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Madagascar News Forums The Transformation of Antananarivo

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    The Antesaka regroup “all of these immense tribes designated under this generic name,” says Theodore Raharijaona (“The Antaisaka, from the origins to the present day”, 1967). But the real ones are the ethnic groups of sakalava strain, because “the word antesaka derives from sakalava”. Thus, for the ethnologist, these are those who are in four major clans. Namely Zarabehavana whose capital is Vangaindrano, the Zarafanilihana whose center is Ankarana, the Zaramanampy that group around Iabohazo and Etrotroka, and the Zaranitana that evolve in the Sanalaotra basin. Among these classes of princely origin whose common ancestor is a young sakalava called Repila, there exists a branch which exercises its royal rights over almost the whole extent of Vangaindrano. These are the Zarabehavana.
    The young prince Repila lives in the village of Tsiarepioky. “It was rather a transhumance on the vast opulent plain that borders the Sakalava River in the Mahabo region of Menabe. Next to it, is the village of Manevy and opposite, that of Mahatsinjo. After having reached the age of youth, Repila changed its name and became known as Ihazorango.
    But convinced of his next elevation to the throne, he adopted another name, that of Andriamandresy, under which he was to be appointed during and after his reign. “He was, however, too rigid and haughty, and the suffrage of the people demolished all the shining scaffolding of his hopes, the crown having been devolved to his younger brother, Andriandahifotsy.”
    Disappointed and furious, Andriamandresy goes to live with his uncle to stifle his rancor and get lost in oblivion. But its naturalness gives free rein to its violent character. He forcibly occupies his uncle’s rice field, and instead of obeying the injunction ordering him to leave, he mortally wounds him with a rifle. As a result of this gratuitous crime, his mother rejects him from the family.
    He therefore decides to leave the country of his ancestors to found a new country elsewhere. However, he wants to be accompanied by a sufficient escort and recruits, before his departure, the rather numerous men among which figure in the first rank, warriors seasoned called “Fanafolahy”. Theodore Raharijaona cites the main characters who accompany him. There are clan representatives: Tovola from Teamboza, Rafimaka from Vangovato, Indranony and other men from the Tambahikarabo and Lanandraraky groups. Four trusted warriors take control of the fighters, Ramarolahy, Baraby, Metsoanony and Isetra. Two slaves, Kotomity and Toalany, as well as a couple, Faravy and Ihehy, complete the list. The author tells an anecdote.
    “Andriamandresy was very bald and uncommonly rare, and with no feminine presence, but with a strong presence and unusual vigor, all enhanced by her martial appearance. But for Ihehy’s misfortune, he abruptly and in spite of himself takes off his hat while his brain works the arduous problem of his departure. Ihehy bursts out laughing at the baldness of the chief, which means that he is seized and thrown among the slaves.
    “Since then, the woman was called Imatikehy, the victim of her laughter. “
    Finally, everything is ready for the journey. The impressive procession was shaken, guided with severe discipline by the great Andriamandresy, himself a famous and feared warrior. They
    Head south-east, without any precise purpose and without having previously fixed the stages where it is necessary to stop during the exodus.

    One day, late in the evening, they arrive in sight of the village of Samborano, whose inhabitants
    Are busy replacing their late king, Ndramifify. Before entering the locality, Andriamandresy dispatched Tovola as a scout who, during his mission, had the opportunity to exchange remarks with Ndrahoditra, the eldest son of the disappeared. The case of the latter is, in all respects, identical with that of Andriamandresy, with the only difference that he has not soaked his hands in the blood. Indeed, in the succession to the throne of his father, it is supplanted by the cadet whereas it is already certain to accede to it of right. His spite and
    Anger also push him to leave his country and he is determined to accompany Andriamandresy.
    The latter does not consider it useful to prolong his stay in Samborano and continues his march, still towards the Southeast. One night, travelers reach the village of Nosibe where Ndramilovoky reigns over the Tehamory. They consider it useful to leave the night after a short halt, the reception of the inhabitants is not engaging. The next morning, they cross a wild boar hunter in the vast banana plantation of Ramarovahiny, king of the Andramaro in Vohibola. The hunter hastened to inform the king, who invited the visitors to his village. He is impressed by Andriamandresy who does not hide from him that he is a dethroned king looking for a place to settle. Ramarovahiny welcomes him with open arms.


    It gives its name to the Mahamasina Normal School in Antananarivo. Born on February 17, 1833 in Vendome, Charles-Marie Le Myre de Vilers, whose father is an officer of cavalry, was admitted in October 1849 to the Naval School from which he left in August 1851 with the rank of aspirant of 2nd class. He resigned from the Navy in May 1861, to enter the prefectural administration. Sub-prefect of Joigny in the Yonne from March 1863, then from Bergerac in the Dordogne in October 1857, he was appointed prefect of Algiers in November 1869 where there is only a short time.
    When the War of 1870 broke out, he asked for his reinstatement in the Navy with his former rank on 13 September and appointed Lieutenant-Navy on 8 December 1870. His brilliant conduct in the sailors’ corps during the siege of Paris earned him 38, on January 26, 1871, to be promoted officer of the Legion of Honor.
    A graduate of the Navy, on 16 February 1873, he entered the administration as a prefect of the Vienne. He remained four years in Limoges, where he showed himself a consummate administrator, which earned him, at the request of General Chanzy then civil governor of Algeria, to be appointed, on February 22, 1877, director of civil and financial affairs of This colony and councilor of State.
    Because of the services he rendered in Algeria, on May 13, 1879, he was appointed to become the first civil governor of Cochin China where he endeavored to materialize the separation of civil and military power, had a penal code drawn up, Removes the chore, corporal punishment, cangue and irons, creates 300 schools. In addition, it set up a colonial council composed of an equal number of French and Annamese, borough councils and the municipal council of Saigon in Mytho. But hostile to the Tonkin expedition, Le Myre de Vilers was dismissed on May 10, 1882, and admitted to assert his rights to retirement on May 25, 1883.
    Three years later, he was recalled by de Freycinet, who appointed him, on 9 March 1886, as plenipotentiary minister in charge of the duties of resident general of France in Madagascar. He left Marseilles on 8 April 1886, arrived in Toamasina on 29 April and entered Antananarivo on 14 May. As a resident general of France, his role is to supervise the application of the treaty of 1885, the interpretation of which gives rise to many difficulties.
    Thus he had to settle a number of cases: payment of the indemnity of $ 10 million provided for in article 8, for which he succeeded in obtaining a loan from the Comptoir National d’Escompte de Paris by the Malagasy Government And not from an English bank; Delimitation of the territory of Diego-Saurez (Article 15) which is regulated unilaterally by the French troops, all negotiations having failed; (Articles 1 and 2), which for one moment failed to bring about the rupture. Myre de Vilers is also actively involved in the construction of the Antananarivo Toamasina telegraph line which was completed in 1888.
    “Energetic, knowing how far to go, Le Myre de Vilers, a man of great common sense, has good relations with the Court of Antananarivo, especially Rainilaiarivony, for whom he had the highest esteem.” He says of him, Among others: “My task is laborious, for I have to deal with a man of real value. With a certain skill which, on a larger stage, would be described as genius … “(Letter of June 10, 1886 to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

    Le Myre de Vilers left France in March 1888, returning to Madagascar in November, bringing the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor to Ranavalona III, and resumed his duties for a few months until July 1889. The siege of A deputy from Cochin-China who became vacant, he decided to run for office and was elected to the Palais Bourbon on 12 December, re-elected to the legislatures in 1893 and 1898, but did not represent himself in 1902 because he was 75 Plus the strength to make the trip to Saigon.
    But in the meantime, he returns to the Great Island. Indeed, in the face of the aggravation of the Franco-Malagasy differences, the French resident general Larrouy was recalled in September 1894, and the French government in a final conciliation effort decided to send Le Myre de Vilers to Rainilaiarivony. He arrived in Antananarivo on 14 October, the next day he was received by the Prime Minister, to whom he described the gravity of the situation, and on 16 October he was received by the Queen. On 17 October he again had a long discussion with Rainilaiarivony, to whom he submitted a draft treaty prepared in Paris, giving him three days to examine it and give him an answer. Not obtaining it on Saturday 20 October, he sends an ultimatum to the Prime Minister stating that if the treaty is not ratified on October 26 at 6 pm, he would bring his flag and leave Antananarivo. At the same time he gave the order to the French to the coast.
    On 22 October, the Prime Minister presented him with a long memorandum setting out Madagascar’s complaints and on 24 October he sent him a counter-draft of a treaty. As his ultimatum did not receive any effect, the Frenchman brought his flag on October 27 at 5 am, and left Antananarivo. It’s the war. Back in Paris, he played a great role in the Parliament during all the discussions concerning Madagascar: the law of annexation, the abolition of slavery, and so on.


    In almost three quarters of a century, nothing changes in the capital. Or rather, all empire because of the multiplication of the population. In 1951, Antananarivo became a mushroom town whose growth is so rapid in recent years, that all forecasts are outdated.
    General Gallieni himself, at the beginning of the twentieth century, despite the magnitude of his predictions, is in default. Indeed, “had he been able to foresee the extension of Antananarivo in 1951, he would not have strangled it in 1908 in that monstrous collar of the Tananarive-East Coast railway. This line and its terminal station (Soarano) are among the greatest obstacles to the development of the city, the latter cutting off the most beautiful of our avenues “, comments an anonymous urbanist in the Bulletin of Madagascar.
    At the time, this outbreak, which is far from over, since Antananarivo still has only 200,000 inhabitants, while most of the capitals are home to one-tenth of the country’s population, or Antananarivo at least 450,000 Be organized according to a general plan, indicate the urban planners. That plan does exist.
    In order not to go into details, the chronicler deduces the general ideas. The direction of architecture and urbanism immediately dismisses the growth in height type Manhattan. “It is not on the already overpopulated hills and without free spaces of old Tana, that must be done by a vertical thrust, the growth of the city, but on the contrary, by an expansion in surface in the neighboring valleys or by A projection of satellite cities on the neighboring hillsides. There is no shortage of space and no means of communication. Moreover, many neighboring settlements, whose inhabitants are already working in Antananarivo, are “as many milestones advanced for the future city”.
    Urban planners feel that the difficulties should not be taken into consideration
    Settlements on the marshlands and the rice fields. For them, not only many cities of South-East Asia are traced in swamps, but in Antananarivo itself, many fields already conquer the rice fields. However, surface expansion is to be oriented. Previously, the buildings grow in an anarchic way because there is no plan to oppose the owners.
    The plan foresees residential areas, free spaces, delimits an industrial zone because, even in the present suburbs, one can not tolerate anywhere the installation of factories or industrial establishments: what is suburban today , Will be urban tomorrow.
    Urban planners, however, highlight some general principles: not to yield to the easy temptation of large apartment buildings; Do not skimp on open spaces; To see large in the layout of public roads; The remediation works (water supply, sewerage, etc.) of the areas provided for in the extension plan must be carried out in advance.
    Since 1950, there is much to be said about the sewage system of Antananarivo. It is composed of a unique drainage network, consisting of gutters, open canals, nozzles, semi-visitable or visitable sewers. Its layout is not the subject of an overall plan and it is arranged and connected empirically. In addition, it is far from adequately servicing the entire agglomeration. For all buildings to be constructed, there is no other system than the septic tank, but most existing houses only have more or less tight fixed pits, or even lost pits or tinettes. “After draining, the waste shall be discharged entirely into the Ikopa downstream of the town …”

    So everything has to be done in this area. It would cost one billion to provide sewage treatment with consecutive biological treatment at three purification plants located at the southern and northwest peaks on the Ikopa and at the northeastern tip on the Canal de la Manjakaray. “The application of such a system to the existing city would not, of course, go without difficulty, but it is in any case essential that it be incorporated into the Urban Plan of future urban districts or cities. “
    Regarding drinking water, the capital is still far from the 250 liters / day / inhabitant,
    The norm of modern cities. From 12,000m3 per day in 1951, the flow should be increased gradually to 40,000 m3 and in some years to 80,000 m3. And 161 hydrants are in operation. This program of supply then provides 15 million francs.
    Finally, the municipal fire brigade was created in 1948 (previously the capital city had no real fire protection). In 1951 there were 75 men commanded by three competent officers, including two Europeans who had been trained in Paris. They have not yet their barracks, their equipment is out of date, and all this complicates their service. But it is envisaged to build a barracks on the site of the municipal workshops and garages that will be transferred out of the city and enlarged.


    Prince Ratefy is ready to defend the rights of his son to the throne of Imerina and it is in this sense that he ascends to Antananarivo at the announcement of the death of Radama I. But the announcement in Ambatoharana of the death of his son, upsets everything. There is no longer any question of him making a king (read previous Notes).
    “Yet this death should have been a reason for him to go to Antananarivo to demand accountability and to try to re-establish a situation that could not but be prejudicial to himself and his family in the broad sense” (Jean Valette, Archivist palaeograph). But it is not his attitude, quite the contrary.
    First, he acknowledges the authority of Ranavalona I lending him the oath of allegiance to Rainingitabe and seeking to defend himself against the charge of having left his post without authorization. In fact, “he contradicts, if not nullifies, his oath of allegiance by initiating an English plot, and it is clear that he is afraid, that he renounce all struggle, and that he abandons himself with fatalism to his fate.” A fate he knows, from Ambatoharana, that he will be tragic.
    To explain this passive attitude, Jean Valette dismisses several points. The first is
    The absence of news of Antananarivo and therefore the ignorance of the events that take place there. In Ambatoharana, when he meets Rainingitabe, he learns that Ranavalona I is sending troops to the East Coast, and that he can assume that they are chosen according to their loyalty to the new sovereign. This armed expedition also implies that the queen is in control of the situation in Imerina, since she does not hesitate to distract some of her forces to ensure the fidelity of the provinces. “These two sets of news learned in Ambatoharana were enough to influence the decisions taken by Ratefy and to modify his first determination. “
    However, the new queen leaves a doubt on at least one point: the fate reserved for the governors of the coastal provinces, especially Rafaralahy, Robin and Ratefy. Verchère-Raffy confirms that the first two are left for a month without receiving any positive news about their maintenance or not. Robin is even the subject of contradictory letters. This uncertainty may explain their laxness, especially since they are not directly involved in the immediate consequences of succession. What is not the case with Ratefy: the assassination of his son can allow him to predict his own fate and should encourage him to get along with his colleagues. “Ranavalona I seems to have played in such a way that this danger is removed. “

    The second point raised to explain his attitude is the weakness of the means at his disposal. The military forces on which he could rely are ridiculous: 200 soldiers who remained in Toamasina who could not oppose the much larger contingent commanded by Rainingitabe and which could be strengthened if necessary.
    Jean Valette, however, has other considerations. Ratefy is a great character at the time of Radama’s death. Besides the fact that he is the father of the presumptive heir and the husband of the king’s sister, he has a personal position of importance. By its origins first, it is of royal ancestry. Certainly, his father rallied to Andrianampoinimerina and the monarchy recognized since then in Imamo is that of Antananarivo, but “Ratefy nonetheless remained a great feudatory, a great vassal, that is to say that Possesses many bonds which unite him to his ancient subjects, who are, in many cases, no doubt his vassals. “
    Likewise, a great dignitary of the Court of Radama, he should build a whole series of links, even complicities, with many characters who gravitate around Radama. At last, general and happy general, placed by Radama at the head of many functions, he should have created friendships on which he could rely. Which is not the case. At no time does he seem to think that he can rely on faithful elements, and “curious thing”, he does not seem to have concerted with Rafaralahy, who is also Radama’s brother-in-law. Moreover, there is no popular uprising in Imamo, for example, or even a call for clemency or intervention in his favor at his trial, which could, in practice, bring the Queen to the forefront, save “.
    Third and last point: the explanation of Ratefy’s attitude must be sought in its very nature. Verchère-Raffy depicts him as being endowed with great character, but he denies this judgment a few lines later: “He is very sorrowful and above all very uneasy … He fears to be sacrificed …”
    As for Lyall, he brushes Ratefy into a “rather pessimistic moral portrait”: “… though Ratefy never appeared as a really energetic person …” This lack of energy, combined with other causes, explains his attitude of passivity. “He was certainly courageous in battle, he has often shown it, but he did not possess the grandeur of soul which really makes the leaders. He was overcome by his fate, he lost his life. “


    From various sources, often contradictory, on the death of the prince Ratefinanahary, Jean Valette tries to interpret the attitude of the governor of Toamasina.
    According to the archivist paleographer, there is no doubt that Ratefy decides to go to Antananarivo as soon as he is informed of the death of Radama, about April 15, 1828. The letter that makes it, should be very brief and Only a few details. Nevertheless, she teaches him the accession to the throne of Ranavalona I and therefore the eviction of his son Rakotobe or the princess Raketaka, daughter of the late king. He is still unaware that his son is murdered and his first reaction would be to go to him to defend “his rights”
    “It was therefore as a party leader that he left Toamasina, about 20 August, to go to Imerina and if he brought with him only 70 escort men, he could hope, Road to Antananarivo, rally to him supporters. “
    However, between the news of the King’s death and his departure from Toamasina,
    20 August – he orders mourning measures, especially by cutting the hair of the population and the troops. But he does not seem to have taken the oath of allegiance to Ranavalona that he only made on September 1, against Rainingitabe in Ambatoharana. Nor did he send a delegation to Antananarivo as a tribute.
    After taking his wife Rabodosahondra with him to Vohiboazo, Ratefy arrives at Ambatoharana, between 26 and 28 August. It encounters two categories of travelers coming from Antananarivo, on one side, the Rev. Bennet and Griffiths, on the other, Rainingitabe. By communicating to him the news, especially the fate of his son, all modify his plans. The announcement of the murder of Rakotobe now renders useless any attempt to defend rights that no longer exist. In addition, “the success of Ranavalona Ii to strengthen itself on the throne it had conquered would have made any attempt in this direction dangerous” (Jean Valette).
    In addition, Rainingitabe’s presence at the head of a strong troop shows that “the queen is taking measures to prevent any opposition from the relatives of Radama stationed on the East Coast.” That’s enough to depress Ratefy, who is suddenly afraid and decides to abandon a struggle that seems lost to him. He renounces to continue his journey and seeks his salvation in flight and in exile in Mauritius. Hence his letter of August 28 to Sir Charles Colville. “And although he does not at this moment have any illusions about his fate, he nevertheless tries to take assurances by lending Rainingitabe the usual oath of allegiance to Ranavalona I.” “
    Ratefy returned to Toamasina where he remained until at least September 13. He is afraid. Yet this fear does not prompt him to act. At no time did he try to put himself at the head of the troops to defend his life. “If he asks for the sending of an English ship to pick him up, he does not take advantage of the presence of a French ship in the roads of Toamasina to flee, Commander Verchère-Raffye. In a word, he gives the impression of abandoning himself to his fate, “in relation to the attitude of Prince Ramanetaka, governor of Mahajanga. The latter tries to struggle and if he renounces it before the forces sent against him, he runs away so as not to suffer the fate of Ratefy.
    On September 3, when his fate was sealed as he was ordered to go to Imerina and was “already undoubtedly” under arrest, “it can be considered that he never Attempt to escape and escape arrest. The letter he wrote on September 13 is all resignation.
    Later, when he actually played his life, on September 28 in Ambatomanga, during his trial, Ratefy pleaded, trying to exculpate himself, to show the falsity of the accusation against him. “He quibbled then that he should have known that his death had become a political necessity, and that it could not be a rigged trial mounted. “
    This passivity of Ratefy astonishes the archivist paleographer. He is, in fact, an important personage by his birth and his alliances, and by the high offices with which he is invested. The death of Radama is likely to bring him closer to the throne since his own son is destined to gird the crown. “So he had responsibilities to take. “
    However, his first move is to go to Imerina to support his son. He can do it safely, sure to have the support Robin would eventually give him. For the latter can only fear, as a foreigner and a favorite of Radama, the accession to the throne of a new dynasty, and the modifications which would result from it. Finally, when he is a general and a man of war, he brings with him only a weak escort.


    Jean Valette refers to three letters written by Prince Ratefinanahary to the Governor of Mauritius, Sir Charles Corville, as sources of information on the death of the governor of Toamasina, as the Notes recount in their last delivery.
    Dated September 13 and Toamasina, the third letter is “tragic in its brevity.” Ratefy then received an order to go to Antananarivo, where he was not sure of returning, and “he bade farewell to the Governor of Mauritius.” According to the archivist palaeograph, this missive like the preceding ones is signed Ratefy and his wife, Rabodosahondra. According to Jean Valette, Corville does not seem to react until he receives, on September 24, the letter dated September 7th.
    He replied on 27 September. While accepting to offer Ratefy and his wife a short stay in Mauritius, if the need arises, he makes him understand that he can not receive it definitively, “because of the Gesture could have on relations between Great Britain and the new queen “. This letter will be taken to Toamasina and delivered to Ratefy by Captain Polkinghorne, commander of the warship “Sparrowhawk”, whose mission is simply intelligence. It was this ship which brought to Mauritius the
    9 October, Ratefy’s letter of 13 September, which, “because of the threat it posed to the fate of Ratefy, constituted, as it were, the end of Ratefy-Colville’s correspondence.”
    The archivist palaeographer also cites the testimony of the Rev. Bennet who attended the funeral of Radama I in Toamasina in August 1828. He left the capital about August 20th, carrying a letter from Lyall to Colville, accompanied by the Rev. Griffiths and Cummings and his wife. Bennet relates: “At Amboitamanga (Ambatoharana), about the middle of our journey, we learned that Prince Ratefy and his wife were in this village, on their way to the capital, where they had been summoned by the government. Bennet shares Ratefy’s feelings. “He felt his fate was sealed and he was looking for a way to escape. “
    The prince and his wife plan to flee to the coast in the hope of finding a boat there to transport them to Mauritius. “I assured them that the Governor would grant them protection until
    Arrangements can be made for their safe return to Madagascar … “Although the couple managed to reach the coast, they could not get the passage on a transport of oxen and had to hide in the woods. It is then that Ratefy and Rabodosahondra sleep in a hut, exhausted, the envoys of the queen discover them.
    “They swallowed Ratefy with strokes and took his wife
    prisoner. This one was miserably massacred thereafter. “
    Another testimony is that of Commander Verchère-Raffye, who is on the East Coast, at Foulpointe and then at Toamasina in September 1828, and meets Ratefy. On September 5 he went to this city. From the interview he had with General Robin that day, he noted: “General Rafeta (Ratefy), the father of the suitor (Rakotobe), has just ascended to Antananarivo to support his son’s rights. However, during his stay (September 5 to 11), he mentioned: “I saw Prince Rafeta. He seemed to me endowed with a great character. At this moment he was very grieved and especially worried since his son was assassinated. He fears to be sacrificed if this suspicious government suspects him of ideas of vengeance. He would gladly be a party leader if he found the opportunity. According to Jean Valette, the contradiction must only be apparent, and it is during the stay of Verchère-Raffye at Toamasina that Rafety, coming from Ambatoharana, returns to the port where he is actually on 7 September.

    Lastly, French agent Dayot, in charge of curatorship at Toamasina and “unofficial” agent of the governor of Bourbon, speaks of the death of Ratefy in a report drafted on October 22, 1828. According to him, it is in Nosiarivo, A few miles from the capital, that have been arrested since October, Ratefy and Rabodosahondra. The latter, to whom he is accused of having left his place of “perpetual exile”, Vohiboazo, where Radama fixes it, is sent there under penalty of death while away. “She exists at this moment, but in a pitiful state, being ill with fevers. As for Ratefy, he is accused of having left his post without a special order from the Court. He seeks to exculpate himself, but his arguments do not prevent him from being condemned to perish by fire.
    Dayot concludes that after this sentence it is decided to rely ultimately on a meeting of the people which is held on the 8th of October. Like Lyall, Dayot says that during this great Kabary he is accused of trying to get in touch with Ramanetaka and Ramananolona to defeat Ranavalona I. During this meeting, the previous verdict is confirmed. The queen contented herself with commanding the execution of the penalty by the spear.

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