Untitled Document

Modern Ethiopian Monarchs Part Seven

The Emperor and his entourage were determined to make a stand against Italy at the League of Nations. Although France and the United Kingdom had continued to press Ethiopia to accept partition, now that the Italians had marched into the capital, both of these powers were leaning heavily towards recognizing Italian rule over Ethiopia. However, the Emperor had a strong case to be heard and they could do little to prevent Ethiopia from presenting her case. But many roadblocks were set up to make it difficult. The Italians spread rumors that the Imperial family had fled with tons of gold and silver and the Emperor had ordered the torching of Addis Ababa and the butchering of the people. In reality, the Emperor had left to prevent a bloodbath in the city and he had left with little money, although he did take with him his crown and the old war tent of Emperor Menelik to prevent it from falling into the hands of the fascists. The Emperor arrived in Geneva to address the League of Nations in person. He was the first head of state to appear before the assembly and turned out to be the only one who would ever address it. The assembly of the League of Nations was presided over by the Rumanian delegate. The galleries above the floor of the assembly were packed with journalists, many of whom were Italians. When "His Majesty the Emperor of Ethiopia" was announced, the Italian journalists in the gallery began to whistle, stomping their feet and jeering loudly. The Emperor quietly walked up to the podium and stood quietly -- a small man in a black cape looking up at the loudly protesting Italians. The delegate from Rumania (who was chairing the session) lost his temper and demanded that the security "Remove the savages!" After the Italians were removed, the Emperor began his historic speech. The Emperor, although fluent in French, spoke in Amharic as a symbolic gesture. He traced the history of the conflict and the atrocities commited by the Italians. He told of the horrors of poison gas attacks and the death rained upon his people. He appealed to the League to follow through on its guarantees of collective security and the promise that small and weak countries would not be allowed to be the victims of the large and strong.

The Emperor addresses the League of Nations, 1936

"What answer shall I take back to my people?" he asked the League. "It is us today -- it will be you tomorrow." These prophetic words foreshadowed the coming horror of the Second World War. He concluded by telling the assembly that, "God and History shall remember your judgment." It was a historic speech that was applauded around the world. The Emperor of Ethiopia was toasted and hailed around the world by anti-fascists, and Time magazine named him "Man of the Year"

In spite of his victory in the battle for public opinion, the League of Nations did little to help the Emperor beyond weak symbolic sanctions that had little effect on Italy. The Italians argued that the Ethiopian Empire ceased to exist due to their conquest, and Great Britain, France, and the United States all gave recognition to the Italian conquest of Ethiopia by acknowledging King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy as Emperor of Ethiopia. In contrast, the League accepted the Emperor's argument that the Ethiopian government continued to exist at Gore and permitted the Ethiopian delegation to continue to sit in the League and represent that government. The Emperor departed for Britain to begin his new life in exile. He was assisted in his work by Lorenzo Taezaz, an Eritrean-born loyalist who acted as his primary representative to the League. Azaj Workineh Eshete (Dr. Charles Martin), the Ethiopian minister to Great Britain, was also an active participant in raising funds and publicity for the cause of Ethiopia. Blatangueta Hirui, the elderly foreign minister of Ethiopia, also worked for liberation until his death in London in 1937.

The Emperor disembarks at Southampton to begin his exile in England

Back in Ethiopia, the Italians were settling in. The Italians took posession of the capital and set about building the foundations for their new administration. The former colonies of Eritrea and Italian Somaliland were merged with Ethiopia to form what they called "Africa Orientale Italiana" or "AOI", a single colony ruled from Addis Ababa by the Vice-Roy as the representative of the King-Emperor (Kesare) and the Duce Mussollini. As administative units, the Empire was restructured into new regions that replaced the old Imperial provinces. The Ogaden was joined to Italian Somaliland and made the new governorate of "Somali", based in Mogadishu in the east. The southern kingdoms, provinces, and principalities became the governorate of "Galla-Sidamo" and was ruled from Jimma. In the north, Tigrai and Eritrea were merged into the governorate of "Eritrea", based in Asmara. Gojjam, Beghemidir, Simien, Wello, and parts of northern Shewa were merged into the governorate of "Amhara", headquartered in Gondar. The region surrounding Addis Ababa was first named after the capital, but it was later re-named the governorate of "Shewa" and ruled directly by the Vice-Roy. Harrar, Dire Dawa, and their environs became the "Harrar" governorate. The Vice-Roy took up residence in the Emperor's Guenete Leul Palace. Addis Ababa was divided between the "Native" and "Colonial" districts. The city market, once next to the Cathedral of St. George, was moved further out and named "Merkato Indigino" -- it is still referred to as "Merkato" today. This was the "native" district of the city. Italian names were given to different parts of the City. The city center of the time was named Piazza (which it is still referred to even today); the Casa Populare and Casa I.C.E.S. are even today referred to as the Populare and Casanchis districts of the capital. The Italians would build new buildings and roads, further modernizing the city of Addis Ababa, and the ancient towns of Gondar and Jimma were to similarly developed. Although the Fascists ordered strict racial segregation and non-fraternization, this policy was not aggressively enforced. The Italian soldiers and officers, and later settlers, formed friendships, romantic liasons, and had children with Ethiopians -- some relationships would even survive the occupation. For this reason, many would remain in Ethiopia after the occupation was over. However, the Fascist doctrine of conquest was based on an ideology of revenge for the humiliation of Adowa and the erasing of Ethiopian national identity. The Italians looted what they could of Ethiopia 's heritage; several crowns of previous monarchs were taken to Italy on Mussolini's orders. Badoglio showed one crown to the English writer Evlyn Waugh (a fascist sympathizer) to confirm that this was in fact the crown of Emperor Haile Sellassie, whose coronation Waugh had attended five years earlier. Waugh confirmed that the silver gilt crown was indeed the crown of Emperor Haile Sellassie, but he was mistaken. The crown used at the coronation in 1930 was solid gold, not silver gilt, and it had accompanied the Imperial family into exile. The Italians carried off the taller of the two standing obelisks at Axum and erected it in Rome in front of the Ministry of the Colonies (the headquarters for the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization today), where it still stands. During a visit to Addis Ababa by the Minister for the Colonies, he ordered several other monuments also removed. Also taken to Rome was the Lion of Judah monument from the front of the Addis Ababa train station. The lion was re-erected in Rome next to the Vittorio Emanuelle monument. The Italians also removed the statue of Emperor Menelik from the square in front of St. George's Cathedral and also the crown from the top of the dome of the Ba'eta monastery where Menelik II was buried. These two large monuments of the Ethiopian monarchy were removed in the dead of night and taken out of the city (and subsequently hidden away). The next morning, people came out into the streets of the city and saw the empty pedestal of the statue of Emperor Menelik; many are said to have beaten their chests and wept as if at a traditional Ethiopian funeral. The Italians took a host of valuable works of art, manuscripts, and the entire Imperial archives and removed them to Italy. After a few months as the Vice-Roy of the "King-Emperor Vittorio Emanuelle III", Marshal Badoglio, "Duke of Addis Ababa", resigned and returned to Rome, where he could better bask in the glory of being the conqueror of Italy 's new Empire. More of a monarchist than a staunch fascist, he found himself in constant battles with the Minister for the Colonies, a man named Lessona, over ideological and jurisdictional issues. He was replaced as Vice-Roy by Marshal Graziani, a staunch fascist, and a man with a bloody reputation from his ruthless suppression of rebels in Italian-ruled Libya. Although the Italians had proclaimed a new "Fascist Empire", Ethiopia was hardly conquered and pacified. Wide stretches of the countryside remained outside Italian control and would remain so for the duration of the occupation. Although all the major urban areas were firmly occupied, rural areas remained restive and alive with anti-Fascist activity. The armys of Ras Imiru and Ras Desta remained in the south, actively opposing the Italians. Guerillas banded together in the central and northern highlands as well. In particular, Abebe Arregai in Shewa, Belai Zelleke in Gojjam, and "Amoraw (The Hawk)" Wubineh in Beghemidir led well-organized guerilla forces that harassed and bloodied the Italians again and again, making it impossible for them to ever fully extend Fascist rule.

Remnants of the Imperial army, however, were determined to oust the Italians from Addis Ababa. The scattered brigades needed someone to lead them and coordinate with the guerillas. Soon, rumors swept through Addis Ababa that the Imperial red umbrellas had been seen in Menz to the north. The House of Solomon was far from finished. In Menz, the sons of the premier prince of the blood, Ras Kassa Hailu, were rallying the peasantry to the banner of the dynasty. Dejazmatch Wondwossen Kassa, Dejazmatch Abera Kassa, and Dejazmatch Asfaw Wossen Kassa began to gather the remnants of the Imperial forces along with many more peasants of urban intelligentsia who had fled the occupation of the cities. With them was the Bishop of Wello, Abune Petros himself, who rallied the population and exhorted them to refuse the rule of the enemy. The three royal Dejazmatches captured the imagination of the Shewan loyalists of the dynasty and plans were set up to expel the Italians from Addis Ababa .

The post-war period in Ethiopian history was one of unprecedented development and change. The Emperor returned to a country that had recieved some benefits in infrastructure development fromt the colonial administration of Italy, but much had been destroyed in the war, and the British had instituted a parallel administration to his own. It would take years to dislodge them.

Above, Ethiopian guerrilla resistance fighters pay homage to the Emperor on the day that he returned to his capital, May 5th, 1941 -- five years to the day of its occupation by the Italians

The Newly Restored Emperor and Empress of Ethiopia

The French Ambassador to Ethiopia bows to the Emperor on the occasion of the dedication of the Memorial Cross at Massawa in Honor of the French and other Allies who fought to help liberate Ethiopia from fascism.

Her Imperial Majesty Empress Menen in court dress and tiara; she is wearing the Star of the Order of Sheba (picture taken in the mid-1940's)

Their Imperial Majesties, Emperor Haile Selassie and Empress Menen in their Silver Jubilee year, 1955

Their Imperial Majesties on their way to the State Opening of Parliament during the 1955 Silver Jubilee celebrations, when the revised constitution went into effect

His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Asfa Wossen, Merid Azmatch and Governor General of Wollo, later Emperor-in-Exile Amha Selassie I

Her Imperial Highness Crown Princess Medferiashwork Abebe, later Empress Medferiashwork

Her Imperial Highness Princess Tenagnework, Vice-Reine of Eritrea

His Imperial Highness Prince Makonnen, Duke of Harrar

Her Imperial Highness Princess Sara, Duchess of Harrar

His Imperial Highness Prince Sahle Selassie

Emperor Haile Selassie I and his family in the mid-1960's. The group of adults in the middle of the picture are Crown Princess (later Empress) Medferiashwork, Crown Prince Asfa Wossen (later Emperor-in-Exile Amha Selassie), Emperor Haile Selassie, Princess Tenagnework, Princess Sara Duchess of Harrar, and Princess Mahitsente. They are surrounded by their children, grandchildren, and in-laws.

Emperor Haile Selassie had a large family. His first marriage was to Woizero Altayech, by whom he had a daughter, Her Imperial Highness Princess Romanework Haile Selassie. Princess Romanework was married to Dejazmatch Beyene Merid and had four sons, two of which survived to adulthood. They were Dejazmatch Samson Beyene and Dejazmatch Merid Beyene. Dejazmatch Beyene Merid died fighting the fascist Italian invasion in 1936. Princess Romanework and her sons were captured by the Italians and imprisoned in Italy, where the Princess died on Asinara island in 1940; her body was returned to the Imperial Family after the restoration of 1941. Her sons returned to Ethiopia and were raised by their grandfather, the Emperor. Dejazmatch Samson died in Ethiopia before the revolution. He had been married to Woizero Koremtit Andargatchew, daughter of Ras Andargatche Messai and step-dauther of Princess Tenagnework, his aunt. They have one son, Lij Sibistianos Samson. Dejazmatch Merid died in exile in London without issue in 1990. Emperor Haile Selassie was next married to Empress Menen Asfaw, who had previously been the wife of Ras Leulseged Atnaf Seged, an old Shewan noble. Woizero Menen was the daughter of Jantirar Asfaw of Anbassel (Jantirar is a hereditary title reserved for the ruler of Anbassel and is one of the oldest titles in Ethiopia). Her mother was Woizero Sehin Michael, daughter of King Michael of Wollo and sister of Lij Eyasu. Her Imperial Majesty was thus the neice of Lij Eyasu. In 1930, she was crowned Empress-consort upon the coronation of her husband as Emperor.

The Emperor, surrounded by grandsons and great-grandsons, receives delegates giving him holiday greetings on the Ethiopian New Year

Empress Menen and Emperor Haile Selassie were the parents of six children. The eldest was Princess Tenagnework, followed by Crown Prince Asfa Wossen (later Amha Selassie I, Emperor-in-Exile), Princess Zenebework, Princess Tsehai, Prince Makonnen Duke (Mesfin) of Harrar, and Prince Sahle Selassie. Princess Tenagnework first married Ras Desta Damtew, who died fighting the Italians in 1936. By him she had two sons, Prince Amha Desta and Prince Rear-Admiral Iskinder Desta, as well as four daughters, Princesses Aida, Seble, Sophia, and Hirut. Prince Amha Desta died young (possibly of tuberculosis) in England during the exile of the Imperial family there. He had no children and was never married. Princess Aida would marry the hereditary prince of Tigrai, Ras Mengesha Seyoum, and had four sons and a daughter. They are Lij Michael Sehul, Lij Yohannis, Lij Stephanos, Lij Jalliye and Woizero Menen Mengesha. Princess Seble Desta would marry the heir to the Oromo ruling family of Leqa-Qellem principality of Wellega Dejazmatch Kassa Jote. They would have four daughters and a son, Woizero Jote, Woizero Yeshi, Woizerit Lally, Woizerit Kokeb and Lij Amha Kassa. Princess Sophia Desta would marry Captain Dereje Haile Mariam and had a daughter, Woizero Hanna Dereje. Princess Hirut Desta would marry Gen. Nega Tegegne. Crown Prince Asfa Wossen first married Princess Wollete Israel Seyoum, daughter of the then-hereditary prince of Tigrai Ras Seyoum Mengesha. They had one daughter, Princess Ijigayehu Asfaw Wossen. Princes Ijigayehu was married to the heir of the ruling Oromo family of Leqa-Neqemt in Wellega, Dejazmatch Fikre Selassie Hapte Mariam. They had six children. Following his divorce from from his first wife, the Crown Prince married Medferiashwork Abebe, daughter of General Abebe Damtew. The new Crown Princess was thus the neice of Ras Desta Damtew, the first husband of Princess Tenagnework. Crown Prince Asfa Wossen had four more children with Crown Princess Medferiash. They are Princess Mariam Senna (Mary), Princess Sefrash Bizu, Princess Sehin, and Prince Zera Yacob (See under Emperor Amha Selassie). Princess Zenebework Haile Selassie married Dejazmatch Haile Selassie Gugsa, son of the other hereditary prince of Tigrai, Ras Gugsa Araya. Princess Zenebework died in 1934, and her husband defected to the fascist Italians on the eve of the 1935 war. He was sent into internal exile after the restoration. Princess Tsehai Haile Selassie was married to General Abiye Abebe, but she died in childbirth in 1941. General Abiye continued to be accorded the protocol rank of the Emperor's son-in-law, even after his remarriage. General Abiye served in a number of capacities in the Imperial government, including Crown Representative in Eritrea, Senator, and Minister of Defense. Lt. General Abiye Abebe was executed with the other high government officials by the Dergue in November of 1974. Prince Makonnen Haile Selassie, Duke of Harrar, was married to Princess Sara Gizaw Duchess of Harrar. They had five sons, Princes Wossen Seged, Taffari, Makonnen (David), Michael, and Beide Mariam. Prince Sahle Selassie Haile Selassie was married to Princess Mahisente Hapte Mariam, daughter of the heir to the Oromo principality of Leqa-Neqemt. They had one son, Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, who is the current President of the Ethiopian Crown Council in exile.

From left to right, Princess Sara Gizaw, Duchess of Harrar, carrying her son Prince Wossen Seged, Crown Princess Medferiashwork Abebe with her son Prince Zera Yacob, Princess Tenagnework Haile Selassie, Emperor Haile Selassie, Crown Prince Asfa Wossen, and Prince Makonnen, Duke of Harrar

The Emperor of Ethiopia

Her Imperial Majesty visiting the Empress Menen School for Girls -- a school she founded

Prince Makonnen, Duke of Harrar, was killed in a car crash on his way to the resort town of Nazareth in 1959. Prince Sahle Selassie died of illness in 1961. Her Imperial Majesty Empress Menen also died in 1961 after many years of ill health. The Empress, the Duke of Harrar, Prince Sahle Selassie, Princess Zenebework, Princess Romanework, and Ras Desta Damtew (first husband of Princess Tenagnework) were all buried in the crypt of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa. Princess Tsehai was buried at the Ba'eta Le Mariam Monastery Church in the Imperial mausoleum with Emperor Menelik II, Empress Taitu, and Empress Zewditu. Emperor Haile Selassie had built a huge new sarcophagus for himself and a matching one for his wife in the north trancept of the Nave in Holy Trinity Cathedral. He planed to move the Empress' remains from the crypt under the cathedral to this new tomb and to be buried there himself. However, the revolution intervened, and the Empress remained in her original tomb until November of 2000. Following the disinternment of the Emperor's remains from the secret grave he was placed in by the Dergue in 1991, disputes between the government in Ethiopia and the Imperial family erupted over whether the Emperor should receive a state funeral. The Emperor's remains were placed in the mausoleum at the Ba'eta Le Mariam Monastery until the time that an agreement could be reached to hold his funeral and final burial at Holy Trinity Cathedral. No agreement could be reached with the state authorities, so the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Haile Selassie I Memorial Foundation, and the Veterans Association of Ethiopia, in agreement with the Imperial family, held a non-State Imperial Funeral for the late Emperor on November 5th, 2000. Her Imperial Highness, Princess Tenagnework Haile Selassie, is the only child of the Emperor who survives.

His Imperial Majesty in Court Dress Uniform

The Emperor always wore national dress to celebrate the Ethiopian New Year, which falls on September 11th in the Gregorian Calander

Their Imperial Majesties on the 20th anniversary of their coronation

Their Imperial Majesties cross over the Mereb River Bridge on foot following the Federation and become the first Ethiopian Monarchs to enter Eritrea since Yohannis IV faced the Italians at Sa'ati. They then drove to Asmara in triumph and were greeted by crowds of jubilant unionists and the public at large

The Emperor addresses the public upon arriving in Asmara following the Federation of Eritrea to the Empire

His Imperial Majesty receives Kwame Nkruma in audience some time before Nkruma became President of the Republic of Ghana (hence his position sitting below the Emperor and not next to him). The Emperor was a supporter of the many African independence movements accross the continent

The Emperor riding in procession with Jomo Kenyatta, first President of the Republic of Kenya. The Emperor secretly aided the Mau Mau independence movement in Kenya against the British and helped Jomo Kenyatta's family in their time of hardship

His Imperial Majesty meeting with President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Great Bitter Lake Conferences in Egypt aboard an American warship in 1943. The meeting helped in obtaining U.S. help in dislodging British intrusions onto Ethiopian sovereignty in the post-war era

His Imperial Majesty, with H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, waving to the crowds that welcomed him on his state visit to the United Kingdom in 1958.

The Emperor after being invested as a Knight of the Garter by Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain

To comply with protocol, the Emperor walks in the Garter procession with the only other person who bore an Imperial title, the Queen Mother (who as the widow of King George VI, was the last living Empress of India)

His Imperial Majesty (with Queen Elizabeth II) riding in the Ethiopian Imperial State Coach during the Queen's visit to Ethiopia in 1966

His Imperial Majesty with King Bouduin of the Belgians upon his state visit to the Kingdom of Belgium

His Imperial Majesty escorts Her Imperial Majesty Empress Farah of Iran during the 2,500 year aniversary of the Pesian Empire at Persepolis in 1967. Walking with them are Their Majesties King Bouduin and Queen Fabiola of the Belgians

His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia greets a fellow Emperor, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Hirohito of Japan, during a state visit to Tokyo

From Left to Right, H.H. Princess Sophia Desta, granddaughter of the Emperor of Ethiopia, H.M. The Queen of Malaysia, H.I.M. The Emperor of Ethiopia, and H.M. The King of Malaysia

The Emperor of Ethiopia in a friendly moment with Her Imperial Majesty, Empress Farah Pahlavi of Iran, during the State visit of the Shah and Empress of Iran to Ethiopia in 1968

His Imperial Majesty with Field Marshal Joseph Broz Tito, President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in Addis Ababa (Crown Prince Asfa Wossen can be seen in the background)

From left to right, His Higness Ras Imiru Haile Selassie, cousin of the Emperor, Field Marshal Joseph Broz Tito, President of Yugoslavia, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie, and Madame Jovanka Broz Tito, at the Jubilee Palace in Addis Ababa

H.I.M. the Emperor of Ethiopia with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in India

His Imperial Majesty with Chairman Mao Tse Tung of the People's Republic of China. Lt. General Abiye Abebe can be seen in the background

H.I.M. the Emperor of Ethiopia with H.R.H. Prince Norodom Sihanouk (formerly, and again later, H.M. King Sihanouk) of Cambodia

His Imperial Majesty with Vice President (later President) Richard M. Nixon of the United States of America

The Emperor and his granddaughter Princess Hirut Desta are welcomed to the White House by President John F. Kennedy. The Emperor and the Princess are the first black people to spend the night in the White House as guests of the President

His Imperial Majesty listens to a benediction by the Archbishop (later First Patriarch) Abune Baslios (foreground) of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Standing to the left of the Emperor (in the suit) is the first Imperial Prime Minister, Ras Bitwoded Mekonnen Endalkachew. Seated next to him is Crown Prince Asfa Wossen

Abune Theophilos kisses the Emperor's Ring upon his Enthronement as Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church at Holy Trinity Cathedral in 1971. The Emperor would have first kissed the Patriarch's Hand Cross

His Majesty prepares to light the annual Maskal bonfire for the Feast of the Finding of the True Cross by St. Helena (Eleni). Behind his right shoulder is Prime Minister Aklilu Hapte Wold (in the dark suit). Abune Theophilos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is to the extreme left of the Emperor

His Imperial Majesty with Pope Kyrillos of Alexandria, Pontiff of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt on the occasion of the dedication of the new Coptic Orthodox Cathedral of St. Mark in Cairo

His Imperial Majesty with His Holiness Patriarch Pimen of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. Princess Seble Desta, the Emperor's granddaughter, can be seen behind them.

The Emperor of Ethiopia with Pope Paul VI, Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, Vatican City

Eastern African Heads of State Conference at Kampala Uganda, 1967. From left to right, front row, President Gregoire Kayibanda of Rwanda, President (later self-proclaimed Emperor) Jean Bedel Bokassa of the Central African Republic (later Empire), Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, President Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Prime Minister Ismail al-Azhari of the Sudan, and President Joseph Desire Mobutu (later Mobutu Sese Seko) of the Congo (later Zaire). Second row, second from left, President Milton Obote of Uganda, President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, and Prime Minister Ibrahim Egal of Somalia

The Imperial Prime Ministers

Ras Betwoded Makonnen Endalkatchew, First Imperial Prime Minister (1955 -1961)

Tsehafi Te'ezaz Aklilu Haptewold, the longest serving Premier (1961-1974 -- executed November 23, 1974)

Lij Endalkatchew Makonnen (March 1974 - July 1974 -- executed Nov.23, 1974)

Lij Michael Imiru, the last Imperial Prime Minister (July 1974 - September 1974)

His Imperial Majesty in 1974, a few months before he was deposed, and about a year before he was killed

His Imperial Majesty being removed from the Jubilee Palace in Addis Ababa following his deposition by the Dergue. He was taken away in this baby blue Volkswaggen bug. An arrow indicates the Emperor as he walks towards the car -- September 11, 1974.

Click to continue to next page