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#379
Madagascar
Keymaster

The reorganization of markets throughout Imerina and neighboring regions such as Vakinankaratra and Betsileo is accompanied by a series of regulations. This occurs at the end of the pacification and reunification of the Imerina by Andrianampoinimerina.
The latter solemn decrees, among other things, that in the daily as well as in the weekly markets, the location of each class of goods must be distinct. The goal is that these products do not encroach and that merchants do not
Do not compete with the well-located places, easy access for the customers. The priority is the one who settles first, “mahatsindry toerana”.
The categorization of products is necessary to facilitate the maintenance of order and prohibit street vendors, but also not to “mix towels and dishcloths”. The king particularly warns the owners of cattle against the wandering of their animals, for the latter are liable to cause accidents: their location, which is always at a distance from the market, must be respected.
The same is true of carpenters. If they walk with their boards on their shoulders, they can hurt people. It is the same with the merchants of pots (in earth). If they mingle with the crowd, they can trap (“mamandrika”) those who inadvertently break their utensils and they would demand reimbursement from them.
As a general rule, merchants must also practice weighted prices, which are neither too expensive nor too cheap. For the King, in fact, in the first case, no one will be able to have access to the products put up for sale and “there is no point in obstructing the market”. In the second case, it considers the goods to be stolen and “both the seller and the buyer will be guilty”. Moreover, no product to be sold must be hidden under the lamba or under the stall, let alone be sold “on parole” (manao tondro-molotra), since the object is not visible, it is therefore in Made a deal of dupes.
As for dealers, it is up to them to calculate the price they want to display, because “winners or losers will have to respect the agreement with their creditor”.
Other regulations decreed by Andrianampoinimerina concern monetary units, weights and measures to the official standards that previously did not exist. In any trade, in any commercial operation, all kinds of scales are used, but they vary from one user to another and their oscillations are completely deregulated.
As a weight, there are pebbles of all sizes on which it is difficult to agree. This can only provoke fights where the law of the strongest imposes itself. So the king decides to create the official balance, unique, with iron weights. This work is carried out by the Andriandranando. It is the royal blacksmiths who have already made the manufacture of weapons and tools.
The use of these weights is subject to their corresponding value. The basic unit is the “vary dimy venty”: it is the weight of 5 grains of rice or 25 centimes. The variraiventy is the weight of a grain, the equivalent of the 27th part of the dollar. There follow the “voamena” (24th part of the piastre), the “sikajy” (8th part), the “sikajy dimy” (3 / 8th). The “venty” is the equivalent of the 1 / 6th part of the piastre, the “iraimbilanja” (1 / 5th part), “kirobo” (1/4 of a dollar), “sasanangy” A piastre), “loso” (half piastre), “ariary” (a dollar), “vata” (a box for measuring rice and, in general, it has the capacity of a double decaliter), “refy” The breast (in Madagascar it is 1m82 or two yards), “zehy” (a span is the interval between the tip of the thumb and that of the little finger), “dia” (one foot or 0.32 m) , “Vehana” (space between the tip of the thumb and that of the index finger in their wide gap), “anky” (space between the thumb and curved index).
Thus, if one descends below “voamena”, rice grains are used as weights, for those of iron weigh so heavy that their monetary value are very high: with 5 iron weights one can buy a zebu in The Betsileo.
The “menalefona”, or “vata” measuring rice, is also launched on the market to replace the smaller one of Andriambelomasina. As for the linear measurements, the refy, the zehy, the dia, the vehana and the anky are applied according to the length of the objects and the soil to be measured.