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Madagascar News Forums Food for thought the domination of the Merina oligarchy

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    Nicolas Mayeur is undoubtedly one of the first Frenchmen to have visited Madagascar from the South to the North and penetrated the Center of the island. Born in 1747, he accompanied his parents to
    (Mauritius) in 1750, and then in Fort-Dauphin in 1762. He became friends with Tianjanahary, King of Foulpointe, where he worked as a slave trade from the East African The Comoros Islands and even Madagascar. Slaves who are landed at Mahajanga and are sent to the islands of Bourbon and Mauritius.
    He wrote travel journals, among others, on the history of the Sakalava (April-September 1774) and in the North, on the Antankarana in particular (November 1774-December 1775). All these trips he undertook as the clerk of Baron Benyowski, commander-in-chief, on behalf of the French king, Louis XVI.
    Thus, on the order of Benyowski, leaving Louisbourg in Antongil Bay, the
    On November 14, 1774, he went “to explore the North of the Big Island, passing by the Cape of Amber to reach the West, especially the part between the capes of Amber and San Sebastian, as well as the islands Which are located in the north-west (Nosy Be, Nosy Mitsio, Nosy Faly, Nosy Lava …). The objective is to sign treaties with the indigenous leaders, to renew everywhere the alliances already made and to set up trading establishments (…) “
    On May 12, 1775, he went to the village of Bemarivo on the right bank of the river of the same name, which belonged to Manjakarivo, the first cousin of Lamboeny, “chief of the Cape of Amber.” “On the 13th I made him a little present, which he approved, and he told me that he intended to accompany us to Lambouine’s. On the 14th, Mayeur is at Vohémar, a village dominated by a hill of the same name and to the south of which are two square stone buildings.
    “These monuments are not the work of the people of the country, so it is a tradition in them that they were built by whites who once inhabited this part of the island. There was then, according to them, a point of land which stretched very far offshore, and formed a very beautiful, very spacious and very safe port, where the ships were perfectly sheltered; But a strong hurricane having submerged the point, the harbor was destroyed and soon filled: a natural consequence of this disaster made the abandonment of the establishment and the retreat of the whites. “
    Departing from Vohémar on 4 June 1775, Mayeur sent letters to Lamboeny about his arrival and his intention to meet him. On the 9th the Mpanjaka urged us to go to Rondou, where we would be in all respects more convenient to await the end of the moon, and give it time to prepare lodgings and provisions of all kinds. In addition, he would send us some people to help transport our luggage. “
    Continuing their journey, Mayeur, his colleague Corby who joined him and their escort arrive on July 2 in a country that presents another aspect. The arid plain, tiring by its monotony, gives way to a heap of mounds. The next day, they climb a very steep mountain by very difficult paths that lead them into the city led by Tsirambo of the family of Lamboeny and located half a day of the capital of it. They are waiting for the news.
    “For two days he had been sent two men who were not returning. This extraordinary delay, joined to the advice we received about seven o’clock in the evening, which several chiefs of the province constantly intrigued with him, in order to put us in a bad light, made us take some precautions for the night. This chief always held on to us, but in the end, however, he could yield to the false insinuations of those around him, and prudence wished to be on his guard. So I put all my pots together and handed them ammunition. “
    The next day, Mayeur dispatched Tsirabe and two men to go and test the ground. He returns on June 6 and points out that Lamboeny is waiting for the French. On the 7th, on the strength of this information, they set off for Antsohihy, the residence of Lamboeny, and encamped at a few rifle ranges. “We received the invitation not to go further because that day was his bad day. The next day, the 8th of July, about ten o’clock, we went to him. The king welcomed foreigners, but, notwithstanding his good disposition, the day was announced with unfortunate auspices.


    In a study published in the Bulletin of Madagascar (October-November 1970), Lotte Schomerus-Gernböck gives some of his observations on betrothal marriage and divorce among the Mahafaly of Ampanihy West. According to him, in rural areas, marriage remains customary “for lack of identity papers and not for attachment to
    Traditions “.
    It is the parents of the girl, “rarely those of the young man,” who arrange the marriage. This rule is no longer respected today because, in principle, the union “is never concluded against the will of the future spouses”. The child is often engaged at the age of 6 to
    8, but all expect her to be “adult” (15-18 years) to organize the wedding.
    During this long period of engagement, the “valy folo” or fiancée remains close to her parents. Her fiance or stepfather visits her from time to time and brings her food, clothes, jewelry, and all kinds of gifts to her parents. But sometimes the father of the bride rejects these gifts by saying that her daughter is not lacking, that she is capable of taking care of her, of feeding and dressing her. “This has the advantage that the bride’s father owes no compensation to the boy’s family in case of engagement breaks. “
    Indeed, the father of a large and poor family, who accepts the gifts of a suitor, often for years, can no longer break the betrothal, even at the request of his daughter, because he can no longer reimburse the gifts Of the fiancé. “That is why wealthy parents prefer to wait until the girl’s reasonable age for the engagement. Unless she prefers to remain single until she finds herself a suitor.
    When a teenager becomes “adult”, like her unmarried brothers she receives from her father a hut for herself. “At this point, a control of the girl’s conduct is more difficult. For if a “sakaiza” (lover) visits him at night, he does not knock at the door. When, despite all the precautions, this visit does not remain unnoticed and if she is not yet engaged, she is sent to relatives in a remote village.
    When the parents have only suspicions without any evidence of their daughter’s misconduct, they try to get her married as soon as possible to her fiancé or the presumed lover. If the latter is already married, they try to convince him to take her for second wife (vady
    Masay) in order to avoid the birth of an illegitimate child, “which is still a shame for a family in the country today”.
    On the other hand, in the city and in some quarters, many parents no longer meddle in the private life of their children, “and an illegitimate child is no longer a shame but a burden”. The author observes that in some families an illegitimate child is adopted from birth by the elder brother of the young mother. She loses all rights to her child. This is not the case if it is the maternal grandmother who takes the child in charge.
    When a girl gives birth to a child whose fiancé is not sure of being the father, the latter “may cancel the engagement and claim the reimbursement of the gifts”. If he is “soa fanahy” (good character, generous), he agrees to take care of the child, but he is forbidden to ask for the name of the father.
    It often happens that men from other ethnic groups, such as single civil servants, live with Mahafaly youths for years. If children are born, they remain in charge of their mother when the man goes to other heavens and refuses to recognize them.
    When she marries, her husband usually refuses to take home all the children who must stay with the maternal grandparents. “A man wants to have children, of course, but it is his own children and not those of another. For if we often hear in Madagascar that a woman with children is more desirable than a woman without children, such a consideration is not valid among the Mahafaly


    When Andriamihaja dies, the queen appeals, to replace him, to two brothers of Radama, Ramarosata and Ratsimandresy. But as Ranavalona I is afraid that her brothers-in-law may foment a palace revolution-because, it is said, none of them propose to be her husband- she places at their side Ravoninahitra (Ngahivony) from the Tsimiamboholahy She appreciates very much and to which later she adjoins her brother Ratsimanisa.
    During his long reign (thirty-two years), Ranavalona Ire has many “mpitaiza andriana” (those who care for sovereigns), including the commander-in-chief of the royal troops who eventually become prime ministers. Generally they go in pairs, and one of them rises from her rank as husband of the queen, according to the rule which she has established.
    Beginning with the Tsimahafotsy Rainijohary and his brother Andrianitambola (Rainimanonga). The latter made very little mention of him, except that he was operated on by nose cancer by Dr. Milher Fontarabie, who had come especially from La Réunion in early October 1856, and whose rise in Antananarivo was used by the Jesuit fathers Jouen And Webber pretending to be his nurses. And when Ratsimanisa dies, the queen calls near her Rainiharo, son of the Tsimiamboholahy Andriantsilavo who helped put Andrianampoinimerina on the throne of Ambohimanga and supported him in his wars of pacification.
    Rainijohary and Rainiharo, before managing the affairs of the kingdom as co-prime ministers, are sent to make their military proofs in bara and sakalava countries, with no conclusive results. Rainiharo, for example, is only concerned with state affairs, where, contrary to what some officers say, he is more flexible and strongly attached to the kingdom than his counterpart Rainijohary. The latter, who had become husband of the queen, had, it is said, shown despotism and fanaticism. Some authors call it the “evil genius of the sovereign”, based on the 1857 event.
    That year, a plot was made against him, probably by Lambert or by the Menamaso, courtiers of Crown Prince Rakoto. But someone reveals everything to Rainijohary who benefits to compromise all Europeans, including Jean Laborde. It makes them all pass through the test of the tanguin administered on chickens. The birds do not survive, and all are banished, with the exception of Father Webber, whose chicken he spends in recognition of the care that this nursing priest gave to his brother Rainimanonja.
    Later, in 1861, he became involved in a conspiracy. When Ranavalona I
    Her nephew Ramboasalama, whom she had destined for her succession before the
    Birth of his son – wants to reign in the place of his cousin, Crown Prince Rakoto. As Ramboasalama is as fanatical as him, Rainijohary takes sides for him while Rainiharo supports the future Radama II. When the latter ascends the throne, he discovers the plot. But not wanting to defile the beginning of his reign with bloodshed, he only exiled Rainijohary and Ramboasalama.
    Seven years later, in 1868, Rainijohary found himself involved in the preparation of another palace revolution. The latter was conceived by a group of conservatives who wanted to elevate Prince Rasata, the grand nephew of Radama I, to the throne to succeed Rasoherina, who was then ill and believed that he was already dead.
    They also intend to reinstate as Prime Minister, Raharo or Rainivoninahitriniony, the deposed brother of Rainilaiarivony who became Prime Minister. The latter, fearing, according to certain reports, that Rainijohary did not return to the political scene, exiled him to Tsiatosika, near Mananjary, where he was degraded and a prisoner, and ended his career.


    The accession of Princess Ramavo, also known as Rabodonandrianampoinimerina, on the throne of Antananarivo in 1828, is a conflict between her opponents who want to raise Raketaka, the daughter of Radama I of her sakalava wife, Princess Rasalimo, and her Supporters including Rainimahay and Andriamihaja who help install it. Rainimahay was one of the great kingdoms of the early nineteenth century. He is the first Hova to attempt to take over the affairs of the kingdom. He did not succeed because he downplayed the strength of the young officer, Andriamihaja.
    The latter is a young protégé of Prince Ramanetaka who recommends him to Radama Ier. Very soon, he knows how to conquer the king’s friendship. And, no doubt, of this friendship and the favors which follow from it, after the death of the king, it is easy to supplant Rainimahay as commander-in-chief of the royal army with the rank of 11 honors , And is accepted as husband of the queen. He would, moreover, be the father of Rakoto-Radama.
    When he was appointed head of the royal troops, one of the great sages of the kingdom, Rainibetsimindrana, did not spare him the advice that, as a young officer and husband of the queen, he could play his part and assume his Responsibilities in dignity. This advice, in fact, concerns the qualities which he must demonstrate (flexibility and affability vis-à-vis the population, but also rigor in the application of the law).
    But the agreement does not last long between Ranavalona Ire and Andriamihaja, because of their two well-tempered characters. But also and especially because the other great ones, notably Rainiharo and the chief of the Voromahery Rabosela overwhelm Andriamihaja with slander, the least of which is to be jealous of his authority, the worst to take advantage of the feelings of the queen to treat her “like a Simple wife, a woman of the interior. ” In fact, they can not bear to see the queen under the influence of her husband.
    They manage to convince Ranavalona I to participate in a comedy that is not expected to end in a death. She will have to simulate the disease so that they can demand a general test of her relatives by the tanguin.
    The queen pretends to be ill for a few days and Andriamihaja is said to have forbidden her parents, including the “Twelve Wives” of sovereigns, the Andriambaventy and the chiefs of the Tsimahafotsy and the Tsimiamboholahy to see her. Then the queen demands their presence for a consultation by divinatory art, for “my illness is getting worse.” What is done.
    Two professional “mpisikidy”, the Zanadralambo Rainivaondriana and Razakanandriamidarohasina, are then used. After consulting, they spend the night thinking and, in the morning, try to engage the conversation with the sovereign. But she refuses, arguing a great fatigue.
    The soothsayers express their anxiety to the persons summoned by the Queen, all in the secret of this dismal comedy, and who propose to undergo an ordeal to determine “the author of the spell,” and to save the life of the queen. As, obviously, all survive, Andriamihaja is asked to pass, too, by the test of the tanguin.
    But at the request of the sovereign, the test takes place not in the open air, but in his home, in the Palace of Andafiavaratra, because “it is not anyone”. There he is administered the high dose of which he does not escape.
    Judged by some authors as an unjust and cruel being, Andriamihaja is presented by others as a fervent proponent of progress as his master Radama I, and Christianity. This would have explained the enmities of the conservative party. After him, it is said, there is a resurgence of paganism.


    The peace instituted in Imerina, Andrianampoinimerina decides to create the markets in place of Fihaonana. These are former meeting places established by the warriors to sell their booty of war.
    He twice assembled his subjects, at Andohalo and Antsahatsiroa, to announce the good
    New and encourage them to sell there all the products of the land, livestock, crafts, forest and even slaves. Except pork, alcohol and hemp which must not enter the center of the Imerina, but remain beyond the Ombifotsy to the west, Ambodinangavo to the east, Analaroa And Vakinisahasarotra in the north.
    A few days later, he assembled the Great of his kingdom to discuss the legislation
    To be applied in daily and weekly markets.
    Most of his advisers then suggest that he take a share of all the produce, from simple manioc to slaves. What the sovereign agrees.
    However, the sage Hagamainty rebels against this idea of ​​generalizing this sort of imposition, relying on the king’s speech in Andohalo and Antsahatsiroa. Among other things, it highlights the contradiction between the incentive of the subjects to be sold and bought, and the imposition of this rule on all products, which can only be demotivating.
    Andrianampoinimerina explained to Ambaniandro, another name for the Merina, the aim of the markets: to give everyone, especially the less affluent, the chance to make money by marketing their products, while demanding the rich, Beginning with the royal family, of “making the market live”. They will also find the stolen objects.
    However, the suggestion of the other great ones is against this objective. “You are imposing this rule, but we are the Great ones who collect the products on your behalf, taking our share as well.” This is enough to impoverish and drive away the merchants and thus close the markets. “Besides, even in the days of the Fihaonana, no leader of a clan, however bellicose, allowed himself to do so. “
    According to Hagamainty, in addition, taking part of the products offered for sale is tantamount to “sanctioning the innocent”, that is to say to pay a fine for an offense that they have not committed . “If you persist in applying this measure, what will you do with all these products? You will share them with your family, with your relatives, with us the Great, and we will be satisfied, our wealth will increase, but the people will ‘impoverish. “
    The wise counselor continued: “Simply put, why not close the markets and immediately seize all the goods of the Merina, because in fact we want to go against what was said in Andohalo and Antsahatsiroa, and betray the Ambaniandro »
    Turning to another aspect of the market, the clientele, Hagamainty, shows some reluctance regarding the probable behavior of the princes and the Great. The merchants, he wonders,
    Can they refuse without fear of selling their products to them if they bargain to buy at a derisory price or if they demand to pass in front of more humble customers
    In front of this tirade, the other great ones are silent, bewildered, somewhat scared. Yet the king was not troubled. On the contrary, he asks them to express their opinion in the same way as Hagamainty. But not knowing what to say, they ask Andrianampoinimerina a time of reflection. They return the next day without Hagamainty.
    The Tsimahafotsy Rabefiraisana speaks on their behalf and merely repeats, in a more
    Nuanced, the words of the wise counselor. What has the gift of enervating the sovereign who insists on having “your personal opinion.”
    Having nothing to add, another counselor, Rafiara, believes that it is necessary to call his absent peer. To which the sovereign, more and more irritated, retorts: “It is not the only Hagamainty that governs, but all of you. Unless you have no advice to give me! When you talk to yourself for the sake of your home, do you also need Hagamainty? “
    Nevertheless, without being disconcerted, a third, Ranoko, affirms that only an idea born of discussions is founded. But the king persists in having their opinion. Finally, they recognize that they share everything Hagamainty said.


    One of the great divisions of the sakalava country, the Menabe- “in which it is usual to encompass the Fiherenena and the Mailaka” (Regis Rajemisa-Raolison) – is an area of ​​ancient civilization.
    Two versions are given to explain the origin of the word Menabe. The first would go back before the time of Andriandahifotsy. One of the ancestors of this king, white of Arab origin, would have brought in Toliara (then Tolimaleva), a superb red bull called Menabe. He recommends his son to hang the horns of the animal on his grave at his death. “From that time onwards, the bull became the object of a special worship for the Sakalava, equal to that given to the sovereigns, and that this extent of country was called Menabe. “
    The known history of Menabe dates back to the days of Andriamandazoala and especially of his son Andriamisara. The latter established himself as king of Fiherenana, on the banks of the Saint Vincent River. Regarded by the Sakalava as their great ancestor deified after his death, Andriamisara is the object of a cult still alive today. His son and successor on the throne of Fiherenana, Andriandahifotsy, extends his power to the river Mangoky. And by his many struggles against the indigenous people of the region, the Antangondrosy, he is regarded as the true founder of the Sakalava dynasty.
    It is in his time that we place the second version of the origin of the word Menabe, “given to the new country he conquered, following the immolation of a red ox, the day before the Decisive battle that he had to win. “
    Andriandahifotsy has two sons. The elder, Andriamanetiarivo, founder of the Volamena dynasty, succeeded the kingdom of Menabe; The younger, Andriamandisoarivo, founder of the Maroseranana dynasty, will found, further north, the Kingdom of the Boeny. In Andriamanetiarivo, succeed several kings of Menabe, including Ramitraho.
    Of ancestry hova, the latter “is son of king Mikala or Andriantsoarivo, descendant of the Tantsaha of Ambohijanaka, retired to the Sakalava to make fortune at a difficult time to be determined”. Designated by his father to succeed him in 1812, Ramitraho first struggled against his two brothers, Olitasy and Kelisambay. Shortly afterwards he had to support two expeditions of Radama I in 1820 and 1822. The first was disastrous for the merina army, the second ended with his victory over the troops of Ramitraho on 13 June 1822 near the village of Mahabo.
    This success is consecrated by the marriage of Radama with Rasalimo, the daughter of King Ramitraho, and by a treaty under which the Hova can trade freely throughout the Menabe.
    For the record, Radama sincerely loved Rasalimo; He had two children, a boy, Rabobalahy, and a daughter, Raketaka, whom a party wished to put on the throne at his death in 1828. ” It was for Rasalimo that Radama had the Tranovola, the Silver Palace, built within the precincts of the Rova of Antananarivo.
    Tenacious as well as supple and cunning, Ramitraho does not however stand to be defeated in a definitive way. In 1825, he molested by his soldiers the hova colonists sent by Radama in the Menabe. It follows a new merina expedition the same year. Seeing the superiority of the Hova army, Ramitraho seized the opportunity of a skirmish in which one of his nephews was killed, to reject all the fault on his relative and make another gesture of submission to the King of Antananarivo, From which he sends his ambassador. “
    But the rancor of Ramitraho against the Merina is not extinguished for all that and had to burst after the death of Radama. Immediately, he allied himself with his brother Kelisambay – who withdrew to Mavohazo, while Olitasy went with Radama to Imerina – to attack the Merina. While his brother lynches these more to the north, Ramitraho attacks with his subjects the colonists merina of the region,. “The battle was very hot” and it was during this revolt for the independence of his territory that Ramitraho died in 1834. According to the sakalava custom, after his death, he was given the name Andriamahatantiarivo.
    His son Rainiasa, “wanting to look like an independent king,” 7,000 Hova invade his country again and takes it. He finally places himself “under the protection” of Ranavalona I. A large number of Sakalava will take refuge in Kelisambay, which they elect as king in Tsizimbongy. Refusing the presents brought by the ambassadors of Queen Merina, he again declared war on his troops, which subjected him to two attacks. He repulsed the first without too much expense, but at the second he was opposed by 2,000 men, and his army was routed. Kelisambay fled to the Fiherenana and died there in 1837. Note that the successive expeditions in Sakalava country, cost very dear Merina royalty.


    In recovering its sovereignty, the Great Island faces an imperative problem: to conquer its economic independence. Notably by industrialization in order to meet ever increasing needs, such as increasing individual incomes and making better and decent the standard of living of the population. In short, to raise the standard of living of everyone.
    With nearly 5.5 million inhabitants, half of whom are under 20 years old and an overall income of 25,000 CFA francs per year per person, the prospect seems encouraging, according to economist Désiré Robson. Provided that “the human labor potential has the means to develop productivity”. However, account must be taken of the fact that Madagascar is a predominantly rural country (86.5% of the population) and that in 1958, out of an overall production of 130 billion CFA francs, the industrial production is only 10, 5 billion and represents only an added value of 3.5 billion.
    More alarming is the situation of foreign trade where consumer goods account for 75% of total imports. Among these goods, foodstuffs are in a good position “with a more industrious spirit, we would have been able to produce locally at prices and qualities comparable to those of imported goods”. It should be said that a wide variety of articles is offered to the consumer, whose choice is guided not only by the utility, but also by “the attraction of the best presentation and the false guarantee of the high price”.
    This leads the economist to assert that a great effort must be made to educate the buyer so that he chooses the products both for their attractive appearance and for their serious quality. “Goods whose prices are not necessarily high and manufacturing not necessarily foreign. “A task that awaits local industries.
    At that time the number of companies was over 500. However, only about thirty employed more than 250 employees, and industrial production was provided by a limited number of modern, relatively concentrated companies. “It is delicate to appreciate in its totality given the multitude of semi-artisanal activities not working in series. “
    Thus, industry is not a great outlet for the unemployed. Its modernization consists in using machines that are precisely meant to supply and help the workforce. “Industrial activities mainly concern rice mills, light industries. Investment per job is relatively low: it is in the range of one to 1.5 million. “
    However, the integrated industry processing agricultural products offers, indirect or induced, two to five times more jobs than they use directly: for example, 2 000 employees in sugar mills correspond to 7 000 to 8 000 Other persons used since the production of sugarcane.
    In 1961 according to the statistics of the Ministry of Labor, the number of industrial employees stood at more than 1,700. The most important enterprises, in descending order, are sugar mills, mills, wood and furniture, textiles and mechanics. Studies dating back to the period reveal a structure of employment where the labor force occupies the indisputable preponderance. There are 55 to 60% of the total workforce, mainly by tobacco (67%), fatty substances (73%), sugar mills (65%). On the other hand, specialized workers are especially noted in the mechanical and electrical industries, textiles and chemistry.
    As of January 1, 1961, the labor force is estimated at 6,570 employers, including 440 women; 186,525 employees, including 34,150 women; 6,525 unsatisfied job seekers including 1,615 women; 2,350,000 unpaid family workers and self-employed persons, including 1,250,000 women.


    It is in his second letter to a Jesuit that he does not name, that Father Romain Marie-Joseph Deniau tries to explain the causes that caused their first expedition to fail in the Southwest of Madagascar. He concludes that seven reasons are probable, that he develops point by point.
    Among other things, he cites fear of aboriginal people. “We have been on the same point of the coast
    Or in several close places with a large staff and considerable equipment; Which really frightened the populations of those countries who fear nothing as much as an invasion by the whites or the Hova. All this has not helped to accredit the
    Lies and the whispers of the Whaler. “This is an American ship that arrived from Mauritius on June 27, 1845, and whose captain made a” propaganda “to the people -” who only wanted to listen to him “(Raymond Decary) Pressing “against the French.
    The missionary expedition also forms a considerable intrenchment. They surround the site, which was later to be used as a site for the construction of a church and a small hut. “This retrenchment, so innocent in itself, appeared to the inhabitants a means of attack and defense. It is thus, they said, that the Hova do when they want to seize
    of a country. “
    Finally, Father Deniau mentioned a conflict of interest. “There are traders who believe that the Sakalava, once civilized and educated, would offer less profit to their speculation. Or that the missionaries, aware of the resources of the country, would make them known to the public and that then many competitors would argue what previously was only the exploitation of few individuals. They have also contributed to the actions of the people against us. “
    “These are just as many obstacles that could hardly be seen until after the event. Certainly with so many causes of failure, we can only succeed by a miracle. “
    Father Deniau believes, however, that this should not lead to renouncing the mission of Madagascar. “One turns a position that one can not attack head on; We change our tactics and maneuver when we realize that, for the first time, we have taken wrong measures, and victory crowns perseverance. “
    Thus, for this Jesuit, one must take into account the fact that they were mistreated “as French supposed enemies” and not as missionaries. And suggest a new strategy.
    “By presenting ourselves with this second title, in small groups on points less in contact with Europeans, we can hope to be happier by making new tests. “Father Deniau then proposed the north where 40 to 50,000 Malagasies live and of which” most will become Christians when they will have the happiness to have missionaries. This is a vast field that opens before us. “
    Indeed, after a short stay in Bourbon, he left for Nosy Be. He arrived there at the beginning of November 1848, attended the revolt of 1849, of which he left a long and interesting relationship. It is in this island, at Tafondro, that it dies towards the middle of 1861.
    In the south-west, a new attempt to install was made in 1859 after the abandonment of Baly. Carried by the ship La Cordelière, Fathers Webber and Burger and Brother Remacle settled successively in Toliara, then in Salara on the south shore of the Onilahy. After a few months, again threatened with plunder and death, they still have to leave the country.
    But as Father Deniau says in one of his letters, “for the missionary after the salvation of souls and the extension of the kingdom of God, there is nothing more beautiful, more advantageous than being persecuted for The name of Jesus Christ.


    For visitors to Antananarivo, some local artistic productions present a curious and typical side.
    Robert Boudry says it in his “Art and Crafts Malagasy”: “Whoever arrives for the first time in the capital of the island makes first visit to the market of Zoma where he admires the ingenuity of all that s’ Offers to his sight: hornbirds and sparteries, rabbits and lambamena of silk with shimmering colors, wooden objects and statuettes, small rustic pottery coated with graphite, marquetry, watercolors … Most often, he leaves the city without having seen anything else That these objects, more or less marketed, which do not fail to please him. It would indeed be unjustified to judge the art of the Hauts-plateaux solely on the basis of such productions, the cost of which derives from the teaching given to the workshops of the Malagasy applied arts. “
    The amateur of art and curiosity, he will look for the old object as the best testimony of the local artistic capacities. “The Palaces and Museums will teach him. “
    The wood of merina beds, “which is particularly cited as an example when we speak of Malagasy art,” form strips about two meters long, of hardwood of a reddish brown and dark, engraved to the line Or carved like bas-reliefs. They emerged at a time when European influences were beginning to be felt, “but it must be easily recognized that the craftsmen of that period, if they were inspired by a foreign technique, have attained true art.”
    The earliest of these woods date back to the time of Radama I. They use many motifs: geometric drawings imputed in general to Arab influences; “Rosette” astral with six branches, solar “rosaceas”, inscribed squares representing the Babylonian “ziqqurat”, “waves” of the primitive cosmogony and “trees of life” which denote their distant Chaldean origin, The profane their magic meaning four millennia old “.
    We can also see on these bedsteads the ox, the guinea fowl, the men … but the most remarkable ones that are not the oldest are those that represent children going to school, rows of musicians, Soldiers and ladies of the Court in a bell-shaped dress wearing an umbrella, riders with a bicorne hatched …
    Iron is used for the manufacture of candlesticks, of which “elegance” does not fail to attract foreigners. “A special mention must also be made of very old soapstone candlesticks, a soft stone which hardens in the air, and which the fat of burnt beef has covered with a reddish patina. “
    Very sought after also are the traditional silk gowns, hand-woven “lamba” and “remarkable”. The silk of the “landibe” furnishes a fairly beautiful raw material, though a “deafened tone”: of a yellowish gray, it is easily dyed in dark red, and is used to weave “lambamena” or shrouds.
    Towels woven in “landikely” or natural silk from Europe, colored in bright colors, are often formed of three strips of silk with red, green or blue stripes, the central strip being embroidered, with the ends trimmed with fringes. “The lambamena are among the most pleasing productions to be found here. And if the technique of silk and the use of stripes seem to have an Asian, Indonesian origin, the geometrical designs which decorate them, the embroideries and the stylized plants have affinities with the art of the Near East. “
    However, artistic evolution is most evident in Antananarivo in painting, beginning with the arrival of the first Europeans.
    First, the wall paintings of the Tranovola in the Royal Rova: “they have the charm of some romantic decorations, but are treated in an exotic way. The subjects they use, decorative motifs, vegetables, characters, crowds, create an atmosphere similar to that of bed-wood, “which is more the atmosphere of an epoch than the expression of a purely Malagasy feeling. Nevertheless, this work, unfortunately unique, is original because the artist knew how to draw inspiration from a technique without being enslaved by it. “
    But it was from 1930 that an “interesting” movement in the field of painting took shape in the capital, prompted in large part by the arrival of the scholars of painting and sculpture who gave courses and Students. Young artists draw inspiration from these masters, each according to their own qualities and “the result is often happy