's expedition to Abyssinia. Three moving picture films: Ben Hur, The King of Kings, With Byrd at the South Pole.

Off Plate of Gold. When the U. S. special puffed into New Flower, a coalblack band with an olive-skinned conductor blared "The Star Spangled Banner." Amid a 17-gun salute Abyssinia's Crown Prince greeted the beaming U. S. Ambassador and his stern escort, Brig.General William W. Harts, U.S.A. Smartly escorted by native cavalry the U. S. party clattered off to their hotel, dined there that night on the King of Kings' own gold plate, loaned for the occasion as an especial mark of Royal favor. Bright and early Ambassador Jacoby greeted the Conquering Lion of Judah in English, listened to a reply which the Elect of God pronounced in Amharic, most official of Abyssinia's many languages.

"Proud and Free!" No. 1 Royal guest at the Coronation was George V's third son the Duke of Gloucester. France sent Marshal Franchet d'Esperey, Italy, Rear Admiral Prince Udine, cousin of King Vittorio Emanuele.

As everyone knows, the African colonies and "spheres" of Britain, France and Italy completely surround Abyssinia cutting her off from the sea. (Jibuti, where the Jacobys landed, is in French Somaliland.) This state of affairs explains why the King of Kings sent a personal envoy to Calvin Coolidge three years ago, begged the President to re-establish a U. S. diplomatic mission in Abyssinia where none had existed for almost 20 years. The wish was granted, and J. G. White Engineering Corp., Manhattan Engineers, got a $15,000,000 dam building contract in Abyssinia for which British firms would have given their eye-teeth.

In a circular letter to member states of the League of Nations, protesting Anglo-French-Italian encroachments, the King of Kings then wrote: "We Abyssinians have seldom met foreigners who did not desire to possess themselves of Abyssinian territory. . . . With God's help, and thanks to the courage of our soldiers, we have always, come what might, stood proud and free upon our native mountains."

Pomp & Gifts. Her Majesty the Queen of Sheba presented to His Majesty King Solomon gifts worth more than $4,000,000 before they began the intimacy from which sprang Abyssinia's Royal House. Recently their alleged descendant bought from European jewelers for $1,000,000 jewels and gold for a set of crowns over which Coptic priests began some weeks ago 21 days of prayer.

Every lion killed in Abyssinia is the property of the Conquering Lion of Judah (each loyal lion-killer being allowed to keep a small tuft of fur as a mark of prowess), and months ago in London a bale of lion skins was delivered to a Bond Street tailor with instructions to "fashion them into suitable garments for a coronation."

Along with the Bond Street lion clothes there arrived in Abyssinia last week the Royal & Imperial coach of Kaiser Wilhelm II (picked up cheap in Germany for $6,000), a team of the famed Habsburg white horses and an Austrian coachman who used to drive the late, great Franz Josef.

Compared to such costly pomp even the expensive gifts of European governments seemed cheap. What if the Duke of Gloucester brought an English coronation cake weighing one ton?* What if President von Hindenburg sent 500 bottles of fine Rhine wine? What if the French gift was an airplane which flew from Paris to New Flower in short hops.

"Bad Coffee." Abyssinians sip the Coffee of Peace instead of smoking the Peace Pipe. When someone is poisoned the well-bred Abyssinian thing to murmur is "mm, bad coffee."

This was murmured after the death of the late Empress Zauditu. But it was never proved that the present King of Kings really did bad coffee his cousin. He said she died "of shock" when one of his bombing planes blew up her Imperial consort.

Certainly the new Emperor is the greatest Abyssinian ruler of modern time. Grandeur and a fine sensitiveness are blended in his person. He is educating likely Abyssinian youths at schools and colleges throughout the world, but particularly in the U. S. His way with the priestly and feudal classes, bitter foes of modernization, can only be called masterly. Little by little, as he can, he is introducing farm machinery, building roads, waking up a land which has slept for 5,000 years. For his Coronation on Nov. 2 he decreed this striking ceremony: the people to stand all night in a vast multitude around the Coptic Cathedral of St. George, each standee holding a lighted candle; the Emperor and Empress to pass an all-night vigil inside St. George's, then to be crowned amid solemn chanting by the Coptic Abuna (Our Father) Egyptian Archbishop of Abyssinia.

*Originally a parachute jumper famed for playing the saxophone during his jumps, the Black Eagle said, on his return to Harlem from Ethiopia last July:

"When I arrived in Ethiopia the King was glad to see me.... I took off with a French pilot.... We climbed to 5,000 ft. as 50,000 people cheered, and then I jumped out and tugged open my parachute.... I floated down to within 40 ft. of the King, who incidentally is the greatest of all modern rulers..... He rushed up and pinned the highest medal given in that country on my breast, made me a colonel and the leader of his air force and here I am!"

Taking off from the Harlem River in his seap1ane Ethiopia I, the Black Eagle attempted a flight to Ethiopia in 1924, landed on the mud flats of Flushing Bay, explained: "Pontoon trouble."

*Abyssinia considered as a restitution rather than a gift several trunksfull of ancient Abyssinian documents brought back by the Duke of Gloucester last week, originally carried off if not stolen by British troops.

TIME EUROPE November 10, 1930
Abyssinia: Coronation

Chained like dogs to the Coronation dais of Abyssinia's Emperor and Empress, five full-grown lions with great golden manes snarled and roared last week, drew misgiving looks from the No. i Coronation guest, Prince Henry Duke of Gloucester, third son of George V.

Swaying their supple bodies violently, Coptic Christian priests followed their Archbishop up the aisle of St. George's Cathedral in Addis Ababa (New Flower), Abyssinian capital. The chill air, blue with incense, reeked with the smoke of native tallow candles, throbbed to wild strains. Cried the Archbishop, lifting high the crown, "God has anointed thee to rule with Justice!"

Placing the 3-lb. golden circlet of sapphires, rubies and diamonds upon the Emperor's woolly head, he continued, "Gird the sword upon thy loins, yet rule in Peace! May the Lord God, supreme ruler of men, bless and glorify thy reign, and may He ever keep thee and thy consort in His bosom."

Thus was crowned Tafari Makonnen, King of Kings, Conquering Lion of Judah, the Elect of God, the Light of the World, Power of Trinity I, Emperor of Abyssinia. For his spouse, the Queen of Queens, their Coronation was almost a coming out party. She is a chunky, chocolate amazon, he a small, slender, olive-skinned African Disraeli who astutely keeps her hidden. But they have much in common. Both looked on with glistening-eyed approval as "The Feast of Raw Meat" began.

Lowing oxen had been driven into the courtyard of the palace until it was almost full. His Majesty's loyal soldiers were to eat first. Beaming upon these fine fellows, Power of Trinity I personally opened the courtyard gate. In swarmed the hungry troopers, fell upon the oxen with their swords, drank the warm, rich blood, tore the raw meat (Abyssinia's national delicacy) from gory flanks which in some cases had not ceased to live. Began seven days of raw meat gorging for the populace in general.

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