Haile Selassie As A Teen

Haile Selassie grew up in Harar. His father, Makonnen Wolde Mikael, was governor of Harar. At age 13, Haile Selassie was made a dejazmach by his father and given governorship of a nearby town. A year later, in 1906, Haile Selassie's father fell ill and passed away. Haile Selassie's half brother became governor of Harar and Haile Selassie moved to Addis Ababa to live with emperor Menelik (Henze 2000, 190).

Before he passed away, Makonnen had asked the emperor to look after his son. Once Haile Selassie moved to Addis Ababa, Menelik assigned him as "titular governor" of small regions. In 1907, he was sent to govern Sidamo. While in Addis Ababa, he attended the emperor's palace school, where he met Lij Iyasu (Henze 2000, 190).

In 1910, at the age of 17, he became the governor of Harar, the position before held by his father and half brother. "He was welcomed by the inhabitants as one of their own. He lost little time instituting tax and other reforms that pleased the population." (Henze 2000, 192).

In 1911, he married Lij Iyasu's niece Menen Asfaw. She was "an attractive young lady and the two became cooperative partners. The marriage produced six children and endured over fifty years" (Henze 2000, 193).


Henze, Paul B., Layers of Time: A History of Ethiopia. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000.