Sarkis Terzyan At The Court Of The Emperor Of Ethiopia Menelik II

Emperor of Ethiopia Menelik II (reigned from March 10, 1889, to December 12, 1913) surrounded himself with Armenians. Sarkis Terzyan, for example, had a very responsible and delicate duty – he supplied weapons for the Ethiopian army.

In 1890, Terzyan purchased French firearms. The French did not refuse to sell them to Ethiopia but did not want to provide ships for their transportation. Terzyan thus transported the cargo to the French territory of Djibouti in Africa on Dutch ships and then on camels to Addis Ababa (capital of Ethiopia).

He brought almost 100 thousand rifles and more than 10 million rounds, not to mention machine guns and cannons. In those days, this was a record deal in arms. The Italians, long wishing to conquer Ethiopia and constantly in conflict with the country, were unpleasantly struck by the excellent weapons of the adversary.

After the victory, Ethiopian soldiers sang hymns in their native language in honor of Terzyan, who, with the advent of peace, started developing flour milling in Ethiopia and laid the foundations for the railroad network in the country, bringing the first steam locomotive to Ethiopia. The locomotive would be nicknamed “Sarkis steam locomotive” or “Sarkis Babur.”

Even the court photographers of the Ethiopian emperors were Armenians. For several generations, the Boyajyan family photographed emperors, princes, and princesses, while Hayk and Tony bore the official title of the photographers of the Negus dynasty.

Hakob Zanazanyan was the personal photographer of Haile Selassie I until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1974. The Zanazanyans moved to Australia, and Hakob’s son, Yervant, having inherited the craft from his father, became the most famous and expensive wedding photographer in the world and is still considered an unquestioned authority in this area (reliable information from the Web).

Victor Vaganyan

Bedros Boyazhdyan portrait of Emperor of Ethiopia Menelik II (1844-1913)

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