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Flacourt in 1658, Valgny in 1767, Sonnerat in 1770, but also Maudave a year earlier, are among the authors cited by J.-C. Hébert, who speak of “Pygmies” living in the South of Madagascar. But in fact, it is Kimosy, Flacourt said. According to Hébert, Racquimouchi is translated into modern Madagascan Ra-Kimosy. He explains that according to Sonnerat, it is the designation of the dwarf ancestor whose descendants, the “Zafi-Ra-Kimosy”, were of normal size. Only their cattle were small. Hebert points out that it is true that Malagasy wild zebus do not carry a magnifying glass or hump, and are generally smaller than the domesticated oxen. The naturalist is therefore well informed. The ethnologist adds that the name of the country Manatan is unidentifiable, however, the river cited is the Matitanana (see previous note). “At the pinch, the name of the country can be translated as who owns the land, mana (na) tany.”
Another author mentioned by Hébert, Maudave. Upon his arrival at Fort Dauphin in September 1768, he became acquainted with the Memoir of Valgny. As early as April 1769, he planned an expedition into the interior to bring back alive a “couple of Pygmies”. Valgny does not appear to participate. The expedition proceeds towards the valley of Ambolo and brings back vine plants, but no pair of Pygmies. It was more inland that we should have headed, “towards the country Anachimoussi” already mentioned by Flacourt.
Maudave’s later memoir on the Quimos met an extraordinary success. Indeed, Commerson immediately adopted the thesis of the existence of Pygmies and “informed the learned world of then”. The fascicule remains manuscript is titled Memory on a singular people named the Quimos, living in the middle of the island of Madagascar towards the 22 ° of southern latitude.
He introduces it by referring to Valgny’s “badly drafted writing” on some peculiarities of an “extraordinary people who have lived from time immemorial in this island.” It is a dwarven people, living in society, governed by a chief, protected by civil laws and exercising the right of war for their defense and their safety. Maudave indicates that this trait of this nation was necessary, but it does not strike him at first, for in his work on Madagascar Flacourt seems to reject the story of these little men, A fable told in their songs by the players of “herravou” (zither on calabash).
Moreover, at the time, pointed out Hébert, the Pygmies of Equatorial Africa are not yet known and are the subject of fables or narratives little credible. They will not be rediscovered in Africa until the spring of 1870, by Schweinfurth.
Maudave decides to send an expedition to the discovery of the
“Pygmy countries”. “She had no success by the infidelity and cowardice of the guides, but at least I gained the advantage of assuring myself that there really is a nation of dwarfs inhabiting a country of this island. “
The author of the Memoir mentions that these people are called the Quimos or Kimos,
60 leagues northwest of Fort Dauphin, beyond the Tropic of Capricorn, west of the country of Matitanana, in a valley surrounded by high mountains. This joins the location given by Flacourt. It’s about the center of the island. The Kimosy work the land, he continues, and are more laborious than other local populations. They raise many cattle, and their abundance often excites the neighboring nations, who make incursions into their country to remove their cattle.
“These little men defend themselves to the best of their ability, they forge very well the iron, and make sagaies longer and stronger than those which are commonly used in the island. They
They say, with great skill and vigor. J. C. Hébert notes these remarks which are paradoxical. For a dwarf population, he emphasizes, their weapons, among others, should be commensurate with their size.
Small (between 3 feet and 3 feet 10 inches, according to Maudave), men wear a long, rounded beard. It is said that women have no “breasts” and that they breastfeed their children with cow’s milk. Hébert points out that the Malagasy people do not use cow’s milk to feed their very young children.
To be sure of this, Maudave brought from the country of the Mandrare River, which forms a border between Anosy and the West, a prisoner of war Kimosy of about thirty years, whom he bought from his owner, a chief . She has no chest, he confirms, “his arms are very long and his hands look pretty like the turn of an ape’s paws.”