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Madagascar Forums Food for thought the domination of the Merina oligarchy

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    In the second half of the nineteenth century, under the government of Rainilaiarivony, the domination of the Merina oligarchy, says David Rasamuel (Revue d’études historiques Omaly sy anio, No. 15, 1982), is represented in the provinces by officers that ensure the command of the strong. They often act independently.
    No treatment of the royal state, they engage in gainful activities that lead them to exploit the people. “Abuses are becoming more and more frequent as one moves away from the capital of the Kingdom of Madagascar. “
    The historian, in a study on “Imerina deported in the nineteenth century,” recalls the situation Ikalamavony in Betsileo, which lends itself to such irregularities. The fort, located in the province of Fianarantsoa, ​​occupies a marginal position in the country bara border. It is a zone of insecurity suffered in this period, frequent incursions and bara locality escapes more or less in control of Antananarivo and Fianarantsoa.
    The term “deportation” may seem very strong, but as David Rasamuel says, he prefers to use instead of “andevo” slaves, or “gadralava” condemned in irons. According to him, how else to explain the situation of these people “forcibly transferred from their home country to a faraway place”?
    His study is from 1866 to 1896 and covers the acquisition means that slave or convict labour, conditions of work and life, and the situation at the time of their release.
    In the nineteenth century, the royal speech that have the force of laws and legislation such as codes 101 and 305 items of Ranavalona II, progressively abolish the legal means enslavement.
    Yet long after the official ban enacted in 1881, enslavement and slave trafficking continues “without limit” especially in parts of Betsileo. “It is not impossible that a part of the Provincial deported Imerina were slaves purchased by the governor appointed in 1866, after the 1870 and 1880 while he was responsible for leading the strong Ikalamavony. “
    Some articles of the law will promote besides, with that many offences carry conviction in irons, sometimes for a variable period to life. Placed at the head of a strong, the governor, among its functions, that of ensuring the implementation of laws in his constituency.
    However, according to David Rasamuel, no letters from the governor sent to the Queen or Prime Minister about the state of the condemned. “But there are surely doomed as stated in its official correspondence the presence in his entourage to andriambaventy, great judges. “He even gave details of their workforce, their judgements, the nature of convictions
    As well as become the condemned? And why are there no reaction from the central authorities and those of Antananarivo Fianarantsoa?
    The author then gives as reasons for this unclear situation, experienced by condemned to slavery exploited by the governor, the scarcity of correspondence sent by him to the Queen or Prime Minister, the complicity of the judges themselves, the little economic interest of the region to the kingdom and insecurity that exists in this border area where senior Merina officials do not want to make frequent visits.
    Governor reports sent to Ranavalona (II and III) or Prime Minister even more clearly highlight the insecurity that characterises the region in which is his forte. One example from 1884 speaks of an emergency that must be made with the “Foloalindahy” consisting of about fifty men in a village near the fort. The village was raided by Fahavalo (enemies or robbers). One of his assistants was himself killed in an expedition against looters in his constituency in 1886.


    We talk constantly of Tantara ny Andriana eto Madagascar. When will the Tantaran’ny andevo? “This sentence is launched by Condominas Professor in 1977, at the seminar held at the University Department of History of Madagascar on the theme of” Oral traditions and history. ” One of the actions taken by the resident general of France, Hippolyte Laroche in Madagascar, during his short stay, was to promulgate the decree of 26 September 1896 on the abolition of slavery throughout the island (see note ).
    In a study conducted by Bakoly Domenichini-Ramiaramanana and Jean-Pierre Domenichini on “aspects of slavery under the Merina monarchy according to the laws and regulations” (review of historical studies “Omaly sy anio” University Madagascar, January-June 1982), the two historians point out that the general resident came to the decision that being “fundamentally persuaded not have to cause any disorder.”
    Indeed, it is a local commission to study the general and specific situation of the company and of each
    individual. This then made several findings.
    The first is that Imerina under the monarchy, the slaves are up just over a third of the population. The “Bulletin of Madagascar” of November 1966 indicates the results of the census conducted in 1896 for the four main districts of Imerina least nineteen villages whose results have not yet reached the general residence in the 12th March 1896: 216,697 slaves (36.19% of the population) to 337,637 free subjects (56.39%) and 44 354 noble (7.40%).
    But the slaves are not the number of subjects of the queen, therefore, “should not be too opposed to emancipation. Instead perhaps, despite the loss of registration tax sales. ” This is why the circular of 15 October 1896 Rasanjy who serves as prime minister, is the need to register freed slaves, as an individual and as a married subject with legitimate children, “as the were already free people. “
    Second finding of the study committee: “At least in Antananarivo, slave owners, they are many, regarded as already achieved a measure that indeed they were expecting.” They take “blithely” their party when they managed the new “wish of the Chamber of Deputies on the immediate emancipation of slaves in Madagascar.”
    Third finding, say the members of the commission, the slaves are not all poor. Some even have “real or personal property acquired by inheritance or their money.” Even if they are still considered “minor children” even married or have dependent family, and even if they can not dispose freely without the permission of their masters.
    These are not all of odious characters, say the members of the commission. These are people whose “generosity towards their slaves could be personal property given in any property or real estate pledged as
    usufruct. ” Moreover, many freedmen instead of separating from their former masters, they remain committed and continue to
    stay with them and we can hope that “freed slaves if they had good relations with their former masters, will be able to find freedom from want.”
    At 100 francs per person on average, all slaves Imerina, as recorded in 1896, then represent the actual market price, capital of about 22 million francs. The general residence esteem and to compensate for the loss by saying: “France will not hit on the people of Madagascar no extraordinary war contribution.


    A 10-year-old girl is fishing for the trap when she is “captured”. It is towards the last years of the “Kingdom of Madagascar”. She is then dragged to Ikalamavony Fort where she is kept with other people. She grew up there and had her first child, before being transferred as “gadralava” in a concession of the governor in Imerina. It is there that his descendants, one of whose daughters is the informant of David Rasamuel (academic review of historical studies “Omaly sy anio”, N ° 15, 1982), are still living after independence.
    It is from this testimony of the young captive she transmits to her daughter, that the author tries to reconstruct the history of the deportees of Ikalamavony. “According to her, these gadralava, brought to Imerina, are captured people, including children keeping cattle, fishing or working in the fields. “
    According to the author, this case is not unique because other children and adolescents disappear in this way in the nineteenth century. “Abduction is undoubtedly a common practice at the time, because we also reported the similar case of a little girl from Ambohimanganiovana who played in the fields. She was abducted and brought back to the Vorimahery, “the author wrote in the same university magazine, but in 1979.
    The kidnapping of existing people, David Rasamuel in search the responsible. According to her informant, this is an initiative of the governor of Ikalamavony who has himself launched these abductions: “Captured people … who obey him since he is the governor”, she maintains. But the author adds a precision to this assertion: she seems not to remember or she does not know that her mother “had been captured and then sold to the Komandy”. However, he adds, if they are not directly responsible or accomplices of slave traders, “the governor and his collaborators tolerate this practice since they buy the product”.
    In some cases, it is not a question of kidnapping, but of genuine raids organized by armed groups, as Decary specified in 1958. “The villages are then attacked in the evening, then the inhabitants and their property kidnapped, Villagers are women and children. “
    In 1961, Jean-Pierre Domenichini commented: “The looters had … support and allies among merina or betsileo officials. It is therefore difficult for David Rasamuel to conceive that “the grandees of the fort of Ikalamavony do not benefit from the booty from these raids”.
    He then summarizes that these are so many different possibilities that allow the governor to acquire a particular workforce. According to her informant, who always refers to the words of her old captive mother, before sending these people to Imerina, he assembled them in Ikalamavony. “These gadralava were then locked up together in a cell waiting for their deportation. There, they lived in unenviable conditions. “
    The informant insists: “They were gathered in a kind of garage … we kept them there like we would raise chickens. “
    When these people who lose their freedom (slaves, convicts, prisoners of war, captives …), are quite numerous, they are entrusted to “Manamboninahitra” (officers) and “miaramila” (soldiers) charged to convey them in Imerina. For this, “the deportees, connected to one another, travel by night, and by day they hide or, more exactly, they are forced to hide …”
    According to Domenichini, the prisoners are “tied with the same rope to the hands and the neck … The people are hindered and led by nocturnal marches to the cave of the forest of Imaina. “
    Lastly, David Rasamuel pointed out that it was under the same conditions that the Bara deported the Betsileo who had been taken prisoner during their raids and destined for sale in the Sakalava country in 1883. That is, at a time when trafficking Slaves is already banned throughout the Kingdom of


    The situation of the fort of Ikalamavony, distant and little controlled, leaves to the local authorities merina a great freedom of action. “It is not difficult for the governor to acquire, by using all means, legal or illegal, a personal labor, whether slaves or prisoners. This is how David Rasamuel explains the existence of the “deportees of Ikalamavony towards the Imerina nineteenth century” (Omaly sy anio historical review, No. 15, 1982). Initiators of this business is the appointed governor in the Ikalamavony region
    In 1866.
    The latter remained at his post for twenty years. According to the author, he takes advantage of this to recruit a large “contingent” of men. In response to letters from Ranavalona II dated 1868 and 1882, which gives him instructions on the recruitment of Miaramila
    (Military) in the Foloalindahy (army), the governor specifies at the outset that only the Ambaniandro (merina) can be engaged.
    Thus, in the list of new recruits he sent to the Prime Minister in 1882, they were “free subjects from the six districts of Imerina, Mainty and Merina settled in the province” . For the author, if there are only Ambaniandro in the garrison to guard the fort, “there is no evidence that another contingent of Betsileo and Andevo was recruited, not to be enrolled in The Foloalindahy, but for labor needs, servile or not. ” The governor and commander of the fort certainly derives the most advantages in this affair.
    Moreover, other letters mention the “ankizilahy” (slaves) that the governor has in his residence. Yet he officially declared to his hierarchy only the minimum, no more than ten, of the adult men he would have bought from a private individual. This is at least what is read in his report of 17 February 1886 to Ranavalona III.
    These men, he explains, serve as emissaries of confidence for certain missions (1883 report). Or accompany him, in the same way as the soldiers, in his expeditions (report of 1884). Sometimes he charged them to trade on the coast
    (Report of February 17, 1866) …
    “In fact, the governor speaks of only a few slaves – those he keeps at the fort for
    Not to arouse the suspicions of the administration, the means of their acquisition (purchase) and their legal attributions. But he ignores the more or less regular practices
    Evoked by the author’s informants.
    The latter indicates that some official reports allow to suppose other means to obtain prisoners or slaves, such as the wars against the fahavalo (enemies) whose attacks are frequent in the zone of Ikalamavony. The letters of
    “Komandy” do not say clearly the fate reserved for prisoners of war, they do not even signal their existence.
    Here is what he wrote in a report to the Prime Minister on a confrontation against “jirika” (robbers) who
    Attacked a village: “The confrontation was hard. The enemy were defeated … and a good number killed and wounded, but they were dragged into the forest so that they could not be counted. “
    This is quite unlikely, for David Rasamuel, for, according to him, the military forces would not have let brigands escape, if not murderers, without pursuing them in order to capture them to punish them. It is all the more incomprehensible that they can recover all the booty. Thus, the governor’s reports do not reflect all realities on the ground.
    To carry out his study, the author finds an informant. It is the descendant of a “deportee” who directly holds her account of her mother. “This one had really lived the history of the gadralava (condemned for a long duration if not in perpetuity) or mpanompo. So she calls the captured people away from home. Against their will certainly, but they submit because before leaving, they find themselves some time in the garrison of the fort and in fact, they are only bending to the will of the governor.


    As we have already written, slavery was an institution in the Big Island. “Modernism”, introduced from the reign of Radama Ier, has no control over the uses and customs. The slave market in Antaninarenina Anjoma and Annex Analakely are very busy. It is in vain that the missionaries preach in the pulpit, exhort, threaten. “The people turned a deaf ear when it does not engage in tumultuous protests” (Journal of Madagascar, Antananarivo Special, 1952). The kind that sounded in the temple Ampamarinana at an anti-slavery sermons Rev. Standing in 1892.
    Yet the codes published by the Royal Government formally condemn trafficking and implicitly slavery. However, in 1896, Alfred Grandidider says that two-thirds of the population tananarivienne, 50 000 to 60 000 people are slaves. And in 1895, more than half of the inhabitants of Imerina is servile.
    Until the end of the reign of Andrianampoinimerina in 1810, the only foreign trade of the island, comes down to the slave trade. It is this human trafficking that the sovereign, the nobles and merchants Hova derive their foreign exchange resources, valued in silver dollars.
    Apart from the box or domestic slaves exportable mass is mostly made of prisoners of war, common criminals or political offenders. All means are good to get them. Thus expeditions are conducted against the enemies or rebellious villages at the end of which the people in working order is routed to the coast, linked to each other. Prisoners who can not, the infirm, the women who lost their charms, the flickering children are often left on their own if not killed mercilessly.
    “The frequent and numerous negotiations carried each year several thousand individuals, subject to the payment of a fee of two dollars and a half a head in favor of the royal treasury. The prosperity of the old Antananarivo was, therefore, sealed in blood and tears. This lasted until the livestock export has supplanted that of man. “The slave trade was condemned in 1814 by the Congress of Vienna.
    For Radama Ier ask the abolition of the trade as- a result of Lesage and Chardenoux- James Hastie, become for the sake of the cause consular officer of the Government of Mauritius, has the King on July 17 1817.
    “Not to be reported to the European princes as enemy of civilization”, the Merina ruler agrees to remove the “export” of slaves, October 11, 1820. He received in return for benefits in kind in the form of European products and species (equivalent). In addition, 20 young people from the son of the Great receive instruction and technical training in London or Port Louis.
    At Radama premature death in 1828, his wife Ranavalona I inherited power. Under pressure from conservatives of the Court, soothsayers and sorcerers concerned about the progress of civilization and Christianity, it shall, after his first years of reign, “a hostile attitude to the Europeans and their innovations. It seems to him that their frequentation and their contributions make him his subjects disloyal.
    First, to break with the decisions of her late husband-it deems “incompatible with the respect due to the good traditions” – it tolerates and even promotes the slave trade. Milking starts over again thanks to opportunities in the markets of India, America and the Mascarene Islands (Réunion, Mauritius, Rodriguez). “If markets are generally held on the coasts, Antananarivo is not less a transit center and a place where the administrative authorizations to negotiate. Ch. Robequain wrote in 1949: “The Rova appears as a nest of raptors of great slave traders in the service of culture and the sugar industry. “
    This trade will be suppressed at the time of the French conquest. One of the first decisions of Joseph Gallieni is to abolish slavery. “The Merina monarchy would not have been easily removed she was by Gallieni, if it had been completely undermined and eroded by the double cancer drudgery and slavery. For most inhabitants of Antananarivo, the French conquest was really liberating.


    Like all peoples, ancient Malagasy engage in a kind of very special trade Trafficking. It involves swapping of slaves against goods made by traders who trade on the coasts of the country. We remember that there is a double current: slaves imported from Africa, but in smaller numbers, the Masombika or Makoa, and those exported.
    Until the late eighteenth century, the slave only affects coastal areas, only in contact with foreign countries. In addition, the Merina country without access to the sea, could not participate without intermediaries, Malagasy and European. But it was not until 1777 that a European, the French Nicholas Mayeur penetrates Imerina and Antananarivo is reached in 1808 by Hugon.
    Moreover, Merina should at this time have a large number of slaves, as the largest source of these “products” is the war on foreign soil. But before 1787 the Merina divided into several principalities fighting is between them, at random whims of their chieftains. These are some deadly struggles by small armies, leaving only a small booty.
    “It would be even more accurate to say that it is the neighboring peoples Merina, Sakalava, Manendy, Sihanaka and Bezanozano who then indulged in successful raids in Merina country; raids where they brought, there is no doubt, many prisoners “(Jean Valette, architect palaeographer).
    When Andrianampoinimerina arrives on the throne of Ambohimanga, it first pacify and unite Imerina. Then he turns to the south. After conquering desert-regions it enters Ankaratra and Faratsiho, and is then in contact with the Betsileo it reduces by fighting or dealing with them. These are struggles in enemy countries, which opponents such Raomanalina king of Lalangina, fiercely resisted.
    These wars of conquest continues under his son and successor, Radama Ier. Upon his arrival, he must put down a revolt of Bezanozano Ambatomanga and lead a hard campaign against Ambositra which is completely shaved. All these wars bring an abundance of spoils, especially slaves, whose flow poses to Merina hitherto unknown problems.
    This is the main reason prompting Radama Ier to undertake the conquest of the East to have access to the sea. This is necessary to trade freely and dispense intermediate Antalaotra and European. “This concept had to impose the spirit of the Merina king in the 1814-1815 years, something crucial for the development of its people, she met with the Malagasy political Sir Robert Farquhar then governor of Mauritius. “
    With the Treaty of Paris of 1814, the Franco-British dispute in the Indian Ocean is set: France recovers Bourbon Island (Reunion), the Isle of France, renamed Mauritius and its dependencies Seychelles and Rodrigues , became a British possession. Madagascar is the object of desire of the two colonial empires.
    Farquhar understands the need to attach the Merina king, whose power is growing. He sent many emissaries whose latest James Hastie is responsible for sealing the Anglo-Merina alliance by including an international scope clause (Treaty of Vienna): the abolition of the slave trade by encouraging Radama to use “his vanquished subjects To other more profitable activities “.
    However, remove the slave is to suppress the essential bargaining chip against European products. And as Radama points out to Hastie, “it is not possible for him to make slaves who were his enemies work for him, hence the necessity of selling them.”
    Finally, all this encounter violent opposition assemblies of elders, because the Merina in general, especially the latter, will forfeit real profits, and immediate. “It was also to engage in a kind of economic revolution, which we hardly saw the results. “Hence the equivalent in return, compensation awarded to Radama, both money and weapons and uniforms.


    Fihaonana, thus formerly were called markets. Meeting places, they have been and what meetings! Before the reunification of Imerina Andrianampoinimerina by the different princes and lords of the country spend their time warring among themselves, plundering, raiding, enslaving the vanquished. However, they conclude an agreement by which “neutral” meeting places are open to market their spoils of war, recover their property taken away by their “brothers (or cousins) enemies”, buy weapons and ammunition …
    So they established a weekly calendar of events: Sunday at Ambohidratrimo for all; Monday at Alatsinainy-Ambazaha for Zanamihoatra, Anosizato and Antananarivo; Tuesday at Talata-Volonondry for Mandiavato and Tsimahafotsy; Wednesday at Alarobia-Amboanjobe specializing in the slave trade between Famailahy, Manisotra and Alasora; Thursday at Alakamisy-Antanamalaza for Vakiniadiana and Alasora; Friday at Anjoma-Analaroa for all North and South; Saturday at Asabotsy-Ambohimirimo, market day slaves.
    There are also points of contact with foreigners where they acquire products Imerina the Vazaha not being allowed to enter: Ampamoizankova in the Northeast and Angavokely east …
    Ampamoizankova where it separates from Hova (which disappear forever), the rest has been notorious. Formerly, White has been called “man-eaters” (vazaha homana olona) and the worst curses we could throw at someone, is to be
    “Sold” to Ampamoizankova (mivarina Ampamoizankova eo), where we descend towards the coast. At the time of Andrianampoinimerina it evokes Toamasina, boarding point for slaves.
    When the king finally reunite the territories of Imerina it completely organized in all fields, he decided to establish “tsena” (markets) instead of these meeting points and other places. He is afraid, in fact, that “evil spirit” that
    prevailed in their creation, persists. However, before the reaction of the people who feel the need to maintain the schedule and tickets Fihaonana, not too disturbing their daily lives, the wise counselor eventually Hagamainty reason the sovereign. He is the only king, the squabbles between princelings are forever abolished, and people can indulge in peace with farm work and livestock. The King is not convinced so far and create lead markets in the Avaradrano.
    In a public speech, he explains the role of these “business palace” whose installation is part of its economic policy: places of exchange between producers and consumers where the raiders and thieves do not have their place. Everyone must do everything to turn that bringing any product merchantable “if only that cooked cassava,” who are spending their money, especially large and wealthy kingdom that must be the engine. Moreover, controllers, “masochistic ivoho” King, there monitor the behavior of the latter.
    September and markets are open in the Avaradrano: Alahady-Lanifasana for Andrianteloray (postponed to Monday in Ranavalona II, first Christian queen); Alatsinainy-Merimandroso for Tsimahafotsy; Talata-Volonondry for Mandiavato; Alarobia-Namehana (now under Sabotsy Ranavalona I) for Tsimiamboholahy; Alakamisy-Ambohipanga to this locality; Sabotsy-Ambato for Anativolo.
    As for Friday Andrianampoinimerina asks his Voromahery (Eagles) to install Anjoma of Fiadanana for all inhabitants of Imerina. His son later move this market Antaninarenina, in order to build a Palace of wood.
    When the king saw that the trial is successful and that the “products” marketed remained agricultural, other daily markets are created: Alahady-Soarano, Talata-Amoronkay, Alarobia Amboanjobe-and-Alarobia Ambatomanga, Alakamisy-Ambohipeno, Alakamisy -Ambohibalala and Alakamisy-Antanamalaza, Anjoma-Manazary, Anjoma Ambatomitsangana-and-Anjoma Analaroa, Asabotsy Andoharanofotsy-and-Asabotsy Anosibe.


    For a contract to an uncertain date, between 1826 and 1828 Radama Ier grants the house Blancard extremely detrimental monopoly to trade with Madagascar Bourbon. Which raises rather violent reactions from the French authorities.
    These, after trying unsuccessfully to develop a common policy with the British authorities of Mauritius, “whose trade is equally aggrieved” (Jean Valette), decide to act alone, by force if necessary. But in Paris, if we understand the concerns of Bourbon and if we accept the idea of ​​military intervention, it is still very cautious. Essentially, it seems, for reasons of credits.
    At the time, the reinforcements largely composed of troops Noires Yolofs- recruited in Senegal, to complement the garrison of Sainte-Marie island are only paltry forces preventing any action. “By cons, they worried the Merina authorities and could only make them more reluctant to accept, for any negotiations, the resumption of trade relations, lack of resources, the French authorities could not obtain by force.”
    Finally, in order to reassure the Merina authorities, the governor of Bourbon must repeatedly send the Madagascan coast naval officers. They will be responsible on the one hand, to discreetly report on the state of mind; secondly, “to reassure the intentions of France.” Among these officers, Commander Louis Joseph Victor Carpentin, commanding the corvette “Seine” performs a short mission in Foulpointe and Toamasina. The day before his departure for the Big Island, Count Cheffontaines, Governor of Bourbon, gave him “instructions”.
    According to Jean Valette, two points need to be raised concerning these instructions. The first concerns the sudden interest brought to Robin. Until 1827, in fact, the French authorities neglect this character, the same suspect because of his desertion. The second point is reflected by a reference to the possibility of the presence of Radama Toamasina. And this allusion shows “the ambiguity of the French policy towards the sovereign.” The French authorities wish to negotiate with him, yet they refuse to recognize his authority over Madagascar. And engage him negotiations would come to recognize. This does not lack complicate things.
    Carpentin therefore embarked with food, medicines, Artillery soldiers and military workers that leave the colony of St. Mary, the command of Acting is ensured by Jean-Louis Carayon. This done, he goes to Foulpointe. To obey the instructions, is primarily involved in collecting information on Merina forces stationed in this position and the fortifications are high there, “and with what is envisaged in case of attack.”
    In Toamasina, the military aspect also plays an important role, but the key is spent on Robin. Carpentin several interviews with him. The portrait he traces is fairly accurate. Yet John Valletta highlights several information obtained by Captain lack pinpoint accuracy. “It is curious to note some errors, especially on the English presence, but also on the relationship between Merina and Sakalava. “
    The distance is large enough between the western and eastern coasts, and Western news should arrive that deformed Toamasina. “If the thing is already apparent in interviews with a character as well placed and so knowledgeable that Robin, that should it be among contractors and other individuals?


    The Malagasy’s worship ancestors very thorough. So it is a task that is imposed on all, without distinction of rank or wealth, except in some areas and in some clans to celebrate the dead buried for some time, with the greatest possible pomp, late the dry season.
    Formerly, the Famadihana, “turning ceremony of the dead and often change the tomb” (Marie-Robert Rason) lasts several days, at least three. It is also an opportunity for different groups of Mpilalao (troops Hira gasy) compete control before connoisseurs. For them it is a real contest on which their reputation is forged. The night before, the deceased kin go to the tomb. Then, turning to the four cardinal points, the oldest familiar spirit, warns that the next day they will be transported in a better burial.
    On that day, early, the guests arrive dressed in their best clothes. The procession is formed. First come the slaves singing loudly, then Mpilalao whose drumbeats reverberate “in the drowned valleys of mist.” Then come the parents carried on the backs of slaves. “Some of them proudly assume, and dancing, the lambamena (shrouds) that should wrap the remains. “Finally, guests filanjana close the procession waving slowly to reach the tomb when, towards the east, the sky begins to glow, because the tomb should be opened with the first rays of the sun.
    A long moment of silence was observed, cut by sobs and tears. Everyone talks about his ancestors. Parents enter the tomb, wrapped the remains lapel new mats and white Lamba, and carry them out at arms, where they are greeted by
    clamor. The oldest, standing on top of the grave, cries when you come out dead, “Who goes there? “Inside, a voice responds with the name of the deceased or the deceased. While singing and music erupt while we walk the remains, still at the end of the arm above the heads up a tent in which they have to spend the night and where, according to a specific ritual, coating them new and rich lambamena. The ceremony begins for all the inhabitants of the grave.
    “Curious detail: it is prohibited to those who have touched the bodies of washing hands before eating and having gorged rum. “Many cattle were slaughtered the day before or early in the morning to be served” with enormous meals “that will last all day and all night, watered whole demijohns of rum which one makes a point to empty. The Mpilalao finally enter the fray, “carefully stuffed and gray.” Different troops are onslaught of brilliance. “The drum bearings, hands beats, the screams of the audience that fuel the rivalry between the different groups and the screams of children fighting in the dust, give a dazzling impression. “
    At the dawn of the third day, dead parents recover crying, helped a little by this drunk alcohol the night. Then transports the remains swathed in their new shrouds to their new (or old) last home, which should not, however, gain directly. The mpanandro (soothsayer) consulted to determine the date of Famadihana, time of opening and closing the grave …, it has established a rather circuitous route. And it is true that we make many detours, “which in the minds of the assistants will have the effect to delay as long as possible, the hour of death.” All this, always to the sound of loud music Mpilalao.
    Arrivals to the spoils were again paraded at arms, three or seven times around the tomb, accompanied by joyful shouts. Finally, they are placed inside and sealed the stone entrance. new mats and white Lamba who wrapped the remains exiting the tomb we argue. Whoever will seize will be fortunate all his life; widower, the man will soon have a companion who will make his happiness; barren woman will soon be a mother; poor, you will become rich without delay … And the music and dancing furiously resume before a speaker do praise the dead and boasts the brilliant actions which have illustrated their lives. Finally, assistance separates.


    Before the various complaints and protests from religious missions other than Catholic, the French government request, March 11, 1897, its representative to the Vatican if the Holy See would agree to remove the Jesuits from Madagascar. That, as part of a “reorganization of the ecclesiastical organization of the Great Island.” On July 18, France’s ambassador meets with French Foreign Minister. He says the Holy See does not reject the idea of ​​sharing organization Madagascar three ecclesiastical districts. This, by the establishment of two new apostolic vicariates, south and north of the island.
    The South vicariate is the only established and entrusted to the Vincentians (it is created January 16, 1896). Mgr Crouzet, former Vicar Apostolic of Abyssinia, became the holder with residence in Fort Dauphin. There is evidence that Rome would have no trouble getting back to study the plan to grant an ecclesiastical superior in the northern part of the island, for example in Mahajanga (it will be established in 1898).
    According to the French diplomat, the Holy See would not object to the mission to be entrusted to the Fathers of the Holy Spirit, “until the day it will be possible to establish in Madagascar a completely secular clergy”. This organization seems necessary, the apostolic vicariates to precede and prepare for the establishment of dioceses. “These are perpetual institutions that first require the organs essential to their existence seminaries, parishes, clergy … This is the apostolic vicariates to provide in advance, with time and resources, all warranties prerequisites of life and prosperity of the diocese. “
    If the colonial government is so concerned ecclesiastical organization is that it is a danger to be avoided. The early institution of the diocese is in fact detrimental to the financial interests of the colony, since the colonial or metropolitan budget “would face spending greatly increased and which no longer apply the subsidies far from the propagation of the Faith. ” This part of the application for the new ecclesiastical organization of Madagascar is therefore ensured. As for the return of the Jesuits to be replaced by another regular congregation authorized, doubt is allowed.
    According to the French ambassador, several reasons to the contrary. “The process is a little generous character will be criticized us. And France would mean their taking possession by expulsion. “He adds:” It is true that the Jesuits are not recognized in France and Madagascar is now French territory. But this statement of principles does not make an effective assimilation and practice, it requires all sorts of temperaments and mitigation. “And he concludes this issue by stressing that” this Order may, without doubt, a useful service, “especially since their departure would” too good game to foreign propaganda. “
    The French diplomat also stressed the work of the Jesuits in Madagascar which grow considerably. Their departure would cause a considerable movement of personnel to organize.
    Finally, it is not guaranteed to easily find another congregation ready to collect a heavy inheritance and able to cope with the demands of a large staff. Already for the vicariate created in the South, “some difficulty we had in getting the necessary assistance.” Because after an initial refusal of the Vincentians, the French government faces the White Fathers “and very strong repugnance priests of the Holy Spirit.” All objected by the shortage of staff available and end up accepting the Vincentians in consideration of historical memories related to the passage of their founder, St. Vincent de Paul to Fort Dauphin.
    In all cases, according to the French diplomat, Rome would oppose the departure of the Jesuits. “It seems to me better to maintain the status quo with regard Jesuit merely to be in the north, a third religious constituency that could be served by the Fathers of the Holy Spirit. They will find for long enough to suffice for their zeal.


    Flipping through the “Glossary of Geographical Names of Madagascar” directed by Georges Kling, we have a confirmation of the meaning of Mahanoro, city of Toamasina. The word means “making happy”, “glad that ‘.
    The first explanation of the name that comes to mind is simple: it’s the little river which waters that gave it to him. “Noro is employing speaking of circumcision, it is possible that this river played a role in some ceremonies. “
    And there’s also the legend attributes the origin of the name to the happy influence of the clan Zafindranivy on the destinies of the city. Ifondrainy king of Zafindranivy, indeed saves from destruction by going to the armies of Radama Ier, during the conquest of the eastern coast of the Merina king. This dernier- whose sister Ifondrainy, Soamahanoro is the maîtresse- “granted the Zafindranivy a reward for their submission, the same rights as Hova notable for the greater prosperity of the town” (P. Latu ).
    Speaking of waterway, talking Mahavavy, name given to two rivers, one south of the Betsiboka, the other to the north, which means “making female” or “makes low”. Georges Kling cites two reasons for this latest version, but, he says, “the first seems just as valid for Mahavavy South.”
    The first interpretation suggests that the name was given by a magician antakarana, Tsimatahodrafy to protect the people by this “prophylactic”. It is well understood that the river must make weak enemies that have difficulties to cross when they attack. “
    A second legend provides another reason for the appellation. At 80 km from Ambilobe, there is a famous and sacred site consists of two huge rocks called Zarandahy (from the man) and Zarambavy (from women) between which cascade Mahavavy. Indigenous come there and sacrifice “by seeking fulfillment of their vows,” for their two strange rocks have their story.
    One day, couple, traveling with their children and luggage, camping by the stream. After the meal, the man through the water with the luggage, while the woman completes storing pots keeping both children. Suddenly the rain comes, so terrible that the stream soon became a river impossible to cross.
    “And the couple, unable to meet, died on the spot where they now form the two rocks silhouette strange, one recalling a man with a burden, the other a woman with her children . And that’s why the river became creek, took the name of Mahavavy- making weakly because despite all their efforts, the couple never managed to merge. “
    Mahavelona, ​​but another stream that crosses Foulpointe, means “making life”. This name was given by the chief Ratsimilaho the locality because, very sick, there would be recovered, despite the very bad reputation at the time, the climate of the region.
    “According to oral tradition, long before the Merina occupation, during a funeral, one of the mourners bathe the body in the creek. Hardly the death had he touched the water rise again. “
    Other rivers that deserves attention Mananara. This is the name of several rivers, but one gives its name to a city of
    Toamasina Province. Two explanations are given that name. The first is “that rock,” which is explained without difficulty;
    the second is “who has the reeds,” “nara” is the name of a species Betsimisaraka nearby reed “penja” and sometimes called “mita”.
    If the latter interpretation can be accepted for the North Mananara located Betsimisaraka country, it is difficult to apply to the river Vangaindrnao in Antesaka country.
    Mananjary is another Southeast River took the name after being called Masindrano (where water is sacred). Several directions are given to the word “is respected, honored,” “is comfortable” and perhaps it would be a distortion of Mananjara, “which trees” (Zara).


    We continue the presentation of “lakana gasy” such as this Berthélémy Huet de Froberville, in his manuscript, the “Great Dictionary of Madagascar,” which refers to many authors. Speaking of canoes, he said that the Mayeur traveler differs with Legentil (see previous note) in the description of Malagasy canoes. In the first, the boards canoe consists of seventeen parts, not including banks whose number varies proportions.
    “The keel is a single piece of wood, taken from a tree called hasina, resinous very high and right. They call this piece and worked montsifo. Three adapted boards on each side, form the canoe. As the back is wider than the front, these plates are wider in the border portion for the stern. “
    The boards are usually made of wood “sary” or “tatamaka”. In their work, however, manufacturers are following the process indicated by Legentil. There, he said, seven, eight to nine seats in each boat, placed equidistant. In the middle and on the front there are two, one on the other, both drilled for masts whose foot rests on the keel.
    The sails used, two on each boat, are made of big cloths. They also serve as tents to camp in places where fishermen calling. Because every night they touch ground. And if once, they were using the paddle, “for some time, they know rowing. The rudder is a large oar made of the same wood as the keel. It is subject to stern by straps. When you are sailing and the winds are strong, there are up to four oars. “
    Mayeur also adds the canoes one piece, called “lakantongotra ‘have almost the same shape as the vessels planks. The description of their construction is similar to that of Legentil. He talks about one of the canoes reach up to eight thousands with his crew of nine people. The boat makes the Eastern Cape in Foulpointe, “sometimes under sail, sometimes to paddle and still outside the reef in a similar boat as safely as he would have done in a large boat “.
    The author cites a “fact rather strange.” Having received the Baron Benyowski order to go to Foulpointe Antongil Bay, with many people as possible, he embarks on a new dugout benches. “I left with one hundred and twenty pots, twenty passengers, ammunition, weapons and effects. And the crew was composed of twenty people, which was in any hundred and sixty men. “The Baron does not see land, learning that only one boat arrived, can not recover from his surprise” to many “and” however, it is true that we were more embarrassed that charge. “
    The “natural” living on the coast, islands and riverbanks are almost all manufacturers Mayeur says. And “we are amazed at the rooms give the various forms and proportions that they shall have to report accurately. When one thinks they have no lines, no rules, no compass and that they manage with only four miserable emergency tools that would shame our poorest workers! “
    Fressanges, speaking of their buildings, fits into the details with the authors cited above. “After cutting a number of trees, they work them with axes and form boards, not knowing the use of the saw which infinitely shorten their work. They assemble the boards covering them and then bind with remote string distance. They add members to strengthen. They introduce into the seams leaves ravinala lieu tow. These canoes will sail and oars. It is with them they sehasardent to whaling. “
    They make their expeditions to the Comoros Islands and Fressanges does not name other than “war canoes”
    At the time when Legentil trip to Madagascar, island unfamiliar journeys by sea “than mundane.” Benyowski, basing its establishment in Antongil Bay, show them the way of the Comoros islands and since there is no year in which they are to do an expedition to procure slaves.


    And if we talk of local craft ?, In his manuscript entitled the “Great Dictionary of Madagascar,” Barthélémy Huet de Froberville addresses the letter L for “lakana” different canoes, rowing boats, canoes one piece or plank . And, citing various authors.
    Tel Legentil “The navy did Madécasses point; similar to all the people of the Sea Islands of India, who have only canoes or boats, they never deviate from the earth to lose sight of the coast. Any browsing Madécasses therefore merely go along the coast and in rivers. They put down every night, and when bad weather surprises at sea they hauling their canoes to the full and take refuge wherever they can. “
    Legentil goes on to talk of the difficulties encountered by fishermen who embark on a canoe “made of water,” without making what the scoop.
    “When the boat fills too, they have the consistency to land, the discharge if she wears something, and empty. “After that, they reload and go.
    The author evokes the great risk to paddlers. A grain bursts, he says, is not able to “make them run the plays” generally installed in the middle of one of the boat benches. To capsize it, you need three things: “Let the canoe supports the wing, it dark underneath, or the breaking listening.” In this case, the fisherman may die.
    But in general, the author adds, if a boat capsizes, the boatmen are not in trouble. Knowing all swim very well, they can support in the water and recover the canoe “who straightens in shipping a lot of water.” “To empty, they return their building end to end. Swings that this maneuver communicates to the canoe, cause the water escapes alternately by one and the other end. When they put so much of the water out, they re-embarked and complete the dump with their hands or with the paddle. “
    To clarify that very few canoes are seen in Foulpointe, most of which come from Antongil Bay where the population has a lot. Because it trade much to Toamasina. We must also add that Antongil Bay abounds in beautiful wood. At the time, this trade in the bay as St. Mary concerns “Horita” (species of cuttlefish). Étienne de Flacourt mentions in its history. “On many fishing these shores. It makes boucaner, we support the canoes and the door in the south to Tamatave where people are fond. “
    Legentil describes canoes are of two kinds. Some are a single trunk, more or less large, they dig through the fire before shaping both ends. “I saw big strong where we could take fifteen to twenty people very comfortably, and that would have been capable of carrying a barrel. “When they are well done, they behave well enough on the water and” go with the speed of a stroke. “
    Others are made of planks and much larger since they can carry four to five tons. “He among seven boards in their construction. The background color is the least wide, it serves virtually keel. The other six are laid over thereof, three on each side. “These boards are connected by bark. We put in the seams a tow, also bark, which is plunged a knife, all without pitch or tar.
    According Froberville, the two kinds of dugouts are less wide at the front, “so that they are precisely the opposite of our larger vessels and boat washing as the back.” It is certain that these canoes although army-especially those of a single room- “always win our best speed boats,” but “they are not made to go in the sea.”
    He concluded by quoting again Legentil which highlights the great effort to achieve a Malagasy dugout. Especially as they have for every tool a small ax, ignoring the use of the saw. First they squaring the trunk, and then share the two solid parts with the same ax. That done, they work the joist and reduce to the desired thickness.
    The same work is undertaken on the boards, maximum two per tree trunk unless it is very large. In general, to make a canoe, they use five trees. “These boats never run, even if they fill with water” unless they are charged. And they continue to paddle and get to land as they can.


    The east coast is known for its stormy sea and strong winds. However, at the end of the 19th century, with the recent occupation and pacification of the Mandritsara region, the opening of a good road between this locality and the small port of Rantabe increases the importance of transactions in the Bay of Antongil where ships find good moorings.
    In the middle of the Indian Ocean, the small island of Sainte-Marie, located opposite the port of Tintingue, offers a good anchorage. It is also a stopover of the steamships of the Maritime Messageries.
    On the Great Earth but a little further south, the port of Toamasina is the most important commercial center of Madagascar. Two lines of reefs protect the harbor against the high seas and give it relative safety. The majority of products from the East Coast and the interior are directed to Toamasina.
    In 1898, a number of French merchants already reside there. In the same way, a few American, English, German and Swiss houses do very important business there. Indian merchants are also numerous. As for the Chinese, they owned more than 100 stores at the time, where they mainly sold food for Europeans and rice. “In the presence of the large number of these Asians, which are increasing every day, the administration has taken measures (high capitation taxes) to mitigate the effects of competition with our nationals” (Bulletin of the Committee of Madagascar, 1898 ).
    At the same time, a French contractor will have to start building a wharf 300 to 500 m long, which will be lit at night by powerful aircraft. This will facilitate the operations of boarding and disembarking passengers and freight often thwarted by a strong swell. Another issue raised was the installation of general stores.
    The buildings of the French companies and those of the Castle Line are not the only ones which serve the port of Toamasina where the vapors of the House Oswald of Hamburg, release three or four times a year. Numerous sailing boats, dinghies and schooners connect the ports of North and South with Toamasina.
    100km south of the big port of the East, Andevoranto is not protected like this one by reefs of corals. Thus, exports, mainly of raffia and oxen skins, take place only when the state of the sea
    Barges to cross the bar to go and load the boats in the roadstead, for barely eight months of the year. Andevoranto, however, has a certain commercial importance, because it is at its level that the Toamasina-Antananarivo road leaves the coast. At the end of the 19th century, ten important houses were installed or represented.
    If we continue to follow the coast to the south, we arrive at Vatomandry where, after Toamasina, is imported the greatest quantity of tissues that penetrate into the interior. However, as in Andevoranto, the bad situation of the roads obliged many ships to land their goods in Toamasina. Vatomandry is connected to Antananarivo by a path very frequented by the bourjans.
    Still further south, the trade items collected in the Mahanoro area are managed by sailboats on Mananjary by the Foreign Houses and on Toamasina by the French merchants. The main exports are rice, copal gum, raw raffia and empty bags made with this product.
    In the south-east of the Great Island, trade by the French is weak. This is mainly due to the lack of direct communication between the two ports of Mananjary and Fort-Dauphin, and France. Thus, most of the products to be exported from these two provinces are directed to the London markets. A certain quantity is also shipped on the monthly steamer from the Castle Line to Hamburg. ” Thanks to
    Foreigners not only take advantage of the trade of the South but are also the only importers of raw materials which find an easy outlet for the indigenous population


    By the end of the nineteenth century, Madagascar has many more or less important commercial ports (Bulletin of the Committee of Madagascar, 1898).
    In the north-west of the Great Island, in Nosy Be, the port is a center Hellville
    quite big business. The ships of the company maritime couriers are calling twice a month to go and return. After the passage of mail from France (one), it is also the terminus of the cabotage operations carried out by the small steam mpanjaka serving the West Coast stops and loads the main products of the region.
    Many dhows put in Nosy Be relationship with Great land and Comoros. On the coast to Mahajanga, trade is in the hands of Indians who are supplied in English or German goods and Bombay tissues. Two major German trading houses are then installed in Nosy Be, Oswald et Cie House and Ostrafrikanische Deutsch Gesellschaft.
    Further south, Mahajanga. Given its position in the Mozambique Channel and thanks to its excellent harbor, Mahajanga is destined to become one of the head ends of the road to Antananarivo and is called to a commercial future. A beautiful pathway, course Betsiboka, allows small vapor reaching Suberbieville (near Maevatanàna) to 200 km inland, for nine months of the year.
    From this point in Antananarivo, the path followed by the CEF improved rapidly and the commercial power that existed under the Merina monarchy, between the Boeny and the Central Plateau, soon to resume and increase as the security is restored in the country.
    The location of Mahajanga puts the port in easy relations with southern Africa. It is set to become an important outlet for certain products of Madagascar, such as food animals, food, fresh vegetables, peas Cape, etc.
    Some vapors owned trading houses (Mantes and Borelli, Oswald)
    frequently visit Mahajanga. The city is also stocked with goods dhows that move back and forth with Zanzibar and those taking advantage every year of the northeast monsoon, come directly from Bombay in March. They expect the southwest monsoon in August to join India, responsible for products
    Malagasy. These dhows are, in general, buildings of 90 to 120 tons, manned by crews of six to eight men. Twenty five to thirty approach every year in Mahajanga.
    smaller dhows also connect Mahajanga and Nosy Be in Zanzibar, Comoros, Morondava and Nosy Be. Similarly, a small steam maritime couriers carried out each month a return trip from Nosy Be Nosy Be, making the connection between this island and the Bay of St. Augustine in the extreme south of Madagascar, with stops in Mahajanga and Maintirano.
    South of Cape St. Andrew, in the Melaky region extending to height Barren Islands, one encounters several small ports, the principal, and Tombolarano Maintirano were large deposits of Kaffirs brought by slaves sailing ships from the coast of Africa. Later, four or five dhows continue these trips each year the monsoon December. The occupation of this coast by French troops will end this traffic.
    Earth products now replace slaves. The herds of cattle are one of the riches of the region where there is also rubber, ebony wood, wax and peanuts. An American house Boston is once introduced gunpowder and flintlock guns in large quantities. Then the trade is in the hands of the Indians and a few Arabs and Comorians. Only the rubber is embarked on the SS Annex maritime couriers, other products being loaded onto dhows.
    After Boeny and Melaky, other smaller ports line the Menabe to the south of Great Island, but their commercial importance is well established.

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