Ras Kassa Hailu KS, GCVO, GBE, (Amharic: ካሣ ኀይሉ ዳርጌ; 7 August 1881 – 16 November 1956) was a Shewan Amhara nobleman, the son of Dejazmach Haile Wolde Kiros of Lasta, the ruling heir of Lasta's throne and younger brother of Emperor Tekle Giyorgis II, and Tisseme Darge, the daughter of Ras Darge Sahle Selassie, brother of Menelik II's father.

Kassa Hailu
President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia
In office
13 July 1941 – 16 November 1956
MonarchHaile Selassie I
Personal details
Born(1881-07-08)8 July 1881
Selale, Shewa, Ethiopian Empire
Died16 November 1956(1956-11-16) (aged 75)
Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Empire
Resting placeDebre Libanos
SpouseTsige Mariam Beshah
ChildrenAberra Kassa
Asfawossen Kassa
Wondosson Kassa
Asrate Kassa
Bizunesh Kassa
Manayalush Kassa
Tessemia Kassa

John Spencer, who advised Ras Kassa during the writing of the 1955 Constitution of Ethiopia, described him as "surely the most conservative of all the rases in constant attendance at the court." Spencer continued his description of the aristocrat by noting that he rarely saw the Ras "in other than Ethiopian national dress. Large, bearded and silent, this imposing dignitary wore a black cloak with gold clasps worked into the form of lion heads. In working sessions, he used to take out with considerable pride a pair of folding half-lens spectacles with gold frames and bows."[1]



Although he had by birth a better claim to the throne than his younger cousin Ras Tafari (the later Emperor Haile Selassie I), Kassa valued loyalty over ambition, and was content with his fief of Selale province near the monastery of Debre Libanos. During the rise of Emperor Haile Selassie I, Ras Kassa was loyal to Selassie during numerous challenges to his rule, standing by his side during more than one uprising.[2] His most notable act supporting Haile Selassie was his role in neutralizing the threat of Dajazmach Balcha Safo in 1928.[3]

Ras Kassa served as Qegnazmach ("Commander of the Army of the Right") during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War. His forces fought in the First Battle of Tembien and the Second Battle of Tembien.[4] Following the Ethiopian defeat he went into exile with his Emperor, spending most of his time in Jerusalem.[5]

The sons of Ras Kassa stayed in Ethiopia and were part of the resistance to the Italian occupation. In late 1936, three of his four sons were captured and executed: Wondosson Kassa, Aberra Kassa, and Asfawossen Kassa.[6]

In early 1941, during the East African Campaign of World War II, Ras Kassa returned to Ethiopia with the Emperor and Gideon Force. After the war, he became a Crown Counsellor.[7]


  1. ^ Spencer, Ethiopia at Bay: A personal account of the Haile Selassie years (Algonac: Reference Publications, 1984), p. 257
  2. ^ Anthony Mockler, Haile Selassie's War (New York: Olive Branch Press, 2003), p. 6
  3. ^ Mockler, Haile Selassie's War, pp. 7f
  4. ^ Mockler, Haile Selassie's War, pp. 83-86, 104-106; Bahru Zewde, A History of Modern Ethiopia, second ed. (Oxford: James Currey, 2001), pp. 154-156
  5. ^ Mockler, Haile Selassie's War, pp. 312f
  6. ^ Mockler, Haile Selassie's War, pp. 169-171
  7. ^ Mockler, Haile Selassie's War, p. 316