- Franco-Hova War
The Franco-Hova Wars (also Franco-Malagasy Wars) consisted of French military interventions in
Madagascarbetween 1883and 1896that overthrew the ruling monarchy of the Merina Kingdom, and resulted in Madagascar becoming a French colony. Hova refers to a class within the Merina tribe structure.
European colonial powers, primarily Britain and
France, had ambitions to control Madagascar, a rich island with strategic importance in regard to the sea passage to India. However, Madagascar proved difficult to subdue due to its size, local hostility, and the unsuitable climate. Further, the Merina tribe had been successful to bring the various local tribes under its control under their royalty and to coordinate the resistance. Skillfully exploiting the rivalry between Britain and France the monarchy kept its independence. When the xenophobic Queen Ranavalona Itook power in 1828, considerable British influence was already suppressed. Upon her death, her son took over as King Radama IIin 1861. Already as prince he had made secret concessions to Joseph-François Lambert, a French adventurer. This so-called Lambert Charterwas unfavorable to Madagascar, and after a brief reign, he was assassinated in 1863and the concessions were revoked resulting in a conflict with France.cite book |author= Keith Laidler |title= Female Caligula. Ranavalona, the Mad Queen of Madagascar |pblisher= Wiley(2005) ISNB -13 978-0-470-02223-8 (HB)]
First Franco-Hova War
France invaded Madagascar in
1883in what became known as the first Franco-Hova War, seeking to restore property that had been confiscated from French citizens. At the war’s end, Madagascar ceded Antsiranana(Diego Suarez) on the northern coast to France and paid 560,000 gold francs to the heirs of Joseph-François Lambert..
econd Franco-Hova War
1885 Berlin conferencethe British accepted the imposition of a French protectorate over Madagascar in return for eventual control over Zanzibarand as part of an overall definition of spheres of influence in Africa. With the opening of the Suez Canal, the strategic significance of Madagascar had declined. The same year, a French flying columnlanded in Mahajanga(Majunga) and marched to the capital, Antananarivo, where the city’s defenders were taken by surprise, as they were expecting an attack from the much closer east coast. Twenty French soldiers died fighting and 6,000 died of malariaand other diseases before the second Franco-Hova War ended. The government signed a treaty that yielded significant powers to the French authorities but left the monarchy intact. Madagascar became a French protectorate, a situation that was officially acknowledged by Britain in 1890.
The end of the Merina monarchy
Ranavalona IIIresisted following French orders, an expeditionary force was sent in 1895, shelled her palace, and removed recalcitrant members of her government. In 1896the French Parliament voted to annex Madagascar. Following a local uprising, General Gallienideposed the queen in 1897and thereby terminated the 103-year-old Merina monarchy. Queen Ranavalona III was exiled to Réunionand later to Algeria.
* [http://taniko.free.fr/monarchie4.htm Timeline (in French) accessed 8/25/2007]
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