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Ethiopia Timeline -- Part 5: From the Battle of Adowa (1896) to the Derg Coup (1974)

A Chronology of Key Events in Ethiopia

By Alistair Boddy-Evans, About.com

1 March 1896 Invasion by Italian forces stopped at the Battle of Adowa. The defeat of Italian soldiers in the field in Africa is a complete shock to European governments.
Wichale Treaty of Peace and Amity is annulled. Italy recognizes Ethiopia's independence and agrees borders. Eritrea remains Italian under the agreement (as it does in other treaty agreements with other nations).
1907 Emperor Menelik II creates a council of ministers to help him govern.
December 1913 Death of Menelik II. Succeeded by his grandson Lij Lyasu. There is a political struggle for the post of regent.
1916 Emperor Lij Yasu is deposed for converting to Islam and contemplating an alliance with Turkey. Menelik II's daughter Zauditu is made Empress with Ras Tafari Makonnen, a grand-nephew of Menelik II, as regent.
1923 Ethiopia becomes a member of the League of Nations.
June 1928 The grand-nephew of Menelik II, Ras Tafari Makonnen, is crowned negus (King) and takes the throne name Haile Selassie ('Power of the Trinity').
3 April 1930 Death of Zauditu under suspicious circumstances. Ras Tafari Makonnen to rule as Neguse neghest (Imperial Emperor, King of Kings) Haile Selassie with his capital at Addis Ababa. Ethiopia continues to be run as an Absolute Monarchy.
1931 Ethiopia adopts a written constitution.
3 October 1935 Claiming a border infraction in Eritrea, Italy invades Ethiopia. Emperor Haile Selassie leads his people in defense of the country. Unfortunately, Italy is too well equipped and prepared, and Haile Selassie is defeated. Ethiopia is occupied and declared part of Italy's East African colony. Over the next five years 40,000 settlers arrive.
Early 1936 Italy captures the capital Addis Ababa. Italian king is declared Emperor of Ethiopia as Ethiopia is combined with Eritrea and Italian Somaliland as Africa Orientale Italiana (Italian East Africa).
May 1936 Haile Selassie flees to exile in Britain. Haile Selassie appeals to the League of Nations over Italy's claims to Ethiopia. They do not, however, oppose Italy's move.
1941 Italians are ousted from Ethiopia and Eritrea by British and Commonwealth troops (and Ethiopian resistance fighters, the arbegnoch or 'Patriots'), who then restore Haile Selassie to the throne. A new cabinet, parliament, and constitution are introduced. Britain initially shows an interest in remaining within Ethiopia, but this is opposed by Selassie, who motivates his people to call for restoration of independence. As a result, Haile Selassie retains an almost feudal hold over the country within a traditional monarchy (although he treats it as an Absolute Monarchy).
1942 Makonnen Endelkacew becomes Prime Minister.
1946 United Nations declares Eritrea to be a mandate territory.
1948 Majority of Britain's troops depart Ethiopia.
15 September 1952 United Nations federates Eritrea to Ethiopia. Unfortunately the UN fails to enforce any structure over the federation, and Haile Selassie aggressively removed any Eritrean autonomy.
1954 Ethiopia celebrates as the last of Britain's troops depart, they had been guarding the Haud and Reserve region which had previously been part of British Somaliland.
November 1955 As part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations Haile Selassie introduces a new constitution which ostensibly gives more political power to the populous by making the lower house of parliament an elected body. But since political parties are still not allowed, Selassie retains a tight grip on government.
27 November 1957 Abebe Aragai becomes Prime Minister.
15-22 April 1958 Several heads of state from African and Arab nations (Ethiopia, United Arab Republic [effectively Egypt], Liberia, Libya, Morocco, The Sudan, Tunisia, and Ghana), as well as pan-Africanists and nationalist movement leaders, attend the First Conference of Independent African States. This was significant as the first of the Pan-African conferences which was actually held in Africa. The major outcome of the conference was the creation of African Liberation Day, to be celebrated on 15 April each year.
The Conference of Independent African States arranged for their representatives at the United Nations to create a coordinating group with regard to African issues, called for a resolution to the Algerian question, and demanded an end to racial discrimination.
14-24 June 1960 Addis Ababa Conference is attended by heads of state for nine African nations (the host, Ethiopia, as well as Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Cameroon, Libya, Morocco, Egypt, and Tunisia). There are also representatives from Nigeria, Somalia, and Congo- Léopoldville (now Republic of Congo), and from the FLN of Algeria. The conference condemned the testing of Atomic Weapons on African soil (particularly by the French, although the Americans had also expressed an interest), and called for a timetable by European powers to end colonial dependency and introduce independence to the rest of the continent. It was also decided that the question of creating an organization of African States should be postponed until the next conference. (In the end, this was delayed for three years, because disagreements amongst the independent states led to the abandonment of conferences in 1961 and 62.)
December 1960 With Emperor Haile Selassie away in Brazil on a state visit, members of his Imperial Guard attempt a coup d'état. The coup is defeated by the army and air force, allowing Haile Selassie to return safely.
1961 Beginning of Eritrean War of Independence.
17 April 1961 Teshafi Aklilu Abte-Wold becomes Prime Minister.
14 November 1962 After excessive pressure on the Eritrean Assembly by Haile Selassie and his cronies, the Federation of Ethiopia and Eritrea, created by the United Nations on 15 September 1952, is dissolved. Ethiopia annexes Eritrea and proclaimed to be an Ethiopian province. Eritrean resistance escalated, and the struggle for Eritrean Independence was begun.
25 May 1963 With more than two-thirds of the former colonial territories in Africa now independent, another Conference of Independent African States is held in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. It is attended by the leaders of thirty-two African nations. The agree to form the Organization of African Unity (OAU), with headquarters in Addis Ababa. One minor aspect of the conference is to change the date of African Liberation Day to 25 May to commemorate the creation of the OAU.
6 February 1964 Hostilities erupt on the Ethiopian-Somali border.
25 March 1964 Talks held in Khartoum, Sudan, on the border dispute between Ethiopia and Somalia.
26 June 1966 An agreement is negotiated between Ethiopia and Sudan over a border dispute.
5-9 November 1966 Fourth conference for members of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) is held in Addis Ababa.
24 February 1967 Emperor Haile Selassi makes a state visit to Khartoum, Sudan.
22 September 1967 Ethiopia and Somalia agree to a joint communiqué 'eliminating' the tensions between the two countries.
24 February 1968 The Council of Ministers of the Organization of African Unity pass a resolution which calls for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of foreign troops in occupied Arab countries, condemns the actions of the racist white settler minority in Rhodesia, and calls for Portugal to end its colonization of Africa.
11 March 1969 An Ethiopian airlines Boeing 707 was seriously damaged by two explosions whilst at rest at Frankfurt airport. The Eritrea Liberation Front claimed responsibility.
1972-74 Widespread famine and severe drought in Ethiopia kills around 200,000 (some reports suggest as many as 400,000) people in Tigre and Wollo provinces. Civil unrest spreads across the country with student demonstrations in Addis Ababa and strikes in manufacturing and farming areas. There is a general call for political reform, but Emperor Haile Selassi ignores the protests
27 March 1972 The 1972 agreement between the government of Sudan and the Anya Nya rebels is ratified in Addis Ababa. It allows for regional autonomy in the southern provinces.
February 1974 New government is appointed. Initial successes in restoring order across the country are soon lost. There is evidence of the development of radical groups amongst the military.
1 March 1974 Endelkacew Makonnen (son of a previous Prime Minister) becomes Prime Minister (until 22 July).
3 August 1974 Mikael Imru appointed Prime Minister.
12 September 1974 Derg (aka Dergue) stages a military coup d'état against Emperor Haile Selassie after strikes and an army mutiny. Lieutenant-General Aman Mikael Andom (an Eritrean by birth) takes power as the Chairman of the Provisional Military Administration Council (a group of younger army officers). Haile Selassie is deposed and placed under house arrest.

More on the History of Ethiopia
Part 1: From Prehistory to the Death of Dawit I (1413)
Part 2: From the Death of Dawit I (1413) to Enthronement of Emperor Fasilides (1632)
Part 3: From the Death of Susenyos I (1632) to Enthronement of Tewodoros II (1855)
Part 4: From the Enthronement of Tewodoros II (1855) to the Battle of Adowa (1896)
• Part 5: From the Battle of Adowa (1896)
Part 6: From the Derg Coup (1974) to the Departure of Mengistu (1991)
Part 7: From the Departure of Mengistu (1991) to Independent Boundary Commission Report (2002)
Part 8: From the Independent Boundary Commission Report (2002) to the Present Day

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