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An Economic History of Imperial Madagascar, 1750-1895: The Rise and Fall of an Island Empire
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Author: Gwyn Campbell.
ISBN-10: 0-521-83935-1 (0521839351)
ISBN-13: 978-0-521-83935-8 (9780521839358)
Language: English
No. of Pages: xvii + 414

Item Identification Code (UID#): 1677
Shelving Location: History
Estimated Value: £50.00
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An Economic History of Imperial Madagascar, 1750-1895

The Rise and Fall of an Island Empire

First edition
(African Studies Series)
Cambridge University Press (2005).
Hardcover Book with Dust Jacket

Text from the Front Flap

The first comprehensive economic history of pre-colonial Madagascar, this study examines the island's role from 1750 to 1895 in the context of a burgeoning international economy and the rise of modern European imperialism. Challenging conventional portrayals of nineteenth-century Madagascar as a unified and progressive kingdom, this study reveals that the Merina of the central highlands attempted to found an island empire and through the exploitation of its human and natural resources build the economic and military might to challenge British and French pretensions in the region. Ultimately, the Merina failed due to imperial forced labour policies and natural disasters, the nefarious consequences of which (disease, depopulation, ethnic enmity) have in traditional histories been imputed to external capitalist and French colonial policies. Although by 1890, Madagascar was firmly integrated into a regional trade network stretching from South Africa to India, dominated by British Indians, Britain acknowledged French claims to Madagascar. France took 13 years to conquer Madagascar, finally succeeding only due to the internal collapse of Merina power.

About the Author from the Back Flap

Gwyn Campbell is a professor in the Department of History at McGill University. He is the editor of Southern Africa and Regional Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Regions (2003) and The Structure of Slavery in Indian Ocean Africa and Asia (2004). He is also the author of numerous articles, in such scholarly journals as the Journal of African History and International Journal of African Historical Studies.


  • Contents
  • List of Tables, Figures, and Maps
  • List of Illustrations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • The Traditional Economy, 1750–1820: Industry and Agriculture
  • The Traditional Economy, 1750–1820: Commerce
  • Empire and the Adoption of Autarky, 1810–1826
  • Industry and Agriculture, 1820–1895
  • Labor, 1820–1895
  • Population, 1820–1895
  • The Trading Structure, 1820–1895
  • Foreign Trade, 1820–1895
  • The Slave Trade, 1820–1895
  • Transport and Communications, 1820–1895
  • Currency and Finance, 1820–1895
  • Madagascar in the Scramble for Indian Ocean Africa
  • Epilogue: The Rise and Fall of Imperial Madagascar
  • Appendices
    • A. French Claims to Madagascar
    • B. British Imperial Influence in Madagascar
    • C. Population References
  • Bibliography
  • Glossary
  • Index


  • No. 106 in the African Studies Series.
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