Reference Entry

Andrianampoinimerina mid-1700s–1810? Ruler (born Ramboàsalàma) of the Merina Empire of Madagascar from 1795 to 1810 .

Ari Nave

in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, Second Edition

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780195170559
Andrianampoinimerina mid-1700s–1810? Ruler (born Ramboàsalàma) of the Merina Empire of Madagascar from 1795 to 1810 .

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Oral traditions recorded by Jesuit missionaries in the late eighteenth century suggest that Andriambélomàsina, ruler of the Imerina (the territory of the Merina ethnic group) from 1730 to 1770 , directed that his eldest son Andrianjàfy succeed him, followed by his grandson Ramboàsalàma, son of his eldest daughter. Andrianjàfy, however, intended for his own son to take his place and plotted to kill Ramboàsalàma, who, fearing for his life, fled to the north. Supported by a dozen Merina chiefs, Ramboàsalàma returned in 1787, overtaking the city of Ambohimànga and exiling his uncle, who was later killed.Ramboàsalàma was crowned Andrianampoinimerina, “the prince in the heart of Imerina.” After consolidating power through treaties and marriage alliances and establishing a capital at Antananarivo in about 1795, Andrianampoinimerina, also known as Nampoina, began to expand the Merina Empire. Eventually he controlled much of the island, conquering and consolidating the Betsileo, Sihanaka, and Bezanozano kingdoms.During his reign, Nampoina developed a legal system, instituted corvée, or forced labor, to complete public works, established extensive trading networks, and constructed irrigation channels in the rice paddies that fed his growing army. Andrianampoinimerina also established relations with Europeans, particularly French merchants trading weapons for slaves. As many as eighteen hundred slaves were exported annually, most of whom were sent to Ile de France (now Mauritius) and Bourbon (Réunion). Barthélemy Hugon, one such European trader, wrote of Nampoina in 1808, “He is without doubt the richest, the most feared, the most enlightened, and has the largest kingdom, of all the kings of Madagascar.”On his death, Nampoina was buried in a silver canoe. Although he never conquered Madagascar in its entirety, Andrianampoinimerina's dreams would be largely fulfilled by his son, Radama I, to whom Nampoina proclaimed while dying, “Imerina has been gathered into one, but behold the sea is the border of my rice-fields, O Radama.”

Reference Entry.  337 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History

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