Andrianampoinimerina Andrianampoinimerina
King of Imerina
Andrianampoinimerina Andrianampoinimerina
Ruling between 1787–1810, Andrianampoinimerina, born Ramboasalama or Ramboasalamarazaka at Ambohimanga around 1745, initiated the unification of [Madagascar Madagascar] under Merina rule and is considered one of the greatest military and political leaders in Madagascar history.
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    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1810
    Age 65
    Andrianampoinimerina died in the Mahitsielafanjaka house on the compound of the Rova of Antananarivo on 6 July 1810 at the age of 65, having fathered eleven sons and thirteen daughters by his many wives.
    More Details Hide Details In the Vazimba tradition of Merina kings before him, the body of Andrianampoinimerina was placed in a canoe made of silver (rather than the customary hollowed out log) and interred in one of the royal tranomasina tombs at Ambohimanga. Shortly after the French established a colonial presence on the island in 1896, they destroyed Andrianampoinimerina's original tomb in March 1897, removed his remains, and relocated them to the rova of Antananarivo where they were interred in the tomb of his son. This was done in an effort to desanctify the city of Ambohimanga, break the spirit of the Menalamba resistance fighters who had been rebelling against French colonization for the past year, weaken popular belief in the power of the royal ancestors, and relegate Malagasy sovereignty under the Merina rulers to a relic of an unenlightened past. Andrianampoinimerina was succeeded by his 18-year-old son, Radama I. In order to fulfill his oath that the child of his son Radama would follow in the line of succession, Andrianampoinimerina had his oldest son, Ramavolahy, killed to prevent any contest for the throne.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1800
    Age 55
    The latter half of Andrianampoinimerina's reign from around 1800 was marked by an effort to unite the island's 18 ethnic groups under his rule.
    More Details Hide Details This effort began with the sending of royal messengers bearing invitations to become vassal states under Andrianampoinimerina's sovereignty, or face a military conquest. The first focus of this expansion was territory that had historically been inhabited by the Merina people but had come under the rule of other groups, particularly including the eastern lands held by the Sihanaka and Bezanozano peoples. Andrianampoinimerina then consolidated Merina power in neighboring southern central Betsileo territories, establishing military outposts to protect Merina settlers as far south as the Ankaratra mountains and Faratsiho. Kingdoms that united with Imerina as a result of diplomatic efforts included the Betsileo around Manandriana; the Betsileo, Merina and Antandrano Andrandtsay of Betafo; and the western region of Imamo. The Sakalava of Menabe and Manangina rejected these offers and actively resisted Merina domination; the Bezanozano territories likewise resisted, although the Merina managed to preserve a tenuous hold over the area.
    By 1800, he had absorbed several other previously independent sections of Imerina into his kingdom.
    More Details Hide Details He reinforced alliances with powerful nobles in conquered regions of Imerina through marriage to local princesses, and is said to have wed 12 women in total. He placed each wife at a house built at each of the twelve sacred hills. After the political capital of Imerina was shifted back to Antananarivo, Andrianampoinimerina declared Ambohimanga to be the spiritual capital of Imerina.
  • 1795
    Age 50
    By 1795 he had gained the allegiance and submission of all the territories that had formed Imerina at its largest extent under Andriamasinavalona, effectively achieving the reunification of Imerina.
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  • FORTIES
  • 1794
    Age 49
    The former kings of Antananarivo and Ambohidratrimo periodically engaged in resistance against his authority in disregard of the treaties they had concluded, prompting Andrianampoinimerina to launch renewed campaigns to eliminate both kings; the re-pacification of Antananarivo began in 1794 and achieved definitive success in 1797, with Ambohidratrimo reconquered shortly afterward.
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    He shifted the kingdom's political capital back to Antananarivo in 1794.
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  • 1787
    Age 42
    In 1787, when Ramboasalamarazaka was 42 years old, the conflict between the men reached a turning point: Andrianjafy decided to send a group of assassins to Ramboasalama's residence in Ambohimanga.
    More Details Hide Details Andrianjafy's brother again took action and warned Ramboasalamarazaka to flee, but rather than leave Ambohimanga, Ramboasalama followed the advice of an elder who instructed him to sacrifice a ram to invoke ancestral protection. The elder then gathered the twelve most respected men of Ambohimanga and thirty soldiers, and rallied them to enforce the decree of Andriambelomasina by overthrowing Andrianjafy and swearing allegiance to Ramboasalama. After the success of the coup, the new king adopted his ruling name, Andrianampoinimerina. The support of the Tsimahafotsy, inhabitants of Ambohimanga, ensured the defense of the city against efforts by Andrianjafy to reclaim his capital and his authority. Andrianjafy rallied the people of his home village of Ilafy to fight against those of Ambohimanga. Both sides were armed with spears and firearms. An initial battle at Marintampona saw the Ilafy army defeated. Both sides regrouped for a second confrontation at Amboniloha, which took place at night and did not end in a definitive win for either side. In the morning, Andrianjafy moved his army north of Anosy and the two sides clashed again in a battle that lasted two days. The Ilafy army lost the skirmish and retreated to their village. After losing these battles, the residents of Ilafy decided to submit to Andrianampoinimerina. To rid themselves of Andrianjafy, the people encouraged him to travel to Antananarivo and Alasora to seek allies in the defense of their town.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1770
    Age 25
    His mother's brother Andrianjafy was named Andriambelomasina's successor and was king of Imerina Avaradrano, the northern quadrant of the former Kingdom of Imerina, from 1770 to 1787.
    More Details Hide Details Ramboasalamarazaka was born during a period when conflict and famine afflicted Imerina. For almost a century, from the end of the reign of King Ralambo (1575–1600) to King Andriamasinavalona (1675–1710), the Kingdom of Imerina in Madagascar's central highlands had generally enjoyed prosperity, expansion and civil peace. This stability and the unity of Imerina collapsed after Andriamasinavalona divided the kingdom among his four favorite sons, leading to 77 years of civil war that weakened the ability of subsequent princes to respond effectively to the pressures of slave trading and a growing population. Merina kings had long intended to extend their kingdom to the North by absorbing the Zafimamy kingdom of Alahamadintany, and the Zafimamy kings of Alahamadintany had also wished to extend their land to the South by absorbing the Merina Kingdom. The marriage between Ramboasalamarazaka's parents was a political alliance contracted as part of Andriambelomasina's strategy to mitigate the threat of invasions by the Alahamadintany-Zafimamy alliance to the North. The marriage agreement stipulated that after the reign of Andriambelomasina's son, Andrianjafy, the throne would pass to his daughter's son, Ramboasalamarazaka. The alliance between these two royal families represented a fair and peaceful compromise: the prince born of this union would rule over both states and unify the two kingdoms.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1745
    Age 0
    Born in 1745.
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