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

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

On November 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.


5 - 12


Arts and Music, Geography, Human Geography, Religion

NGS Resource Carousel Loading Logo
Loading ...

On November 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.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Last Updated

February 6, 2024

For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service. If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please contact your teacher. They will best know the preferred format. When you reach out to them, you will need the page title, URL, and the date you accessed the resource.


If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media.


Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service.


Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. You cannot download interactives.

Related Resources