Emperor Minilik II
Minilik was Emperor of Ethiopia from 1889 to 1913 after the reign of Emperor Yohannes IV. Emperor Tewodros before him is widely known to have made relentless attempts to unify and modernize Ethiopia. And it was Emperor Minilik who successfully brought about tangible changes that would have long-lasting effects in unifying and modernizing the country.
Among the greatest achievements of Emperor Minilik, the resounding and historic victory of his mighty army over colonial Italy in what is known as the Battle of Adwa in 1896 has a very special place not only in the history of Ethiopia but also in the history of the African continent for the defeat of Italy in Ethiopia came at a time when almost all of Africa was colonized by European powers. Minilik's leadership at that crucial time was one of the reasons why Ethiopia is the only country in Africa to have never been colonized.
He introduced electricity, the telephone and modern cars to Ethiopia for the first time. He paved the way for the establishment of a railway network between Ethiopia and Djibouti and oversaw the installation. The railway network remains the only railway in Ethiopia to date. The emperor also founded Addis Ababa in 1889 as the Ethiopia's capital.
Emperor Minilik suffered a series of paralytic strokes in 1907 and that made him relinquish power and pass his reign on to his wife Eempress Taitu Betul – and she was subsequently succeeded by Minilik’s grandson Lij Iyasu.
The Emperor died on 12 December 1913.