Solomonic dynasty

A Brief History of the Kebra Nagast

Taken from the Introduction by Miguel F. Brooks, Red Sea Press, Inc. 1996; ISBN 1-56902-033-7


The history of the departure of God and His Ark of the Covenant from Jerusalem to Ethiopia, and the establishment of the religion of the Hebrews and the Solomonic line of kings in that previously pagan country. The exact form of the Ethiopian legend that makes the King of Ethiopia to be a decendant of Solomon, King of Israel, by Makeda, the Queen of Ethiopia, better know as the Queen of Sheba.

The Solomonic dynasty, also known as the House of Solomon, is the former ruling Imperial House of the Ethiopian Empire. Its members claim patrilineal descent from King Solomon of Israel and the Queen of Sheba. Tradition asserts that the Queen gave birth to Menelik I after her biblically described visit to Solomon in Jerusalem.[1]

One of the earliest kingdoms to rise to power in the territory was the kingdom of D’mt in the 10th century BCE, which established its capital at Yeha. In the first century CE the Aksumite Kingdom rose to power in Tigray Region with its capital at Aksum and grew into a major power on the Red Sea, subjugating Yemen and Meroe and converting to Christianity in the early fourth century. The Aksumite empire fell into decline with the rise of Islam, forcing the Ethiopians to move south into the highlands for refuge. The Aksumites gave way to the Zagwe Dynasty who established a new capital at Lalibela, before giving way to the Solomonic Dynasty in the 13th century. During the early Solomonic period Ethiopia went through military reforms and imperial expansion that made it dominate the Horn of Africa. Portuguese missionaries arrived at this time.

In 1529, a conquest of Abyssinia (Futuh al-Habash) by the Somali Muslim Adal Sultanate allied with the Ottoman Empire devastated the highlands, and was only deterred by a Portuguese intervention. With both Ethiopia and Adal greatly weakened by the war, theGalla people were able to invade into the highlands, conquering the remains of the Adal Sultanate and pushing deep into Ethiopia. The Portuguese presence also increased, while the Ottomans began to push into what is now Eritrea, creating the Habesh Eyalet. The Portuguese brought modern weapons and baroque architecture to Ethiopia, and in 1622 converted the emperor Susenyos I to Catholicism, sparking a civil war which ended in his abdication and an expulsion of all Catholics from Ethiopia. A new capital was established at Gondar in 1632, and a period of peace and prosperity ensued until the country was split apart by warlords in the 18th century during the Zemene Mesafint.

Ethiopia was reunified in 1855 Tewodros II, beginning Ethiopia’s modern history. Ethiopia began to go through a slow modernisation process under a leadership of Yohannes IV, and defended itself from an Egyptian invasion in 1874. Emperor Yohannes fought and won wars against Egyptians, Italians and Mehadists to keep his people free from foreign invaders. He was killed in action in 1889. Under Menelik II Ethiopia defeated an Italian invasion in 1896 and came to be recognised as a legitimate state by European powers. A more rapid modernisation took place under Menelik II and Haile Selassie, however this was not enough to deter another Italian invasion in 1935. The modern Italian army annexed Ethiopia and combined it with its other colonies to create Italian East Africa, forcing Haile Selassie to flee the country. A joined force of British and Ethiopian rebels managed to drive the Italians out of the country in 1941, and Haile Selassie was returned to the throne. Ethiopia and Eritrea joined to a federation, but when Haile Selassie ended the federation in 1961, and made Eritrea a province of Ethiopia a war for Eritrean independence occurred, lasting until 1991.

Haile Selassie was overthrown in 1974 and the militaristic Derg Regime came to power. In 1977 Somalia invaded to try and annex the Ogaden region, but were pushed back by Ethiopian, Soviet, and Cuban forces. In 1977 and 1978 the government tortured or killed hundreds of thousands of suspected enemies in the Red Terror. After a famine in 1984 killing 1 million people, the Derg fell in 1991 and the Federal Democratic Republic was established. Ethiopia remains impoverished, but its economy has become one of the world’s fastest growing.[1]

About arnulfo

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