Who was Haile Selassie?
Haile Selassie I (23 July 1892 – 27 August 1975) was an Ethiopian Emperor from 1930 to 1974. He is a defining figure in modern Ethiopian history. He was a member of the Solomonic dynasty who traced his lineage to Emperor Menelik I. He was an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian throughout his life.
Selassie's internationalist views led to Ethiopia becoming a charter member of the United Nations. At the League of Nations in 1936, he condemned Italy's use of chemical weapons against his people during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. He has been criticized by some historians for his suppression of rebellions among the landed aristocracy (the mesafint), which consistently opposed his reforms; some critics have also criticized Ethiopia's failure to modernize rapidly enough. During his rule the Harari people were persecuted and many left the Harari Region. His regime was also criticized by human rights groups as autocratic and illiberal, such as Human Rights Watch.
The 1973 famine in Ethiopia led to Selassie's removal from the throne. He was strangled to death on 27 August 1975 at age 83 following a coup d'état.