Female Caligula: Ranavalona, the Mad Queen of Madagascar

ISBN: 047002223X
ISBN 13: 9780470022238
By: Keith Laidler

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About this book

'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.

Reader's Thoughts

Torrance Public Library

This is the January 2013 selection for the Biographies and Memoirs Book Group.

Preili Pipar

Türanlik ja verd ihkav valitseja - kindlasti! Aga ka valitseja, kes tahtis hoida Madagaskari Euroopa vallutajatest prii ja see tal ka õnnestus (oma veidrate meetoditega). Ranavalonale järgnevad valitsejad seda teha ei suutnud ning Madagaskar koloniseeriti prantslaste poolt.Huvitav oli ka teada saada, et Madagaskarit kutsutakse Punaseks Saareks (aga et miks, seda siit välja ei tulnud).


This book is so awfully Anglophilic. The author never misses a chance to call the Queen "barbaric" and "bloodthirsty" ; when Catholicism is stamped on, this is "intolerance" and "xenophobia" but when the native religion is stamped on, this is "civilising" and "educating." However, the fact remains that this is the only real biography of Ranavalona in English, so all credit to Keith Laidler for that.Edit: I especially like how the "Sanguinary Queen" is somehow responsible for giving Ida cancer. (See South Park)

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