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French diplomatic and military actions to claim sovereignty over the island of Madagascar - ongoing for more than four centuries - intensified under the reigns of Queen Ranavalona II and Queen Ranavalona III, the island's final monarchs. Following a successful campaign under General Jacques Duchesne, France officially annexed Madagascar on January 1, 1896. That August, the French declared Madagascar to be their colony and exiled Malagasy Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony to Algiers (in Algeria) where he died the following year. Queen Ranavalona III and much of her administration remained but were afforded no real political power. A civil governor, Hippolyte Laroche, was initially appointed to administer the territory.
In December 1895, two months after the French capture of Antananarivo, popular resistance to French rule emerged in the form of the menalamba ("red shawl") uprising. This guerrilla war against foreigners, Christianity, and political corruption, quickly spread throughout the island and was principally conducted by common peasants who wore shawls smeared with the red laterite soil of the highlands. The resistance movement gained ground until it was effectively put down by the French military at the end of 1897. Members of Ranavalona's court were accused of encouraging the rebels and many leading figures were executed, including the queen's uncle Ratsimamanga (brother of her favored adviser, Ramisindrazana) and her Minister of War, Rainandriamampandry. Ramisindrazana, the queen's aunt, was exiled to Reunion because the French were reluctant to execute a woman.
The resistance led the government of France to replace the island's civil governor with a military governor, General Joseph Gallieni. It was also a principal factor in the decision to exile Ranavalona to Reunion Island later that same year.
- Randrianja 2001.
- Campbell, Gwyn (1991). "The Menalamba revolt and brigandry in imperial Madagascar, 1820–1897". International Journal of African Historical Studies. 24 (2): 259–291. doi:10.2307/219791.
- Basset 1903.
- "Pope to canonize French Jesuit martyr :: EWTN News". www.ewtnnews.com.
- Randrianja, Solofo (2001). Société et luttes anticoloniales à Madagascar: de 1896 à 1946 (in French). Paris: Karthala Editions. pp. 100–110. ISBN 978-2-84586-136-7.
- Basset, Charles (1903). Madagascar et l'oeuvre du Général Galliéni (in French). Paris: A. Rousseau. pp. 140–142.