The Rastafarian religion, like most religions, started without any attempt to become a religion. This religion began in Africa and also in Jamaica with the poor blacks. It now has spread through other Caribbean islands, to cities in the United States, parts of Canada and parts of Western Europe. It has over 700,000 members today ("The Rastafarian Religion" 1).
Marcus Garvey is credited to be the founder of the religion. Marcus Garvey directed the philosophical ideologies and ideas that turned into the Rastafarian Movement (Rastafarian: An Overview 1). Garvey was a social and political revolutionary who wanted blacks to achieve full and equality in society. He spoke out against poverty, oppression, and inequality (1). Those social problems became the three main things that Rastafarians fought against. Marcus Garvey also told the Rastafarians to "look to Africa for the crowning of a black king, for he shall be the redeemer" (1). A short while after Marcus Garvey made that speech, Ras Tafari Makonnen was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia. Rastafarians believe that Ras Tafari Makonnen was the black king of whom Garvey spoke ("The Rastafarian Religion" 1). People say that Marcus Garvey is second only to Ras Tafari in spiritual powers ("Rastafarian: An Overview" 1). The King Ras Tafari Makonnen called himself "Emperor Haile Selassie I", as his new name as Emperor (1).
Haile Selassie I is believed by Rastafarians to be the living god for the black race. Rastas thought of Selassie I as being like Jesus that Christianity speaks ("Rasta's symbolism" 1). Even though Emperor Haile Selassie I died on August 27, 1975, the Rasta's still believe that he is their savoir (Hartman 1). Other Rasta's think that his death was a trick by the media to try and bring their faith down (1). To compensate for his death, Rastafarians believed that his spirit spread throughout the world and went into all the new babies of the Rasta religion.