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The question that the French posed in 1895 was whether to establish a protectorate based on the merina government or several protectorates according to the great tribes whose number they estimated between 10 and 12. A. Martineau cites in particular the example Of the Sakalava, faithful allies of the French, but who are still unable to have an ordered and responsible government.
However, this second hypothesis is not very effective. According to the author, by opting for the multi-protectorate formula, the French will sooner or later return to that of a single government. Rather than embark on “unnecessary experiments and considerations of
Feelings that do more harm (…) immediately create a lasting organization “. That is to say, a protectorate under Merina domination, but “under our sovereign and almighty control” where taxes return, justice is restored, the police assured.
A. Martineau, like the French residents, refuted, however, once more, the fact that the Sakalava were allies and friends of France. He recalled that before 1895 the inhabitants of the north-west, from the point of Ambato to Anorotsangana, declared their friendship with France, but in the hope of obtaining protection against the Merina. And once they are defeated, they turn against their protectors.
Inland, the Sakalava do not know France. The explorer Gautier one day asked one of the chiefs established in the valley of the Mahajamba, what he thought of the Franco-Merina treaty of 1885 and the French policy in Madagascar: he ignored this convention. As for France, he heard about it for the first time.
In reality, in 1895, the services rendered by the Sakalava to the French were reduced. Thus, the kings of the bay of Ampasindava refuse to give them porters and conveyors, arguing that they do not want to compromise themselves with respect to the Merina. They add that they fear that the French will abandon them to the latter when, once again, they will decide to leave the Great Earth.
The Sakalava chiefs do not give volunteers either, “even if it is true that there exists in the expeditionary corps a battalion of skirmishers sakalava constituted at Diego-Suarez for several years”.
But according to a Reunion newspaper of January 16, 1895, in this battalion “the sakalava element has almost disappeared to give way to the Comorian element, now dominant numerically”.
The Sakalava do not exceed a hundred men, and again, they are recruited into the French possession of Nosy Be and not on the Great Earth. At least the contingent is very small.
A. Martineau even makes a point: “The few Sakalavas enrolled under our colors are rather Macquois (Makoa) than Sakalava properly so called. The Macquois are negroes of the coast of Mozambique, transported to Madagascar as slaves, and become free in the sequel; They are mostly spread between the bay of Ambavatoube and Majunga. They are Africans, they are not Malagasy. It has been announced, however, that the Sakalaves had powerfully helped us after the capture of Marovoay, and the flattering assessments were not spared to them. We see what their concurrence is. “
A. Martineau continues his criticism by speaking of the “submission” of the Sakalava chiefs to General Metzinger. They are chiefs, “whose authority is reduced, and who, like Prince Salim (before being a political leader, he was a foreman at Suberbia) wants to benefit from the passage of the French column in the Boeny and obtain from it Beautiful lamba and some small change “.
And to conclude: “Before making vassalage, the Sakalava chiefs waited for our success. They made submission after the passage of our troops and not before we
So that they did not bring any political support to General Metzinger. In reality, they bowed before the accomplished facts. “