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 he was 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 and denouncing racism.

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 cannabis in what they call "reasoning" sessions.[2] Selassie was 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 the faith of another. Rastas believe that had Selassie claimed divinity, it could have shown him to a be false prophet.[3]

In 1974, Selassie's 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. https://www.hrw.org/news/1999/11/24/ethiopian-dictator-mengistu-haile-mariam