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"Menelik's Politics" by Dr. Gabre-Sellassie


November 1998

Dr. Zewde Gabre-Sellassie

Zewde in Addis 1995, see Family-Tree
Zewde Gabre-Sellassie (right),
Esther, Sasha and Anatoly
in Addis Ababa,
Summer 1995,
Yordanos Hotel
Zewde Gabre-Sellassie represents Tigrean, Gondar, and Gojam line of the family. Brother of my mother, he took all of us after our arrival to US in 1977 to live with his family.

He was educated at Oxford University in England where he obtained Bachelor, Master degrees in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Subsequently, he obtained the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in History.

Senior Member of St. Antony College, Oxford 1963-1971
Fellow of United Nations Training and Research (UNITAR) 1975
Fellow of Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, Smithsonian Institute, 1975 - 1976

He has published "Yohannes IV of Ethiopia: A Political Biography," Oxford University Press, 1975.

Eritrea and Ethiopia in the Context of the Red Sea and Africa - a monograph. Woodrow Wilson Center of Scholars, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C. 1976.

Historical Perspective of Drought and Famine in Africa, a study for The Club of Rome. A shortened version published in Famine In Africa - by The Club of Rome.

Various other articles and studies in learned publications.

He has served in the Ethiopian government and the United Nations Organizations.
Here is a list among the positions he held:

Deputy Prime-Minister of Ethiopia: 1974
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Minister of Interior
Minister of Justice
Mayor of Addis Ababa
Minister of Public Works, Transport and Civil Aviation
Head of Maritime Affairs
Ambassador to Somalia
Permanent Representative and Ambassador to The United Nations
Served in the United Nations Secretariat as advisor

Questions & Anaswers

From Guestbook: I read an article about the Coronation and would like to know what seven (7) different types of oil His Majesty was annointed with.

From Our Email: I am looking for some information on the Egyptian Coptic Archbishop who crowned Emperor Haile Selassie I. I have come accross some spiritual writings of his at an Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church in Miami, Florida and found them very uplifting and full of good Christian knowledge. If you know anything about this man or where I can read about him, I would apreciate it. ZionDawta@aol.com

Hello Miss Esther Sellassie Antohin,
You do not know me, my name is Joost Kamerbeek and I live in The Netherlands.
I found the Haile Selassie Family Web while I was looking for a picture of him via a search engine.
The information you present is quite impressive and looks rather professional to me.
It learned me a lot about Ethiopia and its former leader.
Looking at all the knowledge you have available brings me to asking you a question for more information. (see below) The question may be inappropriate for which I want to excuse myself in advance but I do not know of any other sources to ask.
I spend part of my spare time on assembling the family tree of the Dutch "Kamerbeek" family.
It will be in a "multimedia" format: html pages and pictures where available.
One of the older family members was a Catholic priest (Lazarist) who was in Abessinia between 1897 and 1947. I do not know precisely when, probably since close to 1900.
During that time has is said to be rewarded for his work with a honorary title and a gift.
The honorary title is said to be a royal one and the gift is said to be a silver jewel in the form of a star with gems.
The gift was said to be given by Haile Selassie himself. Unfortunately neither the gift nor a paper description of the honorary title can be found anymore (viceroy?)
This information may be partly incorrect because it was told from father to son etc.
The name of the ancestor is:
Petrus Franciscus Hubert Kamerbeek or just Piet Kamerbeek, born: 24 March 1870, died 1947, priest since 12 June 1897.
I have a few questions about the title and the gift:
- Is the title and the gift known from the history of the Kingdom?
- What are the exact terms?
- If so, do pictures of such gifts and title descriptions (documents) exist?
If possible I would like to receive information I could add to the page of this ancestor.
It may well be possible that this issue is of little interest to you or that you do not have information on this specific issue. In that case I appologise for my quite lengthy e-mail.
Best regards, Joost Kamerbeek

Young Zewde, 1972


1. Annointments

There are seven sacrements, not seven oils.

2. Coronation

Qerlos (Cyril) Coptic Metropolitan of Ethiopia or Archbishop of Ethiopia. November 2 1930 at 12:00 pm at St. George Cathedral. Annointment at 9:00 am.

3. Titles given to foriegners

Titles were given durning Menelik's reign (1889-1917). A number of foriegners were given Ethiopian titles. Amoung them their well known are the following: The Swiss engineer Alfed Ilgn was made a state conselor.
The Russian officers Liontyev was given the title of the Dedjazmadch and governor of the Southern province bordering Kenya. The other officer Babitcheff was given the title of Fitawrari.
The French diplomat Leonce Lagarde was given the title of Duke of Entoto. From earlier time up to 1974, several foreigners including missionaries who have distinguished themselves in different public and humanitarian services to the nation, as well as in reseach and archeological findings have been awarded decorations.

This page is our first attempt to answer many letters, which we can't respond due to lack of time and expertise. The next issue will be published with the Spring Edition of the Newsletter (April 1999)

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Email: sellassie@angelfire.com


Dr. Zewde Gabre-Sellassie
421 N Broadway #12
Yonkers NY 10701


PO Box 6964
Addis Ababa Ethiopia Africa

Articles: Ethiopian Studies by Dr. Gabre-Sellassie

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