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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.