Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/913

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AREA AND POPULATION 557

the Eii^dish as King of Mada^'ascar. His widow, (,)uocn Ranavalona I., ol>- taiiied the sovereign power in 1829, and until her death, in 1861, intercourse with foreigners was discouraged. She was succeeded by Radiima II., in 1861, and he l)y his wife Rasohferina, in 1863, onwhose death, in 1868, Ranava- lona II. obtained the throne. The recently deposed sovereign, Ranavalona III. (born 1861), succeeded in 1883. The French having claimed a portion of the north-west coast as ceded to them by local chiefs, hostilities were carried on in 1882-84 against the Hovas, who refused to recognise the cession. In 1885 peace was made, Diego Suarez being surrendered to France. A French Resident- General was received at the capital, and the foreign relations of the country were claimed to be regulated by France. By the Anglo-French agreement of August 5, 1890, the protectorate of France over Madagascar was recognised by Great Britain ; but the Native Government steadily refused to recognise any protectorate. In May, 1895, a French expedition was despatched to enforce the claims of France, and on October 1, the capital having been occupied, a treaty was signed whereby the Queen recognised and accepted the protectorate. By a unilateral convention made in January, 1896, Madagascar became a French possession, and by law promulgated August 6, 1896, the island and its dependencies were declared a French colony.

On February 27, 1897, the Queen was deposed by the Resident-General, and on March 11 she and her family were deported to the island of Reunion.

Governor-General. — General Gallieni.

An Administrative Council has been established at Antananarivo, and with i ts assistance the Governor-General rules the whole island. There are numerous residents and vice-residents at the towns and villages on the east and west coasts, and at Fort Dauphin in the south.

Area and Population.

Madagascar, the third largest island in the world (reckoning Australia as a continent), is situated on the south-eastern side of Africa, from which it is separated by the Mozambique Channel, the least distance between island and continent being 230 miles ; total length, 975 miles ; breadth at the broadest point, 358 miles.

The area of the island, with its adjacent islands, is estimated at 228,500 square miles, and the population, according to the most tmstworthy estimates, at 3,500,000 ; other estimates vary from 2,500,000 to 5,000,000. No census has ever been undertaken, and it is there- fore only by vague and uncertain estimates that any idea can be formed of the population, either of the island as a whole or of particular districts. The female poi)ulation seems in excess of the male. A numlier of foreign residents live on the coasts, chiefly Creoles from Mauritius and Reunion, with Chinese and other Asiatics who cany on small retail trade. The most intelligent, and enterprising tribe is the Ilova, whose language, allied to the Malayan and Oceanic tongues, is understood over a large part of the island. The people are divided into a great many clans, who seldom intermarry. The Hovas are estimated to number 1,000,000 ; the other races, more or less mixed, are the Sakalavas in the west, 1,000,000; the Betsileos, 600,000; Bara, 200,000; Betsimi- saraka, 400,000 ; other southern tribes, 200,000. In the coa.st towns are many Arab traders, and there are besi<les many negroes from Africa introduced as slaves. The slave tra<le was nominally abolished in 1877, and ste})S are now being taken by the French Government for the elTectual suppression of slavery. The system of forced labour in the public service is still maintained ; natives between 16 and 60 years of age being required to give 50 days