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Posts Tagged ‘Emperor Menelik II’

Atse Menelik and photography

November 1, 2012 7 comments

Emperor Menelik II (1844-1913), one of the most documented and beloved figures in Ethiopian history, made an impressive attempt to change Ethiopia and its feudal system for ever. From his capital of Addis Ababa, founded only a few short years before he became emperor, Menelik directed the process of changing Ethiopia from a traditional to modern polity. His period of rule saw the introduction of electricity, telephone, telegraph, cinema, public schools, printing press, and hospitals. The Emperor employed European advisors to modernize his army, to introduce modern communications and transportation. He was savvy enough to embrace the new technology of his time—photography— as he was well aware that a picture with the insignia of his office could only enhance power. The emperor was introduced to the new technology by his Swiss councilor, Alfred Ilg. Read more…

The Personal Physician of Emperor Menelik II

June 15, 2012 2 comments


In 1909, Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II asked the German government for help in modernizing his country. German Emperor Wilhelm II sent in a team of experts, one of whom, Dr. Max Steinkühler, became Emperor Menelik’s personal physician. When the doctor arrived on the scene, the emperor was seriously ill. At first, Steinkühler’s treatment seemed to be working, but the emperor’s health then suddenly took a turn for the worse. Had the emperor been poisoned? This question is addressed during the afternoon symposium by scholars including Prof. Shiferaw Bekele from Addis Ababa University as well as Dr. Wolbert Smidt, Mekelle University. The exhibition opening after the symposium features the correspondence between Dr. Steinkühler and Ethiopian officials. Also on display: photos, a diary, travel reports and documents on the emperor’s health, along with some other exciting corpora delicti. Curated by Girma Fisseha. The exhibition opens on June 18 and runs until 30 June 2012 during the regular opening hours of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa Universty. (press release)

A look at Entoto Maryam

August 17, 2009 11 comments

Emperor Menelik II is regarded by many as one of the greatest Ethiopians of all time. He was often, simultaneously soldier, politician, king, raconteur and some-time brick-layer. This can be seen at the church of Maryam (St. Mary) on Entoto Mountain, in which he has taken part in the building work.
The great modernizer of Ethiopia Menelik was born on 17 August 1844 in Ankober. He would have turned 165 today. Befitting the occasion, this weekend I set out to explore Entoto Mariam Church, the Emperor Menelik and Empress Taitu Memorial museum and former palace located in the church’s very compound.
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For anyone who wishes to trace Atse Menelik’s legacy, visiting the church is important as it was here that Menelik was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia in November 1889, and his image hangs on its walls. The monarch himself personally played the leading role in establishing the church as part of his effort to build up his new capital Addis Ababa which in English meant New Flower. Read more…