Downfall Of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie

Downfall of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie

Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974, remains a fascinating figure in history. While revered by many for his efforts in modernizing Ethiopia and advocating for African unity on the international stage, his reign was not without controversy and criticism. We explore the reasons for the downfall of Emperor Haile Selassie, including the perspectives of Rastafarians, his connection to Rastafarianism, his notable accomplishments, and Haile Selassie’s lineage to King Solomon.

What Rastafarians say about Haile Selassie

Rastafarians, a religious and cultural movement that emerged in Jamaica in the early 20th century, view Haile Selassie as the messiah, whom they refer to as “Jah” or “Jah Rastafari.” They believe that he is the embodiment of the promised saviour mentioned in the Bible. Rastafarians perceive Haile Selassie as a symbol of African redemption, liberation, and the end of oppression.

While Haile Selassie is venerated by Rastafarians, he did not personally identify as a Rastafarian. His religious beliefs were rooted in Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, which he practiced throughout his life. However, he maintained a respectful relationship with Rastafarians and recognized their admiration for him, leading to a unique dynamic between the movement and the Ethiopian Emperor.

What Was Haile Selassie Known For

Haile Selassie was renowned for his accomplishments and contributions during his reign:

  1. Modernization of Ethiopia: Haile Selassie initiated various modernization efforts in Ethiopia, including the establishment of educational institutions, infrastructure development, and social reforms. His efforts aimed to improve living conditions and propel Ethiopia into the modern era.
  2. Advocacy for African Unity: Haile Selassie played a significant role in promoting African unity and decolonization. He was instrumental in the formation of the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union) and championed African countries’ rights on the international stage.
  3. Symbol of Ethiopian Resistance: Haile Selassie’s leadership during Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia in 1935-1936 demonstrated his resilience and determination to protect Ethiopian sovereignty. His appeal to the League of Nations to address the aggression garnered international attention and support.
  4. Pan-Africanism and International Influence: Haile Selassie’s advocacy for African rights and independence elevated Ethiopia’s international standing. His speeches at the United Nations highlighted the plight of African nations and called for global cooperation in addressing societal injustices.

One of the beliefs held by Rastafarians is that Haile Selassie is a direct descendant of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba which is a central tenet of Rastafarian Theology.

Reasons for the Downfall of Haile Selassie:Haile Selassie’s downfall can be attributed to several factors:

  1. Social and Economic Inequities: Despite his efforts to modernize Ethiopia, significant social and economic inequalities persisted. The concentration of wealth, land disparities, and lack of opportunities for the majority of the population led to unrest and discontent.
  2. Authoritarian Rule and Lack of Democracy: Haile Selassie’s rule was marked by authoritarianism and limited political freedoms. Dissent and opposition were suppressed, leading to growing dissatisfaction among the populace.
  3. The Wollo Famine and Drought: Ethiopia experienced severe droughts and famines during Haile Selassie’s reign. The government’s response to these crises was criticized for being insufficient and ineffective, exacerbating the suffering of the population.
  4. Corruption and Inefficiency: Corruption and mismanagement within the government under Haile Selassie’s rule further eroded public trust. The perception of rampant corruption and a lack of accountability contributed to growing discontent.
  5. Military Coup and the Derg Regime: In 1974, a military coup known as the Ethiopian Revolution resulted in the overthrow of Haile Selassie’s regime. The Derg, a Marxist-Leninist military junta, seized power and implemented socialist policies, leading to the emperor’s house arrest and eventual death.


The downfall of Emperor Haile Selassie, despite his significant contributions to Ethiopia and African unity, can be attributed to various factors, including social and economic inequalities, authoritarian rule, drought and famine, corruption, and a military coup.

While Rastafarians hold him in high regard, Haile Selassie’s reign was marred by controversy and criticism.

It is important to examine his legacy critically, considering both his accomplishments and the challenges faced during his rule. Understanding the reasons for his downfall allows for a comprehensive perspective on his impact and the complex historical context in which he operated as the last Emperor of Ancient Ethiopia’s Solomonic Dynasty.