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If Toliara’s fortune comes “without doubt” from his role as royal residence, a gradual decline in the authority of sovereigns is seen in the nineteenth century. In the east, the bara push limits the kingdom to the coastal zone. But the essential fact comes from the North. A war (Vezo-Masikoro after Fr. Engelvin) led to the total destruction of the city in 1860.
The defeated king Lahimiriza is very young when he succeeds his grandfather, and his uncles seize power while the child takes refuge with a relative, the king of the Bara-Imamono. A few years later, the young man beat his uncles near Toliara and regained his title. However, it seems to lose all control over the area north of Manombo.
This royal authority will be more limited under his son Tompomanana by the centralizing will of the merina monarchy. Already in 1835, a merina expedition is sent against the Bara with 5,000 men led by Rainiharo. This one detaches a thousand soldiers under the leadership of Raombalahimaso towards Saint-Augustin. The expedition arrives a few days after the affair of the “Voltigeur” ​​and must fall back before the hostility of the population.
Four more expeditions will be organized thereafter. The settlers of Toliara and Saint-Augustin gradually took refuge on the islet of Nosy Ve, believing thus to avoid the usual vexations and royalties. Despite requests from Tompomanana, nothing is paid. In 1888, nearly 500 Antefiherenana stormed the islet and seized the goods. Since the Treaty of 1885, the Queen of Madagascar is recognized by France, represented by Le Myre de Vilers, as responsible for the Great Island. An expedition is quickly decided, but the first attempt fails on the Onilahy. A second one will take place in 1889. Six hundred men embark at Morondava on the Normandy and descend to Toliara on March 8th. Talks are opened with the representatives of Tompomanana who will not give up and is ready to fight. Rainimiadana, leader of the expedition, prefers to re-embark and take refuge in Andranompasy.
But a third expedition is being prepared. Entrusted to Prince Ramahatra, cousin of Ranavalona III, more than 900 men embarked at Fort-Dauphin always on the “Normandy”. On January 6, 1890, Ramahatra arrived in front of Toliara. Negotiations failed, the city was bombed and burned. Then an embassy charged with exposing the peaceful intentions of the queen is sent to Tompomanana who agrees to treat and bind by the oath of blood with Ramahatra. Since then, free trade has been granted to Europeans at a customs duty of 10% ad valorem. The proceeds of these taxes must be shared between Tompomanana and the Government of Madagascar. A merina governor and a military post are located in Toliara, customs offices in Soalary, Sarondrana, St. Augustine, Toliara, Ranobe and Manombo.
Everything seems resolved. However, things were spoiled as early as 1891. The governor of Toliara had not paid the king his share of customs duties. As he goes to the royal residence near Manombo, he falls into an ambush and wounded, joining Toliara with great difficulty. Immediately the posts of the Onilahy were attacked and Toliara was assailed by 200 men, whom only the artillery could repel. A final expedition was thus decided: 820 men landed in the city in July 1891. “In fact, it was mainly Betsileo not always voluntary; There have been desertions, but the reinforced post will no longer be attacked. Nevertheless, the vezo population no longer cooperates completely with the governor who is supplied by the Bara with whom he has excellent relations and which he even helps militarily in 1894 to capture Sakaraha.
When the French forces arrived in 1896, the merina garrison was transformed into a native guard. However, the indomitable Tompomanana organizes resistance for a few months. Thus, during the first visit of General Gallieni in July 1897, he refuses to see him. Tompomanana died the following year around the age of 60 and was buried in the royal tomb near Miary.