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Madagascar Rediscovered: A history from early times to independence
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Author: Mervyn Brown.
Foreword by: Hubert Deschamps.
ISBN-10: 0-908396-04-X (090839604X)
ISBN-13: 978-0-908396-04-7 (9780908396047)
Language: English
No. of Pages: 310
Dimensions: 146mm x 223mm x 27mm

Item Identification Code (UID#): 118
Shelving Location: History
Estimated Value: £20.00
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Madagascar Rediscovered

A history from early times to independence

First Edition
Damien Tunnacliffe (1978).
Hardcover Book with Dust Jacket

Text from the Back Cover

The great African island of Madagascar has become a largely forgotten world to most English-speaking people. Yet this mysterious and exotic country once had strong links with Great Britain and also to a lesser extent with the United States.

This history of Madagascar "rediscovers" the island and its rich heritage to which many British and Americans have contributed. In particular, during the Victorian era when missionary and trading activity flourished, a genuine Anglo-Malagasy culture developed. Links were less formal and elaborate in earlier periods but they were even more colourful. The island was at one time a famous haunt of pirates, many of whom came from Britain or from New England. The son of one of these pirates created a powerful kingdom on the east coast of Madagascar, while others led plundering expeditions far and wide. In earlier periods still, shipwrecked sailors sometimes lived to tell the story of their adventures and at least one of these accounts is worthy of Robinson Crusoe himself.

Madagascar Rediscovered is both a highly-readable and scholarly history which gives special emphasis to the forgotten links with the English-speaking world. At the same time Mervyn Brown traces the history of the island-continent from before the arrival of the first inhabitants who originated some 5,000 miles (8,000 km) away in Indonesia. How successive waves of these intrepid people came to inhabit the island is only one of the surprises and delights of this fascinating study.

About the Author (from the Front Flap)

Mervyn Brown graduated from St John’s College, Oxford with an Honours degree in History in 1948. He then joined the British Foreign Office and during the next eighteen years he served in Buenos Aires, New York (UK Mission to UN), Singapore and Laos. While serving in Laos in 1962, he was captured by the Pathet Lao and spent a month as their prisoner.

In 1967 he first went to Madagascar as British Ambassador. Three years later he returned to London to take up administrative posts for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In 1975 he was appointed British High Commissioner in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and the following year added to his responsibilities that of Non-Resident Ambassador in Madagascar. In May 1978 he moved once again to New York, where he is now Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN.

Apart from history, his main interests are music (performing both classical music and jazz on piano and clarinet) and tennis (he won several national doubles titles in Madagascar and Tanzania).

This is his first book, but he has published several articles and reviews on the history of Madagascar in various learned journals. In January 1978 he was elected a membre correspondent étranger of the Académie Malgache.


  • Foreword by Hubert Deschamps
  • Author’s introduction
  • Acknowledgements
  • List of maps and plates
  • Part 1. The island and the people
  • A world apart
  • The first Malagasy
  • The occupation of the island
  • Part 2. Early European contacts
  • The arrival of the Europeans
  • The dream of Madagascar
  • The shipwrecked sailor
  • The pirates of Madagascar
  • The sons of the pirates
  • The rise of the Merina
  • Part 3. Towards a new civilisation
  • The King, the Governor and the Sergeant
  • The missionaries
  • The Queen and the martyrs
  • The tragedy of the Prince and the playboys
  • Part 4. The kingdom in danger
  • The Prime Minister and the Christian monarchy
  • War and diplomacy
  • The French conquest
  • Epilogue
  • The colonial period
  • Guide to Malagasy pronunciation
  • Sources
  • Notes
  • Index


  • The ISBN is printed on the copyright page and dust jacket as "0 908396 0 4 X". The penultimate space is erroneous; the ISBN for this book is properly formatted thus: "0 908396 04 X".



This item was kindly donated to the Madagascar Library collection by David Purbrick.
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