Emperor Haile Selassie’s birthday
An event is taking place today in Shashemene to commemorate the former Emperor Haile Selassie I who was born on this day in 1892.
Various events would be held in the town to commemorate the Emperor’s legacy and many Rastas who are based in Addis have traveled there.
Haile selassie was originally called Ras (Prince) Tafari Mekonen.He took the name Haile Selassie, meaning “instrument in the power of Trinity,” when he became Emperor.
He was crowned Emperor on November 2, 1930 after the death of Empresses Zewditu.He took the title Haile Selassie I, King of Kings, Conquering Lion of Judea and Elect of God, and immediately moved to establish Ethiopia as a modern state. He abolished slavery, instituted a constitution, and set up an appointed, advisory parliament and a more modern judiciary.
During the Italian invasion (1935-36) he personally led his troops against the enemy.He lived in exile in England until 1941, when he returned and claimed the throne.
Under Haile Selassie, Ethiopia became one of the charter members of the United Nations, and a leader in the establishments of the Organization of African unity.
When he first came to power, there were fewer than 10 schools throughout the country. Twenty-five years later there were over 10,000.
His autocratic rule combined with famine in Ethiopia, resulted in unrest in the 1960’s.He was overthrown by a military coup in 1974 and murdered the following year.
In addition to his legacy in Ethiopia, Haile sealssie became one of focus of RASTAFRIANISM, a religion in Jamaica that derives its name from Haile Selassie’s orgianl name, Ras Tafari.
(photo the Emperor with Colonel Boghossian, source lesnouvelles.org.)