Menelik (Menilik) II (1844-1913) was an Ethiopian emperor, who preserved the independence of his people by defeating a major Italian military expedition and who strengthened his kingdom through expansion and political and economic modernization.
Menelik II founded the first modern bank in Ethiopia, the Bank of Abyssinia, introduced the first modern postal system, signed the agreement and initiated work that established the Addis Ababa –Djibouti railway with the French, introduced electricity to Addis Ababa, as well as the telephone, telegraph, the motor car, .
In his last years, Menelik promoted a host of notable reforms in Ethiopia. Bridges and modern roads were built, a postal system was organized, and telegraph lines were erected. More important still, a railroad was begun which eventually linked Addis Ababa with the French-controlled Red Sea port of Djibouti. The creation of this transportation and communications infrastructure opened new markets as well as contributing to the national integrity of the empire. Among many other changes which occurred in this period were the introduction of a national currency and mint, as well as the establishment of the Bank of Abyssinia. The capital had its first hotel, Western-style school, and hospital, and a state printing press began operations in 191
Menelik at the height of his power was often compared with the great German nation-builder, Otto von Bismarck. Along with his diplomatic and military accomplishments, there was near unanimity among foreign visitors as to his intelligence and ability. Fascinated by Western machinery and technology, Menelik took a personal interest in photography, medicine, and mechanical device