Politics and Religion in Haile Selassie’s Ethiopia: Apogee and Crisis of a Confessional African State (1916-1974)

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Abstract

Based on unpublished material of Italians, British and Ethiopians archives, in this paper we analyze the parable of the Ethiopian Empire during the last long reign of Haile Selassie, highlighting the contradictions of a confessional conception of power and status, in impact of ethnic fragmentation and the social and political transformations of the Twentieth century. The attempts of the Negus to reconcile confessional tradition and modernity politics, with the strengthening of imperial power and the subjugation of the Ethiopian Church as an element of legitimacy, are abruptly interrupted by the fascist occupation of 1935-41. After the Second World War they resume with the emancipation of the Ethiopian Church from the Egyptian Coptic Church and with the Pan-Africanist leadership in the sixties. The international success can not compensate for the elements of internal crisis - economic, religious and political - and do not solve the difficult balance between tradition and modernity. The coup of 1974 marks the final epilogue of a state that for centuries, in Africa, was conceived as a "Christian empire" and had founded the independence and stability of ethno-religious identity.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)101-124
Numero di pagine24
RivistaINTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ETHIOPIAN STUDIES
VolumeVII
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2013

Keywords

  • Ethiopia
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • State

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