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  • Writer's pictureChukwuebuka Ilozumba

TFE 3 – History & Ethiopia

If there is any country that is so entangled in its history as much as it tries to break away from it, that country would be Ethiopia. The history load behind this nation is so deep it takes us all the way to the Bible. It is believed that when the Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon from Ethiopia, she didn’t return empty. In local parlance, “in 9 months time”, Menelik arrived on the scene. While this is still argued, the Ethiopian community as we know it today is built around this belief.


Queen of Sheba
Queen of Sheba


Queen of Sheba in the Holy Books
Queen of Sheba in the Holy Books

Aside from its religious history, Ethiopia is popular for various other reasons such as its last Monarchy King; Emperor Haile Selassie who is worshipped by the Rastafarian community worldwide. It is also known as the only African Country, alongside Liberia, that was never colonised. Birthplace of the African Union. First African country to become a member of the United Nations.


Birth of Menelik I
Birth of Menelik I

Ethiopia has always been ruled by a Monarchy from as early as the 9th century, up till the year 1974 when Prince Haile Selassie was deposed by the Derg Military junta. Three of the last 4 Rulers – Menelik II, Zewditu & Haile Selassie – are quite revered as their times on the throne were marked by great events, for most of which, we have come to know the people of Ethiopia today.


Menelik II led the victorious 1896 Battle of Adwa which ensured the Italians never succeeded in their colonisation attempts. This victory against the Italians earned the country huge respect on the international scene. He also took the opportunity to modernise and bring social and technological developments to his people. Imagine him building the infrastructures the English and French colonial masters built in their colonies, but this time, it was to the benefit of the people and not for exploitation purposes.


Emperor Menelik II
Emperor Menelik II

Empress Zewditu, daughter of Menelik II, was the 1st female to rule the Monarchy and this was largely as a result of the immediate successor to Menelik II (Lij Iyasu, grandson of Menelik II) not ruling well and being deposed by the nobles. Ever since the Zagwe dynasty ended in the 12th century, every other ruler has either been or claimed to be of King Solomon’s dynasty. It is not hard to imagine how the people felt to have a young ruler who practised Islam. So bad they had no problem being ruled by a woman. Zewditu did well in easing these religious tensions during her reign.

Abeto Lij Iyasu Mikael
Abeto Lij Iyasu Mikael

Empress Zewditu
Empress Zewditu

Born as Ras Tafari Makonnen, Emperor Haile Selassie happened to be the last absolute Ethiopian monarch. Having served as Regent & Crown Prince during Empress Zewditu’s reign, he came quite prepared. During his time, the Italians came knocking once more. Though they succeeded for a little while, 1936 – 1941, Selassie rallied support from exile and from amongst his people to have them packing for the second and final time. As a Pan-Africanist, he was greatly involved in the creation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) now known as the African Union (AU) with its headquarters in Addis Ababa to date.


Emperor Haile Selassie I
Emperor Haile Selassie I

This much and many more can be gleaned by visiting the Addis Ababa Museum located behind Meskel Square, which was our first port of call in exploring the city of Addis Ababa.

Indeed, what is Ethiopia without its history? What is African history without Ethiopia? What is world history without Ethiopia? History and Ethiopia have had a wonderful collaboration and who says they have stopped collaborating?


Visit Ethiopia!


Drapped in the Ethiopian Flag
Drapped in the Ethiopian Flag
Museum View of the Meskel Square
Museum View of the Meskel Square

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