Emperor Haile Selassie
His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I (Born Lij Tafari Makonnen in July 23 1892 and died August 27 1975.) was the Emperor of Ethiopia between 1930–1936 and 1941–1974.
He was governor when empress Zewditu crowned him as negus (king) in 1928. The crowning of Tafari Makonnen was very controversial, as he occupied the same immediate territory as the Empress, rather than going off to one of the regional areas traditionally known as Kingdoms within the Empire.
When the empress husband died during a battle and the empress suddenly died a month later in flu-like fever Tafari Makonnen was proclaimed Emperor, and King of Kings of Ethiopia.
Following the invasion (1936) of Ethiopia by fascist Italy from its colonies in Eritrea and Somalia, Emperor Haile Selassie made an attempt at fighting back the invaders personally. But he was forces to exile in England.
Haile Selassie returned to Ethiopia in 1941, after Italy’s defeat in Ethiopia by United Kingdom and Ethiopian patriot forces. After the war, Ethiopia became a charter member of the United Nations.
In 1951 the former Italian colony of Eritrea was federated to Ethiopia as a compromise between the sizable factions that wanted complete Union with the Empire, and those who wanted complete independence from it.
A devastating drought in the Province of Wollo in 1972-73 caused a large famine which was covered up by the Imperial government and kept from Haile Selassie, who was celebrating his 80th birthday amidst much pomp and ceremony.
When a BBC documentary exposed the existence and scope of the famine, the government was seriously undermined, and the Emperor’s once unassailable personal popularity fell. Simultaneously, economic hardship caused by high oil prices and widespread military mutinies in the country further weakened him.
The Derg, set up to investigate the military’s demands, took advantage of the government’s disarray to depose Emperor Haile Selassie on September 12, 1974. The Emperor was placed under house arrest.
On August 28, 1975, the state media reported that the “ex-monarch” Haile Selassie had died on August 27, following complications from a prostate operation. His doctor denied that complications had occurred and rejected the government version of his death.