The Castaway and the Queen.
August 2, 2006 7:46 AM Subscribe
Queen Ranavalona I, best known as a villainess in George Fraser's novel Flashman's Lady, ascended the throne of Madagascar in 1835. Known abroad as the Bloody Mary of Madagascar, the Queen's favourite methods of execution included half-boiling and tossing off of cliffs, and over a third of her population died under her reign. Although she and her court wore French dress, Ranavalona banned Christianity and drove Europeans off the island. Nevertheless, she united Madagascar and kept it free of French or British control at a time when other African nations were brought into the growing empires. [more inside]
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