Makonnen Wolde Mikael

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Ras
Mäkonnen Wäldä-Mika'él Gudessa
KCMG
Ras Mäkonnen (Wäldä-Mika'él) (1852-1906).jpg
Shum of Harar
In office
1887–1906
Monarch Yohannes IV
Menelik II
Succeeded by Yilma Makonnen
Personal details
Born Mäkonnen Wäldä-Mika'él Guddisa
8 May 1852
Derefo Maryam, Shewa
Ethiopian Empire
Died 21 March 1906(1906-03-21) (aged 53)
Kulubi, Harar
Ethiopian Empire
Nationality  Ethiopian
Spouse(s) Yeshimebet Ali
Children Yilma Makonnen
Tafari Makonnen
Occupation Military Officer, Diplomat, Court Official
Religion Ethiopian Coptic Orthodox
Military service
Allegiance  Ethiopian Empire
Battles/wars First Italo-Ethiopian War

Ras[nb 1] Mäkonnen Wäldä-Mika'él Guddisa, also Makonnen Wolde Mikael Gudessa (May 8, 1852 – March 21, 1906) or simply as Ras Makonnen, was a general and the governor of Harar province in Ethiopia, and the father of Tafari Mäkonnen (later known as Emperor Haile Selassie I). His father was Fitawrari[nb 2] Woldemikael Guddessa of a noble family of Oromo origin. Makonnen was a grandson of Negus[nb 3] Sahle Selassie of Shewa through his mother, Leult[nb 4] Tenagnework Sahle Selassie. As such, he was a first cousin of Emperor Menelik II.

Biography[edit]

Governorship[edit]

Ras Mäkonnen, August 1902

Ras Mäkonnen was born at Derefo Maryam near Ankober, and at the age of 14 his father took him to the court of Negus Menelik, then ruler of Shewa, where he became a special companion of Menelik.[1]

In 1887, Makonnen was given the governorship of Harar after it was incorporated into the Ethiopian Empire by his cousin, Emperor Yohannes IV. Other posts Ras Makonnen served included temporary governor of Tigray after the removal of the rebellious Ras Mangasha Yohannes, as a general during various military campaigns including during the First Italo–Ethiopian War, including a leading role at the Battle of Adowa where Ethiopian forces routed the Italians, and as a diplomat and de facto foreign minister.[citation needed]

Ras Mäkonnen

In the 1880s, as Shum[nb 5] of Harar, Ras Mäkonnen became a close friend of the French poet, Arthur Rimbaud, who was then living and doing business in that province.[2]

In 1902, Ras Mäkonnen attended the coronation of King Edward VII in England, and paid visits to Italy, France, Turkey, and Germany. He received the following decorations: Badge & Star of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (Knight Commander), Star of the Russian Order of St. Anne, Star of the French Legion d'Honneur (Third Republic), Star of the Order of the Crown of Italy, Star of the Ottoman Order of Osmania.[citation needed]

In 1906, Dejazmach Yilma Makonnen succeeded Makonnen as Shum of Harar. Yilma Makonnen was his son from before his marriage to Wayzero Yeshimabet Ali. In 1907, Yilma Makonnen was in turn succeeded as Shum by his younger half-brother, Tafari Makonnen, the future Emperor Haile Selassie.

Family[edit]

Around July 1873, Makonnen married Yeshimebet Ali, daughter of Dejazmatch Ali Abba Jiffar a Christian chief of Werreillu of Muslim ancestry in Wollo, and Woizero Wolete Giyorgis, a Christian of reportedly Gurage background. In 1875, Yilma Makonnen was born to Makonnen and a woman who was not Yeshimebet Ali. In 1892, Tafari Makonnen, the son of Makonnen and Yeshimebet Ali, was born. In 1901, following the death of Yeshimebet Ali, Makonnen was briefly married to a niece of Empress Taitu Betul, Woizero[nb 6] Mentewab Wale. Makonnen's marriage to Mentewab Wale was never consummated and, in 1902, it was annulled.

Death[edit]

While travelling from Harar to Addis Ababa, Ras Makonnen came down with typhus. His officers brought him to Kulubi, where he died as daylight broke after having given his son Tafari Makonnen a whispered benediction.[3]

Weblinks[edit]

Media related to Ras Makonnen at Wikimedia Commons

Notes[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ Roughly equivalent to Duke.
  2. ^ Equivalent to Commander of the Vanguard. Roughly equivalent to Baron.
  3. ^ Roughly equivalent to King.
  4. ^ Roughly equivalent to Princess.
  5. ^ Roughly equivalent to Governor.
  6. ^ Roughly equivalent to Lady.
Citations
  1. ^ Haile Selassie I, My Life and Ethiopia's Progress: The Autobiography of Emperor Haile Sellassie I, translated from Amharic by Edward Ullendorff. (New York: Frontline Books, 1999), vol. 1, p. 13.
  2. ^ Nicholl, Charles. Somebody Else: Arthur Rimbaud in Africa 1880-91. 1999, p. 231.
  3. ^ Harold G. Marcus, The Life and Times of Menelik II: Ethiopia 1844-1913 (Lawrenceville: Red Sea Press, 1995), p. 6

References[edit]

  • Marcus, Harold G. (1995). The Life and Times of Menelik II: Ethiopia 1844-1913. Lawrenceville: Red Sea. ISBN 1-56902-010-8.