About Betsimisaraka

Sunday 14th of February 2016 10:59:07 AM W News Document!

The Betsimisaraka are a people of the east coast of Madagascar, the second largest ethnic group after the Merina of Madagascar (about 15% of the total population). [1]. They are spread over a stretch of coast about 640 km from the river south to the Mananara River Bemar in the region of Antalaha in the north.

They are actually a group of different ethnic groups that for historical reasons have been unified under a single name, the name "Betsimisaraka" means "those who have been united," or "numerous and inseparable." Today they are mainly three distinct groups, called Betsimisaraka northern Betanimena and Betsimisaraka the south. They are mostly merchants, sailors, fishermen and farmers.

Until the early eighteenth century, Betsimisaraka were divided into three main ethnic groups: the Tsikoa (or Betanimena) to the south, center and Anteva Varimo to the north. Each of these peoples had their own specific cultural and linguistic conflicts and maintain relations with its neighbors. The hostility between these groups was encouraged by slave traders who trafficked with the Europeans. The European presence in the area also gave rise to fourth ethnic group, the Zana-Malata, of mixed European and indigenous. To this group belonged Ratsimilaho (son of an English pirate and a princess Anteva), the sovereign to whom we owe the unification of Betsimisaraka.

Thanks to the military of its many allies in Europe, in 1710 Ratsimilaho managed to repel an attempted invasion by the forces led by King Anteva Tsikoa and Ramana. Repulsed the enemy, Ratsimilaho undertaken work for the unification of the east coast using both the military that a series of political marriages. The name "betsimiraka" ("those who have been together") was chosen to denote the broad coalition that was formed under the crown of Ratsimilaho. The United Betsimisaraka includes major cities like Toamasina, Vader and Maroansetra.

After the death of Ratsimilaho, Betsimisaraka the kingdom disintegrated rapidly, falling under the domination of the Merina dynasty of Radama I.


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