On April 2, 1930, Ras Tafari Makonnen became Emperor Haile Selassie. Selassie was the last reigning monarch of Ethiopia’s Solomonic Dynasty. The Solomonic Dynasty traces its ancient ancestry to King Solomon of Israel and the Queen of Sheba, biblical figures who may have lived during the 10th century BCE.
 
Ethiopia is often acknowledged as the only nation in Africa never to have been colonized, and Selassie emerged as a powerful international figure as other African countries sought independence in the 20th century. His long reign and enduring policies (such as support for African unity and the abolition of slavery in Ethiopia) earned him a privileged position at international summits. For instance, Selassie was one of the highest-ranking diplomats at the funeral of U.S. President John Kennedy. 
 
Selassie’s greatest impact may have been on the island of Jamaica. Jamaican religious leaders adopted a version of his birth name, Tafari (Ras was an official title) and Rastafarians regard Selassie as a god. (Selassie himself remained a Christian throughout his life.)
 
Selassie may have been more popular abroad than he was in Ethiopia. Under his leadership, Ethiopians endured famine and war, most notably over the region of Eritrea, which achieved independence in 1993. Selassie was overthrown by military leaders in 1974.
abolition
Noun

ending or wiping out of something, usually referring to the ending of slavery.

abroad
Adverb

in a foreign country.

acknowledge
Verb

to recognize the truth or existence of something.

adopt
Verb

to take over or nurture an idea or responsibility as if it were one's own.

ancestry
Noun

family (genealogical) or historical background.

biblical
Adjective

having to do with the Bible, the holy book of Christianity.

Christian
Noun

people and culture focused on the teachings of Jesus and his followers.

colonize
Verb

to establish control of a foreign land and culture.

diplomat
Noun

person who negotiates important political and economic agreements, usually for a government.

dynasty
Noun

series of rulers from one family or group.

emerge
Verb

to develop or come into view.

emperor
Noun

ruler of an empire.

famine
Noun

an extreme shortage of food in one area during a long period of time.

God
Noun

spiritual deity recognized by a religion as the only supreme being in the universe.

impact
Noun

meaning or effect.

independence
Noun

state or situation of being free.

military
Noun

armed forces.

monarch
Noun

king or queen.

privilege
Noun

benefit or special right.

Rastafarian
Adjective

follower of the Rastafari movement, a Jamaican monotheistic spirituality that worships Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I as an embodiment of God, whom they call Jah.

reign
Verb

to rule as a monarch.

slavery
Noun

process and condition of owning another human being or being owned by another human being.

summit
Noun

meeting or conference of top leaders.