Female Caligula: Ranavalona, The Mad Queen of Madagascar
'The seven christians stood together in the bright sunlight, bound with ropes singing a hyme to their foreign saviour as the spearmen advanced. Around them a croud of jostling men, women and children, more than sixty thousand strong...cheered enthusiastically as the spears were driven home and, one by one, the men and women fell and writhed on the sandy ground, their hymn fading slowly into silence...above the still writhing bodies, on a ridge, a score of crosses stood in mute witness, carrying their ghastly burdens, some of whom still lived despite the day and a half they had hung upon the wood.
As European colonists scrambled for control of Africa, a leader arose in the red island of Madagascar who, through ruthless determination thwarted the combined ambitions of all the major world powers. That leader and the author of this holocaust was no warrior but a diminutive woman of middle years, Ranavalona-Manjaka Queen of Madagascar, know to her subjects more simply as Ma Dieu. Under Ranavalona's despotic rule, hundreds of thousands of her people, possibly one-half of Madagascar's entire population, were murdered, starved or simply worked to death by her express command, while she enjoyed an eccentric and debauched lifestyle. For these characteristics, European history has remembered her reign as that of the Female Caligula.
The Great Red Island
Polynesians and Pirates
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adventure Andrianampoinimerina Andrianmihaja Antananarivo appears arms arrived attack began blood British brought bulls Caligula capital Captain carried ceremony Christian coast colonial command conspiracy conspirators coup court crown dead death Despite European eventually execution favourite Female Caligula fetish priests finally forced foreign Fort Dauphin France French Frenchman heir honour Hova huge Ida Pfeiffer Ida's immediately Jean Laborde Joseph Lambert journey kabary King Radama king's kingdom Laborde's land Lastelle London Missionary Society Malagasy Manjaka Mantasoa Mauritius Merina Merina army Merina society minister monarch Mozambique Channel muskets nation native nobles officers palace perhaps pirate Prince Rakoto Queen of Madagascar Radama II Rainiharo Rainilaiarivony Rainivoninahitraniony Rambosalama Ranavalona Ranavalona II Ranavalona-Manjaka Red Island refused religion remained returned Reunion royal rule sacred Sakalava Sanguinary Queen seems sent ship simply soldiers spear success Tamatave tanguena ordeal Thomas Tew throne took trade traditional traveller tribes troops vazah village