CORONATION Day: November 2nd 1930 (Haile Selassie I)

CORONATION Day: November 2nd 1930 (Haile Selassie I)

Emperor Haile Selassie I: Life and Legacy

Haile Selassie I, born Ras Tafari Makonnen on July 23, 1892, in Ejersa Goro, Ethiopia, was one of the most influential leaders in Ethiopian and African history. His reign as Emperor of Ethiopia started in 1930, during is reign he became a symbol of Ethiopian independence, African unity, and global peace efforts.

Early Life and Rise to Power

Haile Selassie was born into Ethiopian nobility, the son of Ras Makonnen Wolde Mikael, a governor and trusted ally of Emperor Menelik II. Through his father, he was connected to Ethiopian royalty and had a claim to the throne. His mother, Yeshimebet Ali Abba Jifar, was also of noble descent.

Educated under the guidance of his father, Ras Tafari developed a deep understanding of the world, languages, and cultures. This education, coupled with his innate leadership qualities, positioned him as a significant figure in Ethiopian politics from an early age.

In 1916, after the deposition of Emperor Iyasu V, Ras Tafari was appointed Regent Plenipotentiary by Empress Zewditu, Menelik II’s daughter. During his regency, he worked diligently to modernize Ethiopia and increase its engagement with the international community.

Coronation as Emperor

On November 2, 1930, Ras Tafari was crowned Emperor Haile Selassie I in a grand coronation ceremony in Addis Ababa. This event marked a pivotal moment in Ethiopian history and was attended by dignitaries from all over the world, totaling 72 different countries.Highlighting Ethiopia’s growing influence.

The coronation was conducted by the traditional ceremonial  practices of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and  therefore was a deeply religious and culturally significant event. During the ceremony, Ras Tafari received the name “Haile Selassie,” which means “Power of the Trinity,” signifying his role as the defender of the Ethiopian Orthodox faith and the embodiment of the divine right to rule.

As part of the coronation, Haile Selassie was anointed and invested with the imperial regalia, which included the crown, orb, scepter, and sword, all symbolic of his divine right and duty to rule Ethiopia under God. The coronation ceremony underscored the connection between the Ethiopian monarchy and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, reinforcing his status as a divinely appointed ruler.

During the coronation on November 2, 1930, Empress Menen was crowned alongside her husband. She received the title “Queen of Queens” and played a vital role in the ceremonial proceedings, symbolizing unity and strength alongside Haile Selassie. Her coronation as Empress further solidified her position as an influential and respected leader in Ethiopia. and symbolized the “Full Balance” of life!

Empress Menen Asfaw: Partner in Reign

Empress Menen Asfaw, born on April 3, 1891, was the wife of Emperor Haile Selassie and a significant figure in her own right. She was born into a prominent family with deep roots in Ethiopian nobility. Her father, Asfaw Michael of Ambassel, was a powerful regional ruler.

Empress Menen was married to Haile Selassie in 1911, and their union was both a personal and political partnership. She was deeply involved in charitable and social causes, advocating for the welfare and education of Ethiopian women and children. Her efforts in promoting education and healthcare earned her great respect and admiration among Ethiopians.

Haile Selassie’s Reign and Impact

During his reign, Haile Selassie implemented significant modernization and reform efforts aimed at transforming Ethiopia into a more unified and progressive nation. He introduced Ethiopia’s first written constitution in 1931, which established a legal framework for governance and limited the power of the nobility.

Haile Selassie’s international efforts were equally impactful. He was a vocal advocate for African independence and unity, playing a pivotal role in the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, the precursor to the African Union. His leadership and vision earned him the title “Father of African Unity.”

However, his reign faced significant challenges, including the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935. Despite being temporarily exiled, Haile Selassie continued to lead Ethiopia’s resistance against Italian occupation, and he was restored to the throne in 1941 with the support of Allied forces during World War II.

Religious and Cultural Significance

Haile Selassie is also a central figure in the Rastafari movement, which emerged in Jamaica in the 1930s. Followers of Rastafari view him as a messianic figure who fulfilled biblical prophecies of a returned Messiah and the rightful ruler of African people. His name, Haile Selassie, meaning “Power of the Trinity,” and his titles as Emperor resonated deeply with Rastafarians, who saw his coronation as a divine event.

The Rastafari movement has since become a global cultural and religious phenomenon, with Haile Selassie revered as a symbol of resistance against oppression and a beacon of African pride and dignity.

Legacy and Conclusion

Haile Selassie’s legacy is multifaceted. He is remembered as a transformative leader who sought to modernize Ethiopia, a champion of African unity, and a symbol of cultural and religious significance. Empress Menen Asfaw’s contributions to social causes and her role as a steadfast partner to Haile Selassie further enriched their joint legacy.

The coronation of Haile Selassie and Empress Menen in 1930 was more than just a ceremonial ascension to the throne; it was a reaffirmation of Ethiopia’s sovereignty, cultural heritage, and religious traditions. Their reigns left an indelible mark on Ethiopia and the world, shaping the course of history and inspiring countless people globally.

Together, Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress Menen Asfaw embody the resilience, strength, and cultural richness of Ethiopia, serving as enduring symbols of leadership and faith.