September 12 - 1974 - A Coup d'Etat Overthrows Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie
Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia was an African icon, member of a centuries old dynasty, and the Messiah of a burgeoning religious movement. Nonetheless, in his twilight years, he was overthrown in a coup d'etat by a group called the Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces, Police, and Territorial Army. Better known as the Derg, which means "committee," they were high ranking military officers and took over the country to support the peasantry. Eventually, they would united behind Mengistu Haile Mariam, who would instill a Marxist-Leninist form of government and crack down on opposition. It would also trigger a decade and a half long civil war throughout Ethiopia.