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#579
Madagascar
Keymaster

The Notes end here to report the information given in his Journal by James Hastie, who accompanies General Rafaralahy, on the establishment of the merina colony at Foulpointe.
On July 1, 1822, the English agent announced that the army of Radama which seizes Ambohidava, is placed under the orders of Rafaralahy which, according to him, is itself Sihanaka. At the great assembly of Ambatondrazaka, he finds his “companions of youth”. This, according to Jean Valette, “gives a Sihanaka general placed at the head of an army merina to conquer Sihanaka country, and a general raised in sihanaka country”. The archivist paleographer recalls the information of Petit de La Rhodière indicating that a Merina expedition proceeded to the conquest of the Antsihanaka at the time of the exploration of the east coast of Madagascar by Sylvain Roux in 1818. “The Ansianacs succumbed Under his arms when we were in Madagascar. “
On 8 July, at Mount Ampangalambolosy, James Hastie and the troop led by Rafaralahy, left the Sihanaka country to head south-east through the great forest. “This is a totally new itinerary and as such, of the most interesting,” writes Jean Valette who highlights the importance of the Manambato River in the Hastie route. They encamped on its banks on July 8, and found it the next day, “although we often walked some distance from the river.” They settle again on one of the banks, on July 10 at night.
It is by following this river, not by the valley, but above all by the ridges, that the group crosses the great forest in three days’ march, about 60 kilometers. Hastie describes it as characterized by “many high-growth trees, but no game and very few makis”. However, it does not signal any inhabitant during this crossing.
The situation changes as soon as the group leaves the forest. On July 11, Hastie insisted on many places for rice cultivation, “probably in the form of tavy”, and on the presence of many “tsangambato” (raised stones) which, in the absence of houses, nevertheless reveal A certain population, encountered the same evening. “… a few natives returning from Tamatave, where they exchanged raffia clothes for cotton cloths” (Hastie’s diary on 15 July). This proves an agricultural activity sufficiently developed to leave surpluses.
Rafaralahy and Hastie reached, on the evening of 16 July, Foulpointe, where the two other groups of soldiers who followed the more traditional route Moramanga-Andevoranto-Toamasina-Foulpointe preceded them. The next day, the settlement of the new colony begins. It is solemnly announced in a Kabary, “largely probably intended to reassure the betsimisaraka populations and the contractors settled in the region”, but which has above all the interest to make known with accuracy the spirit that presides over this Creation, says Jean Valette: “The goal … to promote the economy of the region by creating an important trade, in accordance with merina laws that protect all properties and that have completely suppressed both theft and property violations. “
Jean Valette indicates that the colony of Foulpointe is not only for the agricultural development of the region but also for the development of the trade to which the colonists are authorized to engage:
“… trade in the products of the country for export and imported goods. “

The 2,000 new settlers and, in principle, voluntary, have to work at the collective facilities of the new establishment and it is agreed that these services would last four months after arrival at Foulpointe. At the same time, they may also engage in cultivation on their own behalf, and for this purpose plots of land would be granted to those who so request. To encourage these initiatives, Rafaralahy reduced the length of their compulsory service. It allows them to “devote only one day in four” of their time to public order work so that they can devote three quarters of their time to working for them, building their houses, preparing and enclosing Their fields of cultivation. At the same time, he promises them the necessary seeds.
This “generous” offer, presented as an initiative of Rafaralahy, was rejected by settlers who, according to Hastie, “replied that the promises they had made to Radama wanted them to finish public works, They would avail themselves of his offers for whatever they consider useful for their projects. ” From July 18 to 25, Hastie commissioned the start of the work “to prepare the ground for crops, plant trees and cuttings, plant and prepare the woods to form pens.”
Once this work has been completed, the English agent can then deal with various other issues, in particular the supply of the new colony. On July 20 he went to Toamasina, where he bought Jean Rene a fairly large amount of rice, which he brought back by boat to Foulpointe on July 29th. He took advantage of this new trip to carry out “a few trials of new crops, wheat, oats and cotton”.