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Encyclopedia > Susenyos of Ethiopia

Susenyos (also Sissinios, as in Greek; throne name Malak Sagad III; 1572 - September 7, 1632) was nəgusä nägäst (1607 - 1632) of Ethiopia. His father was Abeto (Prince) Fasilides, a grandson of Dawit II; as a result, while some authorities list him as a member of the Solomonid dynasty, others consider him the founder of the Gondar line of the dynasty. Events January 16 - Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk is tried for treason for his part in the Ridolfi plot to restore Catholicism in England. ... September 7 is the 250th day of the year (251st in leap years). ... See also: 1632 (novel) Events February 22 - Galileos Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems is published July 23 - 300 colonists for New France depart Dieppe November 8 - Wladyslaw IV Waza elected king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth after Zygmunt III Waza death November 16 - Battle of Lützen... The Emperor (Geez ንጉሠ ነገሥት, , King of Kings) of Ethiopia was the hereditary ruler of Ethiopia until the abolition of the monarchy in 1975. ... Events January 20 - Tidal wave swept along the Bristol Channel, killing 2000 people. ... Dawit II or David II, better known by his throne name Lebna Dengel (1501 - September 2, 1540) was negus negust (1508 - 1540) of Ethiopia, and a member of the Solomonid dynasty. ... The Solomonid dynasty is the traditional royal house of Ethiopia, claming descent from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, who is said to have given birth to the traditional first king Menelik I after her Biblically-described visit to Solomon in Jerusalem. ... Gondar (less commonly spelled Gonder) was the old imperial capital of Ethiopia and the historic Begemder province, now part of the Amhara region. ...

Manoel de Almeida, a Jesuit who lived in Ethiopia during Susenyos' reign, described him as "tall, with the features of a man of quality, large handsome eyes, pointed nose and an ample and well groomed beard. He was wearing a tunic of crimson velvet down to the knee, breeches of the Moorish style, a sash or girdle of many large pieces of fine gold, and an outer coat of damask of the same colour, like a capelhar"1 The Society of Jesus (Latin: Societas Iesu), commonly known as the Jesuits, is a Roman Catholic religious order. ...

As a boy, a group of marauding Oromo captured him and his father, holding them captive for over a year until they were rescued by the Dejazmach Assebo. Upon his rescue, he went to live with Queen Admas Mogasa, the mother of Sarsa Dengel and widow of Emperor Menas. The Oromo, sometimes called Galla (this usage has now become pejorative, but was widely used into the 20th century) are an African ethnic group found in Ethiopia and to a lesser extent Kenya. ... Ethiopian aristocratic and religious titles used in Ethiopia until the end of the Monarchy in 1974. ... Sarsa Dengel (Amharic Sprout of the Virgin) (1550 - 1597) was negus (throne name Malak Sagad I) (1563 - 1597) of Ethiopia, and a member of the Solomonid dynasty. ...

In 1590s, Susenyos was perceived as one of potential successors, as Emperor Sarsa Dengel's sons were very young. At the death of hs one-time ally, Emperor Za Dengel, he was proclaimed his successor, although the fight against Emperor Yaqob continued. Za Dengel was negus (throne name Asnaf Sagad II) (1603 - 1604) of Ethiopia, and a member of the Solomonid dynasty. ...

Susenyos became ruler following the defeat of first Za Sellase, then Yaqob at the Battle of Gol, located in southern Gojjam, in 1607. However, he delayed being crowned until March 18, 1608, in a ceremony at Axum described by Joao Gabriel, the captain of the Portuguese in Ethiopia. Because the body of Yaqob had never been found after the Battle of Gol, for the first few years of his reign Susenyos was troubled by revolts from a number of men claiming to be the dead king. Yaqob or Jacob was negus (throne name Malak Sagad II) (1597 - 1603; 1604 - 1607) of Ethiopia, and a member of the Solomonid dynasty. ... Gojjam, or Gojam, was a province in the north-western part of Ethiopia, with its capital city at Debra Markos. ... March 18 is the 77th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (78th in leap years). ... Events March 18 - Sissinios formally crowned Emperor of Ethiopia May 14 - Protestant Union founded in Auhausen. ... Axum, properly Aksum, is a city in Tigray, northern Ethiopia, located at 14°07. ...

Susenyos campaigned against the Agaw and the encroaching Oromo. The Agaw are a people of Ethiopia. ...

He was interested in Catholicism, in part due to Pedro Páez' ability, but also due to the benefits of military help from Portugal. He showed the Jesuit missionaries his favor by a number of land grants, most importantly one at Gorgora, located on a peninsula on the northern shore of Lake Tana. For other uses of the term, see Catholic Church (disambiguation). ... Pedro Páez (1564 - May 3, 1622) was a Jesuit missionary in Ethiopia. ... The Society of Jesus (Latin: Societas Iesu), commonly known as the Jesuits, is a Roman Catholic religious order. ... Gorgora is a town in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia, lying south of Gondar on the north shore of Lake Tana. ... Lake Tana from space, April 1991 Lake Tana (also spelled Tana; older spellings include Tsana and Dambea) is the source of the Blue Nile and is the largest lake in Ethiopia. ...

In 1613, Susenyos sent a mission led by Fr. Antonio Fernandes to the south, in an attempt to reach Malindi, a port on the Indian Ocean, hoping to break through the effective blockade that the Ottoman conquests had created around his empire. Due to delays caused by native Christians hostile to the mission, they failed to reach Malindi. Events January - Galileo observes Neptune, but mistakes it for a star and so is not credited with its discovery. ... Malindi is a city in Kenya that has been a Swahili settlement since the 14th century. ... A blockade is any effort to prevent supplies, troops, information or aid from reaching an opposing force. ... Imperial motto (Ottoman Turkish) دولت ابد مدت Devlet-i Ebed-müddet (The Eternal State) The Ottoman Empire at the height of its power (1683) Official language Ottoman Turkish Capital Söğüt (1299-1326), Bursa (1326-1365), Edirne (1365-1453), İstanbul (1453-1922) Imperial anthem Ottoman imperial anthem Sovereigns Padishah of the Osmanl...

Susenyos at last converted to Catholicism in 1622 in a public ceremony, and separated himself from all of his wives and concubines except for his first wife. However, the tolerant and sensitive Paez died soon afterwards, and his replacement Alfonso Mendez, who arrived at Massawa on January 24, 1624, proved to be haughty and less tolerant of traditional practices. Strife and rebellions over the enforced changes began within days of Mendez' public ceremony in 1626, where he proclaimed the primacy of Rome and condemned local practices. Events January 1 - In the Gregorian calendar, January 1 is declared as the first day of the year, instead of March 25. ... Massawa in the 19th century Massawa or Mitsiwa (15° 36′ 33″ N 39° 26′ 43″ E) is a port on the Red Sea coast of Eritrea. ... January 24 is the 24th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Events January 24 - Alfonso Mendez, appointed by Pope Gregory XV as Prelate of Ethiopia, arrives at Massawa from Goa. ... Events September 30 - Nurhaci, chieftain of the Jurchens and founder of the Qing Dynasty dies and is succeeded by his son Hong Taiji. ...

In 1630, the Viceroy of Begemder, Sarsa Krestos, proclaimed Susenyos's son Fasilides emperor; Sarsa Krestos was promptly captured and hanged. Two years later, Susenyos's brother Malta Krestos revolted in Lasta, which was put down at the cost of 8,000 lives. This purposeless loss of life depressed Susenyos, and on returning to his palace at Dankaz, he granted his subjects freedom of worship, in effect restoring the traditional Ethiopian Church. Events February 22 - Native American Quadequine introduces Popcorn to English colonists. ... Begemder was a province in the north-eastern part of Ethiopia, with its capital city at Gondar. ... Fasilides or Basilides (throne name `Alam Sagad), b at Magazaz, Shewa, in 1603 before 10 November, was (1632 - October 18, 1667) of Ethiopia, and a member of the Solomonid dynasty. ... The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church is an Oriental Orthodox church in Ethiopia that was part of the Coptic Church until it was granted its own Patriarch by Cyril VI, the Coptic Pope, in 1959. ...

He ended his reign by abdicating in favor of his son, Fasilides. He was buried at the church of Genneta Iyasus.


  1. C.F. Beckingham and G.W.B. Huntingford, Some Records of Ethiopia, 1593-1646 (London: Hakluyt Society, 1954), p. 189. Beckingham and Huntingford gloss capelhar as a "kind of short mantle of Moorish origin."

Further reading

  • Paul B. Henze. Layers of Time, A History of Ethiopia. New York: Palgrave, 2000.
  • Richard K. P. Pankhurst. The Ethiopian Royal Chronicles. Addis Ababa: Oxford University Press, 1967.
  • E. A. Wallis Budge. A History of Ethiopia: Nubia and Abyssinia, 1928. Oosterhout, the Netherlands: Anthropological Publications, 1970.
Preceded by:
Za Dengel
Emperor of Ethiopia Succeeded by:



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