Menelik II


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Menelik II

(mĕn`əlĭk), 1844–1913, emperor of Ethiopia after 1889. He was originally ras (ruler) of Shoa (central Ethiopia). After the death (1868) of Emperor Tewodros II, Menelik, with Italian support, gained strength steadily. He seized the throne after Emperor Johannes IV died. In 1889, Menelik concluded the Treaty of Uccialli with Italy. When he learned, however, that the Italian version of the treaty made Ethiopia a protectorate of Italy, he denounced the agreement. The Italian invasion that followed (1895–96) was crushed by Menelik's great victory near AdwaAdwa
, Aduwa,
or Adowa
, Ital. Adua, town (1994 pop. 24,519), Tigray region, N Ethiopia. Lying on the highway between Aksum and Adigrat, Adwa is an agricultural trade center. Adwa was the most important commercial center of Tigray in the 19th cent.
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. Italy was forced to renounce all claim to Ethiopia and to pay an indemnity. Menelik took important steps to strengthen and modernize his domain. He made Addis Ababa his capital, constructed a railroad, attempted to end the slave trade, and curbed the feudal nobility. His conquests doubled the size of the country and brought the present S Ethiopia (largely Muslim in population) into the realm. Gradually his health failed, and the end of his reign was marked by intrigue and maneuvering for the succession. He was succeeded as emperor by Lij Yasu.

Menelik II

 

Born Aug. 17, 1844, in Ankober, in the province of Shoa; died Dec. 22, 1913, in Addis Ababa. Emperor of Ethiopia from 1889.

Menelik completed the centralization of the state begun by Theodore II and John IV. Crushing feudal separatism in Gojam, Amhara, and Tigre, he created a unified Ethiopian state and skillfully exploited the intense rivalry between Britain, Italy, and France to preserve Ethiopia’s independence. His government sponsored the construction of roads and the development of trade. In his reign a regular army was created, a national currency introduced, a hospital built, and the first state supported school founded. Menelik also sought to strengthen large-scale private landownership. Illness forced him to withdraw from state affairs in 1909.

Menelik II

1844--1913, emperor of Abyssinia (1889--1910). He defeated the Italians at Aduwa (1896), maintaining the independence of Abyssinia in an era of European expansion in Africa
References in periodicals archive ?
Chinese companies step in Ethiopia's first and only railway line was built by the French nearly too years ago during the reign of Emperor Menelik II and ran from Addis Ababa to Djibouti.
Empress Taitu, wife of Menelik II, founded the hotel in 1914, and with it she started a new tradition in the country.
A look into the genesis of the Italo-Ethiopian War allows the assertion that the roots of the Battle of Adwa lie, at least, down to the triangular relations between Emperor Yohannes IV of Ethiopia, who was politically based in Tigray; King Menelik II of Showa, who was known for being ambitious and ingenious; and the Italian government which wanted to colonize Ethiopia.
There is a lesson, perhaps, in the vision of Menelik II.
Photo: This Coptic church overlooking Addis Ababa, part of the palace compound of Emperor Menelik II, was abandoned when Empress Taitu persuaded the emperor to move to the hot springs in the valley.
Most significantly, Emperor Menelik II, who claims lineage from the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon, had the good sense to have his own language version of the treaty, in Amharic.
Emperor Menelik II went on to lead extensive modernisation, including founding the modern capital, Addis Ababa in 1886 (prompted by his wife who preferred it to the cold strategic mountaintop he developed as a capital), introduced electricity and phones, built bridges, schools and hospitals and founded the Djibouti railway, which reached Addis in 1915.
The first of the new private banks was a new Bank of Abyssinia, launched 90 years to the day after Emperor Menelik II inaugurated a bank of the same name in 1906 and began formal banking in the country.
The whole African continent is well represented in volume one of roo Great African Kings and Queens, with interesting stories of Queen Nzinga of Angola, Queen Yaa Asantevvaa of Ghana, Queen Amina of Nigeria, Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia, King Shaka ka Sezangakhona of South Africa (who famously said "Never leave an enemy behind"), and the pyramid king of the world, Khufu of Egypt.
Boundaries of the protectorate, marked out in 1897 by France and Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia, were affirmed further by agreements with Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I in 1945 and 1954.
It underpinned the political philosophy, conquests and hegemony practised by Emperors Menelik II and Haile Sellassie.