Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Haile Selassie I takes throne of Ethiopia

This Day in World History

November 2, 1930

Haile Selassie I takes throne of Ethiopia

On Sunday, November 2, 1930, thirty-eight-year old Ras (Prince) Tafari Makonnen was proclaimed emperor of Ethiopia, taking the name Haile Selassie I, which means “Power of the Trinity.” Though taking place in the twentieth century, the ceremony reached back thousands of years, as Ethiopia’s Menelik dynasty claimed descent from Solomon, ancient king of Israel, and the Queen of Sheba, one of his wives.

To prepare for the coronation, seven groups of seven priests gathered in the seven corners of the national cathedral and chanted for seven days and seven nights psalms written by King David. The morning of the coronation, priests chanted and drummers drummed. Then, the emperor, wearing white silken robes, marched solemnly into the cathedral behind attendants waving incense burners. He took his seat on the imperial throne, and the Abuna Kyrillos—the highest official in Ethiopia’s Coptic Christian Church—presided. After the emperor pledged to carry out his royal duties, he received the symbols of his office—gold and red robes, a jeweled sword, a golden scepter, an orb, a diamond-studded ring, and two golden lances. Finally, the cleric anointed the new emperor’s head with oil, as had been done to the kings of Israel millennia before.

As emperor, Selassie enacted social and economic reforms but his efforts to improve his the lives of his people were cut short in 1935 when Italy invaded Ethiopia. He led his troops in resistance but was forced to flee the country.  It was not until after World War II, with the backing of British troops, that Selassie was able to return and regain power. In the 1960s, Selassie spearheaded the effort to form the Organization of African Unity, bringing together newly independent African states. By 1974, though, unable to solve growing economic problems and a terrible famine, he was ousted by a military coup. He died the following year. Selassie’s attraction lives on, though, as he is the idolized figure of the Rastafarian movement, which sees him as a spiritual leader.

“This Day in World History” is brought to you by USA Higher Education.
You can subscribe to these posts via RSS or receive them by email.

Recent Comments

  1. moti

    I don’t care about this.He left the country when the patriots defended the country against the invaders.He shoud have gone to jungle and fought with them.He was not even leading the army whom sacrificed their everything;their life.

  2. Ethiopian

    He took the throne by blood letting, killing his own brother Lij Eyasu

  3. Yashu

    He left Ethiopia in the hands of brave general fact…then yes left Ethiopia to face the international traders France and Britain whom turn there backs against Ethiopia facts league of nation.. Where HIM asked them what is he suppose to tell his people Ethiopians. Whom was promise protection by the League of Nations. His reply was eye for eye history and God will tell. Then told them it is us today but it will be you tomorrow..which the nations called a prophetic speech. because so said so done fact check history Germany gain strength battling against Britain and France.. Then Mussolini Italy join forces with Germany against Britain and France whom years earlier turned there backs on Ethiopia.. His HIM in his wisdom ended up regaining the throne with Britain help drove the Italians out of Ethiopia. Then Mussolini was hang by his people of Italy and hitler killed himself…. Theirs many ways to win a war … War is stratergy. Also while in exile HIM moved the government from Addis Ababa to Gondar in efforts to maintain a physical government strategic genius.
    . All facts do more research and studies before trying to destroy the good of others..

  4. Wengy

    Lij Eyasu wanted to convert Ethiopia to Islamic which was bad to their dignity

  5. Ras Lelond

    Hello Moti. You are wrong. Our Emperor NEVER WISH TO LEAVE NOR RUN AWAY. It was the Elders decision that He should go and PLEA JUSTICE since He had joined the League as well as the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6-7) and Provisions of Arms. The Book of Jeremiah 50:34 unfolds as well as Rev. 5:5′ Rev. 11:1-3, Rev. 17:14&19:16. Read with a open mind. Wendmin Yashu you are Right like wise Wengy Men of My Own Heart.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *