As it usually happens, looking for something else I came across a Bulgarian 7.62x39 crate with markings indicating delivering to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This prompted my interest in Ethiopian ammunition and learned that in the late 1940’s an ammunition factory was established in Addis Ababa by Považské Strojárne of Czechoslovakia. Although this happened before the Communist coup d’état of February 1948, Ethiopia maintained relations with the Warsaw Pact alligned regime and the factory continued being supported by PS.
Now knowing that Ethiopia’s ammunition factory was located in Addis Ababa, I tried to link this with the Amharic characters found in cartridges like 7.9x57, .30-06 and .303 with no success at all, to my regret. These does not stand for something like “Addis Ababa Factory” or variations of the same.
Then, I tried to find out which Amharic characters are represented in these headstamps, a not very original approach I guess, but I was lucky because I find out that these are:
ቀ ኃ ሥ
In Amharic script each character represents a consonant+vowel sequence, which means:
ቀ = q+ä = qä
ኃ = h+a = ha
ሥ = s+ə = sə (ə is a mid-central toneless neutral vowel, like the “a” in “separate”, for example)
The result, these are the initials of none other than Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974!!! His name in Amharic and Ge’ez languages is written ቀዳማዊ ኃይለ ሥላሴ, which transliterated to Latin is “Qädamawi Haylä Səllasé”, so his intials are “Qä. Ha. Sə.” or ቀ. ኃ. ሥ., as found in headstamps. The translation of his name is “Power of the Trinity” (Haylä Səllasé) “First” (Qädamawi).
Well, that’s all, I hope it was interesting.