Ethiopia in Turmoil

Archive Report

Revolution in an Ancient Society

Downfall of World's Oldest Christian Monarchy

The World's Oldest Christian monarchy has come to an end. On Sept. 12, His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, “Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God and King of the Kings of Ethiopia,” was taken from his palace in a blue Volkswagen and put into army custody. The military decree that formally deposed him ended more than half a century of personal rule; it was the coda for three thousand years of Ethiopian history.

The creeping revolutionary coup by an anonymous group of low-ranking army officers began in February. In fact, however, it was observed that the troubles began in October 1973, “when the full scale of the country's disastrous drought became apparent, ...

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