Zawditu was one of the two daughters of Menyelek II, the other being Shoaraga, the mother of Ledj Iyasu. She was born in 1876 and ascended the throne on the 30th of September 1916, but was not crowned until the nth of February 1917. In Sep tember 1916 she addressed the Abuna Matthew, the ’Etchege Walda Giwargis, the Princes, the Nobles, the Clergy and the Army, and described the sorrow which she had suffered in connection with her father Menyelek, through the disgraceful acts of Ledj Iyasu. This unnatural grandson had performed no funerary ceremony for Menyelek and had even prohibited the mention of his name in every church. Zawditu wept over his body and cared for it for two years, three months and two days, and then they drove her out of the palace and even from the town. Having informed her hearers that she entreated God to pitch His tent among them, and quoted several passages of Scripture she declared that she owed her position on the throne to the goodness of God and to their wisdom, and that the one wish of her heart was to preserve intact the Faith which was hers and theirs. “ Henceforth;” she continued, “ it is you who are my glory, for having said farewell to Menyelek have I not bidden adieu to all that is in this world ? ” It is common knowledge throughout the civilized world that Zawditu and her Regent Ras Tafari have not seen and do not see eye to eye with each other, and the reason for this is clearly stated by Mr C. F. Rey, who has visited Abyssinia three times, and has travelled in the country extensively, and has obtained at first hand a comprehensive knowledge of Abyssinian politics. He says: “ Around the Empress, the nominal ruler of the country, is gathered all that is reactionary and anti-
progressive, and consequently anti-foreign (by anti-foreign I mean opposed to the introduction of foreign ideas), and this party includes some of the most powerful nobles and, of course, the priesthood ” (Unconquered Abyssiniat p. 269). On the other hand Ras Tafarl stands for progress, “ for the development of his country by foreign aid, for the introduction of ideas and reforms from Europe and America and generally for ‘modernization/ He is surrounded by the more intelligent and better educated Abyssinians, and there is little doubt but that were he in sole and supreme authority the advance of Ethiopia along the path of progress would be considerably more rapid than has actually been the case ” (Rey, op. cit., p. 269).