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


Every author especially the foreigners, have a rather tortuous vision of the royalty, or more exactly of the queens under the government of Rainilaiarivony. If the period between the protectorate (1895) and the colonization (1896) remains undecided, according to Jean Valette, archivist-paleographer, to understand the situation of the time it is necessary to go back to 1863.
Radama II then reigned over the Imerina. Crazy about Western civilization, very human but light and overconfident, the monarch was assassinated by a “coterie of soldiers and wealthy bourgeois”. The authors of the regicide represent an oligarchy which, worried about the favors that Radama II grants to Europeans, fears for its privileges and concludes that only its disappearance can protect them.
The leader of the conspiracy, Raharo or Rainivoninahitriniony who is not a noble but a commoner (Hova) places on the throne Rasoherina, a descendant of Andrianampoinimerina, the founder of the monarchy, and marries her. Subsequently, he is in turn overthrown by his own brother, Rainilaiarivony who takes the title of Prime Minister. He also married the queen, then at the death of the latter, Ranavalona II and finally Ranavalona III. Rainilaiarivony-le-Hova is thus the husband of three sovereigns.
“Rasoherina translates into chrysalis. Ranavalona is the piece of cloth folded. These names
Images were not necessary to mark the abasement in which the oligarchy had placed the crown. Let us remember that no law could be passed without the consent of the chiefs of the people. “
Professor Deschamps writes in Histoire de Madagascar, “the queen is a precious flag, carefully folded, that one only goes out in the great days of solemn kabary. We speak in her name, she keeps a little prestige quasi-divine of her ancestors. The question is whether Ranavalona III is more than that.
In 1883, widow at 22, she married the Prime Minister. At the time, it was already “a barbon” that, for twenty years, governed the country with the greatest energy. Alfred Durand in The Last Days of the Court hova describes it thus: “Weak therefore influencable, the queen did not understand the colonial revolution. Ignorantly, she believed that France was situated within a few days of filanjana in Antananarivo. Some say she is mostly preoccupied with toilets, jewelery and walks, politics does not interest her. In her Journal of my stewardship with S. Rainilaiarivony, Vassé declares that, at first, she scarcely displays grief at seeing her husband kept in sight, and then exiled to Algiers in February 1896.
Ranavalona III preserves her court, her palace, her toilets, her servants, and “the French free her from her old husband” (Jean Valette). She was very afraid after taking her capital, but “reassured by the turn that events had taken, she condemned what could disturb her tranquility.”
Thus instigated by the French by the ordinance of May 1, 1896, published in the Gazety Malagasy, it gives fifteen days to the Fahavalo (insurgents) to submit under penalty of seeing their property confiscated and their slaves liberated. On May 7, she held a large speech reported in the same newspaper. She criticizes the authors of false news and condemns the revolt. “She uses a style that could not have been dictated to her by Western thought. She goes further, accepts that the French flag floats on her palace, responds to Laroche’s invitations, opens her palace to the Europeans.
The slightest annoyance takes her by surprise, “revealing a weak and frivolous character.” Thus the famous collection for the “rebellion” undertaken in his name and which “was only a vulgar swindle” (3rd report of fortnight of Hippolyte Laroche) as well as the prohibition that Bourde, the secretary-general, To visit one day in his
Suburban property and “threw it into despair” (Ninth Ninth Report).
Until the twentieth century, there was nothing to suggest or suspect any collusion between the Queen and the insurgents. A seized courier would even establish that she had “resolutely accepted the new situation” (15th Report). In fact according to Jean Valette, “the queen was only an idol, her power the reflection of that of a high priest, the prime minister. When the latter had disappeared, the queen was no more. The monarchy was extinguished in 1863 “.
Hence it is “unjust and vain to ask of her what she could not give, for her speeches were in no way susceptible of reaching the troops of the rebellion, composed of illiterate and superstitious persons without contact with the capital.”