ca. 1522–1559
Emperor of Ethiopia

Galawdewos took the throne of ETHIOPIA in 1540. At the time much of the country was under the control of Ahmed Gran, leader of the Muslim kingdom of Adal. When a Portuguese expedition arrived in Ethiopia in 1541, Galawdewos formed an alliance with its leader, Cristovao da Gama, to fight the Muslims. Gran killed da Gama, but Galawdewos took charge of the remaining Portuguese forces. In 1543 they killed Gran and ended the war.

The Ethiopians were Oriental Orthodox Christians with their own church. The Portuguese sent Catholic missionaries to persuade Galawdewos to accept the authority of the Pope in Rome. Although grateful to the Portuguese for their help in battle, Galawdewos skillfully defended the ETHIOPIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH and its practices against the Catholic missionaries. The Portuguese eventually gave up their attempt to force their religion on the Ethiopians. Several years later Galawdewos was killed in another war with Adal.