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


The first European who visited Antananarivo, the French Mayeur sent by Benyowski, arrived in the city in 1777. On this occasion he wrote: “Europeans who frequent the coasts of Madagascar will find it difficult to believe that the center of The island, at a distance of 30 leagues from the sea, in a country hitherto unknown surrounded by savage and raw tribes, there is more light, more industry, a more active police than on the coasts. The people of Madagascar have as much natural intelligence and so much ability to work … “
Ninety years after the division of the kingdom into four by the great monarch Andriamasinavalona, ​​Antananarivo regains its unity and its leading role. In 1787, the principality of Ambohimanga fell to young Ramboasalama, “the vigorous dog,” which predictions proclaim as a great king. Knowing that he bears “the happy blessing of his ancestors,” he undertakes to impose his authority in order to unify the Emyrne.
Gifted with “superior intelligence in the service of an active energy” (Urbain-Faurec), equitable and beneficial towards his people, Andrianampoinimerina, the lord-
At the heart of the Imerina, undertook the conquest of the city of the Thousand. Not having succeeded by the pacific means of marrying the daughter of the rival sovereign, he caused the city to be stormed.
Antananarivo was taken only in 1794, on the third attempt. The success of the final assault would have led the king to pronounce these words of wise policy: “Pillage only chickens; The kingdom is mine and all Merina are my children. He thus reconnects with the tradition of unity and greatness of the merina kingdom bequeathed by the ancestor Andrianjaka to his successors. “The Royal Rova is in the center of Antananarivo; Antananarivo is in the center of the Emyrne; It is necessary that the Emyrne should become the center of an immense kingdom which has no limit except the sea. “
The restoration of the monarchy dates from the capture of Antananarivo, whose second foundation, by Andrianampoinimerina, marks the end of the internecine struggles with the re-establishment of the Hauts-Plateau unit. All the tribes are subdued and the fiefs annexed, the war is carried to a foreign country until the peace is firmly established.
Then the great king, “illiterate but brilliant”, repeats in his many kabary, his program which takes his people back to the land and is summed up in the struggle against famine.
“The wars are over, the country is pacified … and besides, as long as there are men in my kingdom, I fear no living being … My only enemy is famine and the one who does not work , Pacts with the enemy and opens the doors of the country … “
Or: “Plant rice and put in a lot of manure; Plant cassava, potatoes, corn … The roots of manioc are the columns of my empire, they are my soldiers in the battle against famine … “
Otherwise: “If a man wants to change fields, it is a pretext for doing nothing; All the fields of my kingdom are equal; The Merina are eggs that must not change from incubators … “
Andrianampoinimerina then institutes a very military organization of agriculture which strengthens its dominion. He installed in the city 1,000 soldiers recruited from the main clans of the north of Imerina: the Tsimahafotsy who do not despise Ambohimanga, the Tsimiamboholahy who do not turn Ilafy, And the Mandiavato who walked on the stones of Ambohitrabiby. He groups them under the name of Voromahery, the Falcons.
The guard posts of 100 men will serve as advanced bastions to the city. And to meet the needs of a population greatly increased by this influx of settlers, the king resumes work to develop the plain of Betsimitatatra abandoned by civil strife.