Haile Selassie I (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: During his long rule as emperor (1930-1974), Haile Selassie instituted programs for unification and modernization at home, while striving to open up Ethiopia to the world outside its formidable borders.
Haile Selassie I was the last in a long line of emperors of Ethiopia which, according to the legendary history, originated with Menelik I, the son of Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, and King Solomon. He was born Tafari Makonnen on July 23, 1892, near Harer, Ethiopia. His father, Ras (duke) Makonnen, was the governor of Harer and adviser to his cousin, Emperor Menelik II. Young Tafari, born as he was in one of the oldest Christian domains, was baptized while only a few days old and, according to custom, given a Christian name, Haile Selassie (power of the trinity)—a name he would use in church and later as ruler.
Tafari was reared in the Coptic Christian faith and educated by European tutors. His father, an important influence on Menelik II and, finally, on young Tafari, had traveled to Rome on state business, and this exposure helped convince him that Ethiopia could benefit from education, modernization, and development. He died in 1906 before he could complete Tafari’s political education, which he had only recently begun. He had, however, made Tafari a district governor in Harer province in 1905, giving him the title dejazmatch (count). Passed over by Menelik to succeed...
(The entire section is 2320 words.)
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