Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia(1892-1975), Foreign dignitary
Sitter in 4 portraits
Claiming direct descent from the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon of ancient Israel through his paternal grandmother's lineage, Selaissie was an influential figure in history who brought Ethiopia into the League of Nations and the United Nations. In 1947 he sent a charitable gesture of £1,000 through the Ethiopian embassy to the British government after a request for aid due to heavy flooding in Britain. Although an ally of the West, he pursued a firm policy of decolonisation in Africa from European colonial rule. In 1973, he was deposed following the famine in Ethiopia. Although an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, Selassie became revered by the Jamaican Rastafarian movement who considered him to be the returned Messiah as predicted in the Bible. Bob Marley's song 'Iron Lion Zion' is a reference to the Lion of Judah on the Royal Ethiopian flag which came to represent Selassie. 'The promised land' in the song refers to Ethiopia.