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Author: Nigel Heseltine.
Language: English
No. of Pages: x + 334
Dimensions: 142mm x 222mm x 30mm

Item Identification Code (UID#): 608
Shelving Location: Politics & Economics
Estimated Value: £6.00
Purchase Date: 31 July 2006
Purchased From: Log In to view this
Price Paid: Log In to view this


(Praeger Library of African Affairs)
Praeger Publishers (1971).
Hardcover Book with Dust Jacket

About the Series (from the Back Cover)

Praeger Library of African Affairs

This library is intended to provide authoritative and objective studies of the history, politics, economics, arid cultures of modern Africa.

The books fall into three categories:
I. A volume dealing with each African country
II. Studies of general questions – social, economic, and political affairs, history, and Africa's international relations
III. Biographies and writings of leading Africans that contribute to an understanding of African development

The series is under the general editorship of Colin Legum with Philippe Decraene as consulting editor.

Text from the Front and Back Flaps

In his message to Madagascar's independence celebrations in 1960, General de Gaulle called this island off the East African coast "an old and a new independent state". Unlike its African neighbors, Madagascar was an organized nation state at the time of the French annexation in 1896. Starting from an area of approximately twenty miles around Tananarive (the modern capital) at the end of the eighteenth century, the Merina peoples had, by the middle of the nineteenth century, come to dominate virtually the entire island. Previous to unification under Merina rule, there already existed a basic unity of race, language, culture, and organization, an inheritance of the Malagasy peoples' Asian origins centuries earlier.

Nigel Heseltine begins his wide-ranging survey of the history, economy, and social structure of Madagascar by portraying the countryside, towns, people, and their way of life, much as they would appear to a visitor arriving from East Africa. He then makes a thorough study of the land: the topography, climate, vegetation, and natural fauna, revealing the enormous regional variety of Madagascar. His discussion of the origins of the Malagasy peoples and their language and culture examines the migration of Malayo-Polynesian peoples during the first millennium A.D. and the subsequent fusion with later arrivals from Africa and Arabia. This is followed by a full account of the history of Madagascar in the nineteenth century: the rise of the Merina monarchy, the court intrigues, the rapid penetration of European religion and technology, the xenophobic reaction under Queen Ranavalona I (1828-61) and the increasing French penetration that culminated in annexation in 1896.

The period of French rule witnessed the gradual transformation of Merina nationalism into Malagasy nationalism and the author deals with the "plot" of 1916, the labor troubles, the difficult period during World War II, and the 1947 rebellion. Finally, he discusses the political situation since independence -remarkably quiet in the face of coups and civil wars in continental Africa. He also considers the economy of the country and the prospects for future development. Madagascar faces problems common to many former colonies – dependence on agriculture, inadequate transportation systems, lack of capital – and these are related to a summary of the development of Madagascar, past and present.

Madagascar is an important addition to the Praeger Library of African Affairs and to African studies in general. It is a fascinating and many-sided introduction to a country whose history is as rich and varied as any in Africa.

About the Author (from the Back Flap)

Nigel Heseltine is a graduate of Dublin University and the London School of Economics. He worked for the Food and Agricultural Organization for fifteen years, chiefly in Africa. In 1965 he was appointed Under-Secretary in charge of Development Planning in Zambia and since 1968 he has served as economic advisor to the President of Madagascar.


  • Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • A Note to the Reader
  • Introduction
  • 1 The Land
  • 2 The People: Origins to 1800
  • 3 The Society
  • 4 State and Politics: 1800-1896
  • 5 State and Politics: 1896-1960
  • 6 State and Politics since Independence
  • 7 The Economy
  • 8 Development Prospects
  • Statistical Appendix
  • Notes and References
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Condition of Item

Fine. Dust jacket very good.

Refer to the glossary for definitions of terms used to describe the condition of items.


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Photographs of the Item (Total: 4)

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Front Cover: Madagascar Back Cover: Madagascar Front Flap: Madagascar Back Flap: Madagascar  
Front Cover Back Cover Front Flap Back Flap  
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