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


When the antakarana king Tsimiaro succeeded his father Tsialana I in 1832, the power he inherited is far from easy to assume. At least this is what the historian Micheline Rasoamiaramanana (International Colloquium of History, in Antsiranana in 1987) mentions when discussing the relations of this antakarana king with the Merina and the French.
Indeed, she said, in a region marked since the end of the seventeenth century by political upheavals, invasions from the Sakalava country and internal wars, the exercise of supreme authority “obtained by agreement or eviction” can not Than hatred and persistent rivalry. This is complicated by the fragmentation of the kingdom due to successive divisions, the problems of territorial jurisdiction and the invasion of the country in the first half of the nineteenth century.
Tsimiaro, grandson of Lamboeny, was then about thirty years old and belonged to the so-called Ambatoharanana antakarana royal branch. And if he inherits a power torn by force from his father to his uncle Boanahajy (Rabona) in 1809 – it is also a kingdom strongly weakened since the Merina eruption in 1823, followed by the obligation to The Tsialana king to recognize their sovereignty. All attempts to repress them prove futile, facilitated by “pusillanimous subjects and the impotence or even inertia of his peers and allies.”
Initially, however, King Tsimiaro enjoys the support of the Antakarana majority as a “symbol and guarantor of continuity”. In addition, he has qualities of intelligence, energy and bravery that, when used well, will revive the courage of the most defective and rally the adversaries. Without forgetting his knowledge of the Ankarana, country of mountains and caves that offer many natural shelters, which can possibly facilitate the attacks and the war of attrition.
In front of him are the Merina, who, despite the fear they inspire, can not hide their weaknesses due to their limited number, their isolation in the garrisons far from their countries, the lack of real support while waiting for the troops of relief …
However, in order to benefit from all his assets, Tsimiaro must reduce the internal dissensions and organize the unorganized and ill-armed mob of able-bodied men mobilized.
This is to be able to oppose a concerted resistance to the cohesion of the invaders who have an army of trade, trained in fire and obedience and tactical elements since the opening of the Imerina to the West.
In addition, the Merina designate the prince bemazava Tsimandroho to command the population gathered around the garrison of Iharana (Vohimaro), which poses a problem of authority.
“Certainly, the many centuries-old presence of Islamists of Swahili culture on the northern coasts of Madagascar and along the eastern coast of Africa has created affinities and ties with the Antakarana royal family. But the more mercantile and warlike activities of these Islamized men, limit their role to that of advisers and their support to moral support. “
The conquerors thus inaugurated a policy of domination which proved its worth, since by making the laws of succession and putting the old saying “divide and rule” on the agenda, their intervention contributed to complicate the relations between the different Princes and above all to strengthen their domination.
According to Guillain, Tsimiaro always feeds and feeds “a profound hatred and a strong desire for vengeance” for having violated the soil of his ancestors and damaged his dignity as a king. Nevertheless, he remains cautious opting for conciliation pending vengeance opportunities. Beginning in 1835, he took advantage of a situation which temporarily puts an end to internal dissensions in order to open hostilities. But if he succeeded in reconquering a large part of his country, he soon encountered problems already known to his father:
“The lack of cohesion of the insurgent princes and the superiority of the Merina transformed his initiative into a rash act and forced him to abandon the Great Earth and its natural fort, located in the caves of the karst massif known as the Tsimiaro hole to To the small archipelago of the Mitsio Islands with 5,000 (according to Dalmond) of its faithful in 1840 “.