Tandroy - History and Cultural Relations

It is generally accepted that Tandroy is a composite ethnicity and that its many clans, which are of diverse origins (including Sakalave, Bara, Mahafale, and Tanosy), arrived in the Androy no more than several centuries ago. Sites of the "pre-Tandroy" habitats dating to the eleventh and twelfth centuries have been reported, the first at Talaky, on the coast. Prior to the eighteenth century, the southwestern Androy was known as the pays de Caremboules, which has led some authors wrongly to suppose that the clans that are known today as "Karembola" are autochthons. In fact, all the evidence shows that the whole of the Androy has been settled and resettled by never-ending waves of migrants. Although this evidence would seem to imply that cultural boundaries must be rather fluid, most authors have represented Tandroy culture as remarkably homogeneous. According to tradition, this mosaic of clans was dominated from the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century onward by the Andriamañare (Zafimanara) dynasty. The origins of this dynasty and the extent and nature of its dominion are uncertain, but by the late nineteenth century its power had declined, as the southwestern Androy had been annexed in the early eighteenth century by the Maroseraña dynasty on the Menarandra. Throughout the nineteenth century, the Androy remained independent of the Merina military installations at Fort-Dauphin, but it was conquered by the French between 1901 and 1903. Resistance, however, kept the Androy in a state of emergency until 1917. The year 1928 was notable in the Androy for the destruction of the cactus by the cochineal beetle. Madagascar became independent in 1960. A popular uprising erupted in the Androy in 1971 against the power of Tananarive (currently spelled "Antananarivo"). Harshly repressed, the uprising was followed by various administrative reforms.

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