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HISTORIC ARTICLE
HISTORIC ARTICLE

Apr 2, 1930 CE: Haile Selassie Becomes Emperor of Ethiopia

Apr 2, 1930 CE: Haile Selassie Becomes Emperor of Ethiopia

On April 2, 1930, Ras Tafari Makonnen became Emperor Haile Selassie. During his long reign, Selassie emerged as a powerful international figure and symbol of a proud and independent Africa.

Grades

5 - 12

Subjects

Arts and Music, Geography, Human Geography, Religion

On April 2, 1930, Ras Tafari Makonnen became Emperor Haile Selassie. Selassie was the last reigning monarch of Ethiopia’s Solomonic Dynasty. The Solomonic Dynasty traces its ancient ancestry to King Solomon of Israel and the Queen of Sheba, biblical figures who may have lived during the 10th century BCE. Ethiopia is often acknowledged as the only nation in Africa never to have been colonized, and Selassie emerged as a powerful international figure as other African countries sought independence in the 20th century. His long reign and enduring policies (such as support for African unity and the abolition of slavery in Ethiopia) earned him a privileged position at international summits. For instance, Selassie was one of the highest-ranking diplomats at the funeral of U.S. President John Kennedy. Selassie’s greatest impact may have been on the island of Jamaica. Jamaican religious leaders adopted a version of his birth name, Tafari (Ras was an official title) and Rastafarians regard Selassie as a god. (Selassie himself remained a Christian throughout his life.) Selassie may have been more popular abroad than he was in Ethiopia. Under his leadership, Ethiopians endured famine and war, most notably over the region of Eritrea, which achieved independence in 1993. Selassie was overthrown by military leaders in 1974.

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Writer
National Geographic Society
Producer
National Geographic Society
other
Last Updated

May 20, 2022

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