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Haile Selassie


Born: 23 July 1892
Died: 27 August 1975
Birthplace: Ejarsagoro, Harar, Ethiopia
Best known as: Emperor of Ethiopia, 1930-74

Name at birth: Tafari Makonnen

Regent to the Empress Zauditu from 1916, Ras (Prince) Tafari Makonnen succeeded her to the throne of Ethiopia in 1930, proclaiming himself Haile Selassie ("Might of the Trinity"). An autocratic ruler, he modernized Ethiopia and led the resistance against Italian invasion (1935). Selassie was exiled in 1936, but restored to power in 1941 with the assistance of the Allies in World War II. By the 1970s the region's droughts and famines had taken their toll and Selassie began to lose popular support. He was deposed in a military coup in 1974 and died while under arrest. His remains were found in 1992 beneath a toilet in the Imperial Palace, and in 2000 he was interred in the Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa.

Extra credit: Haile Selassie, who claimed to be a direct descendant of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, is the object of veneration in the religion of Rastafarianism (see also: Marcus Garvey)... Selassie was also known as "The Lion of Judah" and "King of Kings"... He traveled with a pet chihuahua named Chicheebee.

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