Today In Fact, 10 August

In 1270 on this day, an ancestor of mine was crowned king of kings in Ethiopia. He was Yekunno Amlak and he managed to convince the Zagwe emperors to abdicate in his favour. This must have been one hell of a convincing argument. People in power usually enjoy holding on to it.

It turns out that that Yekunno Amlak convinced the Zagwe, the emperors who built the stone churches at Lalibela, to abdicate in his favour because, unlike them, he was able to claim descent from Solomon and Makeda, the Queen of Sheba.

The Solomonic dynasty had ruled Ethiopia since Queen Makeda returned from Jerusalem with her son, Menelik. The Zagwe had overthrown Yekunno Amlak’s great grandfather some two centuries prior to 1270 but the power of claiming Solomon and Jesus in your family proved too much for the Zagwe.

The Solomonic dynasty continued to rule Ethiopia for another seven centuries until the Dirg killed the last Emperor, Haile Sellassie and declared a republic in 1975.

– Posted by Douglas Racionzer (

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