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The Treaty of Paris of 30 May 1814, while putting an end to the hostilities which have almost uninterruptedly opposed the European powers for twenty years, also endeavors to delimit and reconsider their sphere of colonial influence. In particular, with regard to Franco-British rivalries.
Article 8 stipulates that “the colonies, fisheries, trading posts and establishments of every kind which France possessed on January 1, 1792, in the seas and on the continents of America, Africa and With the exception of the islands of Tobago and Sainte-Luce, and the isle of France and its dependencies, namely Rodrigues and Seychelles, would be returned within the time limit Cape of good hope “. According to Jean Valette, archivist-paleographer, in spite of its clarity, this article provoked many difficulties on the part of England-at least some of its agents.
“This was particularly the case for the dependencies of the Isle of France among which
Sir Robert Farquhar placed Madagascar. This, through a proclamation dated 27 April 1815 which confirms the laws and ordinances promulgated by the governor of Mauritius and its dependencies. This interpretation obviously provoked sharp protests on the part of General de Bouvet, Governor of Bourbon Island, a possession which Sir Robert Farquhar gave to France under the treaty of April 1815.
The result was an exchange of correspondence between Paris and London. By despatch of
18 October 1816 Lord Barthurst, British Secretary of State for the Colonies, informed Sir Robert Farquhar that the English Government did not recognize its interpretation. He enjoins him “to take the necessary measures to hand over to the French authorities at Bourbon, the establishments which the French Government possessed on the coasts of the island of Madagascar at the aforementioned time”.
But the governor of Mauritius does not understand it, and argues that Madagascar does not belong to France at all. He wrote to his minister in November 1816:
Government did not possess anything, it did not appear that there was anything to be handed over. This interpretation is also rejected by London.
Moreover, the governor of the Isle of France- “who scarcely believed in the solidity of the latter” -struck a third, which consists in saying that “Madagascar belonged neither to France nor to France, England, but to the Malagasy themselves, and that consequently it depended on the latter to authorize such and such a power to establish themselves at home. ” Until then, there has been no formal and, above all, official relationship between the Imerina Court, which is still confined to a very restricted territory and the Indian Ocean, and the Vazaha. Only contractors enter Antananarivo. Some even make friendships with the great Andrianampoinimerina, then his son and successor, Radama Ier.
Desirous in turn to enter into relations with the King of the Imerina, Sir Robert Farquhar decides to use to reach one of these contractors, Chardenoux. The latter resided for many years in Madagascar and made several trips to Antananarivo. Chardenoux was sent to the King of Merina with “very remarkable and precise instructions” in order “to put him discreetly and progressively acquainted with Sir Robert’s intentions and to probe his own intentions and reactions to such a project” .
The mission of Chardenoux (as his character) to Radama Ier attracts the attention of some historians. Guillaume Grandidier (1942) distinguished two characters, named Chardenaux, a treating, and the named Chardenoux who is the envoy of Sir Robert Farquhar. Henri Deschamps (1960), meanwhile, confuses in one the two characters he calls Chardenaux. Ackerman (1833) or Macé-Descartes (1846) did not know the existence of the Chardenoux mission and made Lesage the first envoy of the governor of Mauritius.
It is not the same with English authors. Ellis mentions, first, the dispatch of the negotiator Chardenoux to Antananarivo. And in 1936, E. Howe uses many original documents and speaks at length about the role of Chardenoux.