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Madagascar
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Educated by the lessons of the past, King Tsimiaro of the Antankarana must be more circumspect from 1850, due to the pressures and risks of reprisals of the Merina as well as the French and the others. According to the historian Micheline Ramiaramanana (International Colloquium of History from 27 July to 1 August 1987 in Antsiranana), he will nevertheless try to take advantage of the advantages that can be offered to him.
The possibility for Tsimiaro to reside about thirty kilometers from the Grande Terre in Nosy Mitsio, a island under the protection of the French and out of the direct range of Merina attacks, gives him a certain latitude of movement that he would not have If he had lived in the immediate vicinity of the conquerors. Although this advantage is important, the high number of island populations, who are obliged to regularly visit Grande Terre for their crops and herds, does not allow them to maintain a permanent state of war. “The resulting insecurity and impoverishment would lead in the medium and long term to a widespread famine, of which Antankarana would be the main victims. “
For the Merina, reversion does not mean renunciation, “but the need to reconcile both the firm intention to integrate the region into the Kingdom of Madagascar, and the material impossibility of controlling it entirely by a systematic grid, also dictates to them A policy based not only on strength but also on persuasion “.
The necessary concessions are embodied in acts of good will. Thus in 1853, when two merina soldiers from Sisaony and Avaradrano deserted and took refuge in Nosy Mitsio, the king had them brought back to Ambohimarina by Lohavohitra (village chiefs). The latter are responsible for reassuring the authorities of his good intentions, considering himself an Ambaniandro (Merina), a child of Ranavalomanjaka (Ranavalona Ire, 1828-1861), having already taken the oath of fidelity (velirano) and offered the hasina Or the whole piastre, a symbol of recognition and confirmation of the royal power. The two deserters, later tried for conspiracy, are condemned to death by hanging, in order to dissuade
Possible deserters.
In 1854, the king of Antankarana delegated his representatives to Ambohimarina to attend the feast of Fandroana, an obligatory occasion for the great ones of the Kingdom of Madagascar and those who exercise some authority to renew their oath of allegiance. The governor took advantage of the festivities to offer food to the delegation. “Nevertheless, it should be noted that, in spite of the invitations addressed to him and his promises to honor them, Tsimiaro avoids and carefully avoids surrendering himself to a merina garrison, for prudence, no doubt, Good words. “
Unsurprisingly, it is not surprising that it is not uncommon for declarations of intent to be immediately denied by acts. Indeed, at the same time as gestures of good will, skirmishes can continue on both sides. The
Repeated raids by the Betanimena (a group of Betsimisaraka allies of the Merina) against the Antankarana decide their king and the princes of Nosy Faly to go to Nosy Be in August 1856, to inform the particular commander of an expedition against the Garrison merina of Anontsangana in the northwest of the country. For Antankarana, in fact, “there are no worse enemies and traitors than the Betanimena. The latter were associated with Antankarana in the traffics of African and Comorian slaves. They razed the eastern coast of Africa and the Comoros Islands and then sold them to Madagascar. By treaty, the Betanimena seized the Antankarana to sell them as slaves. This bad memory recounts and persists to this day. “
Many Sakalavas declared themselves ready to march with the Antankarana, a total of 6,000 to 8,000 men. The particular commander, not knowing what could be based on the sounds circulating on a French expedition to Madagascar, asked them to defer their project to avoid a complication of the situation.