Collection of 25 cover illustrations of the war in Madagascar from Le Petit Journal and Le Petit Parisien, 1894-1909. Size 31x45cm. T
Note: France invaded Madagascar in 1883, in what became known as the first Franco-Hova War, seeking to restore cancelled concessions. With the signing of the Treaty of Tamatave in January 1886, the war ceased. Madagascar ceded Antsiranana (Diego-Suarez) on the northern coast to France and paid a hefty fine of 10 million francs. The treaty included an 'Instructive Letter' which was to clarify the treaty, but which was never presented in the French Parliament when they voted to ratify the treaty. The treaty essentially gave France control over Malagasy foreign policy, and the French government used this to exert increasing control over the territory, but a Protectorate was not formally declared.
The terms and impositions of the treaty were not fully agreed by First Minister Rainilaiarivony. The situation quickly changed when the British recognized a French Protectorate of Madagascar in September 1890, in return for eventual British control over Zanzibar and 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. Rainilaiarivony prepared to defend the island from French military invasion by sending Colonel Shervinton, his European military adviser, to purchase arms in Europe. The French administration was determined to bring about a full Protectorate on the island, and thus evacuated its nonessential citizens from the region. Active hostilities commenced on December 12, 1894, when the French marines took possession of Tamatave. General Duchesne and his flying column landed in Majunga and marched to the capital, Antananarivo, hampered by the jungle, shallow river, disease, and lack of roads. They finally reached the city and began the assault in the last week of September 1895.
The defenders were stationed on the main road to the capital, to the south of the city. The French commander circled Antananarivo and executed a feint attack on the north of the city. His main force attacked the east of the city, commanding a hillock from which he could shell the main government buildings, including the Queen's palace. Three shells were fired against the city, and the Hova army was routed. General Duchesne entered the city on October 1, and Queen Ranavalona III signed the treaty that made Madagascar a full Protectorate of the French government. The Merina Kingdom was put under French protection in 1896, overseen by the first Resident-General, Laroche. Twenty French soldiers died fighting and 6,000 died of malaria and other diseases before the second Franco-Hova War ended.
Ranavalona and her cabinet were initially allowed to remain in government as ceremonial figureheads. French rule was challenged from the very moment of the capital's capture by a popular uprising termed the Menalamba rebellion. The fighting was led by commoners, principally from Imerina, who rejected not only French rule but Christianity and the influence of Europeans among the Merina rulers. The rebellion was put down with difficulty by General Gallieni over a year later. The French government determined that a civil governor was incapable of ensuring order and submission of the Malagasy people, and so deposed the queen in 1897, dissolved the 103-year-old Merina monarchy, and installed a military government headed by Gallieni. Queen Ranavalona III was exiled to Réunion and later to Algeria, where she died in 1917 without ever being allowed to return to Madagascar.