Emperor Menelik was born in Sahle Maryam on August 17, 1844 to King Haile Melekot of Shewa and Mrs. Lijgayehu then King of Ethiopia from 1898 to his death. At the height of his internal power and external prestige, the process of territorial expansion and expansion and creation of the modern empire state had been completed by 1898. Ethiopia was transformed under Menelik the major signposts of modernization were put in place.
Externally, King Menelik’s victory over the Italian colonizers had earned him great fame following Adwa recognition of Ethiopian’s independence by the external powers was expressed in terms of diplomatic representation at the court of King Menelik and delineation of Ethiopia’s boundaries with the adjacent colonies. After defeating the Italians, he became the first black African King in modern history to engage in slavery of white European war captives held as slaves inside Ethiopia.
Later King Menelik II proved his outstanding victory over the Italian modern army who was mechanized by modern weapon, Emperor Menelik II and the country of Ethiopia were suddenly thrust into international recognition by their surprising feat. People across the world who had never heard of Ethiopia were suddenly aware that these overlooked African people, led by their Emperor, had defeated a modern European army. In the aftermath Ethiopian independence was recognized and Britain and France both paid their respects and established diplomatic relations with Menelik II.
Aside from their ability at unification of the nation and both King Menelik II and his iron woman wife Empress Taitu who had contributed a huge part for the victory of Adwa, ability to repel a powerful European force, they also caused much second-thinking around the world regarding gender and racial equality. This was especially true in the United States where Americans were just starting to adjust socially and culturally in its post-slavery era. And the equality and suffrage of American women was just starting to bubble up in the political cauldron of that time. Thus, by the victory of Adwa Emperor Menelik and Empress Taitu forced the world to consider, contemplate, and think the role of woman, racial inequality, and the capability of Africans in a way it was never been seen before in history. As a result they were crowned as Emperor and Empress Consort of Ethiopia.
Therefore, EHSNA would like to tribute the great Emperor who led his forces to victory over Italian colonial invaders and embraced Ethiopia to modernization. In fact, it’s why EHSNA has been commemorating the victory of the battle of Adwa every year in March for the last three years and will continue to celebrate in the coming years since EHSNA strongly believes that the battle of Adwa has a significant event in Ethiopian history and has substantial influence on the concepts of racial and gender equality.
Without a doubt, December was a historical inflection in the history of Ethiopia and all freedom lovers. Meanwhile, we urge all Ethiopians, Ethio-Americans and friends of Ethiopia to stay tuned for the upcoming 118th celebration of victory of Adwa.
For more information please visit our main website (www.ehsna.org) or call us @ 202-596-1964.