Tewodros II or Theodore II, 1818–68, emperor of Ethiopia (1855–68), originally named Kasa or Lij Kasa. He was a commoner and a bold and clever warrior. He seized control of his native province, Kawara (in NW Ethiopia), in 1842 and steadily fought his way to the throne. At first he attempted to abolish slavery and to encourage trade. In his last years, however, he became unrestrainedly cruel. In 1868, embroiled in a dispute with Great Britain over his imprisonment of British subjects, he committed suicide after being defeated near Magdala by a British rescue force under Robert C. Napier.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.