chapter
Yōhannes (John) II
Pages 1

John II was the son of Iyasu II and brother of Bakaffa. He began to reign in May and died, or was poisoned, on the 7th of Tekemt (October), of the same year A.M. 7262 = A.D. 1769. John was brought from the fortress of WahnI on the 3rd of May and Ras Michael presented him to the Council and told them that he was their new king. As one of John’s hands had been cut off by his brother Bakaffa as a punishment for having escaped from WahnI, some members of the Council held that he was disqualified for the position of king, but Michael replied that if John needed help in saddling his mule or loading up his baggage, he himself would help him. So John became king. He was an old and feeble man, 70 years of age, and had spent the whole of his life in fasting, praying and other religious exercises. Michael chose a wife for him in the person of his granddaughter Walatta Selase, the daughter of Gabra Dengel, a young and very beautiful maiden, and after her marriage to John she lived in the palace with him; but she was a wife only in name. John hated all military matters, and refused to march with the army, and after hiding himself he begged Michael to send him back to WahnI. Michael was bound to march with his troops, but seeing that it would be fatal for his plans to leave a king like John in Gondar, he had him poisoned one morning at breakfast time. Michael had brought the two sons of John with him from WahnI, and now made one of them, Takla Haymanot, king.