The kings who reigned from 1800 to 1855 were kings in name only; they had neither influence nor power. The governors of the great provinces fought with each other and did as they pleased; the lesser chieftains followed their example, and the savage soldiers plundered the people daily to their hearts content. Though king
succeeded king the monarchy had ceased to exist. The whole country was in the hands of three men, viz. Sahla Selasse of Shoa, who refused to acknowledge Ras ‘All as his overlord, ‘All, Ras of Amhara, Dambeya and Godjam, who had arrogated to himself the title of Negusa Nagast, “ King of kings,” and reigned at Gondar, and Ube, vassal of ‘All, who reigned over Tigray. The de facto king of Abyssinia was Ras ‘All, the son of Marye and the Wazero Makunnen, and grandson of Gugsa, and being a Galla the king of Abyssinia was a pagan Galla. His mother saw the absurdity of the situation, and, knowing that sooner or later the people would rise against him and depose or murder him because he did not belong to the Solomonic line, she ordered the genealogists of the royal house to search for proofs in their archives that ‘All was a descendant of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Naturally the scribes discovered documents which proved beyond all doubt that ‘All was a legitimate occupant of the throne, and they produced a pedigree which satisfied their astute mistress. Nevertheless Ube refused to acknowledge ‘All as his overlord and king.