One Ethiopian emperor sparked the Rastafarian movement
Over the decades, the Rastafarian movement has given this world some iconic culture. From musicians like Bob Marley to politicians like Nándor Tánczos, Rastafarianism brought some truth behind its message. However, many people don’t know how exactly this amazing movement got its cool name.
Ruler of it all
Bob Marley is often seen as the face behind the whole movement. Unfortunately, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer can’t take all of the credit. That honor goes to Lij Tafari Makonnen, who probably couldn’t rock a guitar like Marley.
Born on July 23, 1892, Makonnen was in line to take the throne of Ethiopia. Before then, he took the title of governor of Harar. During this reign, he was known as Ras Tafari Makonnen. Upon his official crowning as emperor of Ethiopia, his name was changed to Haile Selassie I. Three names wasn’t enough, though. Makonnen has several nicknames under his belt, including Jah.
Makonnen’s making moves
Makonnen’s time as emperor was a critical one for the country. In 1923, he officially ended slavery, which helped the country land into the League of Nations. At the time, this was like getting signed to the New York Yankees.
Makonnen didn’t stay put in Ethiopia, either. He traveled to Paris, London, and Amsterdam in order to get the keys to the sea. Unfortunately, he was denied this opportunity.
A new savior for the masses
Stories of Makonnen’s adventures worked their way to Jamaica in 1930. Inspired by leader Marcus Garvey, Leonard Howell decided to come up with a tribute to Makonnen. Named Rastafari, this movement would suddenly grow in a rapid rate. Makonnen was seen as a God by thousands of people on the island.
Before his death in 1975, Makonnen did pay Jamaica a visit. When he arrived, 100,000 Rastafarians surrounded the airport in order to greet him. When news of his death broke, his followers simply refused to believe he was gone. In their minds, he was planning on returning soon.