Ranavalo III - Encyclopedia

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RANAVALO (RANAVALONA) III. (1864-), the last queen of Madagascar, born in 1864, was a great-niece of Radama I. Her name originally was Razafindrahety, but on succeeding to the throne of Madagascar after the death of Queen Ranavalo II., on the 14th of July 1883, she assumed the style of Ranavalo III. Although nominally queen, she took no share in the government, which her prime minister, Rainilaiarivony, had controlled since 1864. After placing her on the throne, he married her before the close of the year. Ranavalo became queen just after the French had revived their claim to a protectorate over the island. The Hova government refusing to admit the claim, war broke out, and several sharp engagements took place. The French bombarded the coast towns, but were unable to reach the interior of the island, where the strength of the Hova lay. In December 1885 a treaty was concluded by which it was agreed that the government of the French Republic should represent Madagascar in all foreign relations, but that in internal matters the Hova government should be independent, as formerly. During the next ten years French influence was quietly extended over the island, in spite of the efforts of Rainilaiarivony, who pursued an anti-French policy, encouraging English and American planters and traders. In 1894 differences on commercial and territorial questions arose between the Hova government and the French, which terminated in war. In 1895 a wellorganized expedition was despatched from France to subjugate the island. Many of the inhabitants sympathized with the invaders, and even the Hova themselves were divided. Although Ranavalo endeavoured to arouse a martial spirit in her subjects, the French advanced on the capital without encountering any effective opposition. On the 30th of September they captured Antananarivo. Rainilaiarivony was sent into exile, where he died in the following year; but Ranavalo was suffered to remain as nominal head of the government, under a strict French protectorate. In August 1896, to avoid commercial difficulties with foreign powers, the island was declared a French colony; but no change was made in the internal administration. Later in the year, however, the civil governor was replaced by a military resident, General Gallieni. A formidable insurrection broke out, which Gallieni suppressed, executing or exiling several prominent members of the Hova administration. Finding that the court had been a centre of intrigue, he abolished the sovereignty by proclamation in February 1897, and exiled Ranavalo to Reunion. In March 1899 she was removed to Algiers. Her exile there was relieved by occasional visits to Paris.

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