Haile Selassie

Jul 23, 1892 - Aug 27, 1975

Haile Selassie I was Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. Prior to his coronation, he had been the Regent Plenipotentiary of Ethiopia from 1916. He is a defining figure in modern Ethiopian history, and the key figure of Rastafari, a religious movement in Jamaica which emerged shortly after he became emperor in the 1930s. He was a member of the Solomonic dynasty who traced his lineage to Emperor Menelik I, supposedly the son of King Solomon and Makeda the Queen of Sheba.
Haile Selassie attempted to modernize the country through a series of political and social reforms, including the introduction of Ethiopia's first written constitution and the abolition of slavery. He led the failed efforts to defend Ethiopia during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War and spent the period of Italian occupation in exile in England. He returned to lead Ethiopia in 1941 after the British Empire defeated the Italian occupiers in the East African campaign. He dissolved the Federation of Ethiopia and Eritrea, which was established by the UN General Assembly in 1950, and integrated Eritrea as a province of Ethiopia while fighting to prevent their secession.
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“We have finished the job, what shall we do with the tools?”

Haile Selassie
Jul 23, 1892 - Aug 27, 1975
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