Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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Vatanyar S. YAGYA, Saint- Petersburg State University, Russia

In Ethiopian historical studies, there are different points of view about dethroned Ethiopian Emperor Lij Iyasu. In the time of Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie I, many historians supported official point of view about the Emperor Lij Iyasu who justified his dethroning during the coup d’etat of 1916 by supporters of future Emperor Haile Selassie I, then dejjazmatch, lately ras, Tefera Mekonnen. Official views about Lij Iyasu usually had a negative attitude towards him: he had pro Muslim ideas; he was not a wise man; he was an illegal emperor; he was not a friend of Great Britain, France, Italy etc. Many historians followed the official position. Some scholars, however, considered that Lij Iyasu has stood up for unity of the Ethiopian state; he wanted reconciliation between Christians and Muslims, decolonization of African territories around Ethiopia, reformation of Ethiopian state administration. These characteristics of Lij Iyasu are evidence of his high mind, his reform intentions. On the Eve of century of overthrow of Lij Iyasu was edited interesting book about coup d’etat in 1916 and biography of the Emperor. Editors gave it subtitle: New Insights. Unfortunately the authors of New Insights did not use Russian archives and Russian/Soviet historical literature about the events connected with Lij Iyasu. Russian contribution in research of history of Ethiopia in 1910-1916 years is very important. M. Rite, Y. Kobischanov, myself and others investigated Ethiopian history very deeply. Usage of Russian historical materials about the beginning of the XX century in Ethiopian history could contribute new insights.