The founder of Ethiopia (or Abyssinia) and the founder of the Imperial dynasty are held to be Menelik I, son of Solomon, King of Israel, and of Makeda, the Queen of Sheba.
According to legend, the brother Kings Ella Abrecha and Ella Asbeha, together with their mother, were converted to Christianity by the Coptic monk Frumentius of Alexandria in 330 AD. Their successor, King Kaleb, considerably expanded the kingdom to include parts of South Arabia. However, the state came under increasing pressure from the expanding Islamic world, gradually being pushed back into the interior of Ethiopia.
The Solomonic dynasty lost power to the Zagwe dynasty of Lasta from 1117 until 1268. The former being confined to their traditional fiefs in Showa. According to legend, the Ethiopian Saint Takla Haymanot persuaded Emperor Nakuto Le-Ab to relinquish power in favour of Tasfa Iyasus, a descendant of the Solomonic dynasty.
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