Diplomatic relations

Relations diplomatiques. These documents are the diplomatic archives (1861-1897) of the Merina kingdom which dominated Madagascar during the nineteenth century. They have been part of the UNESCO Memory of the World Register since 2009 illustrate the encounter between the precolonial kingdom of Madagascar, the abolitionist and religious policies of the United Kingdom and the French territorial ambitions in the Indian Ocean. Both quantitatively and qualitatively, these documents are a rare and perfect example of the diplomacy of a non-Western State in the nineteenth century.

These files show the connection of the Merina kingdom of Madagascar with the rest of the world before the advent of colonialism. The international policy of the kingdom is one of the key reasons behind its own success within the island at the beginning of the nineteenth century. In 1817, the British Crown recognized the Merina king who was the main political leader of the island as the king of the whole of Madagascar, an event which gave its international status to the kingdom.

The preserved material reveals the political and diplomatic organisation of the Malagasy kingdom before the French colonisation and shows its integration within a wider web of international diplomatic relations.