Ethiopia Heads

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership
Heads of State of Ethiopia/ Ityop’ya
(Female Sufrage 1955) An ancient Empire (Abyssinia) was occupied by Italy 1936-41 and became a republic 1974

See also Ethiopia Ministers and Ethiopia Substates

BCE circa 4530-3240 Legendary Queen Eyleuka (Dalukah)
Before the flooding of the world

BCE circa 2585-2145 Legendary Queen Nehasset Nais
After the flooding

BCE circa 1875-56 Legendary Queen Kasipo

Before 1400 Queen Mumazes Moso
For four years in succession to her father.

BCE circa 1358-1104 Queen Helena

BCE circa 1080-26 High Priestess Makeda of Thebes
Some believe that she might have been the Bibilical Queen of Sabha

BCE circa 705-690 Queen Nikauta Kadake

BCE 390-80 Queen Hadina Za Hadena

BCE 360-50 Queen/King Nikaula Candace
 The gender of this ruler is not known.

BCE 343-33 Queen/King Akawkis Candace
The gender of this ruler is not known.

BCE circa 260-50 Queen Nikoses Candace

BCE 58-33 Queen Nikotnis Candace

CE circa 50-60 Queen Garsemot Candace

216 Queen Wakana
Ruled for 2 days before she was deposed

Circa 325-ca.34 Queen Zaela Ahyawa (Ahyawa Sefya/Eguala Anbasa)
She succeeded her husband and converted to Christianity 327.

900 Queen Gudit of Ethiopia

1507-1516 Regent Dowager Empress Eleni

1507-16 Junor Regent Empress Dowager Naód Mogensa
She was member of the regency council which ruled for her son Emperor Lebna together with his grandmother.

1540-59 Politically Influential Empress Sabla Wangal of Ethiopia
The widow of emperor Lebna Dengel [or Wanag Sagad or Dawit II], she was the political advisor of her son Galawdewos [Atsnaf Sagad I]. Also known as Seble Uengel, she was the daughter of a father from northern Tigre and a mother from Simien (d. 1568). 

1540-59 Politically Influential Princess Ameta Giyorgis of Ethiopia
Influential during the reign of her brother, Gelawdenos. Daughter of Emperor Lebna Dengel.

1597-1603 Crown Councillor Dowager Empress Hamalmal Malik Mogasa of Ethiopia
1604-1607 Politically Influential

1730-56 Regent Dowager Empress  Berhan Mugasa Mentewab (Mantuab Walatta Giyorgis)
For son Iyasu II (1730-55) and grandson Iyoas I (1748-55-69). She lived (circa 1710-73)

1755-56 Politically Influential Princess Walatta Bersebeh
Also known as Welete Bersabe, she was was influential during the first year reign of her son, Emperor Iyoas or Joa I  (1755-69) after the death of husband, Emperor Jiasu II (Iyasu II) (1730-1755). She engaged in a powerstruggle with her mother-in-law Empress Mentewab. She was born as Woizero Wobit, daughter of Amitzo, of Kawallo, of the Edjaw clan of the Toluma Galla, but changed her name to Bersebeh, after her christening after the marriage. (d. 1756).

1840-47 Politically Influential Empress Menen of Ethiopia
1840-47 Ruler of The Provinces North and West of the Tana Lake (Ethiopia)
Also known as Manam Liben-Amdie, she helped bring her husband, Emperor Yohannes III, on the throne. He ruled 1840-41, 1845 and 1850-51 and was deposed by rival fractions. In 1845 Lij Kassa Hailu rebelled against her and her son Ras Ali II, who held the office of Viceroy, he invaded and pillaged Dembiya in October 1846, conquered Gondar in January 1847, defeated and captured her in June 1847 but released her again in August. She was the widow of Ras Alula Gugsa, Governor of Gojjam, and daughter of Imam Liban Amade Kolase, chief of the Wollo of Warra Himenu, and lived (circa 1800-50s).

1882 Politically Influential Duchess Woizero Bafena of Ethiopia
She was married to Prince Menelik, and was widely regarded as a plotting ambitious arriviste, Bafena earned the resentment of almost all of Menelik's relatives and followers. At some point she used Menelik's seal to issue false decrees, seized the treasure of the House of Shewa with many arms and transferred them to the fortress at Tamo. She also transferred a royal prisoner, Dejazmatch Meshesha Seyfu, Menelik's cousin and rival claimant to Tamo as well. Her intention was to put her own son from a previous marriage on the throne, removing any threat from Meshesha Seyfu as well. However, Meshesha Seyfu was able to win the loyalty of the soldiers in Tamo, who turned on Bafena and ended her plot. It was suspected that Emperor Yohannis had a hand in encouraging these plots. Meshesha Seyfu and Menelik were reconciled and Bafena admitted her guilt, blaming her actions on jealousy aroused by Menelik's attentions to the lovely young Wolete Selassie who had become his mistress. Bafena, already widely hated at court was banished in disgrace. However, a temporary reconciliation between Menelik and his wife was arranged by her friends. This attempt at reconciliation failed, largely because Menelik recognized that he needed an heir, and that Bafena was too old to produce more offspring. They were formaly separated.

1906-10 De-facto Regent, Empress/Itegé Taytu Betul
1910 Official Reggent
She was crowned Queen of Shewa in 1883. Itegé is the title of the Empress-Consort. She acted as regent during her husband, Emperor Menilek II's illness. She was very powerful, but still obtained her husband's authorization for her decisions, until being appointed official regent. She was removed by a coup d'etat in 1910. Born as Walata Mikáel, she lived (1853-1918)

1916-33 Empress Zawditu Menilek (27.9.16-2.4.30)
Her title was Negista Nagast (or Negeste-Negestate - Queen of Kings),  Elect of God and Lion of Judah. She was married four times and had a daughter (1891-94/95). Her cousin, Prince Rasta Fari, was regent and succeeded her as Emperor Haile Selassie III. She  died of diabetes and lived (1876-1930)

1930-62 Politically Influential Menem Asfaw of Ethiopia
Married the regent Ras Tafari in 1911. Early in his reign an army revolt broke out and he was taken hostage. She commandeered a tank and drove it herself trough the garrison's gate to free her husband. In exile during the Italian occupation. After the restoration in 1941 she was Emperor Hailie Selassie IIIs closest advisor on all aspects. She lived (1869-1962). 

1961-74 Politically Influential H.I.H. Princess Tenagnework Haile Selassie of Ethiopia
After the death of her mother Empress Menen she became the most visible and foremost woman at the Imperial court. She played an ever increasing advisory role. The Princess was one of the few people who was able to freely offer critisism of official policy to the Emperor, and was often a conduit of various points of view to the Emperor when those offering opinions were too intimidated by the Emperor to offer them themselves. A strong personality with conservative views, she was widely regarded as being a guardian of the institution of the monarchy, and was concerned that it be upheld in an era of rapid and often unpredictable change. She was perceived as a leader of the traditionalist element within the nobility that was very wary of demands for constitutional reform and land reform policies. After the revolution, the women of the Imperial House were imprisoned 1974-89, and one year later she left the country. She returned to Ethiopia in 1999. She was First married to Ras Desta Damtew, Governor of the Province of Sidamo. Secondly to Ato Abebe Retta, who later served in ambassadorial and other roles in the post-war Imperial government, and would eventually become President of the Imperial Senate after their separation and thirdly to Ras Andargatchew Messai, who had been representative for the underage Prince Makonnen in his Duchy of Harrar. He was appointed Governor-General of Beghemidir and Simien Province and in 1951 vice-roy of Ethiopia. Mother of seven children with her two first husbands, and lived (1912-2003).


Last update 18.07.08