Halie Selassie Essay Example
Halie Selassie Essay Example

Halie Selassie Essay Example

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  • Pages: 3 (709 words)
  • Published: January 3, 2019
  • Type: Case Study
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There is no understanding to modern Ethiopia without a grasp of Haile Sellassie's life. Sellassie would prove to be one of Ethiopia's most noble leaders. He pushed education for his people. He made a valiant effort to drag Ethiopia out of its stagnant state of unpaved roads, minimal schools, very little education, and views on international affairs. He looked and carried himself like a king. The Ethiopian Emperor traditionally took the title of King of King, Lion of the Tribe of Judah as a title. He was also believed to be a descendent from the line of David by Solomon. The old Ethiopian legend of Kebra Hegast tells the story of the Queen of Sheba's visit to Solomon's mighty kingdom to learn the secrets of being a great leader. While in his kingdom the Queen Sheba


bore Solomon a son, to which Solomon gave a jeweled ring to prove his descent from the seed of David.

The Queen of Sheba returned to her land in, then Southern Ethiopia, what is today Somalia, with her son to continue to rule the land(Gorham 1966.). Haile Selassie was born as Tafari Makonnen on July 23, 1892. His mother died when he was two years of age. Shortly after his country was in war with the Italians. It was at this war that Tafari's father, Ras Makonnen fought next to Emperor Menelik, the emperor of Ethiopia at that time. The Emperor swore their relationship hoping that he would pass the throne to Ras Makonnen when Menelik's time had come. Ras Makonnen wanted a good education for his son "Ras" Tafari. Ras is an Ethiopian title given to people of royal

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blood. Fortunately, Mokonnen saw to his son's education early, because in 1906 he became sick and soon after died. He left the fourteen-year-old son Tafari to be raised in the house of Meneik.

The Emperor, anxious to see Ras Tafari live up to his father's stature and take the throne when the time came, made the young man, now seventeen years, Governor of the Southern province of Sidamo. He won the trust of the people and more importantly, the Emperor. After holding this position for eighteen months, Ras Tafari received word that he had been made Governor of Harar in the province of Harige, his homeland(Gorham 1966). Tafari was finally in control of Ethiopia in 1916, although he was not emperor, he ran the country for the next sixty years. From the beginning, Ras Tafari pushed the development of Ethiopia and stressed the importance of education. Education was avoided for thousands of years, because of the fear of foreigners and their way of life. More than ninety percent of Ethiopia's population was illiterate(Gorham 1966). Education was also kept from the people because once a culture learned to read or write, it was only one step further to being able to think. This was a way of ensuring power to those in control, and keeping it from the people not in control. Before Ras Tafari's rule, there were no paved roads, highways, or railroads that connected Ethiopia.

Another problem was that there was a severe lack of professional men like engineers, doctors, and teachers. Ras Tafari worked hard to change these conditions. He also signed a trade agreement with Italy. This angered Ethiopians, because it opened the country

to trade with foreigners. Ras Tafari's rule was not a perfect one, but he did more good for the nation than bad.

On November 2,1930, Ras Tafari, at age of thirty-seven was crowned Emperor Haile Selassie I. King of Kings, Lord of Lords. Conquering Lion of the tribe Judah(Marcus1987)

In conclusion, Halie Selassie ruled Ethiopia nobly. He looked for the betterment of his people, and the modernization of his country. He wanted the benefits of what a good education can do for a country. He compared Ethiopia to the great nations of Europe. Halie Selassie wanted to pull Ethiopia out of its dark ages and bring them into modern times and that is what he accomplished.


  1. Gorham, Charles. The Lion of Judah: A life of Haile Selassie: Emperor of Ethiopia. Ariel Books, New York.1966.
  2. Marcus, Harold G. Halie Sellassie I: The Formative Years 1892-1936.
  3. Red Sea Press.1987.


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