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Radama I accepts the abolition of the slave trade under conditions: the payment of an equivalent indemnity and the sending to Antananarivo of craftsmen and tools provided by the British Government. Some of these artisans belong to the London Missionary Society, create workshops in the capital and, by training apprentices, found technical education.
A carpenter, a blacksmith, a weaver and a cobbler tanner arrived in June 1822. They were welcomed by Radama with all the honors due to the important personages. They immediately received a place appropriate to the nature of their activity and a servant. “In exchange, they had to undertake the training of eight young people, most likely chosen among the free population (Hova). The Tantara teach us that professional work was then regarded as a title of nobility “(Jean Valette, archivist-paleographer).
However, the carpenter Brooks soon suffered the attacks of fever and died on June 24, ten days after his arrival. On the other hand, the blacksmith Chick, who lived in Amparibe, trained several hundred persons in various iron and metal works, in the construction of machines and later in various kinds of iron works for the construction of the Soanierana Palace .
The weaver Rowlands settled on one of the sacred hills at Antsahadinta to make fabrics. But this attempt can hardly succeed. “Weaving, in fact, is only one aspect of the textile industry, which requires much more money and knowledge than a single individual can gather. So Rowlands moved in 1827 east of Angavo, to Itody, and engaged in hemp cultivation to produce sail fabrics. But once again, death interrupts the work.
The fourth, Canham installs a tannery and a shoe factory in Fenoarivo where he trains many apprentices.
At the same time, the LMS ships tools. In 1826, a spinning machine accompanies two other technicians to help those already in place. Among them, a spinner, Cumings, who teaches the various processes of his art to a number of young people chosen by Radama. He is also responsible for the cultivation of mulberry trees and the manufacture of silk. But the mediocrity of the resources of the country, the difficulties he experienced in doing his job, quickly discouraged him and he withdrew after two years of residence. “The machine he had brought had a longer career because it remained in the hands of Ranavalona I who had it used for the manufacture of lamba and other objects. It even continued to be used as best it could until 1870.
On the other hand, his companion Cameron will play a leading role in Madagascar. It is, par excellence, “the type of the missionary master-worker”. Thanks to his intellectual capacities, he introduced important innovations in Imerina where he died in 1875, fifty years after his first arrival.
If Cameron is best known for having stoned Manjakamiadana Palace and built the delightful Manampisoa, both in the Rova of Antananarivo, it is also a great architect who, before coming to Madagascar, was introduced to Manchester To the handling of the machines he brings. He moved to Ambatonakanga where he taught. At the same time Radama charged him with the public works of the kingdom.
In addition, after the accidental death of Hovenden on December 15, 1827, in charge of operating the first printing press introduced in the capital, he was called upon to ensure the continuation of the work in progress. Multiple activities full of difficulties that he had to overcome.
In summary, Cameron and his colleagues bring different improvements in iron work, tanning and leather preparation. In the building, they perfected several kinds of structural work, introduced stone into various constructions, made different kinds of bricks. Freeman relates Betsileo of slate and sharpening stone, unknown before. They find limestone after years of unsuccessful research, plants containing a high proportion of potash and soda for the manufacture of soap, then glass and pottery. They even discover a metal sulphide from which they extract the sulfur in abundance …