Tewodros I

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Tewodros I
Emperor of Ethiopia
Predecessor Dawit I
Successor Yeshaq I
House Solomonic dynasty
Religion Ethiopian Orthodox

Tewodros I (Ge'ez ቴዎድሮስ tēwōdrōs "Theodore," throne name Walda Ambasa ወልደ አምበሳ "son of the lion" ) was Emperor (nəgusä nägäst]]) (1413–1414) of Ethiopia, and a member of the Solomonic dynasty. He was the son of Dawit I by Queen Seyon Mangasha.


Despite the fact it only lasted nine months,[1] Tewodros's period of rule acquired a connotation of being a golden age of Ethiopia. The explorer James Bruce later commented,

There must have been something very brilliant that happened under this prince, for though the reign is so short, it is before all others the most favourite epoch in Abyssinia. It is even confidently believed, that he is to rise again, and reign in Abyssinia for a thousand years, and in this period all war is to cease and everyone, in fulness, to enjoy happiness, plenty and peace.[2]

E. A. Wallis Budge repeats the account of the Synaxarium that Emperor Tewodros was "a very religious man, and a great lover of religious literature". Budge adds that Tewodros wished to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, but was convinced not to make the journey by the Abuna Mark, "who feared for his safety." Despite this, Budge notes that he annulled the agreement of his ancestor Yekuno Amlak that granted a third of the country to the Ethiopian Church.[3]

Tewodros was killed beyond the Awash River fighting Muslim force, although this is not explicitly stated by the Ethiopian chroniclers. Taddesse Tamrat notes that "in the royal chronicles and other traditions for the period, one can detect a deliberate attempt to suppress the violent ends of Ethiopian kings at the hands of their enemies."[4] He was first buried at the church of Tadbaba Maryam,[2] but his descendant Emperor Baeda Maryam I had his body re-interred at Atronsa Maryam.[5]


  1. Budge however states Tewodros ruled 3 years (A History of Ethiopia: Nubia and Abyssinia, 1928 [Oosterhout, the Netherlands: Anthropological Publications, 1970], p. 301).
  2. 2.0 2.1 James Bruce, Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile (1805 edition), vol. 3, p. 96.
  3. Budge, A History of Ethiopia, p. 301; Bruce, Travels to Discover, vol. 3 p. 97.
  4. Taddesse Tamrat, Church and State in Ethiopia (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972), p. 153n.5
  5. "Local History in Ethiopia" The Nordic Africa Institute website (accessed 28 January 2008)
Preceded by
Dawit I
Emperor of Ethiopia
Succeeded by
Yeshaq I