የኢትዮጵያ ንጉሠ ነገሥት መንግሥተ
Ityopia tabetsih edewiha habe Igziabiher
"Ethiopia Stretches Her Hands unto God"
"Ethiopia, Be happy"
The Ethiopian Empire during the reign of Menelik II.
Amharic, Oromo, Tigrinya, Sidamo widely spoken
|-||1137||Mara Takla Haymanot|
|-||1930–1974||Haile Selassie I|
|Chairman of the Derg|
|-||1974||Mengistu Haile Mariam|
|-||1909–1927||Habte Giyorgis (first)|
|-||1974||Mikael Imru (last)|
|-||Lower house||Chamber of Deputies|
|Historical era||Middle Ages / Cold War|
|-||Treaty of Addis Ababa||23 October 1896|
|-||Constitution adopted||16 July 1931|
|-||Coup d'etat by Derg||12 September 1974|
|-||Monarchy abolished||21 March 1975|
Maria Theresa thaler (18th–19th century)
Ethiopian birr (from 1894)
|Today part of|| Ethiopia
The Ethiopian Empire (Amharic: የኢትዮጵያ ንጉሠ ነገሥት መንግሥተ?, Mängəstä Ityop'p'ya) also known as Abyssinia, covered a geographical area that the present-day northern half of Ethiopia covers. It existed from approximately 1137 (beginning of Zagwe Dynasty) until 1975 when the monarchy was overthrown in a coup d'etat.
Following the British occupation of Egypt in 1882, Ethiopia and Liberia were the only two African nations to remain independent during the Scramble for Africa by the European imperial powers in the late 19th century.
By the 400s BC, the Kingdom of Axum was established on the Red Sea coast and made itself known as a seafaring people active in the spice trade to India. They became known to the Romans no later than the 30s BC when Augustus conquered Egypt, and it is believed by then the square-rigged Axumite galleys were disdaining the long slow coastal trade route and riding the monsoon winds to and from India, moreover, having established trading with Rome for goods from inland Africa, the Ethiopians passed the trick on to Roman traders, and probably carried some of their cargoes for hire. The sea route also connected with the Silk Road through northern India, so the Axumites also aided Rome in obtaining Chinese silk, and by the 3rd century Rome had established trade entrepôt in India and the sea route carried virtually all the eastern trade to the consternation of Roman statesmen who decried the flow of bullion out of Rome. Around 300 AD, Axum both became Christian, and conquered the neighbouring ancient kingdom of Kush. References to that time thereafter began referring to them as an Empire, and they themselves were by then using "Ethiopia" in correspondence. The kingdom spread south and westwards into Africa as well as onto the Arabian peninsula over the next few centuries, and generally flourished trading with both the Western Roman Empire or the barbarians who supplanted it and the Byzantine Empire until the Muslim conquest of Egypt c. 640 AD cut the Empire off from European markets. Indications are the Empire turned inland, locating its capital for example further west and expanding its territory in the uplands both to the south and west. References to "Ethiopia" and "Ethiopian Christians" are sprinkled through European and Byzantine documents throughout the Early and High Middle Ages, but gradually dwindle, indicating there was some contact over the ensuing centuries after the Muslim conquest, but in general, the Empire went into a slow declining spiral but endured until the last Axumite king was killed by the mysterious Queen Gudit around 960.
Ethiopian Dark Ages
After the conquest of Aksum by Queen Gudit or Yodit, a period began which some scholars refer to as the Ethiopian Dark Ages. According to Ethiopian tradition, she ruled over the remains of the Aksumite Empire for 40 years before transmitting the crown to her descendants. Very little is known about the queen or the state, if indeed there even was one, she set up. What is evident however, is that her reign marked the end of Aksumite control in Ethiopia.
The last of Queen Yodit's successors were overthrown by Mara Takla Haymanot. He founded the Zagwe dynasty in 1137, and married a female descendant of the last Aksumite emperor to stake his claim as the legitimate heir to the long dead empire. The Zagwe were of the Agaw people, whose power never extended much farther than their own ethnic heartland. The capital was at Adafa, not far from modern day Lalibela in the Lasta mountains. The Zagwe continued the Christianity of Aksum and constructed many magnificent churches such as those at Lalibela. The dynasty would last until its overthrow by a new regime claiming descent from the old Aksumite kings.
In 1270, the Zagwe dynasty was overthrown by a king claiming lineage from the Aksumite emperors and, hence, Solomon. The thus-named Solomonic Dynasty was founded and ruled by the Habesha, from whom Abyssinia gets its name.
The Habesha reigned with only a few interruptions from 1270 until the late 20th century. It was under this dynasty that most of Ethiopia's modern history occurred. During this time, the empire conquered and incorporated virtually all the peoples within modern Ethiopia. They successfully fought off Italian, Arab and Turkish armies and made fruitful contacts with some European powers, especially the Portuguese, with whom they allied in battle against the latter two invaders.
Scramble for Africa and modernization
In 1868, following the imprisonment of several missionaries and representatives of the British government, Britain launched a punitive expedition into Ethiopia. The campaign was a success for Britain and the ruler of Ethiopia committed suicide. The 1880s were marked by the Scramble for Africa. Italy, seeking a colonial presence in Africa, invaded Ethiopia and following a successful conquest of some coastal regions, forced the Treaty of Wuchale upon Shewa (an autonomous kingdom within the Ethiopian Empire), creating the colony of Eritrea.
Due to significant differences between the Italian and Amharic translations of the treaty of Wuchale, Italy believed they had subsumed Ethiopia as a client state. Ethiopia repudiated the treaty in 1893. Insulted, Italy declared war on Ethiopia in 1895. The First Italo-Ethiopian War resulted in the Battle of Adowa in 1896, in which Italy was decisively defeated. As a result, the Treaty of Addis Ababa was signed in October, which strictly delineated the borders of Eritrea and forced Italy to recognize the independence of Ethiopia.
Delegations from the United Kingdom and France — European powers whose colonial possessions lay next to Ethiopia — soon arrived in the Ethiopian capital to negotiate their own treaties with this newly-proven power.
Italian invasion and World War II
In 1935 Italian soldiers commanded by Marshal Emilio De Bono invaded Ethiopia. The war lasted seven months before an Italian victory was declared. The invasion was condemned by the League of Nations, though not much was done to end the hostility. In 1935, Italy used mustard gas during the invasion of Ethiopia in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War. Ignoring the Geneva Protocol, which it signed seven years earlier, the Italian military dropped mustard gas in bombs, sprayed it from airplanes, and spread it in powdered form on the ground. 150,000 chemical casualties were reported, mostly from mustard gas. In the aftermath of the war Italy annexed Ethiopia, uniting it with Italy's other colonies in eastern Africa to form the new colony of Italian East Africa, and Vittorio Emanuele III adopted the title Emperor of Abyssinia.
On 10 June 1940, Italy declared war on the United Kingdom and France, as France was in the process of being conquered by Germany at the time and Mussolini wished to expand his colonial holdings. An Italian invasion of British Somaliland in August 1940 was successful, but the war turned against Italy afterward. Haile Selassie returned to Ethiopia from England to help rally the resistance. The British began their own invasion in January 1941, and the last organized Italian resistance in Italian East Africa surrendered in November 1941. The British restored Ethiopia's independence.
Rise of Derg
In 1974, a pro-Soviet Marxist-Leninist military junta, the "Derg", led by Mengistu Haile Mariam, deposed Haile Selassie and established a one-party communist state. Haile Selassie was imprisoned and died in unclear circumstances, the most likely known rumour being that he was suffocated with an ether-soaked pillow.
- Nathaniel T. Kenney, "Ethiopian Adventure", National Geographic, 127 (1965), p. 555.
- CONSTITUTION OF ETHIOPIA, 4 November 1955, Article 76 (source: Constitutions of Nations: Volume I, Africa by Amos Jenkins Peaslee)
- "Ethiopia Ends 3,000 Year Monarchy", Milwaukee Sentinel, 22 March 1975, p. 3.; "Ethiopia ends old monarchy", The Day, 22 March 1975, p. 7.; Henc Van Maarseveen and Ger van der Tang, Written Constitutions: A Computerized Comparative Study (BRILL, 1978) p. 47.; The World Factbook 1987; Worldstatesmen.org – Ethiopia
- Adekumobi, p. 10
- Pankhurst, p. 45
- Adekumobi, Saheed A. (2007). The History of Ethiopia. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 219 Pages. ISBN 0-313-32273-2.
- Pankhurst, Richard (2001). The Ethiopians: A History. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. pp. 299 Pages. ISBN 0-631-22493-9.
- Shillington, Kevin (2004). Encyclopedia of African History, Vol. 1. London: Routledge. pp. 1912 Pages. ISBN 1-57958-245-1.