The Quest for 'Civilization': The Pre-World War II Modernizing Policies of Ras Täfäri Mäkonnen (Later Emperor Haylä Sellasé) as Expounded in His 'Autobiography' and in the 'Chronicle of Empress Zäwditu'
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The reign of Täfäri-Mäkonnen-Haylä Sellasé was unique in Ethiopian history not only in that it witnessed a considerable escalation in the modernization process initiated by Emperor Menilek, but in that it is described not only in a chronicle - but also by the ruler himself. We know of this period in fact from two primary Ethiopian sources: the chronicle of Empress Zäwditu (which covers the period when Täfäri was Regent and Heir to the Throne) and in his own Autobiography (in which he writes in the First Person Imperial). Both works refer to modernization as the coming of 'civilization' - by which they mean European 'civilizataion'. Be that as it may the period was significant in that it covered such developments as Ethiopia's entry into the League of Nations, decrees to curtail the slave trade, Täfäri's visit to Europe, the coming of the first aeroplane, and radio, the opening of new hospitals, schools and roads, and the establishment of a Parliament, etc.
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