Ethiopian

Right IconThis ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Ethiopia, a land that boasts of a vibrant culture and rich traditions, has produced many famous personalities in the fields of music, arts, literature, and science. Especially renowned for its diversity in music, each of the country's ethnic groups is associated with unique sounds ranging from traditional folk music to Christian and secular music. Ethiopian songwriter Zelal Mekuria, Ethio-jazz musician Mulatu Astatke and singer Alemayehu Eshete have played major roles in promoting Ethiopian music in the modern age. One of the most prominent Ethiopian singers in the contemporary world is Gigi. Hardy, well-built and athletic, Ethiopians are also famous for displaying their physical prowess in sports. The nation is best known internationally for its middle-distance and long-distance runners like Haile Gebreselassie (World champion and Olympic champion), and multi-gold medalists Meseret Defar and Tirunesh Dibaba. A multilingual nation with around 80 ethnolinguistic groups, Ethiopia has produced prominent writers like Abe Gubegna, Sebhat Guèbrè-Egziabhér, and Getatchew Haile who have published works in various languages. The nation is also the birth place of Loret Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, an internationally respected poet, playwright, essayist, and art director. This section provides you information about the life and works of famous Ethiopians.
Vote For Your Favourite Ethiopian Personality
 1 
Haile Gebrselassie
(Former Ethiopian Long-Distance Track Athlete and Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist)
Haile Gebrselassie
4
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: April 18, 1973
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Assela, Ethiopia

Ethiopian Olympic legend and businessman, Haile Gebrselassie, a retired long-distance, road and track running athlete, is counted among the greatest distance runners in history. He set 27 world records in athletics and broke 61 Ethiopian national records. His achievements include winning two Olympic gold medals, four World Championship titles, four World Indoor Championship titles and one World Half Marathon Championship.  

 2 
Abebe Bikila
(First African to Win Olympic Gold Medal and First Athlete to Win Two Olympic Marathons Back-to-Back)
Abebe Bikila
13
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: July 7, 1932
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Shewa, Ethiopia
Died: October 25, 1973

Ethiopian marathon runner, Abebe Bikil,a became the first black African Olympic gold medalist at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Four years later, he won his second gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. He created world record both the times. A pioneer in long-distance running, he participated in a total of 16 marathons. 

 3 
Haile Selassie
(Former Emperor of Ethiopia (1930 - 1936, 1941 - 1974))
Haile Selassie
25
Birthdate: July 23, 1892
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ejersa Goro, Ethiopia
Died: August 27, 1975

Haile Selassie, served his country, Ethiopia, as its regent from 1916 to 1930 and as its emperor from 1930 to 1974. He introduced the first Ethiopian constitution, abolished slavery, chaired the Organisation of African Unity, and helped Ethiopia enter the UN. He inspired the Rastafari movement, too.

 4 
Abiy Ahmed
(Prime Minister of Ethiopia)
Abiy Ahmed
32
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: August 15, 1976
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Beshasha, Ethiopia

Abiy Ahmed is an Ethiopian politician and the current prime minister of Ethiopia. Since becoming the prime minister, Abiy Ahmed has been lauded for launching a wide program of economic and political reforms in Ethiopia. He also played a major role in ending the 20-year Eritrean–Ethiopian War for which he was honored with the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.

 5 
Marcus Samuelsson
(Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur)
Marcus Samuelsson
7
Listed In: Food Experts
Birthdate: January 25, 1971
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Ethiopian Swedish chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson currently works as the head chef of Red Rooster in Harlem, New York. Fascinated by his grandmother’s cooking, he studied at the Culinary Institute in Göteborg to learn the nuances of food preparation. In the ensuing years, he gained recognition as a world-class chef. He is also an award-winning cookbook author.

 6 
Kenenisa Bekele
(Ethiopian Long-Distance Runner and 3-Time Olympic Gold Medalist)
Kenenisa Bekele
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: June 13, 1982
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bekoji, Ethiopia

Ethiopian long-distance runner Kenenisa Bekele is not just a 3-time Olympic gold medalist but has also won the World Championship gold 5 times. He also has 11 World Cross Country Championship gold medals in his kitty. Initially a master of the 5,000m and 10,000m categories, he later focused on marathons.

 7 
Menelik II
(Emperor of Ethiopia from 1889 to 1913)
Menelik II
7
Birthdate: August 17, 1844
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Angolalla Tera
Died: December 12, 1913

Menelik II reigned as the emperor of Ethiopia from 1889 to 1913 after ruling as the king of Shewa from 1866 to 1889. He is credited with transforming the Ethiopian Empire by expanding his kingdom into Wolayta, Sidama, and Kaffa kingdoms. Fascinated by modernity, Menelik II played a major role in modernizing Ethiopia.

 8 
Queen of Sheba
(Biblical figure)
Queen of Sheba
3
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthplace: Ethiopia

Queen of Sheba is a biblical figure who finds a mention in the Hebrew Bible. Although her existence is often disputed among scholars and historians, the Queen of Sheba has been an important character in the history of literature, art, and music. Her stories have also inspired films, such as The Queen of Sheba (1921) and Solomon and Sheba (1959).

 9 
Tewodros II of Ethiopia
(Emperor of Ethiopia from 1855 to 1868)
Tewodros II of Ethiopia
2
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: 1818 AD
Birthplace: Qwara, Dembiya
Died: April 13, 1868

Tewodros II of Ethiopia reigned as the Emperor of Ethiopia from 11 February 1855 until his demise on 13 April 1868. An important and influential ruler, Tewodros hold an important place in Ethiopian history. Many plays, books, songs, and art works have been influenced by the life of Tewodros II of Ethiopia.

 10 
Hachalu Hundessa
2
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: 1986 AD
Birthplace: Ambo, Oromia Region, Ethiopia
Died: June 29, 2020
 11 
Liya Kebede
(Ethiopian Model & Maternal Health Advocate Who Served as the WHO's Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health)
Liya Kebede
6
Listed In: Fashion
Birthdate: March 1, 1978
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Liya Kebede is a model, actress, clothing designer, and maternal health advocate. One of the best-known models from Ethiopia, Kebede has graced the cover of Vogue on multiple occasions. Also known for her philanthropic efforts, Kebede established the Liya Kebede Foundation. Her work through the foundation earned her a place in Glamour magazine's Women of the Year list in 2013.

 12 
Sahle-Work Zewde
(The First Woman to Become the President of Ethiopia)
Sahle-Work Zewde
9
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: February 21, 1950
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Sahle-Work Zewde is an Ethiopian diplomat and politician. In 2018, she became the first woman to be elected to the president's office in Ethiopia and has been serving as the president of Ethiopia since then. Sahle-Work Zewde has been featured on Forbes magazine's World's 100 Most Powerful Women list.

 13 
Zewditu
(Empress of Ethiopia (1916 - 1930))
Zewditu
4
Birthdate: April 28, 1876
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Werreyimenu, Wollo
Died: April 2, 1930

Zewditu, a 20th-century Ethiopian empress and the eldest daughter of King Menelik of Shewa, scripted history as the first female head of an internationally recognized African state. She was also the first and last empress regnant of Ethiopia. It’s widely believed, she died of shock 2 days after her husband’s death in battle.

 14 
LoLa Monroe
(Rapper)
LoLa Monroe
7
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: October 25, 1986
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
 15 
Sifan Hassan
(Ethiopian-Born Dutch Middle-and Long-Distance Runner)
Sifan Hassan
10
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: January 1, 1993
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Adama, Ethiopia

Sifan Hassan is an Ethiopian-born Dutch athlete who specializes in middle and long-distance running. She is best known for winning two gold medals at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. At the same Olympics, she also won a brone medal. Prior to her success at the 2020 Games, Sifan Hassan also won two gold medals at the 2019 World Championships.

 16 
Genzebe Dibaba
(Ethiopian Middle-and-Long-Distance Runner)
Genzebe Dibaba
6
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: February 8, 1991
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bekoji, Ethiopia

Genzebe Dibaba is an Ethiopian athlete who specializes in middle and long-distance running. She is best known for winning a silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games. Prior to 2016, she had success at the 2015 World Championships where she won gold and a bronze medal. Genzebe Dibaba has also won five gold medals at the World Indoor Championships.

 17 
Jawar Mohammed
(Founder of Oromia Media Network)
Jawar Mohammed
4
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: May 12, 1986
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Oromia, Ethiopia
 18 
Teddy Afro
(Singer)
Teddy Afro
4
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: July 14, 1976
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
 19 
Mulatu Astatke
(Ethiopian Musician and Arranger considered as the father of Ethio-jazz)
Mulatu Astatke
1
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: December 19, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Jimma, Ethiopia
 20 
Taytu Betul
(Empress of Ethiopia (1889 - 1913))
Taytu Betul
4
Birthdate: August 17, 1851
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Oromia, Ethiopian Empire
Died: February 11, 1918

Taytu Betul reigned as the Empress of Ethiopia from 10 May 1889 to 12 December 1913. She is credited with co-founding the city of Addis Ababa along with her husband in 1886. As the wife of Emperor Menelik II, Taytu Betul wielded considerable political power. In fact, the emperor always consulted Taytu Betul before making important decisions. 

 21 
Mengistu Haile Mariam
(Former President of Ethiopia (1987 - 1991))
Mengistu Haile Mariam
4
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: May 21, 1937
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ethiopia

Initially an army officer, Mengistu Haile Mariam later rose to lead his country, Ethiopia, as its president. He also served as the general-secretary of the Workers' Party of Ethiopia. He was solely responsible for overthrowing the monarchy in Ethiopia and also tried turning the country into a Communist state.

 22 
Almaz Ayana
(Two-Time World Champion Ethiopian Long-Distance Runner Who Is Also an Olympic Gold Medalist)
Almaz Ayana
6
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: November 21, 1991
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Benishangul-Gumuz, Ethiopia

Ethiopian long-distance runner Almaz Ayana is not just an Olympic gold medalist but has also won the World Championship twice. She broke the 10,000m world record at the 2016 Rio Olympics, which was also her first year at the Olympics. She is also a Continental Cup and African Championship winner.

 23 
Abraha
(Aksumite Army General and King of Himyar)
Abraha
0
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthplace: Kingdom of Aksum, Ethiopia
Died: 0570 AD

Abraha was an Aksumite army general who proclaimed himself as King of Himyar. He went on to rule much of modern-day Yemen and Arabia. Today, Abraha is seen as an important figure in the history of Yemen where he promoted the cause of Christianity.

 24 
Aster Aweke
(Singer)
Aster Aweke
1
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: 1958 AD
Birthplace: Gondar, Ethiopia
 25 
Derartu Tulu
(Ethiopian Retired Long-Distance Runner)
Derartu Tulu
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: March 21, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bekoji, Ethiopia

Derartu Tulu is an Ethiopian retired long-distance runner who took part in several events like road running and marathon. She won a gold medal each at the 1992 and 2000 Olympics. She also won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics. Tulu is also known for winning a gold and silver medal at the World Championships.

 26 
Makonnen Wolde Mikael
(Shum of Harar (1887 - 1906) and a Noted General during the First Italo-Ethiopian War)
Makonnen Wolde Mikael
2
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: May 8, 1852
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sheno, Shewa, Ethiopia
Died: March 21, 1906

Makonnen Wolde Mikael served as Shum of Harar from 1887 to 1906 under Ethiopian monarchs Yohannes IV and Menelik II. The governor of Harar province and a military leader, Mikael is best-remembered for his role as an effective general during various military-campaigns, most notably during First Italo–Ethiopian War when he played a key role at the Battle of Adwa.

 27 
Tirunesh Dibaba
(The Youngest Female World Champion in Long-Distance Track Event)
Tirunesh Dibaba
5
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: June 1, 1985
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bekoji, Ethiopia

Ethiopian distance runner Tirunesh Dibaba scripted history by becoming the youngest female World Champion, in 2003, when she was a little over 18 years. She is also the first female to win the Olympic 5,000m/10,000m double. The 5-time World Champion is also a 3-time Olympic gold medalist.

 28 
Prince Makonnen
2
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: October 16, 1924
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Died: May 13, 1957
 29 
Meles Zenawi
(Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia (1995 - 2012))
Meles Zenawi
6
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: May 8, 1955
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Adwa
Died: August 20, 2012

Ethiopian revolutionary-turned-politician Meles Zenawi served as the prime minister of Ethiopia. A medical school drop-out, he abandoned his studies to join the Tigrai Peoples Liberation Front. His reforms made Ethiopian economy as well as its education and agricultural sectors stronger. He died of an undisclosed ailment.

 30 
Prince Sahle Selassie
3
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: February 27, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Menelik Palace, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Died: April 24, 1962
 31 
Moses the Black
0
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 0330 AD
Birthplace: Ethiopia
 32 
Letesenbet Gidey
(Ethiopian Long-Distance Runner)
Letesenbet Gidey
4
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: March 20, 1998
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Endameskel, Tigray Region, Ethiopia

Letesenbet Gidey is an Ethiopian athlete who specializes in long-distance running. She is best known for winning a bronze medal at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. She is also known for winning a gold medal at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, USA. Letesenbet Gidey has also won five gold medals at the World Cross Country Championships.

 33 
Gigi
(Singer)
Gigi
0
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: 1974 AD
Birthplace: Ethiopia
 34 
Hailemariam Desalegn
(Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia)
Hailemariam Desalegn
2
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: July 19, 1965
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Boloso Sore

Hailemariam Desalegn is an Ethiopian politician best known for his service as the prime minister of Ethiopia from August 2012 to April 2018. An important politician, he served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia from 2010 to 2012. Hailemariam Desalegn also served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2010 to 2012.

 35 
Menen Asfaw
(Empress consort of Ethiopia (1930 - 1962))
Menen Asfaw
2
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: April 3, 1891
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wollo, Ethiopian Empire
Died: February 15, 1962

Menen Asfaw ruled as an empress consort of Ethiopia, as the wife of Emperor Haile Selassie. Born into the noble family of Asfaw, Jantirar of Ambassel, she apparently had 3 marriages before she got married to Haile Selassie. She proved to be a trusted advisor to Selassie till her death.

Zera Yacob Amha Selassie
4
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: August 17, 1953
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
 37 
Selemon Barega
(Ethiopian Long-Distance Runner ana Olympic Gold Medalist)
Selemon Barega
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: January 20, 2000
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gurage, Ethiopia

Ethiopian long-distance runner Selemon Barega is not just an Olympic gold medalist but has also won a World Championship silver medal. Considered a rising star in the racing circle, he excels in 3,000m, 5,000m, and 10,000m. He has also been a Diamond League champion in 5,000m.

Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou
0
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: December 12, 1923
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ethiopia
 39 
Yohannes IV
(Emperor of Ethiopia (1871 - 1889))
Yohannes IV
21
Birthdate: July 11, 1837
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: May Beha, Tembien, Ethiopia
Died: March 10, 1889

Known as one of the most influential emperors of Ethiopia, Yohannes IV spent most of his reign in conflict with invaders from Egypt, Italy, and Sudan. He also had a political agreement with Menilek II, his most significant rival. He died in the Battle of Metema, while invading Sudan.

 40 
Lelisa Desisa
(World Champion Ethiopian Long-Distance Runner)
Lelisa Desisa
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: January 14, 1990
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Shewa, Oromia, Ethiopia

Two-time Boston Marathon-winning Ethiopian long-distance runner Lelisa Desisa has also been a World Champion, an All-Africa Games Champion, and an African Junior Champion. A road running expert, he had also won the 2018 New York Marathon. His personal best has been 10,000m in a little over 27 minutes.  

 41 
Rediet Abebe
(Computer scientist)
Rediet Abebe
2
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: 1991 AD
Birthplace: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
 42 
Ermias Sahle Selassie
2
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: June 14, 1960
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
 43 
Meseret Defar
(Ethiopian Long-Distance Runner and Two-Time Olympic Gold Medallist)
Meseret Defar
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: November 19, 1983
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Adis Abeba, Ethiopia

Meseret Defar is an Ethiopian athlete who specializes in long-distance running. She is best known for winning a gold medal at the 2004 and 2012 Olympic Games in Athens and London respectively. In 2008 at the Beijing Olympics, Defar won a silver medal for Ethiopia. She has also won medals at the World Championships, All-Africa Games, and World Indoor Championships.

 44 
Fasilides
(Emperor of Ethiopia (1632 - 1667))
Fasilides
0
Birthdate: 1603 AD
Birthplace: Shewa, Ethiopia
Died: October 18, 1667

Fasilides, also known as Alam Sagad, was a 17th-century emperor of Ethiopia who belonged to the Solomonic dynasty. As soon as he came to power, he dismissed Catholic missionaries and relied on Muslim rulers of the coastal regions to terminate all contact with the European powers.

 45 
Tilahun Gessesse
1
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: September 27, 1940
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Died: April 19, 2009
 46 
Miruts Yifter
(Ethiopian Long-Distance Runner)
Miruts Yifter
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: May 15, 1944
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Adigrat, Ethiopia
Died: December 23, 2016

Miruts Yifter was an Ethiopian athlete who specialized in long-distance running. He is best remembered for winning two gold medals at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. He also won four gold medals at the IAAF World Cup. Miruts Yifter also had success at the 1973 All-Africa Games where he won a gold medal and a silver medal.

 47 
Prince Alemayehu
(Son of Emperor Tewodros II and Empress Tiruwork Wube of Ethiopia)
Prince Alemayehu
2
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: April 23, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Magdala, Ethiopia
Died: November 14, 1879

Dejazmatch Alemayehu Tewodros was the son and heir of Emperor Tewodros II of Ethiopia who committed-suicide following his defeat by the British. According to the Emperor’s wishes, Alemayehu came under British care. He lost his mother on their way to England. Queen Victoria subsidised his education, however the orphan prince eventually grew lonely, contracted pleurisy and died at just 18. 

 48 
Mamo Wolde
(Ethiopian Long Distance Runner and Olympic Gold Medalist)
Mamo Wolde
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: June 12, 1932
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ada'a, Ethiopia
Died: May 26, 2002

Ethiopian Olympic legend Degaga "Mamo" Wolde, an international distance running star, was a cross-country, road and track running athlete. He won gold medal in men’s marathon event and silver medal in 10000 m event at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico. Wolde bagged his third Olympic medal, a bronze, at the 1972 Olympic marathon in Munich, West Germany.

 49 
Feyisa Lilesa
(Ethiopian Long-Distance Runner)
Feyisa Lilesa
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: February 1, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Oromia, Ethiopia

Feyisa Lilesa is an Ethiopian athlete who specializes in long-distance running. He achieved popularity in 2010 when he became the youngest man to complete the men's marathon at the NN Rotterdam Marathon under 2:06. He went on to win a bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu. Feyisa Lilesa also won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics.

 50 
Mahmoud Ahmed
0
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: May 8, 1941
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia