Madagascar


Madagascar
   A large island in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa that in the early nineteenth century was of interest to Britain. Governed at the time by the Hova Empire, whose rulers sought to modernize their army and open the island to new technology, the Hova King Radama I was in 1828 offered arms, ammunition, and training by British troops, who had established a beachhead in the coastal town of Tamatave, in exchange for the abolition of slavery and rights for Christian missionaries. His successor on the Hova throne, Queen Ranavalona I then expelled all missionaries. During the 1860s, missionaries were permitted to return, and by the end of the decade the queen and many Hova leaders were of the Protestant faith.
   French interest in Madagascar dated to 1840 but became more active in the 1880s, when France demanded the right to declare a protectorate over Madagascar, was refused by Queen Ranavalona II, and prosecuted a war against the Hova until a treaty yielded partial control in 1885. French imperial ambition on the island then entered a new phase in 1890, when Britain and Germany gave France a free hand in return for recognition of their own protectorates in East Africa. Yet Hova resistance continued, and in 1894 the French parliament voted to fund a large expedition. In fact, two separate expeditionary forces were sent and in September 1895 reached the capital, Tananarive. Initially, Ranavalona was permitted to keep her throne, and the French commander, General Joseph Gallieni, became governor-general. As rebellions persisted, however, Ranavalona was removed by force and sent into exile in Algeria.
   See also <>; <>; <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Brown, Mervyn. A History of Madagascar. Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener, 2000;
    Ellis, William. History of Madagascar. London: Fisher, Son, & Co., 1838;
    Wesseling, H. L. The European Colonial Empires, 1815–1919. London: Longman, 2004.
   CARL CAVANAGH HODGE

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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