Haile Selassie I

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Haile Selassie I was the Emperor of Ethiopia. He was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia on November 2, 1930[1] and reigned until overthrown by a Marxist revolution led by the Derg in 1974. He died the following year. His rule was interrupted by the 1936-1941 fascist Italian occupation of Ethiopia and Selassie is noted for his address to the League of Nations asking for international help in the wake of the invasion.

The Rastafari Movement, inspired both by an alleged prophecy by Marcus Garvey and by the articles on his coronation appearing in Time Magazine, sees Selassie as God incarnate, the reincarnation of Jesus, returned as a great king and fulfilling the biblical prophecies of the Book of Revelation.

Rastas worship Selassie by, amongst other things, smoking marijuana in what they call "reasoning" sessions.[2] Selassie was Christian -a member of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church - and while he was not a Rasta he never denied or belittled Rastafari, saying that nobody should question another's faith. Rastas believe that had Selassie claimed divinity, it could have shown him to be false prophet.[3]

In 1974 Selassies government was overthrown by Communists. And the dictatorship of Mengistu Haile Mariam started.[4]


  1. Time Magazine, November 3, 1930
  2. Joseph Owens Dread, the Rastafaraians of Jamaica
  3. http://www.uvm.edu/~debate/dreadlibrary/cardillo.html
  4. http://www.hrw.org/news/1999/11/24/ethiopian-dictator-mengistu-haile-mariam