Haile Selassie I,(Tafari Makonnen; 1892–1975), the last emperor of Ethiopia, reigned 1930–74. He was crowned emperor under the title Haile Selassie I (meaning “Power of the Trinity”). He ruled as an absolute monarch, but worked to modernize the country's governmental and educational institutions. Eventually, his dictatorial rule aroused opposition and he was overthrown by the army. At the time of his death it was reported that he died naturally, but later it became known that he was murdered by the new rulers.
Haile Selassie was born of royal blood and by tradition was a descendant of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. In 1916, he was made regent and heir to the throne. When Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935, he made a dramatic appeal for aid before the League of Nations. The League failed to prevent the conquest, and the emperor went into exile. He returned to Ethiopia when it was liberated by the Allies during World War II. In the 1960's, he helped found the Organization of African Unity.