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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The coronation of Nägus Mikael in Desse in May 1914: a photography from the Nachlass Jensen and its historical background
Author:Smidt, Wolbert G.C.
Periodical:Annales d'Éthiopie
Geographic term:Ethiopia
presidential elections
kingship rituals
About person:Lidj Iyasu (1897-1936)ISNI
Abstract:The present article is an historical analysis of the first period of the sovereign reign of 'lej' Iyasu (Ethiopia) and the loss of power of Shoa in favour of Wällo. The unorthodox politics which marked the few years of Iyasu's reign until his overthrow in 1916 are still not sufficiently researched. The Ethiopian leadership developed policies which caused great concern among the traditional Christian elite of Ethiopia and later, during World War I, among the Allies. A new tolerance towards the Muslim population, but also the option of an alliance with Germany and Turkey, directly contributed to Iyasu's overthrow. An unknown photograph from the 'Nachlass' of Lorenz Jensen, a German diplomat who had maintained close relations with Iyasu, shows 'nägus' Mikael, Iyasu's father, with the crown of emperor Menilek II (who died in 1913) on his head. This fact is quite surprising, and the search for an explanation may throw further light on this historical period. 'Nägus' Mikael was crowned king of Wällo and Tigray in Desse, in May 1914. The author examines the symbolic implications of Mikael using the crown of Menilek. He argues that in doing this, 'nägus' Mikael claims for Wällo a position superior to any other Ethiopian region, including the central land of the ancient Christian kingdom of Shoa. Thus the photograph shows, symbolically, how the centre of power had started to shift away from Shoa and how a new legitimacy was about to be established in regions with Muslim majority. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract, edited]