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For other uses, see Negus (disambiguation).
Royal seal of Negus.

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Negus (Ge'ez: ነጉሥ, nəgūś IPA: [nɨguːɬ]; Amharic: nigūs?; cf. Tigrinya: ነጋሲ? negus) is a royal title in the Ethiopian Semitic languages.[1] It denotes a monarch[2] such as the Bahri Negus of the Medri Bahri in pre-1890 Eritrea and the Negus in pre-1974 Ethiopia. The title has subsequently been used to translate the words "king" or "emperor" in Biblical and other literature.


The word negus is a noun derived from the ancient language Ge'ez Negus Ge'ez.png verbal root N - G - Ś meaning "to reign."

In more recent times, it was used as an honorific negus for life title bestowed on governors of the most important provinces (kingdoms): Gojjam, Welega and the seaward kingdom (where the variation Bahr Negasi 'King of the Sea', was the ancient title of the ruler of present-day central Eritrea) and later Shewa.

Both uses and the imperial dignity would meet in the person of a regional prince, Lij Kassa Hailu, the third youngest son of Dejazmach Hailu Wolde-Giyorgis, Governor of Qwara province, by his second wife Woizero Attitaggab. He rebelled against Empress Menen and her son Ras Ali II the Viceroy, in 1845 and spent the next nine years alternating between rebellion and submission until he was proclaimed as Negus at Amba Chera, (19 September 1854), and after the Battle of Derasge proclaimed himself Emperor 8 February 1855 and was crowned as Tewodros II, at Derasge Maryam the next day.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Paulos Milkias, Haile Selassie, western education, and political revolution in Ethiopia, (Cambria Press: 2006), p.2.
  2. ^ Negus. Amharic nəgus, from Geez nĕgūša nagašt king of kings. First Known Use: 1594 Merriam Webster dictionary