Menalamba rebellion

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Execution of Rainandriamampandry and Ratsimamanga

The Menalamba rebellion was a rebellion that emerged in central Madagascar in response to the French capture of the royal palace in the capital city of Antananarivo in September 1895.


French diplomatic and military actions to claim sovereignty over the island of Madagascar - ongoing for more than four decades[citation needed] - intensified under the reigns of Queen Ranavalona II and Queen Ranavalona III, the island's final monarchs. Following a successful campaign[citation needed] 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.[1] Queen Ranavalona III and much of her administration remained but were afforded no real political power[citation needed]. A civil governor, Hippolyte Laroche, was initially appointed to administer the territory[citation needed].


In December 1895, two months after the French capture of Antananarivo, popular resistance to French rule emerged[citation needed] in the form of the menalamba ("red shawl") uprising. This guerrilla war against foreigners, Christianity, and political corruption[citation needed], 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.[2] 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.[3]

The resistance led the government of France to replace the island's civil governor with a military governor, General Joseph Gallieni.[3] It was also a principal factor[citation needed] in the decision to exile Ranavalona to Reunion Island later that same year.

Jacques Berthieu, a Jesuit priest, was executed by the rebellion[citation needed]. He was declared a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church in 2012.[4]


  1. ^ Randrianja 2001.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ a b Basset 1903.
  4. ^ "Pope to canonize French Jesuit martyr :: EWTN News".