Standard of the Merina Kingdom. Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The island of Madagascar was settled by Austronesia peoples before 500AD, and until the 18th century was home to several groups with different methods of rulership. The Merina Kingdom was established c.1540 and ruled over the majority of the main island, until it was colonised by the French and successfully annexed in 1897. During its time of monarchy, the island continued rulership by both kings and queens, leading to many notable women leading Merina.

You can find out more about some of these women below!


Campbell, Gwyn. An economic history of Imperial Madagascar, 1750–1895: the rise and fall of an island empire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005

Hooper, Jane. “The Transformation of an Island Queen: Queen Béti of Madagascar.” In A Companion to Global Queenship, edited by Elena Woodacre, 95-108. Leeds: Arc Humanities Press, 2018

Raison-Jourde, Françoise. Les souverains de Madagascar. Paris: Karthala Editions, 1983.

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