መንግሥተ ኢትዮጵያ (Ge'ez)
Coat of arms
|Motto: ኢትዮጵያ ታበፅዕ እደዊሃ ሃበ እግዚአብሐር|
Ityopia tabetsih edewiha habe Igziabiher (English: "Ethiopia Stretches Her Hands unto God")
("Ethiopia Stretches Her Hands unto God") (Psalm 68:31)
"ኢትዮጵያ ሆይ ደስ ይበልሽ"
(English: "Ethiopia, Be happy")
Debre Birhan (1456–1468)
Addis Ababa (1889–1974)
|Common languages||Amharic (dynastic, official, court)|
Ge’ez (liturgical language, literature)
|Demonym(s)||Endonym: Ethiopian Exonym: Abyssinium|
|Government||Absolute monarchy (1270–1931)|
Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy (1931–1974)
• 1270–1285 (first)
• 1930–1974 (last)
• 1909–1927 (first)
• 1974 (last)
|Legislature||None (rule by decree)|
• Upper house
• Lower house
|Chamber of Deputies|
|Historical era||Middle Ages to Cold War|
• Ascension of Yekuno Amlak
• Conquests of Amda Seyon I
• Ethiopian–Adal War
• Gondarine period
• Zemene Mesafint
• Menelik's Expansions
• First Italo-Ethiopian War
• Constitution adopted
|16 July 1931|
• Second Italo-Ethiopian War (annexed into Italian East Africa)
|3 October 1935|
• Sovereignty restored
|5 May 1941|
• Coup d'état by the Derg
|12 September 1974|
• Monarchy abolished
|21 March 1975|
The Ethiopian Empire (Ge'ez: መንግሥተ ኢትዮጵያ, romanized: Mängəśtä ʾItyop̣p̣ya, lit. 'Kingdom of Ethiopia'), also formerly known by the exonym Abyssinia, or just simply known as Ethiopia (/ˌiːθiˈoʊpiə/; Amharic and Tigrinya: ኢትዮጵያ ʾĪtyōṗṗyā, listen (help·info), Oromo: Itoophiyaacode: orm promoted to code: om , Somali: Itoobiyacode: som promoted to code: so , Afar: Itiyoophiyaacode: aar promoted to code: aa ), was an empire that historically spanned the geographical area of present-day Ethiopia and Eritrea from the establishment of the Solomonic dynasty by Yekuno Amlak approximately in 1270 until the 1974 coup d'etat of Emperor Haile Selassie by the Derg. By 1896, the Empire incorporated other regions such as Hararghe, Gurage and Wolayita, and saw its largest expansion with the federation of Eritrea in 1952. Throughout much of its existence, it was surrounded by hostile forces in the African Horn; however, it managed to develop and preserve a kingdom based on its ancient form of Christianity.
Founded in 1270 by the Solomonic dynasty nobleman Yekuno Amlak, who claimed to descend from the last Aksumite king and ultimately the Biblical Menelik I and the Queen of Sheba, it replaced the Agaw kingdom of the Zagwe. While initially a rather small and politically unstable entity, the Empire managed to expand significantly under the crusades of Amda Seyon I (1314–1344) and Yeshaq I (1414–1429), temporarily becoming the dominant force of the African Horn. Yeshaq's reign was however challenged by Sultan Jamal ad-Din II which led to Yeshaq's death. Under the rule of Zara Yaqob (1434–1468), the Hadiya Sultanate was invaded by Ethiopia and the captured Hadiya princess Eleni converted to Christianity leading to her marriage to Zara Yacob. Muslims in the region as well as Adal Sultanate rejected the marriage alliance and repeatedly invaded Ethiopia, finally succeeding under Imam Mahfuz. Mahfuz's ambush and defeat by Emperor Lebna Dengel brought about the early 16th-century Jihad of the Adalite Imam Ahmed Gran, who was only defeated in 1543 with the help of the Portuguese. Greatly weakened, much of the Empire's southern territory and vassals were lost due to the Oromo migrations. In the north, in what is now Eritrea, Ethiopia managed to repulse Ottoman invasion attempts, although losing its access to the Red Sea to them.
Reacting to these challenges, in the 1630s Emperor Fasilides founded the new capital of Gondar, marking the start of a new golden age known as the Gondarine period. It saw relative peace, the successful integration of the Oromo and a flourishing of culture. With the deaths of Emperor Iyasu II (1755) and Iyoas I (1769) the realm eventually entered a period of decentralization, known as the "Era of the Princes". Regional warlords fought for power, with the emperor being a mere puppet.
Emperor Tewodros II (r. 1855–1868) put an end to that state, reunified the Empire and led it into the modern period before dying during the British Expedition to Abyssinia. His successor Yohannes IV engaged primarily in war and successfully fought the Egyptians and Mahdists before dying against the latter in 1889. Emperor Menelik II, now residing in Addis Ababa, subjugated many peoples and kingdoms in what is now western, southern, and eastern Ethiopia, like Kaffa, Welayta, Aussa, and the Oromos. Thus, by 1898 Ethiopia expanded into its modern territorial boundaries. In the north, he was confronted with an expanding Italy. Decisively defeating it at the Battle of Adwa in 1896 using imported modern weapons, Menelik ensured Ethiopia's independence and confined Italy to Eritrea.
Later, after the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, Benito Mussolini's Italian Empire occupied Ethiopia and established the Italian East Africa, merging it with neighboring Eritrea and Italian Somaliland colony to the south-east. After World War II, the Italians were driven out of Ethiopia with the help of the British army. The Emperor returned from exile and the country was one of the founding members of the United Nations, and in 1962 annexed Eritrea. However, the 1973 Wollo famine and domestic discontent led to the fall of the Empire in 1974.
By 1974, Ethiopia was one of only three countries in the world to have the title of emperor for its head of state, together with Japan and Iran. It was the second-to-last country in Africa to use the title of emperor, as after it came the short-lived Central African Empire, which lasted between 1976 and 1979 under Emperor Bokassa I.