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Madagascar News Forums The Transformation of Antananarivo Reply To: The Transformation of Antananarivo


Governor General Gallieni, after having accomplished a trip in several regions of the Great island in 1901, notes the presence of merina and betsileo emigrants in the littoral zones. In the same year, he asked the heads of provinces to give the exact situation of this migration on the basis of a questionnaire. Two years later, it does supplement the results with another survey, but it does not provide new information
However, this study insists on one point: Betsileo and especially Merina remain very attached to their dead and their tombs.
According to Raymond Decary and Rémy Castel, chief and scientific administrators, “One of the main concerns of the migrant of the Hauts-plateaux is the fear that after his death his body is not transported into the ‘Fasana’ of the family. In the past, it was not uncommon to see the Merina of the coast falling sick or victims of an accident, to set out to return to the central region, without even worrying about They were in a condition to bear the fatigue of the journey. “
Later, the regulations make it easy (minimal formalities) for the exhumation and translation of mortal remains by allowing the multiplication of
“Famadihana”. But in 1901, the migratory motive remains the desire to become rich and this manifests itself under a double sign, commerce and culture, and the orientation of the displacements flows directly from it.
In the commercial sector, it is observed that the emigrants merina and betsileo radiate throughout the island in an identical way. “They settle in urban centers or villages, where they open shop; They buy native products from the soil and cattle skins, sometimes act as agents of export companies, and sell fabrics, manufactured goods, and rice. The sale of meat is almost exclusively in their hands. “
In the agricultural sector, the climate issue comes into play. The native of the Plateaux, who is very susceptible to malaria, is not well adapted to the damp heat of the eastern coast, which, however, due to its fertility, should exert a particular attraction on it.
“Of course, rice land is rare and the Ambaniandro is mostly rice farmer, but it could have, it should have been, tempted by the rich crops that some Betsimisaraka succeed
themselves. But their number in the Toamasina region is relatively low, decreasing from the South to the North, more unhealthy, with a minimum in the Mananara district.
On the contrary, towards the west and the northwest, the climate is warmer but drier and healthier, and does not oppose the physical work of the emigrants of the Plateaux who can
Find rice land in abundance.
But they do not indulge in rice cultivation alone. The cultivation of tobacco and Cape pea has long been developing in Morondava and Toliara, and most of the produce is produced by emigrants.
In the South-East and South, betsileo emigration predominates over that of the Merina, more visible in the North and the Northwest. In the extreme south, where the climate is healthy, it is particularly hard, emigrants are exclusively traders and their numbers are becoming scarcer. “The native population has, as in all Androy, been preserved practically pure from any mixture. “