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Ras Mengesha Yohannes

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Ras Mengesha Yohannes

Ras
Mengesha Yohannes
Native name መንገሻ ዮሐንነስ
Born 1868 (1868)
Died Did not recognize date. Try slightly modifying the date in the first parameter. (aged 38)
Residence Ethiopia

Mengesha Yohannes (Ge'ez: መንገሻ ዮሐንነስ; 1868 – 1906) was the "natural" son of Emperor Yohannes IV of Ethiopia, Ras of Tigray, and, as a claimant of the Imperial throne, is often given the title of Leul. Ras Araya Selassie Yohannes was his older half brother.

Biography

Prior to the Battle of Metemma, Mengesha Yohannes was considered to be a nephew of Emperor Yohannes IV. During the battle, the Emperor was mortally wounded and it was on his deathbed that Mengesha Yohannes was acknowledged as his "natural" son and designated as his heir. This created something of a succession problem.[1]

Fighting between various relatives of the slain Emperor split his camp and prevented Mengesha from making a viable bid for the Imperial throne. Instead, the throne was assumed by King [2]

Following their allegiance with Menelik, they returned to Tigray, where Bahta Hagos initiated the rebellion against the Italians. Mengesha then led his army against the Italians at the Battle of Coatit, where his force was rebuffed. The Tigrians regrouped, and later attacked the Italians at Amba Alagi. The war culminated in 1896, as Mengesha Yohannes and the forces of Tigray fought at the side of Menelik against the Italians at the pivotal Battle of Adowa.

In 1899, Mengesha Yohannes rebelled again against Menelik when he was denied the title of Negus of Zion (his descendants would be outraged decades later when Ras Mikael of Wollo was crowned with this title by Lij Iyasu). Emperor Menelik had Ras Mengesha captured and put under house arrest at the old Shewan royal palace at Ankober.

Ras Mengesha was married to Lady (Woizero) Kefey Welle, the niece of Empress Taytu Betul. Taytu Betul was the wife of Menelik.

Familial rivalry and division of Tigray

Even after the submission of Mengesha Yohannes, familial rivalry between the two lines of descent from Emperor Yohannes IV proved to be a difficult issue for Emperor Menelik II and his successors. Yohannes IV was survived by his elder "legitimate" son Ras Araya Selassie Yohannes and by his younger "natural" son Mengesha. Ras Araya's son Gugsa Araya, and Ras Mengesha's son Ras Seyoum would for a time divide Tigray between them, with Ras Gugsa Araya ruling the eastern half and Ras Seyoum the western half.

Eventually Mengesha's son Ras Seyoum was made Leul of all Tigray in succession to his father after the death of his cousin Ras Gugsa Araya and after the treason of Gugsa Araya's son, Dejazmatch Haile Selassie Gugsa. In 1935, Haile Selassie Gugsa joined forces with the Italian invaders when they conquered Ethiopia and occupied the country.

Ras Mengesha is regarded as the founder of one of the two senior cadet branches of the Ethiopian Imperial Solomonic Dynasty.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Marcus, A History of Ethiopia, pg.89
  2. ^ Marcus, A History of Ethiopia, pg.95

Sources

  • Marcus, Harold G. (1994). A History of Ethiopia. London: University of California Press. p. 316.  
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