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Female Caligula: Ranavalona, The Mad Queen of Madagascar
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Author: Keith Laidler.
ISBN-10: 0-470-02223-X (047002223X)
ISBN-13: 978-0-470-02223-8 (9780470022238)
Language: English
No. of Pages: 224
Dimensions: 143mm x 222mm x 18mm

Item Identification Code (UID#): 109
Shelving Location: History
Estimated Value: £15.00
Purchase Date: 3 October 2005
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Female Caligula

Ranavalona, The Mad Queen of Madagascar

First Edition
John Wiley & Sons (2005).
Hardcover Book with Dust Jacket

Text from the Back Cover

'The seven christians stood together in the bright sunlight, bound with ropes singing a hymn 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.

Text from the Front Flap

Ranavalona, Queen of Madagascar, was said by Europeans to have the appetite of Messalina and the temperament of Caligula. There is no doubt that the stories of sadism, debauchery and mass murder are true and that, before she died, she probably had descended into madness. Her hatred of foreigners was legendary. She made Madagascar a fortress and led a constant, ruthless struggle against European colonial ambitions. But Ranavalona-Manjaka was, as much as anyone, a product of her temperament, upbringing and the times in which she lived. And those times were terrible, fraught with internal and external dangers, intrigue, betrayal and the constant threat of invasion by colonial powers who, while perhaps less barbarous, were every bit as ruthless as the Malagasy they tried to subdue. Keith Laidler tells the fascinating story of Ranavalona's bizarre reign, the power struggles and the dangers of being a living god.

About the Author (from the Back Flap)

Dr Keith Laidler is an anthropologist, author and filmmaker. He is the author of seven books, including the best selling The Last Empress (John Wiley). He is also producer of a large number of films, for which he did his own camera work. Originally concentrating on nature films, Dr Laidler worked with Sir David Attenborough on The Living Planet. His production company, Wolfshead Productions, has made a number of highly acclaimed documentaries for a variety of broadcasters, such as Pandas Aren't Always Cuddly for BBC's Wildlife on One and Pandas of the Sleeping Dragon. He holds a PhD in Anthropology from Durham University. He has, over recent years, turned his investigative techniques towards history and religion.


  • Martyrdom
  • The Great Red Island
  • Polynesians and Pirates
  • Beneath the Heavens
  • The Malagasy Napoleon
  • Priestess of the Ancestors
  • La Visite Amicable
  • The White Slave
  • The Queen's Bath
  • The Coming Storm
  • Black Versailles
  • An Embassy to Europe
  • The Persecutions Begin
  • The Buffalo Hunt
  • The Great Conspiracy
  • Lambert and Laborde
  • 'A Strong Desire to See the World'
  • Journey to the Queen
  • Plots and Pianos
  • The Coup
  • The Final Years
  • Epilogue
  • Selected Bibliography
  • Index

Condition of Item

As new.

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