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Menelik II

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**Early Life:**
– Son of Shewan Amhara king, Negus Haile Melekot
– Born in Angolalla and baptized as Sahle Maryam
– Father impregnated palace servant girl Ejigayehu Lemma Adyamo
– Received traditional church education
– Captured by Emperor Tewodros II, treated well, offered marriage to daughter Altash Tewodros

**Imprisonment and Escape:**
– Imprisoned by Emperor Tewodros II
– Uncle rebelled against Tewodros
– Ato Bezabeh rebelled and proclaimed himself Negus of Shewa
– Plotted escape with help from Mohammed Ali and Queen Worqitu of Wollo
– Escaped Magdala on 1 July 1865, returned to Shewa

**King of Shewa:**
– Thousands rallied to Menelik’s flag
– Menelik proclaimed himself Negus of Shewa
– Made no overt attempt to claim Imperial throne
– Allowed rival Kassai to benefit from British support
– Arranged official celebration of Emperor Tewodros II’s death

**Emperor of Ethiopia:**
– Became Emperor of Ethiopia in 1889
– Completed territorial expansion and modern empire-state creation by 1898
– Led Ethiopian troops to victory against Italian invaders in the First Italo-Ethiopian War
– Established the first Cabinet of Ministers
– Expanded realm to the south and east

– Transformed Ethiopian Empire with modernization efforts
– Key ministerial advisors assisted in modernization
– External powers recognized Ethiopia’s independence after Battle of Adwa
– Menelik’s ministers served beyond his reign, into Empress Zewditu’s rule
– Established a stable administration with trusted nobles and retainers

Menelik II (Wikipedia)

Menelik II (Ge'ez: ዳግማዊ ምኒልክ dagmawi mənilək; horse name Abba Dagnew (Amharic: አባ ዳኘው abba daññäw); 17 August 1844 – 12 December 1913), baptised as Sahle Maryam (ሣህለ ማርያም sahlä maryam) was king of Shewa from 1866 to 1889 and Emperor of Ethiopia from 1889 to his death in 1913. At the height of his internal power and external prestige, the process of territorial expansion and creation of the modern empire-state was completed by 1898.

Menelik II
ዳግማዊ ምኒልክ
Negusa Nagast
Emperor of Ethiopia
Reign10 March 1889 – 12 December 1913
Coronation3 November 1889
PredecessorYohannes IV
SuccessorLij Iyasu (designated but uncrowned Emperor of Ethiopia)
Born(1844-08-17)17 August 1844
Angolalla, Shewa, Ethiopian Empire
Died12 December 1913(1913-12-12) (aged 69)
Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Empire
Ba'eta Le Mariam Monastery
(now Se'el Bet Kidane Meheret Church)
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
SpouseAltash Tewodros (1855–1865)
Bafena Wolde Mikael (1865–1882)
Taytu Betul (1882–1913)
IssueZewditu I
Shoa Ragad
Wossen Seged
  • Sahle Maryam (baptismal name)
  • Abba Dagnew (horse name)
DynastyHouse of Solomon (Shewan Branch)
FatherHaile Melekot (King of Shewa)
MotherWoizero Ejigayehu
ReligionEthiopian Orthodox Tewahedo
Styles of
Menelik II of Ethiopia
Reference style
Spoken style
  • Your Imperial Majesty
  • Amharic: ጃንሆይ; djānhoi
  • lit. "O [esteemed] royal"
Alternative style
  • Our Lord (familiar)
  • Amharic: ጌቶቹ; getochu
  • lit. "Our master" (pl.)

The Ethiopian Empire was transformed under Emperor Menelik: the major signposts of modernisation were put in place, with the assistance of key ministerial advisors. Externally, Menelik led Ethiopian troops against Italian invaders in the First Italo-Ethiopian War; following a decisive victory at the Battle of Adwa, recognition of Ethiopia's independence by external powers was expressed in terms of diplomatic representation at his court and delineation of Ethiopia's boundaries with the adjacent kingdoms. Menelik expanded his realm to the south and east, into Oromo, Kaffa, Sidama, Wolayta and other kingdoms or peoples.

Later in his reign, Menelik established the first Cabinet of Ministers to help in the administration of the Empire, appointing trusted and widely respected nobles and retainers to the first Ministries. These ministers would remain in place long after his death, serving in their posts through the brief reign of Lij Iyasu (whom they helped depose) and into the reign of Empress Zewditu.

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