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#386
Madagascar
Keymaster

The merina colonization in the western region of Vakinankaratra is being questioned during the period 1865-1889. It seems to be due to a situation within the province, which is not conducive to effective border surveillance. Other local factors are added.
The first is the migratory movement of the Bara tribes which began in 1850 in the South of the Great Island, gradually reaching the more northerly western zones. Under these pressures, it is possible that the Sakalava peoples are forced to move and thus to move closer to the zones of Merina colonization. “The sakalava turbulence would only have benefited from this conjuncture, on the other hand, the upsurge of brigandage” (J.-M. Marchal).
This causes on all the western fronts of colonization merina, periods of incursions. Thus Father Dubois (“Monograph of the Betsileo”) reports bara attacks in the South of Betsileo from 1811. The Bara seasonally invade the kingdom of Manandriana from 1882. Later, it is in the kingdom of Isandra de Undergo the combined attacks of Bara and Sakalava to which brigands betsileo join. “Despite guns and soldiers the fahavalo (enemies) continue their exploits. This was between 1887 and 1892. “
In the Middle-West, M. Maistre, a member of Dr. Catat’s mission, wrote in July 1889: “On the eve of my arrival in Ankavandra, I met all the Hova population of Andranonandriana who emigrated to Antananarivo. The Sakalava had attacked the post a few days earlier and the Hova had been forced to evacuate it … The whole country was at war, from Beticho, which was attacked two days after my arrival, to Imanandoza … In Tsiroanomandidy, Was obliged to wait fifteen days for a pass from the Hova government; The governors of the frontier posts being ordered not to let any foreigner pass without special authorization. “
Speaking of the district of Bevato, Lieutenant de Cointet notes in 1897: “There are only 500 souls in the whole district … the country was apparently much more populated in the past … it included 5,000 individuals before the Sakalava incursions that have ruined it. They would have kidnapped 2,000 oxen and 80 people in a single expedition a few years ago. “More to the west, he notices that the spaces between the border posts are almost deserted.
But before the other tribes of the west coast, the Sakalava of Betsiriry undertake their devastating raids. They have an advantage. Never submitted even temporarily, they have always been able to maintain contacts with the foreigners who follow their coast. Morondava and the estuary of the Tsiribihina are frequented by ships of all kinds which, in exchange for slaves and meat supplies, offer weapons in return.
It also appears that in 1883, the French provided the Sakalava with effective aid because of the
War they maintain against the merina monarchy.
The second factor is a “slackening” of the Merina military organization due to the inability of local leaders and favored by recruitment difficulties. Rainilaiarivony, appointed Prime Minister in 1864, reinstated the tax to maintain armies, decided conscription in 1878-79, and each province had to supply 5,000 men. It also institutes the “Friends of the villages” (Sakaizambohitra), a number of chiefs placed by the administration above the decision-making power of the Fokonolona. A reorganization of the garrisons follows, allowing the breeders to send their flocks to the West. The villages of “voanjo” (colonists) are multiplying and traders can
Move along the road to the forts. Finally, in 1889, the Prime Minister appointed
Province of governors.
But all this serves only to mitigate “the deficits of an internal state going degrading. ” AT
From 1883, when the government intensified its efforts to defend the ports in order to respond to a possible French attack, the administration was disorganized. It also appears that the officers in view are seeking honors in Antananarivo, while in the remote provinces, many others are not up to par. At least until the appointment of the governors in 1889.
According to Father Dubois, “the people of Isandra subjected to the incursions (1887-1892) thought of making war on the Bara and of asking the Queen what was necessary for the expedition.” But the officers merina, without referring to the Court, evoke financial difficulties and the capital is only warned periodically of the situation on the confines betsileo.