Haile Selassie (23 July 1892 27 August 1975), born Tafari Makonnen, was Ethiopia’s regent from 1916 to 1930 and Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. Haile Selassie was emperor of Ethiopia between 1930 and 1974.
Haile Selassie was known to his people through many titles from ‘Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah’ to ‘Emperor of the Nation’.
His most testing moment came, when the much better equipped army of Mussolini’s Italy invaded in 1935. Given the overwhelming might of the Italian army, the Ethiopians put up stern resistance and held back the Italians for longer than expected.
Nevertheless, he was deposed and forced to leave the country. However, he triumphantly returned in 1941 (with help from Great Britain) and went onto become a prominent symbol of African independence.
Haile Selassie was the only statesmen to address both the League of Nations and United Nations. In 1936 he addressed the League of Nations criticising the use of chemical weapons in the invasion of his country. Ethiopia was a charter member of the United Nations and Haile Selassie expounded themes of multi-lateralism and collective security.
“Apart from the Kingdom of the Lord there is not on this earth any nation that is superior to any other. Should it happen that a strong Government finds it may with impunity destroy a weak people, then the hour strikes for that weak people to appeal to the League of Nations to give its judgment in all freedom. God and history will remember your judgment.”
— Address to the League of Nations, 1936.